BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFGreenbriar Capital Corp. has announced that it has commenced formal construction at its 80-MW Blue Mountain Utah wind energy site. Blue Mountain is a fully contracted 80 MW wind energy project holding a 20-year energy sales agreement with PacifiCorp, a subsidiary of Mid-American Energy Holdings Company, itself 89% owned by Berkshire Hathaway. Construction has been awarded to RMT, Inc. of Madison, Wisconsin, a subsidiary of IEA Infrastructure and Energy Alternatives, LLC of Chicago.
  • Canadian Solar Inc. has announced it is the supplier of 8.7 MW of its MaxPower CS6X Solar Modules to EOSOL Mexico. The ground mounted solar project is located in Durango, Mexico and represents Mexico’s second largest Photovoltaic project to date. The formal ribbon cutting celebration is scheduled for an unannounced date in first quarter of 2014.
  • Aspinwall Coop in Manning, Iowa is now selling E15 to 2001 and newer vehicles, making it the 13th registered E15 station in Iowa. The retail station is located in Western Iowa at 516 West Street in Manning.
  • Consumers Energy has been recognized for protecting endangered species and other wildlife at its 11 hydro generating facilities on the Au Sable, Manistee and Muskegon rivers, both in Michigan. The Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) awarded the maximum three-year Wildlife at Work recertification to the company for its wildlife enhancement projects.

GEA Names Winners of GEA Honors 2013

The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) has announced the winners for the GEA Honors, which recognize companies and individuals that have made significant contributions during the past year to advancing technology, spurring economic  GEA logodevelopment and protecting the environment. The winners were selected in categories including Technological Advancement, Economic Development and Environmental Stewardship. Now in its third year, GEA also provides special recognition of companies and individuals who have made notable advances and achievements for geothermal energy.

“Even in a challenging environment, our GEA Honors winners represent the best in a growing industry. These geothermal leaders are trailblazers and should be praised for the headway they’re achieving for the entire sector,” said GEA Executive Director Karl Gawell.

Technological Advancement – Awarded for developing a new, innovative or pioneering technology to further geothermal development: U.S. Geothermal’s 22 MW Neal Hot Springs Geothermal Power Plant:

Economic Development – Awarded for making a substantial contribution to the development of local, regional or national markets through the development of geothermal systems: GeothermEx.

Environmental Stewardship – Awarded for fostering outstanding environmental stewardship through the use of geothermal systems. This award is presented in conjunction with the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) to  Dale Merrick, Canby Geothermal.

Special Recognition – The Special Recognition Award is presented to individuals or companies for their outstanding achievement in the geothermal industry. GEA wishes to recognize the following individuals and organizations for their outstanding work and support for geothermal energy during the past year:

  • Katherine Young and her team at NREL for their work on the Geothermal Regulatory Roadmapping effort;
  • Steamboat Hot Springs Healing Center in Reno Nevada;
  • Authors Magnus Gehringer and Victor Loksha of the World Bank for the ESMAP Geothermal Handbook; and
  • Cornell Team Erin Riley Camp, Sean Hillson and Jeff Tester for their help on GEA’s analysis efforts, particularly the Geothermal Externalities Paper.

GEA also recognized companies that have worked to bring new geothermal power on-line in the United States this year:

  • Ormat for the expected completion of the new Don A. Campbell (formerly named Wild Rose) geothermal power plant.
  • ENEL Green Power North America and Ormat for completing construction of the new Cove Fort power plant in Utah.
  • Surprise Valley Electric Cooperative for their 3MW power plant in Oregon, which is expected to be on-line in early 2014.
  • Gradient Resources’ Patua Geothermal Project:

Biofuel Industry: Need to Extend Current Tax Policies

A letter has been submitted to the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees and signed by more than 60 advanced biofuel companies and four trade associations encouraging Congress to extend tax provisions set to expire at the end of December 2013.

