WI Biodieseler Putting in 24-Hour Pumps, Hybrid Truck

As part of a bigger expansion plan, a biodiesel maker from Wisconsin is adding a 24-hour biodiesel fueling station, as well as using a truck that runs on biodiesel with an electric backup.

SunPower Premium Cold Flow Biodiesel‘s Cumberland, Wisconsin station will have B11, B20 and B99 blends available plus a winter additive to increase engine performance:

“The owners of SunPower Biodiesel are ecstatic that the dream of locally grown fuel – available to the public – is now a reality for the people of Northwest Wisconsin,” said SunPower CEO Ron Ruppel. “We welcome all consumers to try our fuel, and are confident that all will agree that locally grown diesel fuel is superior to all the other available diesel fuels in our marketing area. We envision the day when none of us in rural America will be held hostage to imported oil!“

Any equipment, machinery or vehicle that normally runs on traditional diesel fuel can run on biodiesel, a cleaner-burning and renewable form of fuel. SunPower’s biodiesel has a higher cetane rating, has 10 times the lubrication properties, and produces up to 50% less emissions than petroleum diesel fuel–making it a greener fuel alternative that is just as efficient as petroleum diesel. In a 60,000 gallon market test, SunPower’s biodiesel users reported more power, cooler-running engines and increased mileage. SunPower also uses biodiesel in its fleet, and recently added a hybrid diesel truck that uses biodiesel and an electric-back up. The new hybrid truck has an increased fuel economy of 20-30 percent, and meets emissions, anti-idling and noise regulations. The purchase of the truck and fueling station equipment was made possible with substantial funding from the Wisconsin Clean Transportation Program and is the first of its kind in the state from the Wisconsin Kenworth dealership.

Company officials say the new Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2) is helping SunPower move forward with this expansion.

Farm-based Missouri Oil Company to Grow Biomass

Missouri-based MFA Oil Company, a farmer-owned cooperative, has partnered with Aloterra Energy to form a biomass venture.

This MFA press release says the new company, MFA Oil Biomass LLC, will pay about 1,700 family farmers to grow miscanthus for use as a biomass fuel and possibly ethanol in the future:

[T]he 2008 Federal Farm Bill created the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), a federally‐funded initiative that encourages the development of renewable energy sources. MFA Oil Biomass will synergistically combine the benefits of growing miscanthus as a renewable energy source with the BCAP incentives that encourage farmers to grow a biomass crop.

“After researching several biomass crops, including switch grass and giant reed, we decided Miscanthus giganteus provided the best opportunity for creating a viable energy source,” explains MFA Oil Co. President Jerry Taylor. “As good fortune would have it, Aloterra had done its own research and had come to the same conclusion.”

“Initially, we plan to pelletize the miscanthus output for power generation,” says Scott Coye‐Huhn, director of business development for Aloterra Energy. “However, the possibility of using it to produce ethanol in the future is vast, since it is projected to produce three times more gallons of ethanol per
acre than corn.”

The first priority for MFA Oil Biomass is to secure BCAP funding. Under current guidelines, BCAP will reimburse farmers up to 75 percent of planting costs and pay an annual rent payment while farmers wait for their crops to mature. Once the crops mature, farmers will be eligible to receive two years of matching payments for their tonnage, up to $45 per ton beyond the selling price. Land that is currently in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is excluded from the program.

So far, MFA has signed up about 250 farmers to grow more than 12,000 acres of miscanthus and hopes to eventually have that number up to 150,000 acres.

National Biodiesel Foundation Silent Auction Raises $50K

Biodiesel outreach, education, research and demonstration activities have gotten a big boost as the National Biodiesel Foundation‘s 3rd Annual Silent Auction netted nearly $50,000 during last week’s National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in Phoenix.

The Foundation is also recognizing Cima Green Energy Services for a very generous $25,000 donation at the opening of the auction:

Executive Director of the National Biodiesel Foundation (NBF) Tom Verry was pleased with the auction results. “The generosity of both donors and bidders this year shows the level of commitment and optimism of the future of the biodiesel industry,” said Verry. “We are thrilled to see the auction grow each year. With donations like those from Cima Green Energy Services and our other donors, we are now able to contribute significantly toward industry goals.”

Funds raised by the 2011 Silent Auction will support Foundation goals and activities for the coming year such as Biodiesel Sustainability Awareness. This program includes vital research contributing to the fuel’s long-term sustainability, such as lifecycle analysis, land use analysis, and water usage. Other programs it supports include Bioheat Education and Infrastructure Development. The Bioheat market alone represents potentially seven million biodiesel gallons annually. Infrastructure Development is another program supported by the NBF. This program includes jet aircraft testing, installing 150 biodiesel terminals nationwide and environmental certifications.

To make a donation or for more information about the National Biodiesel Foundation, check out its website: www.biodieselfoundation.org.

