ConEdison Assists “Renewable” Waste Treatment

The Port Richmond Wastewater Treatment Plant located on Staten Island has been updated to include “renewable” energy to help power the waste treatment facility. Three new boilers – a combination of biogas and natural gas – along with a new exhaust system and a rootfop solar array. Biogas is a byproduct of the wastewater treatment process and is now being captured and used to replace equipment from the 1970s that ran on heating oil. The solar array, installed by ConEdison Solutions, is expected to produce 1.6 million kilowatt hours, approximately 10 percent of the plant’s power needs. The project is part of OneNYC’s initiative to achieve net-zero energy use at the City’s wastewater treatment plants by 2050.

21218149303_ee1802d0ae_z“This $30 million investment in new technology at the Port Richmond Wastewater Treatment Plant will significantly reduce pollution and result in cleaner air for New York City,” said New York City Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Emily Lloyd. “Our wastewater treatment plants require a tremendous amount of electricity in order to protect public health and the environment, and we’re focused on not only reducing their demand for electricity, but also capturing and maximizing their potential for energy production.”

In September 2014, New York City committed to the goal of achieving an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by 2050 (80×50). With buildings comprising nearly three-quarters of New York City’s overall emissions, the City has implemented an initiative to retrofit all public buildings with any significant energy use by 2025, and supporting many private buildings to do the same. In addition, in order to reduce emissions from City government operations, an program was put in place to achieve net-zero energy use at the City’s wastewater treatment plants by 2050.

“ConEdison Solutions is proud to help the New York City Department of Environmental Protection promote sustainability through this ambitious solar installation,” added Michael N. Perna of ConEdison Solutions. “Throughout New York City, both public-sector and private-sector entities are learning how to utilize renewable power as a money-saving and energy-saving asset. With these significant improvements at the Port Richmond Wastewater Treatment Plant, DEP is setting an outstanding example for other facilities throughout the region.”

Joule Receives EPA Cert for CO2 Ethanol

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 8.39.11 AMJoule’s fuel grade Sunflow-E ethanol has been registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for commercial use in E10 and E15 gasoline blends. The fuel is derived from recycled CO2.

“We are approaching commercialization with a technology that is first of its kind, able to convert CO2 directly into multiple drop-in fuels. It is critical to prove its readiness by meeting government and industry requirements. Having secured EPA registration, our fuel grade Sunflow-E ethanol is now cleared for use,” said Serge Tchuruk, president and CEO of Joule.

Earlier this year Joule announced the results of its third-party testing of Sunflow-E ethanol. Key results included:

  • American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) D4806 – Denatured fuel ethanol for blending with gasolines for use as automotive spark-ignition engine fuel
    German Institute for Standardization (DIN) EN 15376 – Ethanol as a blending component for petrol
  • Joule Sunflow-E ethanol is chemically identical to its traditional counterparts, but differs in the way it is produced. Joule converts CO2 to ethanol directly in a continuous process, using engineered bacteria as living catalysts rather than biomass feedstocks. At full-scale commercialization, Joule ultimately targets productivity of up to 25,000 gallons of Sunflow-E ethanol per acre annually.

Tchuruk added, “Following a full year of production at our demonstration plant, we have achieved a several-fold advance in outdoor productivity. Additionally, we have reached unprecedented levels in our lab reactors, and we know the steps required to replicate these results outdoors. This will further strengthen our position to initiate global deployment.”

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.

New Forest Waste-to-Energy Tech Debuts

G4 Insights has debuted a new technology to convert forest waste into renewable natural gas in Auburn, California. The process converts scraps and small trees from forest thinning projects into biomethane.  In it first demonstration, G4 used gas produced onsite to fuel an unmodified Placer County truck.

G4 ForesttoFuel Technology“G4 is pleased to have the opportunity to partner with Placer County, California Energy Commission, Southern California Gas Company, and U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities to make this project a great success,” said G4 Principal Matt Babicki. “This project demonstrates the potential for G4 PyroCatalytic Hydrogenation technology to transform forestry waste into high value, low carbon fuel, and support forestry communities with long term jobs to collect biomass and operate G4 renewable natural gas plants.”

Typically, forestry waste is burned where trees are felled to reduce wildfire hazards, increasing local air pollution. Converting the forestry residues it into natural gas instead would reduce air pollution and increase the supply renewable energy.  In the Foresthill area of Placer County alone, there are an estimated 20,640 tons of forestry waste produced each year – enough to fuel 4,926 cars for a year. A single ton of forestry waste could produce enough natural gas to drive from Lake Tahoe to Anchorage, Alaska. In the United States, there is enough current available and sustainable tree thinning and forestry industry waste to fuel more than 40,000 natural gas fleets the size of Placer County’s.

“Forest waste is one of the largest sources of potential waste resources for biofuels and bioenergy in California,” said California Energy Commissioner Janea A. Scott. “Bringing more technologies like the G-4 Insight technology, which can sustainably convert waste materials from forest restoration activities into low carbon transportation fuels online, would be a significant achievement.”

The G4 technology uses raw, untreated forestry waste that otherwise has no commercial use. Competing technologies require clean wood chips, stripped of bark, from harvested trees that could be used for other purposes. The gas it produces is of the same quality as conventional gas, and can be used for any of its purposes. G4 says the natural gas gthey produce using this technology reduces fossil emissions by 86 percent compared to standard gasoline.

Enerkem Raises C$152M in Funding

Waste-to-biofuels and biochemical company Enerkem has raised C$152.6 million and initiated the production of biomethanol from non-recyclable household garbage at the Enerkem Alberta Biofuels full-scale facility in Edmonton, Canada.

