Biofuels Capacity to Grow to 61B Gallons by 2018

According to new research, global biofuels capacity will grow to 61 billion gallons per year (BGY0 by 2018. Ethanol and biodiesel will continue to dominate with 96 percent of the capacity in 2018, but novel fuels and novel feedstocks will be major drivers of capacity growth, according to Lux Research.

The study finds that novel fuels and novel feedstocks will grow at a rate of 27 percent and 16 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR), respectively, through 2018. Ethanol and biodiesel will grow at a slower 2 percent rate but will reach capacities of 40 BGY and 19 BGY, respectively.

Biofuels growth from Lux research“While ethanol and biodiesel dominate global biofuel capacity today, limits on their growth mean that novel fuels like renewable diesel, biojet fuel and biocrude are crucial to the future of the industry,” said Victor Oh, Lux Research Associate and lead author of the report titled, “Biofuels Outlook 2018: Highlighting Emerging Producers and Next-generation Biofuels.”

“Producers also need to tap into novel feedstocks like waste oils, non-edible biomass, and municipal solid waste to push the industry beyond food-vs.-fuels competition,” he added.

Lux Research analysts studied growth of biofuels utilizing an alternative fuels database of over 1,800 production facilities globally. Among their findings:

  • Waste oils will dominate next-generation biofuels. With a 52% share, biodiesel made from novel feedstock, specifically waste oils, will lead novel fuels capacity in 2018. Cellulosic ethanol and renewable diesel follow with 19% and 18%, respectively.
  • Americas continue dominance. With a 64% share of global biofuels capacity, the Americas are a dominant force. The region, led by the U.S. and Brazil, also leads in utilization of global production capacity with 86%, much higher than the global average of 68% in 2014.
  • Eight countries are biggest emerging producers. China, Indonesia and Thailand in Asia; Colombia and Argentina in the Americas; and Portugal, Poland and France in Europe are the biggest emerging production centers for biofuels after the U.S. and Brazil.

Cup of Joe Provides Biomass for London Homes

bio-bean1While England might be better known for its tea, Londoners certainly have a taste for coffee. And the waste grounds will soon be heating home’s in the United Kingdom’s capital. This article from the London Evening Standard says Bio-bean is collecting waste coffee grounds to be turned into biomass pellets.

Although only a couple of hundred tonnes will be collected each week at first, Bio-bean spokesman Daniel Crockett expects the firm to be processing the equivalent of 50,000 tonnes a year by 2016.

“We wanted to build it inside London,” Mr Crockett told the Standard, “but we aren’t at that stage yet.

“We’re collecting from cafes, office blocks and transport hubs – we’re filling up the Monopoly board!”

While Bio-bean does not pay the coffee shops – which include cafes in big-name firms and all seven of London’s biggest rail stations – its collection service saves them coughing up potentially costly landfill fees.

At peak production, the Southwark business will be producing enough pellets to heat 15,000 homes. The pellets will be burnt in efficient biomass boilers to produce energy.

Bio-bean is also looking at turning the oil in the coffee grounds into biodiesel.

World’s First Sustainable Biomass to Replace Coal

munro-logoA collaboration between three companies looks to create the world’s first sustainable biomass fuel to replace coal. Manufacturing and innovation leader Munro & Associates is working with with Biomass Energy Enhancements LLC (BEE) and UK-based and AIM-listed Active Energy Group Plc (AEG) to produce a market-ready sustainable biomass fuel that would be able to directly replace coal without retrofitting the plant.

Other processes that have been used in the past, such as simple compaction and thermal drying, either leave a high level of toxic salts in the biomass creating pollution and frequent maintenance issues or leave too much intercellular moisture reducing the effective energy release from the fuels. BEE’s process “explodes” the fibers like popcorn and exposes the intra-fiber moisture and soluble salts which can then be easily removed. This new process allows biofuels to be generated from materials that would not have been suitable or viable before, such as reclaimed waste wood, and diseased and invasive crops or trees.

A further benefit is that the final product is also hydrophobic, which not only prevents possible reabsorption of moisture that would degrade the fuel, but it subsequently reduces distribution, transportation and storage costs.

Although Munro has worked on several new technologies over the years, rarely does the company make the leap to actually invest in the technologies as well,” said Sandy Munro, CEO of Munro & Associates. “This process has the potential to revolutionize the industry and we are very proud to be a part of the Coal Switch Team.”

