Hungarian Delegates Visit Enginuity Worldwide

Missouri-based Enginuity Worldwide hosted a group of energy delegates from Hungary recently where they learned more about the company’s biotechnology efforts. The company has developed technology that turns local agriculture waste into renewable solid Enginuity's Solid Biofuelbiomass fuel. The delegation was comprised of project developers, including Gabor Nagy, Andras Herozeg, Daniel Szollosi-Nagy, and Gabor Kaczmarczyk, who spent time assessing Enginuity’s patented rotary compression technology to deploy for use in Hungary.

“As countries around the world search for ways to reduce carbon emissions, Enginuity has developed a cost-effective, viable way for countries to meet baseload renewable requirements,” said Kaczmarczyk, a member of the Hungarian delegation. “We are interested in sharing ideas that can lead to partnerships and investment opportunities, many of which we discussed during this visit. We look forward to working with Enginuity to build on the successful conversations we had during this trip, and would like to thank the leaders at Enginuity who helped make this possible.”

The visit began with a visit to Enginuity’s headquarters, located at the Missouri Plant Science Center, followed by a visit to the Missouri State Capitol, where the House of Representatives and Senate recognized the delegation for their leadership in the renewable energy industry. The delegation’s trip concluded with an event hosted by the Mexico Missouri Chamber of Commerce.

Missouri State Senator Jeanie Riddle, who spent time with the delegation, noted, “It was a pleasure to have a delegation from Hungary visit the Capitol with the entire team of Enginuity Worldwide. Their desire to procure new technology shows the growing success that Enginuity is having worldwide. Missouri must continue to support and encourage growth in new forms of biotechnology that go hand in hand with agriculture, our number one industry.” Continue reading

DOE Offers Bioenergy Funding Opportunities

The Bioenergy Technologies Office has announced a new Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) entitled, “Project Definition for Pilot and Demonstration Scale Manufacturing of Biofuels, Bioproducts, and Biopower (PD2B3).” The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) says the FOA will be officially issued in May 2016 on the EERE Exchange website. The funding opportunity is for technology DOE logodevelopment for the manufacture of drop-in hydrocarbon biofuels, bioproducts, or intermediates in a pilot- or demonstration-scale integrated biorefinery. EERE says scale-up and validation of these process technologies is essential to enable the industry to build future pioneer- and commercial-scale manufacturing facilities. Plans for facilities that use lignocellulosic biomass, algal biomass, or biosolids feedstocks will be considered under this funding opportunity.

Under this FOA, Applicants must address one comprehensive topic area with three main priority areas. These priority areas are:

  • Pilot scale production of Biofuels from high impact lignocellulosic, algal, or bio-gas feedstocks.
  • Demonstration scale production of Biofuels from high impact lignocellulosic, algal, or bio-gas algal feedstocks.
  • Production of bio-power, bio-products, and Biofuels from biosolids and other waste streams.

If applicants wish to receive official notifications and information from EERE regarding this FOA, they should register in EERE Exchange. When the FOA is released, applications will be accepted only through EERE Exchange.

Penn State Harvests First Shrub Willow Crop

Researchers at Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences have completed the harvest of its first experimental crop of shrub willow. The intention of the biomass crop is for use to produce renewable energy and bio-based products. The 34 acres of the shrub willow is part of a five-year program called NEWBio one of seven regional projects of which the goal is to investigate and research sustainable production of woody biomass. Planted in 2012 on land formerly owned by the State Correctional Institution at Rockview, the biomass crop will regrow and will be harvested every three years.

Biomass energy from crops such as shrub willow could provide the social, economic and ecological drivers for a sustainable rural renaissance in the Northeast, researchers say. Photo Credit Penn State.

Biomass energy from crops such as shrub willow could provide the social, economic and ecological drivers for a sustainable rural renaissance in the Northeast, researchers say. Photo Credit Penn State.

“The shrub willow stand at Rockview can continue producing biomass for more than 20 years, and we hope to use it both as a source of renewable energy and as a platform for sustainability research,” explained Armen Kemanian, associate professor of production systems and modeling in the Department of Plant Science, one of the lead researchers in the project. “This is an excellent site to investigate impacts on soil and water quality, biodiversity, avoided carbon dioxide emissions, and the potential for growing a regional bio-based economy. Students from our college visit the site and have a firsthand and close-up view of this new crop for the region.”

