Aussie Customer to Get Algae-Oil Single Step System

A California-based producer of renewable oil from algae production products is getting ready to ship a system that uses a single step to get the oil out of the green pond scum to one of its customers down under.

OriginOil, Inc. has notified Australian MBD Energy Limited that it is ready to ship a Single-Step Extraction™ System (seen in the video below), a cheaper method of algae-oil extraction that eliminates the use of petrochemicals or alcohol solvents and is the second product to be delivered in its multi-phase commercialization agreement:

OriginOil Extracts Oil from Algae Timelapse from OriginOil on Vimeo.

“We believe OriginOil’s concentration and extraction technology holds promise of reducing costs and energy requirements in the algae harvesting process,” said Andrew Lawson, Managing Director at MBD Energy Ltd. “We look forward to now using the equipment we’ve purchased from OriginOil to finalize preparations for our 1 hectare Bio CCS algal synthesizer test facility we’re about to construct at Tarong Power Station in Queensland. If performance tests go to plan we expect to later expand the 1 hectare synthesizer to 80 hectares at which point we hope to produce approximately 10,000 tonnes of oil per year.”

OriginOil’s unit is the second product to be shipped in the test phase of a multi-phase commercialization program under which OriginOil has agreed to supply MBD Energy with progressively larger installations of its algae-to-oil technology as the scale of MBD’s algal synthesizer projects grows. The two products are supplied under a 1 year lease-to-own program. Subject to achieving success in the initial test phase, MBD will purchase significantly larger systems to serve its power station projects in Australia, beginning with the 1 hectare algal synthesizer test plant at Tarong Power Station in South Eastern Queensland, and potentially expanding to full production at all three of MBD’s power station project sites in Australia.

MBD Energy officials say that each of its power station projects can grow 80 hectare commercial pilot plants for algae, each capable of producing about 3 million gallons of oil that can be used for renewable energy and plastics, as well as producing 25,000 tonnes of animal feed each year. Furthermore, the plants could eventually be expanded to 1,500 hectares each, feeding the the algae with the power station’s flue-gas emissions.

Mother Earth News Sponsors Alt Energy Fair

Green living guide Mother Earth News wants to give average consumers some of the tools they need to get the most out renewable energy. That’s why publication is offering the Mother Earth News Fair, Sept. 25-26 at Seven Springs Mountain Resort near Pittsburgh.

Organizers promise more than 15 hands-on demonstrations ranging from beginner’s information for passive solar systems to building your own electric car!

Scheduled renewable energy-related speakers and topics include:

* Dan Chiras – introduction to solar electricity; passive solar electricity; passive solar heating; experts’ panel
* James Dunn – personal experience with a geodesic dome solar greenhouse
* Richard Freudenberger – small-scale alcohol fuel; basic passive solar design; experts’ panel
* John Ivanko – powering your home with renewable energy
* Angus Macdonald – DIY construction of solar and energy-efficient homes and garden structures
* Ben Nelson – building your own electric car, cheap
* Greg Pahl – community-supported energy; experts’ panel
* Darree Sicher – alternative fuel uses for sewage sludge
* Michael R. Wurzbacher – masonry heaters, stoves and ovens
* Brad Yocum – why now is the time to go solar

There will be more than 200 sessions in all. For more information and tickets, check out the Mother Earth News Fair website.

Outfitter Dresses Flagship Store with Solar Panels

Retail outfitter L.L.Bean is turning to the power of the sun for its flagship store.

The company says it has used stimulus bucks to install a 180-tube solar hot water collector array that provides 100 percent of the hot water to the Freeport, Maine outlet:

The Efficiency Maine Commercial Grants ­ funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) ­ pay up to 50 percent of eligible project costs.
The stimulus funding reduced payback projections for L.L.Bean’s new hot water solar system to less than 5 years, with immediate cost savings. L.L.Bean worked with Revision Energy of Portland on design and installation of the solar hot water system.

“The ability to create affordable, on-site renewable energy is a priority for L.L.Bean,” says L.L.Bean spokeswoman Laurie Brooks. “We’ve been using solar hot water panels at our corporate offices since the early 1980s, and they’re still working great. Solar panels are efficient, clean and require minimal maintenance.”

Visitors to L.L.Bean’s first Green Expo in June were able to see the newly installed panels that produce hot water, courtesy of the sun, for the store’s two cafes and public and employee restrooms. In the first week after installation, the solar system was generating 100 percent of the hot water for the store.

“We want visitors to see these solar panels and make the positive connection that L.L.Bean is investing in and promoting renewable energy,” says Brooks.
“The more businesses that make these types of changes, the better. It’s our hope that eventually green technology will become mainstream, and prices for
solar technology will become more affordable.”

The company was also able to use some state and federal tax credits and rebates to fund the project.