Munro’s engineers worked with the BEE team to create a highly scalable, mobile and “flexible in the field” process that can be moved anywhere in the world. This creates a massive savings in regards to moving the raw potential biomass to a facility, rather than move the scalable facility easily and cheaply to set up onsite.

Munro officials say its proprietary Design Profit software has allowed the company to scale up a prototype to a market-scale winning solution.

Two Wood-Burning Plants Being Built in Georgia

GeorgiaFlag1An Alabama company is building two wood-burning electricity plants in Georgia. This article from the Athens (GA) Banner-Herald says state environmental officials have approved one of the two applications for the GreenFuels Holding Company’s plants expected to produce a total of nearly 140 megawatts of electricity.

The company filed its application for a 58 megawatt plant near Colbert about two weeks ago. State officials won’t begin to evaluate it for another couple of weeks, until a 30-day window has passed when the public can make formal comments, said Eric Cornwell, the Air Quality Branch’s program manager for stationary source permitting.

GreenFuels has a policy to not comment publicly to media, said GreenFuels vice president Steven Ingle.

But much of what the company has planned is outlined in documents on file with the state detailing their predicted emissions of pollutants, including sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and hydrochloric acid.

GE Provides Biomass Gasification for Project

GEPowerWaterGE is providing an integrated biomass gasification solution to power a bioenergy plant in California. This news release from the company says it struck the deal with Western Energy Systems and San Francisco-based Phoenix Energy to provide this for the North Fork project, the next in a series of bioenergy plants that Phoenix Energy is building in the state.

GE’s integrated biomass gasification solution includes an Ecomagination qualified, 1-megawatt engine and biomass gasification system. Phoenix Energy and GE have collaborated to design and implement this solution statewide.

For the North Fork project, Phoenix Energy will use the GE gasification solution to convert excess forest biomass to electricity, heat and biochar, supporting the state and federal efforts to reduce wildfire risk, eliminate wasteful pile and burn management practices and improve carbon sequestration. The renewable biomass is procured locally from U.S. Forest Service and CalFire managed lands. With GE’s process, the carbon in the biomass is left mostly in solid form as biochar. This biochar is then put back into California agriculture to improve soil health and water retention and can also be used as carbon filter media. GE will provide an integrated biomass solution including the gasifier, gas conditioning system and engine.

“GE is the first company to offer us a single end-to-end solution on the complete biomass system, rather than piecing it all together from multiple vendors. This is game changing for the forested communities,” said Phoenix Energy CEO Greg Stangl. “By working together, GE has given us the confidence that this is the right solution to use throughout California to produce sustainable local energy from local biomass, creating local jobs.”

The North Fork project received a $4.9 million California Energy Commission grant as part of a larger plan to support further deployment of bioenergy in the state.

Algae Biomass Summit to Highlight Comm’l Potential

ABOScientists and industry innovators will be talking about the commercial potential of algae at the upcoming 9th Annual Algae Biomass Summit, taking place in Washington, DC. This news release from the Algae Biomass Organization says the summit happens Sept. 30th-Oct. 2nd and features nearly 30 oral presentations on the business strategies, technologies and sustainable production methods that are bringing to market algae-based products, such as fuels.

“The leaders of the algae industry and research community are gathering in Washington, DC for the very first time at this year’s Algae Biomass Summit to highlight the unprecedented progress we have seen in algae’s potential to impact a number of multi-billion dollar markets,” said Al Darzins, Program Chair for the Algae Biomass Summit. “Companies from around the nation, and the world, are unveiling new production and process technologies, new facilities, new purchase agreements and other milestones. The commercial potential of these projects in terms of revenues, jobs and production yields will be hot topics at this year’s summit.”

The summit will have four tracks and more than 100 live presentations.

More information is available here.

Swedish Mill Dumps LPG to Put in Biomass Boiler

Waggeryd1A pulp mill in Sweden is ending its use of non-renewable LPG in favor of a biomass boiler. This news release from Waggeryd Cell says it will invest about $7 million to run the flash dryer on biomass, expected to be up and running next March and reducing the mill’s fossil carbon dioxide emissions by 85 percent.

Waggeryd Cell produces bleached CTMP and ever since start-up in 1989 the whole production has been flash dried using LPG as heat source. When the new boiler has started in September 2016, LPG will be totally replaced by bioenergy. It is a grate boiler with an effect of about 12 MW. The supplier is Urbas, an Austrian company specialising in systems designed to extract energy from wet and coarse wood fuels from sawmills, woodworking factories and general forestry thinning. It is a turnkey project and Urbas is responsible for the whole delivery, including projecting, mounting and start-up.

