Rep Conaway Re-Introduces Anti-Biofuel Amendents

Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) has reintroduced his anti-biofuels amendments and they have been passed. The amendments have been included in the House version of the FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act. One amendment, H.R. 4435 prohibits the Department of Defense from purchasing biofuels unless the biofuels until certain date requirements are met:

Except as provided in subsection 3 (b), none of the amounts authorized to be appropriated by this Act or otherwise made available for the Department of Defense may be used to purchase or produce biofuels until the earlier of the following dates: ( 1) The elate on which the cost of the biofuel IS equal to the cost of conventional fuels purchased by the Department. (2) The date on which the Budget Control Act of 2011 (Public Law 112-25), and the sequestration in effect by reason of such Act, are no longer in effect. (b) EXCEPTIONS. the limitation under subsection (a) shall not apply to biofuels purchased ( 1) in limited quantities necessary to complete test and certification; or (2) for the biofuel research and development efforts of the Department.

Navy Blue Angels flying on biofuelsRep. Conaway said of the passage of his amendments, “It is foolish to require the military to purchase biofuels that are far more expensive than traditional petroleum products, which is why I offered an amendment that would allow the Department of Defense to only produce and procure biofuels if the cost is equal to conventional fuels or sequestration is replaced with an exemption for research and development.”

He continued, “I also offered an amendment that would prohibit the Department of Defense from developing their own biofuel refineries. Allowing the Pentagon to subsidize and develop its own biofuels industry is an abuse of the Defense Production Act. These amendments are necessary at a time when our military is already facing enormous budget constraints.

“It is not the job of the Department of Defense to develop the biofuel industry,” added Conaway. “As the bill moves forward, I will continue to fight to reverse these efforts to use the Department of Defense to prop up the biofuels industry.”

Truman National Security Project Executive Director Michael Breen responded to the amendments proposed by Rep. Conaway to the House’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act that would constrain the Department of Defense (DoD) from investing in energy security initiatives.

Breen, a former U.S. Army officer and leader of the clean energy campaign, Operation Free, said: “This is Déjà vu all over again. In what has become an annual tradition, Congressman Michael Conaway has proposed amendments that would limit the Pentagon’s use of advanced biofuels, directly affecting the mission capability of our deployed forces. Our military leaders have been crystal clear: developing next generation fuels and using energy smarter are national security imperatives.”

“The military is investing in renewable and energy efficient technologies that are promoting energy security for our troops abroad and here at home,” Breen added. “Congress needs to stop prioritizing politics over national security and listen to our military leaders who have stated over and over again that these investments are crucial for strengthening our national and economic security.”

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFA new $15 million gift by Lynda and Stewart Resnick in support of the Resnick Sustainability Institute at Caltech will help scientists and engineers advance research aimed at helping humanity sustainably meet its needs for energy, food, clean water, and a healthy environment. This brings total funding of the Resnick Sustainability Institute to nearly $60 million, beginning with a foundational $21 million gift from the Resnicks in 2009.
  • Genscape is hosting a “Prepare for the 2014 Growing Season,” Tuesday, May 20 at 3:00 pm EDT targeted to the ethanol industry. The webinar will discuss the tangible savings and benefits ethanol plants can expect from utilizing the most accurate, personalized crop assessment in the industry. Topics to be covered in this webinar include: What Genscape’s experts and experienced agronomists are seeing and predicting early in the season; how to assess corn supply ahead of market movements and improve hedging and risk management strategies; and more.
  • American fashion retailer Forever 21 has unveiled plans to install a 5.1-megawatt (DC) high efficiency SunPower solar power system at Forever 21’s headquarters in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles. The system will be the largest single-roof solar power system in Los Angeles County and the third-largest in California. The planned system makes Forever 21 the latest business to Participate in the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s (LADWP) Feed-in Tariff (FiT) Program. Also it will become the first project to use both of LADWP’s solar site programs-the FiT100 Set Pricing Program and the Solar Incentive Program at one location.
  • Voith has been awarded a services contract for the extensive modernization of three hydropower generators at the Kettle Generating Station in the province of Manitoba in Canada. The scope of supply for Voith Hydro includes the replacement of stator frames, new cores and windings as well as pole re-insulation and the installation of new coolers. Once the project is completed, each of the refurbished units will be rated at 120 MVA.