Company Debuts Biodiesel Hybrid Wind Turbine

A Colorado-based wind turbine company believes it has the solution when winds are not enough to generate electricty: team the turbine up with clean-burning biodiesel. says Hybrid Turbines Inc.’s SmartGen system will use biogas, biodiesel and natural gas to run a back-up power generation system fuel the back-up power system that will operate during the 70 percent of time when the winds don’t get the job done:

This would of course depend on the patent-pending design working and being installed throughout the country’s wind farms. According to Hybrid Turbines, the SmartGen system can be retrofitted for existing turbines, scaled between 3 and 100 kilowatts (possibly higher), and integrated into new turbine designs.

A turbo-compressor [right] located at the base of the turbine’s tower draws in ambient air, compresses it and stores it in a tank. When winds are calm, the compressed air travels skyward to the turbo-air motor* connected to the electric generator.

Nick Verini, president of Hybrid Turbines Inc., says in a statement:

If a biofuel is used then the SmartGen™ system is 100% renewable energy based (wind and/or biofuel). Even if natural gas is used the electricity produced by SmartGen™ is twice as environmentally clean as burning coal. This will be increasingly important as we move to electric vehicles with batteries charged from the grid.

Estimates are that wind power generation capacity would increase by 25 GW, the equivalent of 25 1,000 MW nuclear power plants

$11 Mil in Grants for Propel Biodiesel, Ethanol Stations

Propel Fuels, a west coast retailer of ethanol and biodiesel, has received $11 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy and the California Energy Commission to build and operate 75 self-serve alternative fuel stations across the state over the next two years.

This article in the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal says the effort will reduce the amount of non-renewable oil used and greenhouse gases given off, while putting more people to work:

The statewide station project, or the Low Carbon Fuel Infrastructure Investment Initiative, has the potential to create more than 450 jobs, while displacing 39 million gallons of petroleum and 187,500 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year, according to Propel.

About 7 million of funding for the project was awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s petroleum reduction program. Another $4 million was granted through the state of California’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology program. California has the largest fleet of alternative fuel fleet vehicles in the country.

Propel said it will match the grant funding with $16 million in private investment to speed up the build-out of Propel’s network of fueling stations.

“This grant brings a new choice to Californians looking to do their part to reduce our nation’s dependency on imported oil and help meet the state’s emission reduction goals,” Propels chief executive officer Matt Horton added in the release. “As advanced biofuel production facilities prepare to break ground in the state, this fueling infrastructure is a critical link between California’s citizens and the next generation of low carbon fuels.”

California Energy Commission officials say this will help bring the needed next generation of biofuels to nearly half a million flex fuel vehicle owners in the Golden State.

Ohio Utility Seeks Biodiesel for Power Production

An Ohio utility is looking to buy biodiesel to help it produce power and meet that state’s alternative energy requirement.

This story from Biodiesel Magazine says American Electric Power Co. has opened up bids to supply biodiesel for one or more of its coal-fired plants in the state:

According to AEP spokeswoman Melissa McHenry, the company is investigating the use of biodiesel-blended fuel oil as a possible compliance strategy to meet Ohio’s alternative energy requirements. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio adopted rules to implement its alternative energy portfolio in April 2009, which requires 25 percent of electricity sold within the state to be generated from alternative energy. In addition, at least half that amount must come from renewable energy resources, including wind, biomass, hydro or fuel cell. Electric utilities and service companies are able to use renewable energy credits to satisfy all or part of their renewable energy requirements. According to McHenry, the standard allows renewable energy credits to be generated through the use of biodiesel-blended fuel oil.

The biodiesel-blended fuel oil would replace petroleum fuel oil used for flame start-up and flame stabilization. Pulverized coal plants have large boilers, which McHenry said are essentially large boxes with flame in them that are lined with tubes containing water. The water is flashed to steam, which then fuels the generator. “If a plant shuts down and you need to restart it, you have to start that process flame with fuel oil,” McHenry said. “Then you blow in pulverized coal to keep the flame burning. They also sometimes use fuel oil in the process to maintain the flame to ensure that you are getting the most efficient flame, so you are getting the most efficient transfer of water into steam.”

The utility is looking to acquire three different blends of biodiesel, depending on the time of year it is used: B99.9 for use between April 15 to Oct. 14, B50 for Oct. 15 through Dec. 14, and B30 from Dec. 15 to April 14. AEP officials believe 1.4 million gallons of fuel oil could be replaced. Quotes are due to AEP by 5 pm on September 23.

Advanced Biofuel Payments to Foreign Owners, Non-Rural Plants

It might be green and renewable, but it won’t necessarily be DOMESTIC fuel. This article from Biofuels Digest says the Obama Administration will allow advanced biofuels plants owned by foreign companies and those plants in non-rural areas Advanced Biofuels Payments:

In Washington, the (USDA’s) Rural Business-Cooperative Service Agency announced that it is amending the rules for the Advanced Biofuel Payment Program. Now, foreign-owned companies and production of biofuels in non-rural areas are eligible for the assistance. The Agency is requesting applications from advanced biofuel producers producing eligible advanced biofuels at non-rural biofuel facilities and at foreign-owned biofuel facilities.

