BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1Imergy Power Systems has announced the Global Academy of Technology (GAT) College, an engineering education institution in Bangalore, India, has installed a 30 kW, 120 kilowatt hour (kWh) ESP30 vanadium flow battery at the school’s SunEdison-GAT solar research and testing center. The long-duration battery (four hours at nominal power) will reduce the need for GAT College to run diesel-fueled generators when there are power outages at night. The battery will store energy generated by a SunEdison 50 kW photovoltaic (PV) solar power system.
  • SunEdison, Inc. has signed a definitive agreement to acquire 100 percent of Globeleq Mesoamerica Energy (GME), Central America’s leading renewable energy company. SunEdison will acquire a 70 percent interest in GME from Actis, a global pan-emerging market private equity investor focused on the energy sector, and a 30 percent interest from Mesoamerica Power Limited. The acquisition will solidify SunEdison’s position as the largest renewable energy developer in Central America as it expands its presence in the global renewable energy market.
  • U.S.-based Rayton Solar Inc is en route to revolutionize the world – by making solar energy cheaper than energy produced by fossil fuels. To date they have raised over one million dollars in seed funding. Rayton is using 1/50 to 1/100 less silicon (the most expensive component of a solar panel) than the industry standard. They are only utilizing 4 microns of silicon with zero waste in the manufacturing process. Conventional wafers are over 200 microns thick and waste more than 60% of the raw material. Additionally, Rayton is the only commercial solar manufacturer capable of using Float Zone Silicon; a higher grade silicon that is 25% more efficient than the industry standard.
  • SunShare has launched one of the largest residential Community Solar campaigns in the country, with a goal to enroll up to 5,000 homes by December. For an average house, purchasing energy from 20 panels would eliminate the entire electric bill. The electricity produced at the solar gardens will flow into Xcel Energy’s grid and Xcel Energy will credit customers’ bills with the energy the panels produce. Participants simply pay for their solar energy every month, just as they do with their utility bill. If a customer’s share of the garden generates more power than they use, the energy credits will carry over to future bills. All participants stay connected to Xcel Energy’s electric system and remain customers of Xcel Energy.

California Breaks the 10,000 MW Solar Barrier

According to the new U.S. Solar Market Insight Report, California has become the first state in the country to exceed 10,000 MW of installed solar capacity. California has more solar assets than most nations, including the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Australia and Belgium. The report was conducted by GTM Research and supported by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

During Q1 2015, California installed 718 MW of solar energy raising the state’s total capacity to 10,649 MW – enough to power nearly 2.6 million homes. The report went on to point out that California had big increases in Q1 across all solar sectors. Of the new capacity added, 231 MW were residential, 88 MW were commercial and 399 MW were utility scale. Together, these installations represented a $1.7 billion investment across the state in the first quarter alone, found the report.

FIGURE- U.S. PV Installations, Q1 2010-Q1 2015“When it comes to creating clean energy jobs and protecting the environment, California is showing the world how to get the job done,” said Rhone Resch, SEIA president and CEO. “To put the state’s remarkable progress in some context, today California has 10 times more installed solar capacity than the entire nation had in 2007. We congratulate Gov. Brown, his administration, legislative leaders and the people of California for being at the forefront of America’s efforts to create a vibrant and growing clean energy economy.”

Resch said California’s explosive growth in solar is due, in large part, to stable and effective public policies such as the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and Net Energy Metering (NEM). Nationwide, solar remains the fastest-growing source of renewable energy in the United States.

The residential market also continued to flourish in Q1, with installed system prices dropping 4 percent year-over-year – and down nearly 50 percent since 2010. The upswing in residential installations is expected to continue in the foreseeable future, especially in light of a recent report by the California Energy Commission, which shows that more than a quarter of all new homes being built in Southern California are being constructed with solar energy systems. Presently, there are 2,226 solar companies at work throughout the state, employing 54,700 Californians.

Canadian Wind Industry Grows

Yesterday was Global Wind Day and Canada celebrated its growing wind energy industry. The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) announced that they are now the 7th country in the world to surpass 10,000 MW of installed wind energy capacity with the commissioning of the K2 Wind Power Project.

“Meeting the 10,000 MW milestone confirms that Canada is a global leader in wind energy development,” said Robert Hornung, CanWEA president. “Wind energy’s cost competitiveness, coupled with the fact that it produces no greenhouse gas emissions, Wind Facts websitemeans it is well positioned to continue its rapid growth as a mainstream contributor to Canada’s electricity supply.”

According to CanWEA, in the past five years, more wind energy capacity has been installed in the country than any other form of electricity generation. The country has witnessed three record years for the annual installation of new wind energy capacity and Canada’s wind energy capacity has grown by an average of 1,300 MW, or 24 percent, annually, and 2015 is on track to exceed this five-year average for new installations.

Wind turbines are now operating in every province in Canada, and in the Northwest Territories and Yukon, providing energy to over 100 communities and accounting for nearly 5 percent of domestic Canadian electricity demand.

