DuPont Sees Cellulosic Ethanol as Good for Brazil

World Bio Markets Brasil Conference is taking place in Sao Paulo this week and Jan Koninckx, director of DuPont Industrial Biosciences biofuels business, told attendees about the company’s offering and vision for the growth of the cellulosic ethanol market in Brazil. World Bio Markets BrasilThe company is in the final stages of building a cellulosic ethanol refinery in Nevada, Iowa co-located next to Lincolnway Energy with plans to be in full commercial-scale production by the end of the year.

“As global ethanol markets continue to grow, Brazil will need innovative solutions to meet the fuel demands of its growing population and of markets abroad from existing hectares of sugar cane,” said Koninckx. “DuPont Industrial Biosciences’ cellulosic ethanol technology makes good business sense in Brazil: abundant sugar cane provides a large quantity of convertible biomass at very competitive costs. Because our cellulosic ethanol technology can utilize the leftovers from sugar cane processing, DuPont can improve the productivity of first-generation ethanol mills and increase ethanol yield without growing more sugar cane. We are engaging with industry leaders to explore options to support the growth of renewable fuels in Brazil, including, as required, increase of our regional enzyme capacity.”

Koninckx continued, “DuPont developed our advanced biofuels technology through a network of scientists and assets in laboratories around the globe in Brazil, the United DuPont LogoStates, the European Union and Asia. We are currently finalizing what will be the world’s largest cellulosic ethanol biorefinery in Nevada, Iowa to demonstrate the company’s cellulosic ethanol technology package at industrial scale. While the feedstock at that plant will be corn stover, DuPont validated the same technology with bagasse– the fibrous matter leftover once the juice has been extracted from sugarcane – with our process yielding more than 310 liters per metric ton in our demonstration plant in Vonore, Tennessee.”

The company has a long history working in Brazil and on behalf of the DuPont, Koninckx said the company is excited for the future. The company has been in the country for nearly 80 years and currently has 2,500 employees, 12 manufacturing sites and 11 Research and Development locations. With this on-the-ground experience and their world-leading science, Koninckx said DuPont is uniquely positioned to help expand the Brazilian cellulosic ethanol industry and to develop the country and region’s growing bio-based economy.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFThe Department of Interior and the California Department of Natural Resources have released a draft Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP). The proposal is a combined state and federal effort – including collaborations between the Bureau of Land Management, the California Energy Commission, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plus input from NRDC, conservation groups, renewable energy companies and other stakeholders. The draft is an unprecedented opportunity to provide a framework for “smart from the start” planning efforts that guide renewable energy development to areas with low environmental and wildlife risk, and conserve the desert’s wildlife, wilderness and treasured landscapes.
  • Lumos Solar, a Boulder has introduced their SmartPark Solar EV Charging Station, featuring the new GSX Glass-Glass Frameless Module System. The company believes SmartPark will revolutionize how solar and EV charging are integrated. The cantilevered SmartPark structures are pre-engineered, prefabricated and designed to be easily deployable in residential, commercial and institutional settings.
  • Sol Systems has announced the successful financing of a 944 kilowatt solar project in partnership with its investor client, Washington Gas Energy Systems (WGES), a subsidiary of WGL. The operational solar energy system is located at Valley Baptist Church in Bakersfield, Calif., and A-C Electric served as the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) provider.
  • Media reports about ISIS control of some Middle East oil fields brings up the question of disruption of global oil supplies and pricing. Shanjun Li, an expert on the economics of energy and an assistant professor at Cornell University’s Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, says that the potential disruption in production from the ISIS-controlled region will have an insignificant impact on the global oil market. He proposes two scenarios: U.S. consumption reduces proportionally to the world. That is, the consumption has to go down by 16,000 barrels a day – or 0.08 percent of its daily total. The U.S. gasoline price would increase by 1.4 cents to 2.8 cents per gallon, based on the current price of $3.50 per gallon; and scenario two: U.S. consumption reduces by all 80,000 barrels a day – which is 0.4 percent of its daily total. The gasoline price would increase by seven to 14 cents per gallon with scenario one most likely to happen.