RFA Offers Updated Ethanol Emergency Response Guide

There is an updated version of “The Training Guide to Ethanol Emergency Response,” prepared by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFS) available for use. The resource was developed to give first responders, hazmat teams, and safety personnel in-depth and accurate information on proper training techniques when responding to an ethanol-related emergency.

Ethanol Safety GuideThe training guide has been used at Ethanol Safety Seminars and distributed to more than 10,000 responders worldwide. RFA and TRANSCAER® began offering Ethanol Safety Seminars in 2010 and have since held more than 100 Safety Seminars in 21 states. RFA is a national sponsor of TRANSCAER®, a national outreach effort focused on helping communities prepare and respond to possible incidents involving the transportation of hazardous materials.

Kristy Moore, the Renewable Fuels Association’s vice president of technical services and a recent recipient of the TRANSCAER Individual Achievement Award, said, “RFA’s commitment to safety is unwavering. There is no reason that a first responder should have to go into a potentially dangerous scenario unprepared. That is why the Renewable Fuels Association took the initiative by first creating, and now updating, the ‘Training Guide to Ethanol Emergency Response’.”

The updated “Training Guide to Ethanol Emergency Response” includes former goodies along with new resources.

  • Eight PowerPoint sections covering topics ranging from ethanol’s physical properties to ethanol’s transport and use
  • Instructor manuals and participant guides that work in conjunction with the PowerPoint
  • Two training videos: “Emergency Response Considerations” and “Responding to Ethanol Incidents”
  • RFA’s “Fuel Ethanol Guidelines for Release Prevention,” which explains environmental response techniques
  • Rail Car 101, a PowerPoint showing critical safety equipment on non-pressure railroad tank cars
  • 2012 U.S. Department of Transportation Emergency Response Guidebook
  • Association of American Railroad’s “Pamphlet 34 – Recommended Methods for the Safe Loading and Unloading of Non-Pressure (General Service) and Pressure Tank Cars”
  • Association of American Railroad’s “Tank Car Loading and Unloading” video

Training materials can be found here.

GM Fuel Cell Vehicles Surpasses 3 Million Miles

General Motors’ fleet of fuel cell vehicles has surpassed the three million mile mark running on hydrogen-power. According to GM, some individual vehicles have accumulated more than 120,000 miles and by using hydrogen, the fleet has avoided 157,894 gallons of gasoline consumption. This specially equipped fleet of Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell vehicles are part of GM hydrogen-powered Chevrolet EquinoxGM’s 119-vehicle Project Driveway program, which launched in 2007. Since then, more than 5,000 drivers have provided feedback on the functionality and drivability of fuel cell technology.

“Hydrogen fuel cell technology is an important part of GM’s advanced propulsion portfolio and we continue to make substantial progress in furthering this technology,” said Charlie Freese, executive director of GM’s global fuel cell engineering activities. “These vehicles have operated through seven full winters and a wide range of environmental conditions, proving that fuel cells can meet the demands of real-world drivers.”

GM has announced several fuel cell-related collaborations over the past few years. In July, 2013, GM and Honda announced a long-term collaboration to co-develop next-generation fuel cell and hydrogen storage systems, aiming for potential commercialization in the 2020 time frame. In addition, GM and Honda are working together with stakeholders to further advance refueling infrastructure, which is critical for the long-term viability and consumer acceptance of fuel cell vehicles.

Also last year GM opened a new state-of-the-art Fuel Cell Development Laboratory at GM Powertrain World Headquarters in Pontiac, Mich. In September, 2013 GM and the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development & Engineering Center (TARDEC) jointly announced an expansion of their relationship for testing automotive fuel cell technology.

ANDRITZ to Market Tornado Pulper

ANDRITZ Inc. has signed an agreement with Bolton-Emerson Americas, LLC giving ANDRITZ exclusive rights to market and sell the Tornado Pulper for solid and liquid fuel applications, as well as biochemical processes. The Tornado Pulper is Bolton-Emerson’s unique technology ANDRITZ Tornado Pulper Installation with Vatfor preparing non-wood feedstocks (annual fibers, plants, and residues) so that they can be further treated with ANDRITZ technologies for conversion into renewable solid and liquid fuels or biochemicals.

