BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1Gevo, Inc. has announced the appointment of Johannes Minho Roth to Gevo’s Board of Directors. Roth is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of FiveT Capital Holding AG, a Zurich based independent asset management firm, established in 2006, that specializes in investment solutions for high net worth clients, family offices and institutional investors. Roth is also a member of the Board of Directors for Plug Power Inc. Ganesh “Kish” Kishore who joined the Board in 2008, will resign from the Board after many years of service to the Company.
  • Shunfeng International Clean Energy Ltd. (SFCE) has announced a strategic cooperation agreement with the NARI Group Corporation. Under the agreement, SFCE and NARI Group will focus on joint development and deployment of the cutting-edge technologies and commercialized applications in clean energy sector, total collaboration in the PV power plants development and construction, and co-promotion of smart city and low carbon solutions around the world.
  • Ampt LLC, a leader in power conversion technology for solar power plant optimization, has announced $20 million in Series C funding and $5 million in working capital to support continued growth. The funding will be used to expand production and accelerate global sales and partnership activities, as well as to support ongoing product innovation. The funding round was led by Bohemian Investments – a prominent investment firm named 2014 Investor of the Year by the Colorado Cleantech Industries Association. Existing strategic investor and co-founder of Ampt, Doug Schatz, also participated in the round through the Schatz Family Trust.
  • JuiceBox Energy recently graduated its 50th solar energy storage installer as part of their certified installer network. The Certified Installer Program is building a network of highly qualified solar installers to design and install safe and code-compliant residential energy storage systems. The one day class is a mix of classroom presentation and practical labs and covers battery fundamentals, JuiceBox value streams, site design and finishes with an actual installation. Graduation includes a certification and a commitment by JuiceBox and the installer to work together to bring the JuiceBox system to their home markets.

Natural Gas as a Marine Fuel

Natural gas is being tested in Canada as a marine fuel. The NM F.-A.-Gauthier has officially been commissioned and is the first ferry in North America to be fueled with liquified natural gas (LNG). It is also the first ship of any kind running on LNG in Canada. Gaz Métro, a company that sells LNG, applauded the trial and the noted in a press statement that by choosing natural gas as the fuel for its new admiral-ship, the Société des traversiers du Québec is reaching an important milestone in the Québec maritime transport sector and paving the way for local shipowners to use a proven, high-performance and cleaner technology.

NM F.-A.-Gauthier, the first ferry to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG) in North America. Photo Credit: Gaz Metro.

NM F.-A.-Gauthier, the first ferry to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG) in North America. Photo Credit: Gaz Metro.

Gaz Métro also states the use of LNG makes it possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 25 percent, compared with marine diesel, in addition to almost completely eliminating fine particle emissions and other air pollutants. LNG motors are also quieter and produce less vibration, which is more respectful of marine life.

LNG motors are a proven technology widely used for many years in road and maritime transport worldwide, particularly in Europe. “It’s extraordinary that this major first is happening here in Québec, and Gaz Métro is very proud to be a part of it,” highlighted Martin Imbleau, vice president, Development and Renewable Energies at Gaz Métro. “In support of Québec’s Maritime Strategy, LNG is a concrete solution for fighting climate change and allows local shipowners to comply with the increasingly stringent standards regarding polluting emissions onNorth America’s waterways.”

Following an agreement concluded in 2013, Gaz Métro, through its subsidiary Gaz Métro LNG L.P., was chosen as the LNG supplier to fuel three new Société des traversiers du Québec ferries, including the NM F.-A.-Gauthier. Today this ship is replacing the NM Camille-Marcoux for the Matane–Baie-Comeau–Godbout ferry service. The two other ships will be assigned to the Tadoussac–Baie-Sainte-Catherine crossing.

Colorado’s RPS Going Forward

Colorado’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) is going forward. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the constitutionality of the legislation stating the RPS does not impose unlawful regulations on out-of-state companies. In their written opinion, the judges determined that Colorado’s RPS would not harm interstate commerce.