 

White Papers Look At Energy in Mexico

A new series of white papers look at various issues relating to energy in Mexico. Recent reform in the country has created anticipation and speculation as to how the energy market will shape up over the next few years. Peter Nance with ICF International has released three white papers to help increase understanding of the country’s emerging energy issues.

Peter Nance ICF InternationalThe first paper, “Renewable Energy and Cross-Border Prospects,” looks at current opportunities and risks in cross-border renewables trade, especially for the California market. The current power trade between the United States and Mexico is relatively small, and the renewable sector in Mexico remains underdeveloped. Yet, encouraging market dynamics gives ample reason to pay attention to this area. Key topics include: ambitious reform creates opportunities and lingering questions; state of electricity trade and renewables development; exporting opportunities for central station renewables; and risk and uncertainties.

Power Generation and Cross-Border Prospects,” is the second paper in the series and examines current opportunities and risks in cross-border power markets in the context of the Mexican regulatory reform, especially along the Arizona-Sonora and Texas-Tamaulipas/Coahulia/Chihuahua areas of the border. Key topics include: current state and near-term prospects; future opportunities; and risks and uncertainties.

The third report is, “Midstream Opportunities,” and focuses on proposed sublaws from Mexico’s energy sector. ICF International anticipates a comprehensive analysis and development of their implications for investors after a successful conclusion of current negotiations in the Mexican Congress. They are also closely tracking the emerging trends and needs in the midstream and engaging with partners in Mexico to develop a comprehensive, in-depth picture of the market and its potential opportunities and risks. Key topics include: current state and near-term prospects; recent project profiles; important players in the Mexican midstream subsector and future possibilities.

ACCIONA Windpower Installs First AW125/3000

gI_46398_Acciona_AW3000_125_1ACCIONA Windpower has completed the installation of the world’s first AW125/3000 wind turbine, which combines a 125 meter rotor with a 3 megawatt wind turbine generator. The turbine is mounted on a 120 meter concrete tower at ACCIONA’s Vedadillo Experimental Wind Farm located in the Navarra Region of Spain. The company has fulfilled orders for an additional 552 MW of AW125/3000 turbines which will be installed at wind farms around the globe in the coming months.

Launched in 2013, the AW125/3000 is an extension of ACCIONA Windpower’s AW116/3000 wind turbine. The 125 meter rotor is among the largest rotors in operation at any onshore wind farm, capturing the wind energy from an area of over 12,300 square meters to deliver maximum production at a lower cost of energy. The AW125 is suitable for a wide range of wind conditions and is certified for IEC Class IIb, IIIa, and IIIb.

“The 125 meter rotor is one of the technological advances made by ACCIONA Windpower as part of our commitment to lower the cost of energy for our customers,” said Jose Luis Blanco, CEO of ACCIONA Windpower. “Design innovation is helping ACCIONA Windpower emerge as a preferred supplier by many major customers and fueling the rapid growth in orders for the AW3000 platform.”

The AW 125/3000 turbine at the Vedadillo Wind Farm will help ACCIONA Windpower complete the requisite testing for Type Certification, which is expected to be complete by Q1 2015. The AW125 is available on 100 and 120 meter concrete towers and an 87.5 meter steel tower.

ContourGlobal Inaugurates Peru Wind Farm

The Cupisnique and Talara Wind farms located in Peru are now producing wind energy. The projects were completed by ContourGlobal, through it subsidiary Energia Eolica S.A., and with the first kilowatts produced, have become the largest wind farm owner and operator in the country.

ContourGlobal Wind Farm in PeruWith a combined investment of nearly US $250 million, the Cupisnique and the Talara Wind Farms are the first operational projects in the northern region of the country and were connected to the National Interconnected Electric System (SEIN) last month. Each of the projects has secured a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement under Peru’s Renewable Energy Resource Program.

“With the inauguration of ContourGlobal’s Peruvian wind farms, the country is taking a big step towards realizing the benefit of integrating wind power into the nation’s electricity grid. Peru is blessed with abundant wind resources, which makes wind generated electricity significantly less expensive than many of the fossil fuel power plants in the country,” said Alessandra Marinheiro, CEO of ContourGlobal Latam.