“Wind energy is meeting Canada’s demand for new electricity in a clean, reliable and cost-competitive way,” added Hornung. “As concerns about global climate change grow, wind energy will also need to play a critical role in Canada’s transition to a more flexible and decentralized low carbon electricity system. We celebrate wind energy as Canada’s success story – with another milestone reached the best is yet to come.”

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1NREL is hosting a free Webinar, “Shared Solar Continues to Trend: Market Update and Implementation Questions,” June 18, 2015 from 2:00–3:00 p.m. ET. In this webinar, Adam Capage, will discuss answers to some of the most frequently asked questions related to utilities and their move to community solar. Questions that will be answered include how to mitigate supply risks, how to set pricing, and best practices for marketing. David Feldman will present his recent forecast of community solar market potential through 2020.
  • A week after the G7 Summit and in advance of COP21 (the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in late 2015), renowned experts met at the first-ever Berlin Investment Forum. Organized by Der Tagesspiegel newspaper and Wermuth Asset Management around the theme of “Climate Change and Global Asset Allocation,” 150 delegates discussed the impacts of climate change as well as financial opportunities and risks posed by the worldwide energy transition.
  • Whirlpool Corporation has broken ground on the Findlay Wind Farm, an $18 million “Wind for Industry” project, financed by One Energy, which provides energy solutions for large electric consumers. The wind farm will have five wind turbines with Whirlpool utilizing two and nearby Ball Company using three. The turbines are expected to offset an estimated 22% of the Whirlpool’s electric consumption.
  • For the fifth year in a row, Georgia Power is joining with other energy companies, auto manufacturers and Commissioner Tim Echols of the Georgia Public Service Commission to support the Georgia Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Roadshow that is now underway. This year Georgia Power is highlighting its electric transportation program including EV charger rebates for residential and business customers and new public charging infrastructure currently being installed across the state.

Celebrate Global Wind Day

Today is Global Wind Day. Coordinated by the Global Wind Energy Council along with the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), this year the groups are partnering with SolutionWind, a worldwide wind awareness campaign promoting the use of wind power leading up to COP21 climate negotiations in Paris in December.

Global Wind Day logoGlobal Wind Day is a day for “discovering wind energy, its power and the possibilities it holds to reshape our energy systems, decarbonise our economies and boost jobs and growth”. This is also a day the wind industry is honoring the companies who have committed to using wind energy to power their operations.

According to EWEA, wind power is one of the fastest growing industrial sectors globally attracting $100 billion in investment in 2014. Research also shows that onshore wind power is now cheaper than conventional energy sources in an expanding number of markets worldwide.

“Climate change is happening faster than expected, but so is the transition to renewable energy. As businesses become increasingly aware of the progress in technology and falling costs we are seeing a rapid change in investment patterns,” said Steve Sawyer, secretary general of the Global Wind Energy Council. “Companies like IKEA pave the way for a fossil free future and give an important example for others to follow.”

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1Buses powered completely by renewable energy will now be part of Gothenburg’s  (Sweden) public transport system. Bus route 55 has three completely electrically driven buses and seven electric hybrid buses, all of them from Volvo Buses. The buses on the route, which runs from Chalmers Johanneberg to Chalmers Lindholmen, through the center of Gothenburg, are equipped with onboard wi-fi and phone charging facilities. The buses run on batteries that are quickly recharged with renewable electricity at the terminal stops.
  • A team of motorsport enthusiasts will drive from Atlantic Coast of Florida to the Pacific Coast of California on just one tank of renewable fuel in June 21-26, 2015. This is made possible by NEXBTL renewable fuel that is produced from bio-based raw materials by Neste, the world’s largest producer of renewable diesel.
  • The Waneta Expansion Limited Partnership, between Fortis Inc., Columbia Power Corporation and Columbia Basin Trust, has connected the 335 MW Waneta Expansion Project near Trail, British Columbia to the electrical grid. The plant is located on the border between Canada and the USA and is now generating power on the BC Hydro grid.
  • The Sere Wind Farm from Eskom, located in the Western Cape of South Africa and developed by Eskom, the South African electricity public utility, recently achieved its full commercial operational capacity of a 100 MW. The African Development Bank approved in 2011 a USD 45 million loan with USD 50 million contribution from the Clean Technology Fund, one of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) for this first utility scale renewable energy project. The World Bank and the French Development Agency also contributed to the financing of the project.

New Solenis’ Antibiotic-free Ethanol Fermentation Aids

Solenis announced during the recent Fuel Ethanol Workshop (FEW) the launch of a novel family of antibiotic-free fermentation aids to help ethanol producers improve efficiency of the ethanol production process. The aids also, said Solenis, will address consumer concerns about antibiotics in the food chain. While the ethanol produced from an ethanol production plant is not ingested, one byproduct is distillers grains (DDGs), an animal feed. Solenis said today’s typical fermentation processes control undesirable microorganisms using antibiotics, which remain in the resulting distillers grains. The company also launched a scale inhibitor during #FEW15.

“As consumer demands and regulatory requirements continue to become more stringent, current antimicrobials, and specifically antibiotics, may be further subject to maximum contaminate limits,” said Allen Ziegler, global biorefining marketing 18244022139_9ed6c4e7fc_zdirector. “As a result, our new fermentation aids give fuel ethanol producers more tools to address undesirable microorganisms without antibiotics, while helping them boost production and satisfy consumers at the same time.”