Current state law requires electric generators to ensure that a percentage of the electricity they sell to Colorado consumers comes from renewable sources. That prompted the Energy and Environment Legal Institute (EELI), which has longtime ties to the coal industry according to the renewable energy industry to file suit in federal court – arguing that out-of-state companies wereScreen Shot 2015-07-14 at 10.14.43 AM unfairly and adversely impacted.

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Interwest Energy Alliance (a regional partner of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)) were two of several organizations to intervene on behalf of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission and in support of the state’s RPS.

“Because electricity can go anywhere on the grid and come from anywhere on the grid, and because Colorado is a net importer of electricity, Colorado’s renewable energy mandate became a ‘target’ for people and groups hoping to freeze or rollback RPS programs – not only in Colorado, but also in other states around the nation,” said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch. “By ruling on the substance of the issue, we believe the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals decision sends a clear signal that renewable energy standards are, in fact, legal under the Constitution’s dormant commerce clause. We applaud the court for its clear guidance.”

Colorado was the first state in the U.S. to adopt a renewable energy standard by a popular vote. The renewable energy industry said the law has widely benefited the state as wind power supports up to 7,000 well-paying jobs, including manufacturing jobs at 22 facilities around the state and wind has attracted $7.8 billion in capital investment to the state’s economy. Continue reading

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1Amazon Web Services, Inc. has announced that it has contracted with Iberdrola Renewables, LLC to construct and operate a 208 MW wind farm in Perquimans and Pasquotank counties, North Carolina, called the Amazon Wind Farm US East. This new wind farm is expected to start generating approximately 670,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of wind energy annually starting December 2016. When completed, it will be the first utility-scale wind farm in the state of North Carolina, with the energy generated delivered into the electrical grid that supplies both current and future AWS Cloud data centers.
  • The Green Mountain Energy Sun Club®, a program formed by Green Mountain Energy Company to donate solar projects to non-profit organizations, has been transformed into an independent non-profit and is expanding its mission and scope to go beyond solar power to solutions for a sustainable lifestyle. As a newly formed non-profit, the Sun Club has announced an expanded mission to enhance the quality of life through long-term, sustainable solutions that focus on people and the planet, which will include donations of new sustainability technologies, like water conservation, energy efficiency or waste reduction tools, to non-profits.
  • Abengoa has announced that a project sponsored by Abengoa in collaboration with Starwood Energy has been selected by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) as the approved sponsor to finance, construct, own, operate and maintain the Delaney to Colorado River 500 kV transmission line project.
  • IncBio has secured an agreement to design and build a 75,000 MT/year biodiesel plant, for Biocosta Green Energy SA in Santa Marta, Colombia. The plant will be producing biodiesel directly from crude palm oil blended with palm acid oil and PFAD up to a total of 25% FFA, and will include pre-treatment, acid esterification with IncBio’s solid catalyst technology, transesterification, dry wash using ion exchange resin and biodiesel distillation. It will incorporate IncBio’s ultrasonic technology in all steps of the plant in order to produce the highest quality biodiesel at the lowest possible cost. The plant will use locally sustainably produced palm oil as feedstock. IncBio expects the plant to be started up in May 2016.

Koolbridge’s Smart Load Tech Heads to NCCETC

The North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) at North Carolina State University has signed a five-year Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with North Carolina-based Koolbridge Solar, Inc. NCCETC will work with Koolbridge to test their Smart Load Center technology, a smart circuit breaker panel for integrating a photovoltaic and energy storage system with a home’s or commercial building’s loads and the electric grid. In other words, when the sun is shining, the technology transfers the loads from the grid to the off-grid solar and battery system for use when the sun goes down. Koolbridge Solar’s technology was invented by Paul W. Dent, who according to Wikipedia is the co-inventor of Bluetooth wireless technology.

“Koolbridge Solar, Inc. has a new advanced inverter, Smart Load Center, and other patented and patent-pending energy management technology designed to lower the costs of distributed photovoltaic systems and increase value by allowing for easy integration of energy storage and by allowing continued operation in case of electrical outage with the local power company,” said Stephen Burnett, chairman & CEO of Koolbridge Solar. Burnett also stated his company values the support of the NCCETC and will actively seek funding to allow for more significant input from the Center.