Ways and Means Committee MembersThe Advanced Ethanol Council, Advanced Biofuel Association, Algae Biomass Organization and Biotechnology Industry Organization delivered the letter to Reps. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and Sander Levin (D-Mich.) and Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) on behalf of 63 member companies, whose logos are included on the letter.

“The advanced biofuels industry is at a critical stage of development. The industry has made great strides in reducing the cost of production and developing first-of-kind technologies and bio-refining operations to deploy the most innovative fuel in the world. In a difficult financial market, we are now operating commercial plants all across the country and continue to make progress on dozens of additional projects in the final stages of development. As was the case with the conventional biofuels industry, these groundbreaking production processes can be replicated rather quickly once the technology is proven at commercial scale,” the organizations and companies wrote.

The industry says these credits are vital to the ongoing development of the domestic advanced biofuels industry and therefore further urged the members of Congress to extend current tax provisions for multiple years, to ensure stability in the marketplace.

The letter continued, “Accelerated depreciation allowances, technology specific deductions and production-related tax credits are currently offered to incumbent fossil energy industries on a permanent basis. As such, similar tax provisions made available to the advanced and cellulosic biofuels industry level the playing field with fossil fuels and are critical to our efforts to compete for project capital given that these types of incentives are available to our primary competitors.”

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFSCS Global Services has announced the successful certification of two companies utilizing biofuel-based technologies designed to advance the aviation industry beyond its dependency on conventional fossil fuels. The certifications, based on standards set by the Roundtable of Sustainable Biomaterials were issued to Beijing Shougang LanzaTech New Energy Science & Technology Co., Ltd, which earned sustainability certification for the conversion of waste steel mill gases to sustainable biofuels at the joint venture’s facility in China and PGF Biofuels, which received certification for the production of carinata, an oilseed crop ideally suited for use as a cleaner, lower-carbon fuel.
  • China WindPower Group Limited (CWP) has announced that 70MW solar power projects wholly-owned by CWP have successfully obtained an additional RMB490 million of 15-year long term project loans from China Development Bank (CDB). To date, CDB has provided a total of RMB 1.23 billion of long term project financing to 5 CWP’s wholly owned solar power projects, a total of 150MW. The continuous support from CDB has provided a solid capital foundation for accelerating the solar power generation business to be the core business of the Group.
  • PSEG has announced it is partnering with the NFL Environmental Program to provide the green power for Super Bowl XLVIII, the first Super Bowl held in the New York-New Jersey metro region. For every megawatt hour of electricity used to power the event, PSEG will purchase and retire one renewable energy credit (REC). REC purchases will include New Jersey solar renewable energy credits equal to a four week output of PSE&G’s Kearny Solar Farm. The remaining RECs have been purchased from Community Energy Inc., a certified Green-e Supplier, sourced from the Jersey – Atlantic City Wind Farm, New Jersey’s largest commercial grade wind farm.
  • The metro Atlanta region is poised to become a global industry leader in clean technology in several key industry sectors, according to a new clean tech industry report released by the Metro Atlanta Chamber. The report reveals that metro Atlanta is home to 541 clean tech company facilities representing 30,605 jobs focused on clean technology. The report also shows Atlanta has clean tech strengths in top industry categories for employment and job creation, including energy efficiency; recycling and solid waste; smart grid; services, and products/materials. Those sectors represent areas for strategic growth in the future, along with solar and water technologies.

ACE to Host RFS Comment Webinar

ACElogoThe American Coalition for Ethanol has announced the grassroots ethanol organization will be hosting a webinar at 11:00 am CST on Tuesday, December 17, 2013 on how to make comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the proposed RFS rule for 2014.

“The individual and personal stories of grassroots ethanol supporters from all walks of life are critically important if we are to make strong and convincing arguments that the Administration is wrong to let Big Oil wreck the Renewable Fuel Standard,” said Brian Jennings, executive vice president of ACE who recently traveled to Washington, D.C. to offer testimony during the recent EPA Hearing. “During the webinar ACE will provide tips for submitting persuasive comments to EPA, the rationale for engaging Congress in the comment period, and ways to build grassroots support in your communities in support of the RFS.”