According to Solenis, their family of fermentation aids, which includes three patented and patent-pending products, significantly enhances the ability of yeast to compete with undesirable microorganisms in the critical initial stages of propagation and fermentation without the use of antibiotics—an increasingly important goal for fuel ethanol producers.

Designed to promote beneficial yeast growth and efficiency in both high pH and standard pH fermentation processes, Solenis said their fermentation aids are based on advanced proprietary and targeted antimicrobial technology. While the products were initially developed for fuel ethanol production, they also have practical application in other commercial fermentation processes.

“We will continue to anticipate and proactively address our customers’ needs to optimize processes while staying ahead of evolving regulations,” added John Panichella, president and CEO. “With close to 100 years of experience in process and water treatment chemistries, Solenis is committed to serving the fuel ethanol and biorefining industries with our well-respected and diverse product line, along with our application expertise and our investment in research and development.”

2015 Fuel Ethanol Workshop Photo Album

Coverage of the Fuel Ethanol Conference is sponsored by
Coverage of the Fuel Ethanol Conference is sponsored by Novozymes

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1Greenbelt Resources Corporation has announced that it received a new Purchase Order expanding the scope of work being performed for California-based EcoPAS to manufacture its Passive Alcohol System (PAS) – a revolutionary pollution control device that captures and transforms gaseous ethanol emissions into quality spirit products. In addition to manufacturing the full-scale PAS that will be utilized in a commercial winery later this year, Greenbelt Resources will now also manufacture the manifold system used to aggregate and deliver the exhaust gases containing the ethanol vapor stream to the PAS unit.
  • Growing Energy Labs, San Mateo County Community College District, and Prospect Silicon Valley, through the Bay Area Climate Collaborative program, have been awarded a $2,999,601 grant from the California Energy Commission to partner with the College of San Mateo for the “Internet of Energy” demonstration project. The College of San Mateo Internet of Energy Project project will deploy two integrated solar PV and energy storage systems that are expected to save the college $150,000 annually.
  • The city of Cologne has signed a contract to power up to 100 percent of its city facilities’ energy needs from Community Solar. The energy will be generated by over 2,700put solar panels in SunShare’s solar gardens currently under development through the Xcel Energy’s Solar Rewards Community program.
  • The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has launched the first SEIA Residential Consumer Guide to Solar Power. Available online, the free guide offers those interested in solar power a one-stop shop to better understand the basics of solar energy and ownership options, and includes key questions to ask solar installers before entering a transaction. The guide is a result of a joint effort of the leading companies across the solar industry and complements SEIAs existing Code of Ethics by which all SEIA members abide.

Save the Date – MN Biodiesel & Bioheat Forum

Save the date for the Biodiesel and Bioheat Forum taking place August 19, 2015 in Mankato, Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 9.39.12 AMStates up and down the East Coast have ventured into new markets and uses for biodiesel that offer significant potential for Minnesota and U.S. soybean farmers as well as the entire biodiesel industry. One market includes the Bioheat market – nearly 6.2 million homes rely on heating oil in the winter months. In fact, the average home can use more than 1,000 gallons in one winter.

The Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council will host a delegation from the East Coast, as well as local and national biodiesel leaders. The group will include representatives from the New York Oil Heating Association, National Association of Oil & Energy Service Professionals, National Oilheat Research Alliance and the Massachusetts Energy Marketers Association, ready to share their experiences with biodiesel and explain the market potential in all arenas.

While much of the debate around biofuels revolves around future technologies and future uses, this round table discussion will look at opportunities available now for the biodiesel industry to grow and solidify its success.

Neb Governor Ricketts On Global Biofuels Tour

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts has been spending the past few weeks on a global agriculture and biofuels promotion tour. Ricketts attended Expo Milano 2015 last week and while there, he visited the “Sustainable Farm Pavilion” sponsored by New Holland where with a group that included CNH Industrial Governor-Ricketts-Headshot-FINALdiscussed Nebraska’s ethanol industry. CNH Industrial operates a Combine Center of Excellence in Grand Island, Nebraska.

Carlo Lambro, a member of the Group Executive Council and Brand President of New Holland Agriculture, spoke to the group about their commitment to using biofuels across all sectors as well as highlight their local investments in agriculture. Nebraska is the top state in terms of cattle feed and the Nebraska ethanol industry, the second largest ethanol producer in the U.S., produces more than six million tons of livestock feed each year.

The meeting also addressed Governor Ricketts’ active advocacy for the widespread use of ethanol as a biofuel in the United States. The two parties discussed their shared commitment in promoting the use of alternative fuels, which include natural gas and biomethane.

Gov. Ricketts and his Nebraska delegation had discussions in Italy about renewable fuels with Italian energy company Enel. Next, the group headed to Brussels, Belgium where they have planned a visit to Novozyme’s headquarters in Denmark. The company operates a plant in Blair, Nebraska that makes enzymes used in the ethanol industry.