Air Force C-17s Certified for Unlimited Use of Biofuels

The big, beautiful cargo plane you see here is the C-17 Globemaster III, capable of bringing in everything from beans to bullets, as well as taking to war and bringing back home the men and women who serve our country so proudly. And U.S. Air Force officials have certified it for unlimited usage of biofuels, more specifically, hydrotreated renewable jet (HRJ) fuels, the first aircraft to receive such a certification.

“This certification marks the Air Force’s first platform to be fully certified using an HRJ blend,” said Dr. Kevin Geiss, the deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for energy. “This marks a significant achievement for the Air Force, our alternative fuel certification office and our partners in both industry and across the Department of Defense.”

The certification for usage of HRJ biofuel blended with petroleum-based JP-8 fuel represents part of ongoing efforts by Air Force officials to certify and test biofuels from non-petroleum sources.

The move to certify the fleet using the HRJ blend of fuel represents the Air Force’s commitment to assuring the supply, no matter the source, meets the service’s required standards, and demonstrates the Air Force’s commitment to reducing its dependency on foreign sources of oil, Dr. Geiss added.

“We’re very proud of this certification,” said Terry Yonkers, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and logistics. “By using a ‘pathfinder’ approach, we’ve taken the success of our processes developed in our previous alternative fuel certifications work and learned how to efficiently streamline our HRJ certification efforts, while guaranteeing the fuel blend will work without notable difference to the pilots.”

According to Jeff Braun, the Air Force’s alternative fuel certification office chief, the blended fuel evaluation that combined additional analyses from Boeing, Parker ESD and Pratt & Whitney resulted in no significant differences in engine stability, thrust response or engine steady-state performance.

This means that C-17s will be able to fly on a 50 percent mix of the biofuel when using JP-8, the military’s long-time standard fuel for aircraft and a 25 percent blend of HRJ when mixed with synthetic paraffinic kerosene fuel (25 percent) and JP-8 (50 percent). Officials say there will be no need for any aircraft modifications or special handling with the blends.

New Energy Tech. Debuts SolarWindow Application

A Maryland company has taken a big technological step forward in the solar power generation field. New Energy Technologies has announced it has moved up to a 12″x12″ square of a spray-on type of coating, known as SolarWindow. While a 12″x12″ square doesn’t sound very big, it wasn’t very long ago the company was working with areas smaller than a grain of rice and hopes to soon be able to use SolarWindow on a large scale, such as an office building.

In the first in a two-part series with New Energy Technologies (tomorrow, we’ll talk about the company’s MotionPower technology to get energy from the movement of cars and trucks on highways), I talk with John Conklin, President and CEO of New Energy Technologies about this breakthrough. He says this milestone is part of their road map toward commercializing this new technology.

“Part of that road map was our committment to not only commercializing but also expanding the way by which we are going to be applying the types of solar window we are going to be installing,” says Conklin. To that end, New Energy has spray applied the coating and produced the 12″x12″ working array. He said that coating should help eliminate some of the more brittle, and expensive materials usually used for solar energy. The lower cost liquid is see-through and can be applied to a window at room temperature without the use of high-vacuum, important to making it commercially viable.

Conklin says this electricity-generating coating works in natural, artificial and low-light conditions, making the solar array much more flexible. “Under very low-light conditions, such as an early morning or late day, it gives us the ability to produce electricity,” giving them the option of placing the photovoltaic material on east and west faces of structures, as well as the interior light in the entire building envelope, increasing the area on a building able to produce electricity.

Conklin can’t give specifics about when they hope this technology will be commercially viable, but he says 2011 will be a very productive year for New Energy.

You can hear more of Conklin’s remarks here: John Conklin, New Energy Technologies.

Plus, I’ll have part two of my conversation with him about New Energy’s MotionPower right here tomorrow.

HyperSolar Makes Thin Solar Concentrator Prototype

Innovative solar cell maker HyperSolar has completed a prototype design of its new thin solar concentrator.

As you might remember from my post from Oct. 26, 2010, the company is focusing increasing solar cell output by magnifying the sun’s rays:

Tim Young, CEO of HyperSolar, commented, “Our ultimate goal is to develop an inexpensive and thin solar concentrator for use in replacing expensive solar cells in conventional flat solar panels. After a year of intense research and development, we are excited to report that we have finally achieved a prototype design that we believe can be refined into a commercial product. While this initial prototype is designed to provide 300% light magnification, we are aiming for at least 400% in our final commercial product.”

The company anticipates the commercial version of the HyperSolar concentrator will be approximately 1 centimeter thick and will be applied as the top sheet on flat solar panels. The initial prototype will be a single micro-concentrator module fabricated at a larger size to facilitate testing and validation of its real-life performance. Once the photonic and optical characteristics of the micro-concentrator module are validated and refined, the design can be easily miniaturized for use in the mass production of the commercial version HyperSolar concentrator.

HyperSolar officials say their concentrator will reduce the number of solar cells necessary in a panel by 75 percent.