“This is yet another of the environmental investments we have done since we began modernising the mill fifteen years ago,” says Ulf Karlsson, MD Waggeryd Cell. “By replacing LPG for our flash dryer with heat from the new biomass boiler we will reduce our emissions of fossil carbon dioxide by 85 % at the same time as we reduce our costs. The boiler will be fuelled by sawdust, oversized wood chips and fibre residuals from our process as well as bark and fuel wood mainly supplied from our owner ATA Group’s sawmills.”

Urbas has been designing, building and pioneering energy systems for use of biomass fuels for more than 20 years.

A Toast to Making Ethanol from Grape Biomass

univofadelaideRaise your glass in a toast to some researchers from Down Under, as they have figured out how to make ethanol out of some of the leftovers from wine-making. University of Adelaide researchers in Australia showed they could make about 100 gallons of ethanol by fermenting a ton of grape marc – the leftover skins, stalks and seeds from wine-making.

Global wine production leaves an estimated 13 million tonnes of grape marc waste each year. Nationally it is estimated that several hundred thousand tonnes are generated annually and it is generally disposed of at a cost to the winery.

“This is a potentially economic use for what is largely a waste product,” says Associate Professor Rachel Burton, Program Leader with the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine.

PhD candidate Kendall Corbin analysed the composition of grape marc from two grape varieties, cabernet sauvignon and sauvignon blanc. She also investigated pre-treatment of the grape marc with acid and enzymes.

Ms Corbin found that the majority of the carbohydrates found in grape marc could be converted directly to ethanol through fermentation with a yield of up to 270 litres per tonne of grape marc.

What was leftover from this ethanol-making process is suitable as an animal feed or fertilizer.

PHG Energy to Build Waste-to-Energy Plant in TN

PHG Energy (PHGE) will be constructing a new biomass gasification plant that will convert more than 30 tons of composted material per day into thermal energy and biochar. Sevier Sold Waste (SSWI), located in Pigeon Forge, TN, contracted the PHG Energy. SSWI operates a garbage composting plant that processes more than 10,0000 tons per year from the Sevierville, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. All the municipal solid waste (MSW) is processed through the plant, with 60% of it being made into compost. The carbon footprint of the facility will be reduced by over 450 tons of CO2 emissions each year, according to EPA calculators.

PHG Energy's Large Frame Gasification Unit (PRNewsFoto/PHG Energy)

PHG Energy’s Large Frame Gasification Unit (PRNewsFoto/PHG Energy)

“This new installation will help us reduce the amount of compost we need to transport by converting it into a biochar material, creating a new revenue stream for us,” said Tom Leonard, director of SSWI. “The energy from the gasification system will be used in a thermal oxidizer promoting odor control in the buildings and will allow us to defer other upgrades. This represents a significant savings from our current disposal and operating costs.”

PHGE’s gasification plants employ a thermo-chemical process that cleanly converts biomass to a combustible fuel gas. Around 90% of the biomass that is gasified in the PHGE system becomes fuel gas, and the only remaining residue is the charcoal-like biochar, that in SSWI’s case will be sold to a local industrial user as a renewable source of fuel to displace coal consumption.

The cost of the Pigeon Forge facility is $2.25 million. The project has been awarded a $250,000 Clean Energy Tennessee Grant through the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC). The project will showcase PHGE’s second installation of its Large Frame gasifier, believed to be the world’s largest downdraft unit and capable of more than 60 tons per day throughput.

“This project is important to us for several reasons,” noted PHGE President Tom Stanzione. “This is our second municipal project to receive approval this year and demonstrates the growing confidence in our technology. We have a strong research and development commitment to converting MSW to energy and reducing landfill usage, and this is another significant step in that process. It is also very important to us that we have been able to prove the commercial value of our biochar as a commodity, and that it has become a positive factor in the economic equation of our systems.”

U of North Dakota Gets Biomass Research Funding

My Approved PortraitsFederal funding to the tune of $250,000 is headed to the University of North Dakota for research to study biomass as a biofuel and solar energy absorption by nanoparticles. North Dakota Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp welcomed the research dollars.

“North Dakota has a rich heritage of conservation and we must continue to develop and use our natural resources responsibly,” said Heitkamp. “That also means continuing to invest in new technologies and supporting North Dakota’s renewable energy potential including wind, solar, and advanced biofuels, and these federal funds will help UND continue such critical research.”

The funding is made available through the National Science Foundation to work with their International Research Experience for Students for Technologies to Mitigate Global Climate Change.