A new start-up company, RE-VOLT, is helping to bring reliable and affordable electricity to families in rural Haiti and has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help fund a service expansion. The system is a combination of a solar panel, control/power storage unit, lights and a phone charger. Founded by Digicel Haiti chairman, Maarten Boute, the RE-VOLT campaign hopes to raise the working capital necessary to grow its customer base on La Gonave to 2,000 households or 10,000 people by January 2016.
Photo Credit: RE-VOLT
Customers are charged a low monthly fee of 250 Haitian Gourdes (about USD $5) and pay for the service through Digicel’s Mon Cash mobile banking platform. The units themselves contain a cellular antenna allowing RE-VOLT to manage payments and maintenance remotely. An on-ground team handles basic maintenance and troubleshooting on installed systems.
“To their tremendous credit, Digicel Group chairman Denis O’Brien and the Digicel board decided to commit even more capital to Haiti after the earthquake,” said Boute. “Others might have walked away at that point, but they decided to double down instead.”
The idea for RE-VOLT’s business model came to Boute over five years ago in the aftermath of Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake. At the time, he was two months into his tenure as CEO of Digicel Haiti, having previously served as the company’s chief operating officer.
According to Boute, “At the start of that period of expansion, Digicel already had a strong subscriber base in cities like Port-au-Prince. The biggest opportunity to grow the business was in rural areas, and, as we expanded our network there, we began to realize how much of a problem energy-poverty was. It became very clear to us that there was a huge business opportunity to provide affordable, reliable energy to these people – as well as it being a morally compelling thing to do as well.”
An Australian garden supply company will use its own biodiesel for its fleet of trucks. This article from Prime Mover Magazine says Peats Soil is running the green fuel in its Scania trucks, which recently approved renewable diesel in its trucks.
“We have ordered 13 new trucks from Scania that will run on 100 per cent biodiesel,” said Peter Wadewitz, Managing Director of Peats Soil.
“These trucks will replace our existing Scania fleet, plus we are adding two more trucks and two more loaders. This means we will be creating four new jobs for drivers plus adding staff for the laboratory.”
According to Scania, the truck manufacturer will supply Peats Soil with 480 hp six-cylinder trucks and some V8-powered 560 hp prime movers, which will be used to collect waste matter and then deliver bulk and bagged organic supplies around the state.
Peats Soil has developed its own biodiesel manufacturing plant, utilising ‘dirty water’ it collects from food manufacturing locations.
According to Wadewitz, he aims to manufacture more than one million litres of biodiesel in the first year at his McLaren Vale headquarters an hour south of Adelaide, which would provide the bulk of the 1.3m litres his fleet of trucks and loaders will consume annually.
The biodiesel making program at Peats has been developed in association with Adelaide University and has attracted funding from the Australian Research Council.
According to the International Energy Agency (EIA), renewable energy will represent the largest single source of electricity growth over the next five years. Pointing to the need to economically mitigate climate change and enhance energy security, the report calls on governments to reduce policy uncertainties that are creating barriers to development.
“Renewables are poised to seize the crucial top spot in global power supply growth, but this is hardly time for complacency,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol as he released the IEA’s Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2015 (MTRMR) at the G20 Energy Ministers Meeting held in Turkey. “Governments must remove the question marks over renewables if these technologies are to achieve their full potential, and put our energy system on a more secure, sustainable path.”
The Renewable Energy Mid-Term Market Report 2015 finds that renewable electricity emissions will exceed 700 GW and will account for nearly two-thirds of global power capacity additions. Non-hydro sources such as wind and solar will represent nearly half of the total global power capacity increase finds the report. Similarly, the Natural Resources Defense Council in a recent study also found wind and solar to be leading the way in renewable energy growth.
The share of renewable energy in global power generation will rise from 22 percent in 2013 to more than 26 percent in 2020. Also by 2020, the amount of global electricity generation coming from renewable energy will be higher than today’s combined electricity demand of China, India and Brazil.