Biodiesel Board Offers RFS2 Webinars

The new Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2) will require at least 800 million gallons of biodiesel are used this year … and how petroleum refiners and importers and distillate distributors get to that number will be the subject of a series of free webinars offered by the National Biodiesel Board.

NBB officials say the 90-minute webinars, entitled “RFS2 Ready: Biodiesel Producers Ready to Meet 2011 RFS2 Requirements,” will offer information on how to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2011 volume requirements and will be tailored for each region of the country:

Exclusive biodiesel market analysis will also include:
• Month-by-month, gallon-by-gallon outlook for 2011 biodiesel supply and demand
• Risk management and pricing strategies utilized for RINs compliance
• Federal, state and PADD-specific legislative policies driving biodiesel demand
• New end-user markets pushing biodiesel sales

New England, Central Atlantic, and Lower Atlantic
Date: April 7, 2011, Thursday
Time: 10:00 a.m. EST

Date: February 24, 2011, Thursday
Time: 10:00 a.m. CST

PAD District 3: Gulf Coast
Date: March 31, 2011, Thursday
Time: 10:00 a.m. CST

PAD District 4: Rocky Mountain
Date: March 24, 2011, Thursday
Time:10:00 a.m. MT

PAD District 5: West Coast
Date: March 10, 2011
Time: 10:00 a.m. PT

Raptor Providing Equipment for Georgia Biodiesel Plant

On the heels of last month’s announcement from Raptor Fabrication and Equipment about its opening a Florida biodiesel plant, its parent company, Raptor Technology Group says it will provide equipment for Coastal Biofuel of Savannah, Georgia:

The plant has the capability to produce one million gallons of clean biodiesel per year. Raptor expects the facility to begin biodiesel production in mid March. In addition to providing both the manufacturing and technology Raptor also participates in the ongoing revenue stream of the facility. The Coastal Biofuel facility is the second plant that Raptor has launched in 2011.

Coastal Biofuel will convert used cooking oils, animal fats and virgin vegetable oils into clean burning biodiesel fuel.

“We are excited to have Coastal Biofuel as one of our customers. With fuel costs rising, Coastal will be able to produce a competitively priced biofuel that burns cleaner and has superior lubricating properties compared to petroleum diesel fuel,” said Tom Gleason, President and CEO of Raptor Technology Group. “In addition to its many advantages over petroleum diesel fuel, the recently re-instated Federal Tax Credit for biofuel levels the playing field for economical and profitable fuel production,” added Gleason.

New Hoses Better for Biodiesel

A new line of flexible rubber hose has been designed to work better with biodiesel-burning engines.

Fleet Equipment Magazine reports that Eaton Corp.’s new GH100 ESP hose will stand up to biodiesel mixes from 2 to 100 percent:

GH100 hose features a hydrogenated nitrile rubber tube, wrapped with aramid/poly braid reinforcement with a polyester abrasion-resistant cover. It is qualified for underhood use with B2 to B20 up to 150C and B100 up to 125C and for transmission oil cooler applications using synthetic lubricants at peak temperatures up to 175C.

“Biodiesel blends and synthetic lubricants are important aspects of the emerging sustainable energy system and they are going to be increasingly common in the future,” said Doris Showalter, Eaton senior product manager, transportation and air conditioning products. “Unfortunately, these fluids can quickly make ordinary hose products brittle and prone to cracking, and subject them to other forms of premature failure. At temperatures above 100C, some biodiesel blends above B20 can ‘bake out’ the elastomers necessary to keep hoses flexible. This is a particular problem in vehicles that may see a variety of fuel blends – B5 this week, B20 and higher next week, and so on.

“Temperature is the catalyst,” she said, “and with underhood temperatures easily reaching 150 C on a hot day in the southwest, we are seeing hose damage in a short time depending on the biodioesel blend percentage and quality of the blend, on a global front. The materials used in GH100 resist ‘bake out,’ which reduces the potential for damage and early hose failure.”

The new hose is designed to fill the temperature-performance gap between conventional chlorinated polyethylene tube hose products and premium Teflon hoses.

Biodiesel Equipment Online Auction Continues to Feb. 18

Just a reminder that the online auction of some brand new equipment for biodiesel production continues through 5 PM EST this Friday, February 18th, 2011.

Maas Companies of Rochester, Minnesota, a specialist in selling ethanol and biodiesel plants and related equipment, is helping Sustainable Energy sell its 600 Tons/Day Hexane Extraction Equipment through the ONLINE ONLY auction.

The equipment, made by Crown Iron Works, was for a plant expansion but was never installed.

Tyler Maas, Sales & Marketing Director states, “The on-line timed auction offers this equipment to a new buyer at a significant savings over new construction. During tighter economic times, a savings on equipment can enhance a plant’s bottom line.”

Buyers will submit bids via Proxibid and supply the seller with a $50,000 deposit. Full and final payment is due no later February 22. The equipment will need to be loaded and removed from the site by the end of the month.

More information is available through the auction’s website.