The development of the wind farms took 22 months beginning in October 2012. ContourGlobal managed the construction of the sites, featuring Vesta’s wind turbines. The 62 turbines are installed in two locations along Peru’s windy Pacific coast and are Peru’s largest wind farms as well as the largest wind farms in South America outside of Brazil.

“We would like to express our appreciation to COFIDE (Corporacion Financiera de Desarollo—Peru’s national development bank), the Government of Peru and the communities of Pacasmayo and Talara for helping us to place Peru’s largest wind complex into operation today,” added Joseph C. Brandt, president & CEO of ContourGlobal. “We have found Peru to be a very hospitable destination for new investment and look forward to growing with the country in the years to come.”

Southwest Airlines Inks Deal with Red Rock Biofuels

Southwest Airlines is partnering with Red Rock Biofuels (RBB), who recently received U.S. Department of Energy funding to produce aviation biofuels for the military, to purchase renewable jet fuel (biojet) produced from forest residues. The airline’s agreement with RRB covers the purchase of approximately three million gallons per year. The blended product will be used at Southwest’s Bay Area operations with first delivery expected in 2016.

“Our commitment to sustainability and efficient operations led us on a search for a viable biofuel that uses a sustainable feedstock with a high rate of success,” said Bill Tiffany, vice president of Supply Chain at Southwest Airlines HeartSouthwest Airlines. “Red Rock Biofuel’s technology, economics, and approved use made entering into an agreement for purchase a win-win situation.”

RRB’s first plant will convert approximately 140,000 dry tons of woody biomass feedstock into at least 12 million gallons per year of renewable jet, diesel, and naphtha fuels. It is hoped that the forest residues will help to reduce forest fires in states that are struggling with drought and dry conditions.

RRB’s CEO, Terry Kulesa added, “From the outset, we have sought to build the best possible team of project partners. A conversation we started with Southwest on the premise of providing renewable jet fuel at cost parity with conventional jet fuel has evolved into a great partnership. We’re happy to help Southwest diversify its fuel supply.”

Southwest is a long-time member of Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) which is a government and industry coalition for the development and deployment of alternative jet fuel for commercial aviation. As a member of CAAFI, the airline has followed the progress of alternative fuel technologies. Red Rock Biofuels is the first viable opportunity the airline has found to meet its financial and sustainability objectives.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFMartifer Solar Canada, a subsidiary of Martifer Solar SA, and Triumph, Inc. have entered into a strategic partnership to serve the growing demand for solar photovoltaic (PV) in the Canadian market. The partnership will be called Martifer Solar Triumph and will add unique value to the market based on the companies´ shared complementary competencies. Martifer Solar Triumph will be headquartered in Toronto and focused on the market in Ontario, which has strong incentives for solar photovoltaic installations. The company will be an active player in solar Development, EPC and O&M Service of rooftop and ground-mounted PV projects.
  • Alstom has signed a new contract with Vartinoja 1 Ky to supply a wind farm located in Siikajoki, Northern Finland. The turnkey contract is worth €35 million and covers the engineering, manufacture, delivery and commissioning of 9 ECO 122 wind turbines of the 2.7 MW capacity model, ideal for medium and low wind sites. Together they will generate a maximum capacity of 24 MW. The contract also includes 12 years of operation and maintenance services.
  • The European Union will finance Rwanda’s clean energy projects to develop sustainable sources of energy to maintain the country’s rapid growth, but protect the environment, according to new agreements. On September 23, 2014 Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame signed the support agreement in New York with Jose Manuel Durao Barroso, President of the European Commission, at the sideline of the Climate Change Summit. The EU announced that Rwanda will benefit from its €3.3 billion ($4b) financing to clean energy projects along with five other African nations. About €2b will be disbursed to five African countries, including Rwanda, Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, and Togo.

Researchers Discover Cellulose Making Enzyme Structure

Researchers from Purdue University have discovered the structure of the enzyme that makes cellulose. They believe this finding could lead to easier ways of breaking down plant materials to make biofuels and other products and materials. In addition the researchers say the findings provide a more detailed glimpse of the complicated process by which cellulose is produced. Cellulose is the foundation of the plant cell wall and can be converted to bioproducts such as biofuels and biochemicals. The research findings were published in The Plant Cell.