The report says the geography of deployment will increasingly shift to emerging economies and developing countries, which will make up two-thirds of the renewable electricity expansion to 2020. China alone will account for nearly 40 percent of total renewable power capacity growth and requires almost one-third of new investment to 2020. Continue reading
What makes a mighty fine drink could also make a pretty good fuel. Researchers at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls have figured out how to get about 4,000 gallons per hectare a year of ethanol from the agave plant, well adapted to grow on marginal land under low rainfall conditions.
The paper, titled “Prospecting for Energy-Rich Renewable Raw Materials: Agave Leaf Case Study” published in the journal PLOS ONE, outlined agave leaf composition and fermentation efficiencies that could produce competitive biofuels from this fast-growing, highly water use efficient plant.
“Bioethanol yields from agave fermentation could rival the most successful biofuel feedstock crops around the world,” says Associate Professor Rachel Burton.
“Importantly, it doesn’t compete with food crops, it’s fast growing so the whole plant could be used rather than just harvesting the leaves, and it is up to 10 times more water efficient than some other crop plants.”
Associate Professor Burton and her team, including PhD student Kendall Corbin, are working with AusAgave who have trial sites of agave established in Ayr in northern Queensland and Whyalla, South Australia.
The researchers are now looking at the best cultivation methods for ethanol production.
DONG Energy and LEGO Group along with William Demant, have opened BorkumRiffgrund 1, an offshore wind project expected to power more than 320,000 homes. The wind farm was officially commissioned by His Royal Highness, Prince Joachim of Denmark.
Offshore-Windpark Borkum Riffgrund 1 / Borkum Riffgrund1 offshore wind farm
Thomas Thune Andersen, Chairman of the Board of Directors of DONG Energy said during the opening event, “BorkumRiffgrund 1 is our first operational project in Germany and I’m very satisfied with the fact that we can now harvest the fruits of the investment we have put into this project. I’m also very pleased with the confidence that our joint venture partners have shown us by investing in this project.”
He continued, “Our journey in Germany is far from over: We are currently building another two offshore wind projects and have a number of other projects in our pipeline that will allow us to demonstrate the skills and competences we have gained and will allow us to continue to show the trust we have in the German offshore wind market.”
The wind project consists of 78 wind turbines each with a power of 4 MW. The wind farm is located 37 kilometres north of the German island Borkum and 54 kilometres from the German coast. Thus, BorkumRiffgrund 1 contributes considerably to the aim of the German government to install a total of 6.5 GW of offshore wind energy until the year 2020. Almost 3 GW have been installed in the German North and Baltic Sea so far.
A Dutch company specializing in commodity services and solutions for the global agricultural markets has earned an important sustainability certification for its biodiesel made from waste cooking oil. Nidera received the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) certification for the production of the green fuel.
“We were very pleased to work with RSB to certify UCO biodiesel produced at the Biodiesel Aragon facility [in Huesca, Spain],” said Bert Ooms, Nidera’s Group Communication Manager. “We are very happy to have a new option available for the certification of sustainable biofuels and waste materials.”
Rolf Hogan, Executive Director of RSB said, “Nidera and Biodiesel Aragon have chosen RSB to demonstrate the sustainability of their biodiesel production from used cooking oil. This shows a high level of commitment to sustainability in their operations”.
RSB is recognized by NGOs as the “most comprehensive and ambitious” biomaterials sustainability certification program in the world. RSB provides a holistic approach towards sustainability assurance, covering social, environmental and operational aspects.
While 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.
ReNew Power Ventures has completed installation of India’s tallest wind tower. The S97 stands at 120 m and according to company, offers a 33 percent increase in hub height when compared to the conventional tower design. In addition, ReNew said it is a revolutionary on-shore installation of lattice/tubular combination towers (hybrid towers) of 120 m height. The hybrid towers are manufactured by Suzlon and has been commercially erected, for the first time, anywhere in the world in India. It is a part of a 100.80 MW wind farm in Rajasthan, which is being commissioned alongside the 12.6 MW currently operation.