In addition to Jennings, other webinar participants will include ACE Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty and ACE’s Washington D.C. advisor, Jonathon Lehman. For information on how to register for the webinar, contact Shannon Gustafson with ACE by emailing her.

Fossil Fuel Subsidies Reach $544B

According to the World Energy Outlook fossil fuel consumption subsidies have reached $544 billion in 2012, up from $523 billion in 2011. This news has caused the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA) to criticize leaders of the most developed nations for failing to reduce fossil fuel subsidies despite their commitment to eliminate them four years ago.

This weekend marked the end of this year’s United Climate Change Conference and Bliss Baker, GRFA spokesperson said “Another year has passed without any progress being made in eliminating these wasteful crude oil subsidies. These market distorting subsidies hurt developing economies and slow the development of alternative fuels, like biofuels.”

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 11.22.41 AMIn 2009, at the Pittsburgh G20 Summit, the world’s most developed countries committed to eliminating unnecessary fossil fuel subsidies. Back in 2009, fossil fuel subsidies had reached $300 billion, 45 percent less than where they are today.

This year’s figure of $544 billion in fossil fuel consumption subsidies shows that efforts to reduce them are not working says Baker. Even more egregious is the fact that this number does not include the production subsidies governments provide directly to crude oil companies, which is widely accepted to be in excess of $100 billion he adds.

“The GRFA finds it worrying that although we seem to be very aware of climate change, the leaders of the world’s most important nations have not slowed the subsidization of the consumption and production of crude oil in four years,” said Baker.

This year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference featured a “Transport Day” and “Fossil-Fuel Subsidies and Climate Change” side events. The focus of these events was land transport and fossil fuel subsidy reform. Land transport, according to the International Energy Agency (EIA), is the fastest growing source of carbon dioxide emissions, contributing 13 percent of global emissions. Eliminating fossil fuel subsidies could further reduce global emissions by a minimum of 10 percent.

“It is disturbing that no progress on the sources of over 20% of the world’s carbon emissions was made and that land transport and fossil fuels subsidies were reduced to side events at the premier conference established to determine the best ways of combating climate change,” added Baker.

He concluded, “This year’s Warsaw Climate Conference is another lost opportunity for leaders of the most developed nations to show some leadership and get serious about cutting subsidies to crude oil and increase biofuels share of the global future energy mix.”

U.S. Breaks Commitment to Biofuels Industry

Mr Stu LambStaurt Lamb, president and CEO of Stuart, Florida-based Viesel Fuel LLC, embarked on the journey to revolutionize the way biodiesel is made about one-and-a-half years ago. The company is focused on “junk oils and greases” as its feedstock. Using a process of enzymes and resins, Lamb believes they can produce biodiesel cheaper than anyone in the country and also believes they are the only company using this type of technology to produce ASTM quality biodiesel.

Lamb’s family owned business employes 45 people and he embarked on this venture because he thought it was the right thing to do and because he thought it was part of his continuing service to this country – he is an ex fighter pilot who severed in Vietnam.

But the announcement by the EPA of its proposed 2014 renewable fuel volumes as part of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has made his venture questionable. Lamb said he counted on the RFS to help make his business successful.

“Without these mandates, without this criteria, without this support from the United States government, I cannot make this fuel and put it into the marketplace and compete with major oil companies,” said Lamb.

He notes that he can’t succeed, not because he didn’t follow through on his commitment, but because the United States has changed its commitment to him. “I’m in a difficult position now. Without this support, I face bankruptcy that will put 45 people out of work.”