Unlike traditional pulpers found in the pulp and paper industry, ANDRITZ explains that the Tornado Pulper has a side-mounted assembly with replaceable grinding segments to simultaneously wash and chop incoming raw materials and resize them into a uniform slurry. The Tornado Pulper has been proven on difficult-to-process materials such as kenaf, hemp, flax, sugarcane bagasse, cereal straw, and others. The Tornado Pulper can also resize woody materials such as forest waste, waste wood, bamboo, and giant reeds into uniform slurries.

ANDRITZ supplies advanced pre-treatment technologies for biofuel production. The company says these technologies are well-proven in other industrial processes and, through extensive R&D, have been modified by ANDRITZ to satisfy the requirements for biofuel and biochemical producers.

RFS at Odds with National Climate Assessment

In a letter to President Obama sent today, leaders of America’s renewable fuel industry are urging the Administration to rethink its proposal to weaken the bipartisan Renewable Fuel Standard – a proposal that is at odds with the National Climate Assessment the White House released earlier this week.

Carbon_dioxideThe letter is signed by Abengoa Bioenergy, the Advanced Ethanol Council, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, DuPont, DSM, Growth Energy, the National Corn Growers Association, Novozymes, the Renewable Fuels Association, and POET.

The companies and organizations write that the Administration’s proposal to reduce the amount of renewable fuel in gasoline and diesel would “make us more oil dependent, effectively gut the bipartisan Renewable Fuel Standard, strand billions of dollars in private investment, and send emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants sharply higher.”

The letter notes that the impact of the Administration’s proposal would increase carbon pollution by an estimated 28.2 million metric tons in 2014 alone – which is equivalent to building 7 new coal fired power plants or cancelling every wind farm project currently under construction in the United States.

“The question comes down to whether we want to rely more on foreign oil, or more on clean, renewable American made biofuels,” said the authors of the letter. “We urge you to reconsider the EPA proposal and the methodology for reducing the volumes — and allow the commonsense, bipartisan Renewable Fuel Standard to continue working as intended to create American jobs, promote American innovation, cut our reliance on foreign oil, and reduce harmful carbon pollution.”

The text of the letter follows. Continue reading

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFAbengoa has acquired 25% of the Beijing-based water company, GreenTech. The deal is currently under the standard review process by the Chinese Government and is expected to be approved in the second quarter of the year. GreenTech is a leader in the Chinese wastewater treatment and reuse market. Its current clients range from the municipal sector to the industrial sector, and the company has over 40 references in water treatment with a combined capacity of 2.1 million cubic meters (m3) per day.
  • SunEdison has announced it has completed construction of a 117 MW (megawatt) DC (direct current) portfolio of utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) solar power plants across the United Kingdom. The portfolio is comprised of eight separate solar power plants.
  • S&C Electric Company, a company focused on renewable energy integration, has announced the first real-world deployment of a new service offering to remotely monitor S&C’s Wind-Turbine Style Vista® Switchgear. This new service was pioneered on Vista switchgear at Infigen Energy’s 50-MW Kumeyaay Wind Farm, located 65 miles east of San Diego in Boulevard, Calif.
  • Solectria Renewables, LLC, has announced that its SMARTGRID 500 Inverters (SGI 500) have been purchased by NuGen Capital for five projects totaling over 13 MW in Massachusetts. All five systems in Massachusetts are ground-mounted. They are located in Swansea, Lunenburg, Whatley and Hadley. These projects generate net metering credits from the facilities and produce credits that will be made available to manufacturers and municipalities in the area via their utility provider.

Prairie Horizon to Add Renewable Diesel Facility

Prairie Horizon Agri-Energy is one of only a handful of ethanol plants moving into the production of biodiesel. The biorefinery announced plans to form a partnership with WB Services to add a renewable diesel production facility into the existing ethanol plant.

“With this announcement, Prairie Horizon continues to meet its goal of providing leadership in the renewable fuels industry,” said Mike Erhart, CEO of Prairie Horizon Agri-Energy. “We are very excited and eager to partner with WB Services and get under construction and put this product in the marketplace.”

SONY DSCWB Services, LLC, will design, construct and operate the renewable diesel plant utilizing patented renewable diesel process technology. (Learn about WB Services in this audio interview with WB Services’ Bernie Hoffman).