“Despite the abundance of cellulose, the nitty-gritty of how it is made is still a mystery,” said Nicholas Carpita, professor of plant biology. “Now we’re getting down to the molecular structure of the individual enzyme proteins that synthesize cellulose.”

carpita-n14Carpita explains that cellulose is composed of several dozen strands of glucose sugars linked together in a cablelike structure and condensed into a crystal. The rigidity of cellulose allows plants to stand upright and lends wood its strength. “Pound for pound, cellulose is stronger than steel,” said Carpita.

A large protein complex synthesizes cellulose at the surface of the plant cell. The basic unit of this complex is an enzyme known as cellulose synthase. The protein complex contains up to 36 of these enzymes, each of which has a region known as the catalytic domain, the site where single sugars are added to an ever-lengthening strand of glucose that will be fixed in the plant cell wall as one of the strands in the cellulose “cable.”

Carpita and a team of researchers used X-ray scattering to show that cellulose synthase is an elongated molecule with two regions – the catalytic domain and a smaller region that couples with another cellulose synthase enzyme to form a dimer, two molecules that are stuck together. These dimers are the fundamental building blocks of the much larger protein complex that produces cellulose.

“Determining the shape of cellulose synthase and how it fits together into the protein complex represents a significant advance in understanding how these plant enzymes work,” Carpita said. Continue reading

Dark Horse Brewing Brews With Solar

Dark Horse Brewery solar projectPatriot Solar Group, Contractors Building Supply, The Green Brewery Project, and The Dark Horse Brewing Company have created the first solar power-driven brewery on the east coast. The 40 kilowatt, 140 panel system has helped generate solar energy and aid in the formation of the famous Dark Horse growler we all know and love.

The Green Breweries Project, whose research originated at the University of Michigan, is focused on offering creativity with energy systems to help craft breweries enhance their sustainability. Even with a considerably lower rate of emissions, Green Breweries are becoming increasingly predominant and are making the exchange to a further domestic market.

Dark Horse purchased 140 Michigan-assembled solar panels as well as mounting systems supplied by Patriot Solar Group. This off-grid system allows the brewery to manage their energy demands and monitor them closely with affluence as well as ease. According to Patriot Solar Group, the fixed standing metal roof mount systems are durable and can withstand brutal wind speeds but also offer minimal maintenance as well as low cost.

DOE Supports Taller Wind Turbine Tower Development

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded $2 million to support the development of technologies to harness stronger winds available at higher heights. The goal is to increase the amount of wind energy produced. The projects will take place in Iowa and Massachusetts and are aimed at reducing the cost of wind energy as well as expand the areas where wind energy can be successfully harnessed.

ISU taller wind tower researchIn the northeastern, southeastern, and western United States, winds near the ground are often slower and more turbulent, reducing the amount of electricity installed turbines can generate. Taller wind turbines capture the stronger, more consistent winds available at elevated heights, increasing the number of potential locations where wind farms can supply cost-effective power to American businesses and homeowners. While wind turbines installed in 2013 had an average height of 260 feet, the projects announced today will support new design and manufacturing techniques to produce towers nearly 400 feet tall.

Keystone Towers of Boston, Massachusetts will utilize its grant dollars to implement an on-site spiral welding system that will enable turbine towers to be produced directly at or near the installation site, freeing projects of transportation constraints that often limit turbine height. Adapted from an in-field welding process used by the pipe manufacturing industry, Keystone’s spiral welding technique can be scaled up to produce large diameter steel towers that they report will be 40 percent lighter than standard turbine towers, which could lower the cost of energy by 10 percent.

The second grantee, Iowa State University, will develop a hexagonal-shaped tower that combines high-strength concrete with pre-stressed steel reinforcements to assemble individual tower modules and wall segments that can be easily transported and joined together on-site. Due to the modular design, thicker towers capable of supporting turbines at increased heights can be produced at a reduced cost.