The article goes on to say that USDA will provide advanced supplemental payment will equal 25 percent of the payment that the applicant would have received pursuant to the agency’s March 12, 2010 notice.

I understand the concept of supporting advanced biofuels and even will sign on to letting our city brethren participate in green fuel production. But I think we might be missing the boat a bit on allowing the foreign ownership. Isn’t part of the point to get us off of foreign oil? Replacing oil with foreign-made and/or financed fuel seems to defeat the purpose.

Future Scientists Support Biodiesel

A group of college students who will be the next generation of scientists have joined together to support biodiesel.

This press release from the National Biodiesel Board, which is leading the effort with support from the United Soybean Board and soybean checkoff, says 28 students scientists from across the country have signed on to the new Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel initiative:

Lucas Ellis of Dartmouth, pursuing his Master of Science in Biochemical Engineering, is one of four co-chairs of the effort. “In college there is an eagerness to become an advocate or have a cause, and mine was the environment, science and educating others about sustainability,” Ellis said. “Biodiesel combined all of those and became my passion.”

Since then, his passion has led him to create biodiesel education projects in three states, including organizing laboratories to teach students about the chemistry of biodiesel. At West Virginia University, he created a biodiesel organization that today hosts biodiesel events to help recruit kids into studying science.

Ellis is just one of many such stories of student engagement. Selected by the National Biodiesel Board, the other co-chairs of Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel are:

– Bernardo del Campo, Iowa State University (Biorenewable Resources and Technologies)
– Mikkel Leslie, Oregon State University (Environmental Engineering)
– Jason Strull, University of Nevada – Reno (Material Sciences and Chemical Engineering)

“We’re bringing the next generation of scientists together with biodiesel, the only advancedbiofuel commercially available in the U.S.,” said Joe Jobe, NBB CEO. “Cementing supportamong future energy thought leaders is important to biodiesel’s future.”

NBB has created a forum where students who support biodiesel can collaborate and share ideas. Any student scientist can sign up at

This idea is modeled after the NBB’s Scientists for Biodiesel campaign, which has 125 scientist members of its own and is also supported by the United Soybean Board and soybean checkoff.

Energy Use Down But Wind, Solar Power Production Up

The U.S. is using less energy, but more of it is coming from renewable sources, such as wind and solar.

CNN Money reports a new report from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) says the 5 percent drop in American energy usage during 2009 is the largest annual drop on record. But wind energy production alone rose more than one-third during the same period:

Despite the drop in overall energy use, [A.J. Simon, an energy analyst at LLNL] said the study also showed a substantial increase in alternative sources of energy, including gains in solar, hydro and wind power.

“The increase in renewables is a really good story, especially in the wind arena,” said Simon. “It’s a result of very good incentives and technological advancements.”

The use of wind power rose “dramatically” to 0.7 quadrillion BTUs in 2009 from 0.51 quadrillion BTUs the year before, according to LLNL which compiles the data for the U.S. Department of Energy.

Under the 2009 economic recovery act, the Department of Energy has offered generous tax breaks and grants to help fund the development of wind energy. President Obama has set a target of doubling the country’s renewable energy capacity by 2012.

The article says the increase of wind power has directly helped reduce the amount of coal used in this country.

Farm Progress Show to Feature Biodiesel

It seems only fitting that the nation’s greatest agricultural showcase will be featuring the world’s greenest fuel.

Renewable Energy Group
says this year’s Farm Progress Show, slated for August 31 – September 2 in Boone, Iowa, will be demonstrating a B20 blend of biodiesel in all demonstration vehicles and agriculture equipment:

The B20 blend is provided through STAR Energy, the FS companies of Iowa and Renewable Energy Group, Ames, Iowa. The FS System is the official fuel sponsor of the show through its donation of the FS premium diesel fuel, Dieselex Gold. Dieselex Gold contains multi-functional additive chemistry that makes it the perfect partner for biodiesel blends. It is comprised of 8 components that contribute to engine performance, efficiency and protection.

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) that have endorsed a B20 biodiesel blend in their diesel engines include Arctic Cat, Buhler, John Deere, Case IH, New Holland and Caterpillar.

“Continuing the use of the B20 blend at the Farm Progress Show demonstrates the commitment of the agriculture industry to renewable, sustainable fuels. B20 use at the Farm Progress show reinforces that it can be used on Iowa farms in diesel equipment,” said Jason Stauffer, Energy Management Specialist/ Area Sales Manager for Star Energy.

REG officials also point out that biodiesel adds value to American farm products, $9 to market cattle, $0.25 to every bushel of soybeans and adding additional value to ethanol through inedible corn oil use.