Kemanian said shrub willow was selected because the perennial likes to be cut. The team is taking advantage of the shrub willow’s vigorous regrowth allowing for multiple harvest cycles. In addition, Kemanian notes the plants also establish a root system that stabilizes the soil and stores substantial amounts of carbon that otherwise would be lost to the atmosphere.

Other advantages of the plant include its ability to store an recycle nutrients leading to little need for fertilizer and an ability to help improve water quality.  Increasing perennial vegetation is a critical component of Pennsylvania’s water quality strategy, and these biomass crops allow vulnerable parts of the landscape to remain economically productive while protecting water quality says Kemanian who notes that shrub willow can produce the same amount of biomass as a corn crop with only a third of the nitrogen fertilizer. When the plants grow, they take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. After harvest, when the biomass is combusted either as wood chips or as a liquid biofuel, the carbon dioxide returns to the atmosphere to complete the cycle.

Researchers believe the NEWBio project could hold an important key to future economic development for the region but first an understanding of how to economically handle the harvesting, transportation and storage of massive volumes, which constitutes 40 to 60 percent of the cost of biomass is needed. The continuation of the research will address these concerns as well.

HCATT Sponsors Waste-to-Energy Demo

A waste-to-energy demonstration has kicked off on the campus of the Hawaii Air National Guard (HIANG). Sponsored by the High Technology Development Corporation’s (HTDC) Hawaii Center for Advanced Transportation Technologies (HCATT) the $6.8 million project showcases the efficacy of converting 10 tons of waste per day to electricity to generate a net 200 to 300 kW of baseload power using four generators run from the syngas produced by a gasifier. The demonstration will continue through this summer, and was facilitated through a contract with Biomass Energy Systems, Inc. (BESI).

“The system itself is clean, highly reliable and rugged,” said Renee Comly, president and CEO of BESI. “We are most pleased to demonstrate how a waste to energy generating system like the installation at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam provides a range of real world advantages and benefits, and how it can play a vital role as we transition towards a world powered by clean energy.”

gI_150400_IMG_0498The Air Force Research Labs (AFRL) selected the Hawaii Air National Guard’s 154th Wing to demonstrate an integrated micro-grid concept that tests the viability of using renewable energy and micro-grids to assure that the U.S. Air Force (USAF) can continue mission critical operations regardless of the state of the public utility grid or cyber-attack. Phase I of the micro-grid will utilize a rotary kiln gasifier that turns waste into fuel, heat and electricity.

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz, who was instrumental in supporting the USAF selection of Hawaii, officiated the demonstration ceremony. “Alternative energy research and development is one of the smartest investments that the military is making today and one that is projected to save lives,” said Schatz. “Hawaii is on the leading edge as a testbed for a variety of renewable energy systems and micro-grid technology that will benefit the entire state.”

JBPHH was selected based on Hawaii’s variety of renewable energy sources, the high cost of electricity, and complexity of the Hawaii Air Guard’s 154th Wing, which operates the F-22, the most advanced fighter in the U.S. inventory. Continue reading

Biodico Seeking Summer Interns

Biodico is looking for 10 interns this summer for its facilities in Fresno and Ventura Counties, California. Four interns will be based at the company’s laboratory at Naval Base Ventura County at Port Hueneme, Calif., and six interns will be based at the company’s “Westside” facility in the San Joaquin Valley located at Red Rock Ranch in Five Points, Calif. Biodico Westside recently went online and produces advanced biofuels while being powered by renewable heat and power generated on-site.

biodico logo“This program represents our commitment to create green energy jobs in economically depressed areas, as well as provide opportunities for the next-generation of bioenergy professionals to gain experience,” said Biodico President and Founder, Russ Teall. “Students who share our passion for the environment and finding economically viable solutions to power the future are encouraged to apply.”

Interns will be exposed to an array of biofuel and bioenergy technologies, including biodiesel production, anaerobic digestion, gasification, solar cogeneration and wind, as well as cultivation of biofuel crops and laboratory work. Students will be placed based upon their field of study and interests.