Listen to Stuart Lamb’s comments about the RFS during a media call hosted by the Advanced Biofuels Association (ABFA). U.S. Breaks Commitment to Biofuels Industry

Simmons__Wayne_MG_0296_201312051527201Wayne Simmons, President and CEO, Sundrop Fuels and Chairman, ABFA noted during the call that as Chairman, he represents many advanced biofuel companies, such as Sundrop Fuels, who are looking for investments to advance their technologies. He said without this investment, that is tied to the RFS, these businesses can’t move forward. RFS = demand = stability for the investment community, said Simmons.

Listen to Simmons comments about the RFS: No RFS = No Investment = No Advanced Biofuels

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFFast Stop in Elkader, Iowa has begun selling E15 to 2001 and newer vehicles, making it the 12th registered E15 station in Iowa. In addition to E15, Fast Stop also offers E20, E30 and E85 to flex-fuel vehicle (FFV) owners. Fast Stop is located in Northeast Iowa at 24544 Highway 13 in Elkader.
  • Central MN Ethanol Co-op (“CMEC”) has received shareholder approval on the Asset Purchase Agreement for the sale of its Little Falls, MN ethanol facility to Green Biologics, Inc (“GBI”). CMEC and GBI executed the Asset Purchase Agreement on October 15, 2013 and received formal shareholder approval at CMEC’s Special Shareholder Meeting on November 27, 2013. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed and timing of the transaction closing is expected in 2014. Green Biologics Ltd. has also recently closed on a £15.4 million (U.S. $25 million) funding round led by Sofinnova Partners with strategic participation by Swire Pacific Limited.
  • Texas A&M is hosting a “Fermentation and Separation” Short course in February 2-4, 2014, sponsored by Food Protein R&D Center and National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing at Texas A&M University. Early bird rates are available until January 17, 2014. Click here to see the full agenda and to register.
  • Sullivan Solar Power’s founder and chief executive officer, Daniel Sullivan, was awarded Most Admired CEO for a medium sized privately held company by the San Diego Business Journal Thursday. For its seventh year, the San Diego Business Journal hosted the Most Admired CEO event, recognizing dynamic business leaders and role models, selected for their achievements and contributions to San Diego companies.

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.”

DuPont Starts Solar Project on Landfill Site

DuPont has commissioned a 548kw solar installation located on five-acres of former Superfun landfill site in Newport, Delaware. The solar farm will produce enough electricity to power 60 homes and will generate approximately 729,000 kilowatt hours of power per year.

NewportPVSiteAfter successfully completing remediation at the Newport site, and with the support of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Delaware Division of Natural Resources & Environmental Control (DNREC), DuPont collaborated with Tangent Energy Solutions to put develop the solar project. Greenwood Energy owns the project and solar panels were provided by DuPont Apollo.

During a celebration event held at DuPont’s Photovoltaics Application Lab, Delaware Governor Jack Markell said of the new project, “The DuPont Solar Power Project complements Delaware’s commitment toward using clean, renewable energy sources. Generating solar energy benefits the residents of Newport, and positively impacts our state – increasing our competitiveness, reducing air pollution, improving public health and creating jobs.”

Linda Fisher, vice president – DuPont Safety, Health & Environment & Chief Sustainability Officer said to the crowd, “We’re very excited about this project because it is the first time we’ve utilized solar on a former landfill. The project will reduce DuPont’s greenhouse gas emissions by 350 tons a year and reuse a portion of a federal Superfund site that had been considered to be unusable land. This is a great example of what we’re trying to do at DuPont around the world: working collaboratively to help meet the growing demand for energy with renewable fuels.”

This represents the 11th solar installation on DuPont land to date, and the fourth in Delaware.

“Under the RE-Powering America Initiative, EPA encourages renewable energy development on current and formerly contaminated land when it is aligned with the community’s vision for the site,” added Shawn Garvin, regional administrator – EPA Mid-Atlantic Region 3. “When we work together to turn an environmental problem into an opportunity, we create the best of what is possible – here solar energy will serve the families of Newport and inspire others to re-power America with alternative energy solutions.”