As part of the collaboration, The Center will provide high-level policy, market, and technical guidance to Koolbridge on their products and strategies. The Center will also support Koolbridge’s pursuit of federal and state grants and other funding opportunities wherever possible and appropriate. NCCETC is known for their work in solar policy, markets, and technology as well as related codes and standards and has received two U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot grants.

Professional Engineer and Renewable Energy Program Coordinator of the NCCETC, Tommy Cleveland, added,”The Center is pleased to have entered into the first MOA with Koolbridge Solar in accordance with its mission to improve North Carolina and citizens’ access to affordable and reliable solar energy.”

Take a Ride on the Waves with Algae

It’s time to start surfing the waves with algae. One of the hottest technologies during the BioEnergy 2015 conference was the algae surfboard developed by U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funded scientists at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) California Center for Algae Biotechnology.

algae surfboardTraditionally surfboards have petroleum, aka fossil fuels, as a component. However, these algae surboards are made from algal oil, produced by Solazyme (also a San Diego-based company). According to DOE, the algal oil is converted to polyols by UCSD chemists and then sent to surboard manufacturer Arctic Foam. Once here, the company shapes the foam boards and then coats them with fiberglass and a renewable plant-based resin.

Does it work? DOE said early surfer reviews have given the prototype a “perfect ten”. The “surfboard of the future” is a bit more flexible than traditional surfboard and this appeals to many surfers.

The team of scientists along with Solazyme and Artic Foam are planning to continue their work and the hope is that polysols will eventually be able to replace components of not only surfboards, but other products that require similar petroluem-based chemicals.

View the 2015 BioEnergy 2015 photo album. 

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1Enel Green Power, acting through its subsidiary Enel Green Power Chile, and Empresa Nacional de Electricidad SA (Endesa Chile) have signed a long-term agreement for around 25 years of energy supply and sale of green certificates connected to a geothermal project and a photovoltaic project in Chile, as well as for around 20 years of energy supply and sale of green certificates connected to a wind power project in Chile. The contract for an estimated total value of up to U.S. $3.5 billion will enable Enel Green Power Chile to develop three plants with a total installed capacity of approximately 300 MW, which will require around 800 million U.S. dollars of investment.
  • When EPA releases the final Clean Power Plan this summer, regulators and industry will move to consider compliance options in earnest. While opponents contend that these options will be limited and costly, the track record of EPA regulations allowing for market-based compliance suggests otherwise. This report looks at outcomes under prior EPA rules, finding that when regulations allow for market-based compliance, efficient and active markets develop rapidly and industry responds with innovations that reduce compliance costs. Given the structure of the proposed CPP and the status of current markets for advanced energy technologies and services available as compliance options, the report predicts that the CPP will elicit a similarly robust market response.
  • Calling it a “win-win” that will benefit both the economy and environment, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has announced its strong support for HR 3001 – legislation introduced in Congress by Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) that will allow the General Services Administration (GSA) to enter into 30-year renewable energy power purchase agreements (PPA). The GSA is an independent agency which manages and supports the basic functioning of the federal government, including procurement. Under current law, only the U.S. military can enter into power purchase agreements for longer than 10 years. Earlier this year, Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) introduced similar legislation.
  • The Minister for Energy and Mines Dr. Antonio Isa Conde, Vice Minister of Energy Ernesto Vilalta, Secretary of State and Vice-President of the National Council for Climate Change Omar Ramirez, and other high-ranking governmental officials met recently with Worldwatch’s Alexander Ochs, Director of Climate and Energy at Worldwatch to review the new study, “Harnessing the Dominican Republic’s Sustainable Energy Resources“. According to the report, transitioning to an electricity system powered 85 percent by renewables can decrease the average cost of electricity in the Dominican Republic by 40 percent by 2030 compared to 2010.