Several of the jobs at Westside were created in partnership with West Hills Community College in Fresno County, a region with historically high employment rates. Biodico developed an internship program specifically for West Hills’ students, and hires graduates of the school’s two-year Industrial Technology Program. Biodico has also partnered with University of California Santa Barbara to provide internships for environmental studies majors.

For more information about applying for the internship program, please email internships@biodico.com. Applications for the summer of 2016 are due March 31.

Military Use of Biofuels Topic at BIO World Congress

World Congress-BIOsiteHeaderBanner_980x154Biofuel use and support will be a topic at the upcoming BIO World Congress. The Honorable Dennis McGinn, assistant secretary of the Navy, Energy, Installations & Environment, will be speaking about “Overcoming Challenges to Biorefinery Scale Up”. His remarks will take place Monday, April 18, 2016 at 4:30 pm. In 2009, under Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus established aggressive goals to increase the Department of the Navy’s energy efficiency, decrease its reliance on foreign sources of oil, and diversify its shore and operational energy supplies. On January 20, 2016, Secretary Mabus kicked off the Great Green Fleet (GGF), a year-long initiative highlighting the Navy’s efforts to transform its energy use to increase operational capability.

“The United States Navy and Marine Corps are diversifying our energy sources to increase our operational flexibility, which strengthens our ability to provide the global presence that is our mission,” said McGinn in advance of his presentation. “We’ve purchased drop-in, cost-competitive alternative fuel for our ships and we are helping to grow our domestic alternative fuel industry.”

Monday’s “Overcoming Challenges to Biorefinery Scale Up” General Plenary Session will address what is needed to ensure the successful scale up of a commercial industrial biotechnology process. The panel will be moderated by Dan Cummings, Chief Executive Officer, Guidewire Strategies and speakers include: Jeff Lievense, Senior Engineering Fellow, Genomatica; Dennis McGinn, Assistant Secretary of the Navy – Energy, Installations & Environment, U.S. Department of the Navy; and Alan Propp, Business Development Manager, Merrick & Company.

“The United States Department of the Navy has taken bold, determined steps toward energy security, by adopting cost-competitive biofuels and alternative energy sources. The Navy’s leadership has enabled advanced biofuel producers to create partnerships and put steel in the ground for new biorefineries,” added Brent Erickson, executive vice president for BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section. “We are looking forward to Assistant Secretary McGinn’s remarks about what the U.S. Navy has in store for the future.”

Sumitomo Invests in Cosan Biomassa

Sumitomo Corporation has signed a contract to acquire up to 20 percent of Cosan Biomassa, a producer of sugarcane pellets for power generation. With an eye on Asia’s need to reduce fossil fuel use and meet goals as set forth in the Climate Treaty last December, the partnership between Sumitomo and Cosan will focus on increasing exports to Japan and Europe as well as increase domestic sales.

bagasse-pelletsAccording to a press statement, the state of Sao Paulo has the collective production potential of 45 million tons/year of sugarcane pellets. The venture has set forth a goal to produce 2 million tons by 2025 and as much as 8 million tons/year in the future. Cosan Biomassa has developed a fuel pellet made from sugarcane residues such as bagasse from the sugar mill and straw left over in the sugarcane field, and built a large-scale production plant with an annual capacity 175,000 tons that went into commercial production in December 2015.

“Brazil is already among the largest producers and exporters of agricultural commodities in the world. Pelletized biomass is a new commodity being created to serve the low carbon economy,” said Mark Lyra, Cosan Biomassa CEO. “By making use of sugarcane residues and benefiting from the economic and environmental advantages that the shift to rail logistics brings to the game, Brazil is positioned to become the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy.”

Sumitomo Corporation has targeted biomass energy as a promising source of renewable energy, and began importing biomass fuel for power generation to Japan in 2008.

“By the year 2030, we foresee that Japan will consume as much as 10 million+ tons of pelletized biomass, the majority of which would come from overseas. Renewable energy including biomass will play a prominent role in our power generation sector by that time,” said Yoshinobu Kusano, general manager, Biomass Business, Sumitomo Corporation. “We believe a relevant portion of this demand will be met by agricultural waste, particularly sugarcane biomass pellets produced in Brazil. Sugarcane’s productivity and abundant availability tied to the fact that we are using its residual byproduct as a raw material gives us a unique sustainability condition when compared to other biomass sources in the world.”