According to Ron Beemiller, President and CEO of WB Services, “This plant will be the first of its kind—the first renewable diesel plant to fully integrate into an existing ethanol operation. This is a very exciting time for both Prairie Horizon Agri-Energy and WB Services, we look forward to working with PHAE’s exceptional leadership team on this project.”

Currently, Prairie Horizon Agri-Energy is a 40 million gallon per year nameplate ethanol plant, which began operations in 2006. With the completion of the facility, renewable diesel nameplate production will be 3 million gallons per year, and will also produce denaturant, fuel gas, and steam for use at the existing facility. Prairie Horizon Agri-Energy also has a significant investment in the renewable and biodiesel plants under construction by Green Energy Products in Sedgwick, Kansas. Design work has already begun, and construction is scheduled to begin in the middle of 2014.

DOE Announces Offshore Wind Energy Projects

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced funding for three offshore wind demonstrations. The projects will receive up to $47 million each over the next four years to deploy innovative, grid- connected systems in federal and state waters by 2017. The projects are located off the coast of New Jersey, Virginia and Oregon.

twisted jacket formation for offshore wind energyFishermen’s Energy will install five 5-megawatt direct-drive wind turbines approximately three miles off the coast of Atlantic City, New Jersey. This project will utilize an U.S.-developed twisted jacket foundation that is simpler and less expensive to manufacture and install than traditional offshore wind foundations.

Dominion Virginia Power will install two 6-megawatt direct-drive wind turbines 26 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, utilizing a U.S.-designed twisted jacket foundation. Dominion’s project will demonstrate installation, operation and maintenance methods for wind turbines located far from shore. Additionally, the Dominion project will install and test a hurricane-resilient design.

Principle Power will install five 6-megawatt direct-drive wind turbines approximately 18 miles off the coast of Coos Bay, Oregon. The U.S.-developed WindFloat semi-submersible floating foundation will be installed in water more than 1,000 feet deep, demonstrating a solution for deep water wind turbine projects and lowering costs by simplifying installation and eliminating the need for highly specialized ships.

The Energy Department’s efforts to advance innovative offshore wind technologies support the Obama Administration’s comprehensive National Offshore Wind Strategy to develop a sustainable, world-class offshore wind industry. As part of that strategy, the Energy Department continues to work with partners across the government, including the Department of the Interior, to conduct resource assessments, streamline siting and permitting, and overcome technical and market challenges to installation, operations, and grid connection.

Deepwater Wind Unveils Right Whale Protection Agreement

An historic offshore wind energy announcement was made today that will help to protect the right whale while development occurs of an offshore wind farm known as the Deepwater ONE Offshore wind farm. The project is being developed off the coast of Rhode Island and North American Right WhaleMassachusetts coasts, an area where the endangered right whale is frequently seen. With less than 500 right whales believed to be alive, they are highly endangered and can become confused due to underwater sounds caused by noise from the vessels doing the pre-construction site activities. The noise also impacts the right whale’s ability to communicate.

A coalition of leading environmental and conservation organizations — Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and National Wildlife Federation (NWF) — and Deepwater Wind today announced an agreement to implement additional protections that will minimize potential impacts on North Atlantic right whales and other marine mammals from underwater noise and construction vessels during the developer’s site characterization and assessment activities.

“We take our responsibility to be a national leader in responsible offshore wind development very seriously, and ensuring marine mammals are protected is just one way we’re fulfilling our commitment,” said Jeffrey Grybowski, CEO of Deepwater Wind during a press call this morning.

Deepwater Wind reached another similar agreement in the Mid-Atlantic Wind Energy areas (the area where the Cape Wind project is in development) and has committed to tailoring its business to protect marine animals in every area it develops a project.

Click here to listen to the media call:Historic Offshore Wind Right Whale Protection Agreement

Deepwater Wind in July 2013 acquired a 30-year lease to develop the Deepwater ONE project in the Rhode Island-Massachusetts Wind Energy Area, located in Rhode Island Sound, after winning the first-ever competitive lease auction for offshore wind energy development in America. The lease area covers approximately 256 square miles in the Atlantic Ocean, roughly 30 miles east of Montauk, N.Y. and roughly 17 miles south of Rhode Island, between Block Island, R.I., and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

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