GEA Good Source for Clean Power Plan

During the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency EXPO and Policy Forum that took place in Washington, D.C. on July 9, 2015, Karl Gawell, executive director for the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA), called on bipartisan action. “In the world market, policymakers are working to address the upfront risk of geothermal projects and shortening lead times. Congress needs to take action on pending legislation to make similar progress in the U.S.,” Gawell said.

He added that geothermal projects are subject to extensive bureaucratic delays. “Geothermal development projects can go through as many as six NEPA analyses,” explained Gawell. As a result, geothermal projects cannot effectively take advantage of short-term tax incentives. We need longer term incentives.

There are currently several pieces of legislation pending in the U.S. House and Senate that seek support for renewable energy including geothermal energy development (S.562, S.822, S.1057, S.1155 and S. 1407, in the Senate). Gaswell called out to legislators: “We urge the sponsors of the individual pieces — Senators Heller, Wyden, Tester, Risch, Crapo, Merkley, Murkowski and others (as well as Representatives Simpson, DeFazio and Gosar) – to work together on a bipartisan basis if an energy bill moves forward.” Continue reading

Green Flights for Tokyo Olympics Athletes, Fans

The athletes and fans who are traveling to the 2020 Olympics and Paralympic Games in Tokyo will be flying a bit greener as Boeing and Japanese aviation industry stakeholders have charted a path to develop and fly with aviation biofuels. A group of 46 organizations have formed The Initiatives for Next Generation Aviation Fuels that along with Boeing includes ANA (All Nippon Airways), Japan Airlines, Nippon Cargo Airlines as well as Japan’s government and the University of Tokyo and others.

According to data from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), aviation biofuels can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 50-80 percent compared to current fuel options.

tokyo olympics logo“Boeing is proud to work with Japan’s aviation sector, including customers and the Japanese government, to achieve their ambitious goals for developing sustainable aviation biofuel,” said George Maffeo, president, Boeing Japan. “Building on our longstanding relationships in Japan, we are committed to help reduce aviation’s carbon emissions and its reliance on fossil fuel.”

INAF said the Olympics and Paralympics are “the perfect opportunity” for Japan and its airlines to showcase their environmental commitment.

“Developing and using sustainable aviation biofuel is an excellent way for Japan to show its commitment to the environment and technologies that can reduce aviation’s environmental impact,” said Shinji Suzuki, Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics,University of Tokyo. “And, as the new aviation biofuel ‘roadmap’ indicates, Japan is ready to accelerate development and use of sustainable aviation fuels by the 2020 Olympics.”

Among the report’s conclusions:

  • Industry, government and academia in Japan need to collaborate to promote the introduction of sustainable aviation biofuel to support Japan’s energy security and reduce aviation’s greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Potential feedstocks, or biologically based sources, that could be used to produce sustainable aviation biofuel in Japan include municipal solid waste, plant oils and animal fats, used cooking oil, algae, cellulosic biomass and residues from the wood products industry.
  • Policy incentives promoting the introduction of next-generation aviation fuels are a prerequisite to success in aviation biofuel use.

The INAF report is available here.

EcoTech Institute Releases New Career eBook

Ecotech Institute has released another installment of their Ditch the Desk eBook series. The latest free book is a comprehensive guide covering everything from networking tips, industry trends, required electrical-engineering-coverskills and insights from Peter Luciano, a service manager with Konecranes.

eBook Ditch the Desk: The Complete eBook To Starting A Career in Electrical Engineering Technology also delves into how the renewable energy movement has created a new demand for tools, technologies and equipment to help companies and individuals use energy efficiently and finds there is an increased demand for trained professional technicians to assess these needs. These electrical engineering occupations take specialized training, cleantech industry knowledge and passion.

Now, future electrical engineering technicians have one place to access vital information about the industry, including:

  • Key industry facts about the electrical engineering sector;
  • Tips for job seekers in the clean energy field;
  • Expectations and requirements for electrical engineering jobs;
  • States where hiring is hot; and
  • Advice from current students, working industry experts and technicians.

The eBook is available for download at