Federal Activities Report on Bioeconomy Released

USDA has released a new report, “Federal Activities Report on the Bioeconomy.” According to Dr. Catherine Woteki, the report was developed to create awareness of federal agency activities that are helping to develop and support the bioeconomy. The “bioeconomy” is an emerging part of the U.S. economy, says Woteki, that utilizes renewable biological resources to produce fuels, power and biobased products.

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 11.16.10 AMAccording to the Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. has the potential to sustainably produce one billion tons of biomass. This could displace 25 percent of U.S. transportation fuels, 50 billion pounds of bio-based products, and generate 85 billion kWh of electricity. To reach this would mean tripling the size of current U.S. biomass usage. USDA, DOE, and other federal agencies have activities in place that provide a foundation for the existing bioeconomy.

The Federal Activities Report on the Bioeconomy introduces the Billion Ton Bioeconomy Vision—the government’s new, collaborative vision of what America could achieve by expanding efforts to develop the bioeconomy. Moving forward, the Biomass R&D Board will be hosting a series of workshops and webinars to gather input for the vision from stakeholders and the public, which will be released later this year.

USDA Highlights 2015 Energy Achievements

USDAAgriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has released a list of USDA’s top achievements in 2015 in the areas of trade, food security, conservation, energy, research, rural development, and more.

“Even with challenges in 2015, including an unprecedented animal disease outbreak and lower commodity prices, America’s rural communities have proven once again that we are a nation of makers, creators and innovators, and our economy and security are stronger because of it,” said Vilsack. “As we look to 2016, USDA will continue to seek out new and innovative ways to expand opportunity for America’s farming families and rural communities.”

Among USDA’s 2015 highlights in the area of energy:

Made available $100 million in grant funds, with matching funds from state and private partners, which will provide $210 million to nearly double the number of fueling pumps nationwide that supply American-made renewable fuels, such as E15 and E85.

Through the Biomass Crop Assistance Program, USDA provided assistance to 890 growers on 49,000 acres for costs associated with harvesting and transporting agriculture or forest residues to facilities that convert biomass crops into energy.

Announced 10 Building Blocks for Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry, which, by 2025, will reduce net emissions and enhance carbon sequestration by the equivalent of taking 25 million cars off the road.

Read more here.

POM Wonderful Extends Partnership w/Greenbelt

POM Wonderful, the largest grower and producer of fresh pomegranates and pomegranate juice in the U.S., has extended its feedstock testing contract with Greenbelt Resources Corporation. Earlier this year, Greenbelt announced its confidential testing program, and the company has now released the news that POM Wonderful was one of its first clients.

© Olhaafanasieva | Dreamstime.com - Ripe Pomegranates On A Rustic Table

© Olhaafanasieva | Dreamstime.com – Ripe Pomegranates On A Rustic Table

Using Greenbelt’s technology, the initial tests have successfully demonstrated the viability of two feedstocks to be converted into fuel, filtered water, and other valuable co-products, according to Greenbelt CEO Darren Eng.  Pomegranate husk waste from POM Wonderful juicing operations is one of these viable feedstocks.

“Based on preliminary testing results, our calculations predict a likely ten-fold to possibly more than twenty-fold increase in per-ton-value of POM’s pomegranate husks through the integration of a Greenbelt system,” said Floyd Butterfield, CTO of Greenbelt Resources. “Our Solution has the potential benefit of being both sustainable and revenue generating.”

POM Wonderful recently commenced the next level of Greenbelt Resources feedstock testing service: Commercial-Scale Feedstock Testing (CSFT). CSFT entails running several truckload-sized batches to test multiple variables and their myriad impacts on process efficiency. The purpose of CSFT, says Butterfield, is to obtain data necessary for designing a specific system for a specific scenario in a specific location. The goal is to generate data from which an efficient system can be designed and its cost estimated.

Eng added, “POM Wonderful is a world class operation and a market leader with an ideal waste stream for use as a feedstock. Their commitment to the testing process and basing decisions on sound science, allows us to explore system tweaks designed to maximize value.”