Suzlon said the S97 should have a gain in wind speed between 4-5 percent and industry research finds this should increase annual generation between 12-15 percent.
“As a leading energy company, ReNew Power is at the forefront of adopting the most innovative and technologically advanced equipment and systems available in the market today, while at the same time partnering with and encouraging OEM’s to explore new technologies and solutions,” said Sumant Sinha, Chairman and CEO, ReNew Power. “Industry estimates reveal that in India, approximately 400 million people do not have access to electricity. To meet the growing energy demands of the already highly strained energy infrastructure, the country requires a sustainable energy module. We are excited to be a first with this breakthrough installation in wind energy in the state of Rajasthan.”
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Tulsi Tanti, Chairman, Suzlon Group, added, “Suzlon’s R&D efforts are focused on developing high yield products that effectively bring down the cost of energy (COE) and improve customers return on investments. Our endeavour to provide sustainable and affordable energy solutions have resulted in the path-breaking S97-120 m (2.1MW) turbine with hybrid tower, which is designed to harness more energy from low wind sites. ReNew Power has always valued technology innovation and has been at the forefront of embracing and encouraging new technologies. We are delighted to partner with ReNew to enhance India’s clean energy output and contribute towards powering a greener tomorrow.”
This is ReNew Power’s fifth project in Rajasthan and the company already has more than 100 MW of installed and commissioned wind energy in the state.
California-based Aemetis is replacing 100 percent diesel with 100 percent biodiesel in India. This news release from the company says the pure biodiesel reduces emissions by 80 percent in the warm climate areas of India.
Traditionally, in Europe and in the United States, biodiesel is blended in the range of 5% to 20% with petroleum diesel due to colder temperature conditions. With southern/western India’s tropical climate, Aemetis led the introduction of 100% distilled biodiesel in truck, bus, taxi and stationary generator sectors as a 100% replacement of petroleum diesel.
The 99.8% pure distilled biodiesel produced by Aemetis has superior attributes such as a high cetane number (66-68) compared to the regular biodiesel cetane number of about 51 along with excellent lubricating properties to reduce engine wear.
Aemetis now has multiple sales channels in India, directly selling to bulk businesses and selling through Government-owned oil marketing companies (OMC’s). Aemetis is currently selling biodiesel to a large OMC in addition to a number of major transportation and logistics businesses.
“We are excited to lead the replacement of 100% petroleum diesel with 100% distilled biodiesel in India where 13 Indian cities rank among the 20 most polluted cities in the world,” said Eric McAfee, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Aemetis.
“We have succeeded in working with major bulk fuel customers to convert their fleets to 100% distilled biodiesel to achieve significant cost benefits as well as help improve the environment,” said Sanjeev Gupta, Managing Director of Aemetis’ India biofuels subsidiary, Universal Biofuels, based in Hyderabad.
In India, diesel-based fuels are king, as diesel makes up 25 billion gallons per year, significantly larger than the current India gasoline market of 5 billion gallons per year. Biodiesel production in India is only about 250 million gallons. Aemetis owns and operates a biodiesel production facility with a capacity of approximately 50 million gallons per year in India.
Florida Biodiesel, Inc. has delivered a refinery to the Bahamas. This company news release says it sent a B-500 Biodiesel plant to the Grand Bahama Power Company, Bahamas.
The Grand Bahama Power Company has chosen the B-500 Biodiesel processor for their prime transesterification facility. The B-500 Biodiesel plant is economical to operate and will allow the Grand Bahama Power Company to safely produce 1600 gallons of Biodiesel each 24 hours. The B-500 will also be used as a hands-on educational tool to show government agencies how to make renewable energy. “They will process used cooking oil collected locally into Biodiesel fuel,” says William Gehrs, of Florida Biodiesel, Inc. “The B-500 is very user friendly, has a low carbon footprint, and will economically produce Biodiesel for them.”