Enerkem is the first company in the world to have successfully produced biomethanol from municipal solid waste at the commercial scale. (PRNewsFoto/Enerkem Inc.)

Enerkem is the first company in the world to have successfully produced biomethanol from municipal solid waste at the commercial scale. (PRNewsFoto/Enerkem Inc.)

The financings are comprised of a recently accessed C$29 million debt facility from Integrated Asset Management Corp.’s (IAM) Private Debt Group as well as C$50 million in private placements from current investors and C$73.6 million of debt from two other lenders, closed over the past year. This funding will be used for the product expansion of the Edmonton facility and the company’s global growth.

“I must say a huge thank you to our financial partners, employees, as well as the City of Edmonton and Alberta Innovates – Energy and Environment Solutions who believed in us and have accompanied us while we were reaching this pivotal operational milestone,” said Vincent Chornet, president and chief executive officer of Enerkem. “We are about to fundamentally transform the waste industry over the coming years and allow energy and chemical groups access to a new and competitive source of renewable carbon.”

PHG Energy to Build Waste-to-Energy Plan 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.”

Olleco Acquisition Expands Biodiesel Abilities

ollecoc2gUK-based Olleco has acquired another company that also converts used cooking oil and food waste into biodiesel. This company news release says it bought Convert2Green Ltd.

Bringing together Convert2Green and Olleco increases our number of depots to 17 across the UK and enables us to improve efficiencies and coverage to enhance the used cooking oil collection service offered to our customers. The work done by Convert2Green on producing carbon efficient fuels is an exciting addition to Olleco’s range of low carbon bio-liquid fuels and they look forward to developing the possibilities of these fuels in the future.

Commercial Director Adam Baisley said: “We are delighted to welcome Convert2Green customers and staff to Olleco. We aim to build on the strong foundation they have established and extend our reliable and award winning services to our new customers.”

Olleco is fully committed to helping its customers waste nothing from their foodservice business. Olleco ensures that all of the organic waste it collects is converted into renewable energy and compost; nothing goes to landfill.

United Airlines Invests in Fulcrum BioEnergy

United Airlines has made a $30 million equity investment in U.S.-based waste-to-energy company Fulcrum BioEnergy, Inc., According to United Airlines, this is the single largest investment by a U.S. airline in alternative fuels and sets them apart in Infographic_Fulcrumthe aviation industry in the advancement of aviation biofuels and carbon emissions reductions. In addition to the equity investment, United and Fulcrum have entered into an agreement that will study the feasibility of developing up to five projects located near United’s hubs. If the projects come to fruition, the facilities would produce up to 180 million gallons of aviation biofuels per year.

“We know alternative fuels is an emerging industry that is vital to the future of aviation and this is just one of our initiatives to help make these fuels saleable and scalable,” said United’s Executive Vice President and General Counsel Brett Hart. “Investing in alternative fuels is not only good for the environment, it’s a smart move for our company as biofuels have the potential to hedge against future oil price volatility and carbon regulations.”

As part of the partnership, United has negotiated a long-term supply agreement with Fulcrum and, subject to availability, will have the opportunity to purchase at least 90 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel a year for a minimum of 10 years at a EcoSkies+plane_1 (1)cost that is competitive with conventional jet fuel. Fulcrum anticipates its first alternative fuels plant will begin commercial operation in 2017.

According to Fulcrum, their technology converts household trash, or municipal solid waste (MSW), into renewable jet fuel. Fulcrum’s renewable jet fuel is expected to provide a greater than 80 percent reduction in lifecycle carbon emissions when compared to conventional jet fuel.

“United Airlines just demonstrated why they are one of the leaders in commercial aviation,” added E. James Macias, Fulcrum’s president and CEO. “United’s investment and participation in our projects is a tremendous boost to our program. Their support, commitment and backing accelerate our schedule to bring large volumes of competitively-priced, sustainable fuels to United and the rest of the aviation industry.”

Advanced Disposal Opens Gas-to-Energy Plant

Advanced Disposal has opened the doors to a new gas-to-energy plant built on behalf of the Sarasota County, Florida landfill. To celebrate, elected officials, media and community members toured the landfill and facility including the new gas-to-energy plant built by Aria Energy Company. The plant is comprised of three engines that can produce as much as 4.8 MW of electricity. Gas produced by the landfill is converted by the plant’s generators. The power created at the facility, operated by Advanced Disposal, produces energy that will be sold around the state of Florida.

Sarasota County Landfill Tour“This is a really great opportunity for the county, as well as for Aria Energy, to take a resource that would otherwise be burned away into the atmosphere and use it to create something that is usable by the community,” said Sarasota County Public Utilities Solid Waste Engineer Jason Timmons.

Guests were also invited to participate in landfill facility tours. The company said in a news release this allowed consumers to better understand where the methane is created to power the generators.

Advanced Disposal General Manager Tim Ferris provided the landfill tours and answered guests’ questions. “This is an exciting time for Sarasota County Landfill,” said Ferris. “While we are not operating the new gas-to-energy facility, we are proud to operate the landfill that produces the gas, which in turn will provide energy to not only the local community, but also across the state.”

Abengoa to Build U.S. MSW Biorefinery

Abengoa has been selected by Fulcrum BioEnergy to build the first biorefinery using gasification technology to convert more than 200,000 tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) into syncrude that will be converted into more than 10 million gallons of jet fuel. The plant will be located in the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center, around 20 miles east of Reno, Nevada. The contract, worth $200 million, gives Abengoa the responsibility for the execution of the plant including engineering design and construction. The will also participate in the development of the project.

Fulcrum-Abengoa logo“Abengoa is the seventh largest EPC company in the U.S. and is one of, if not, the premier engineering and construction firms in the renewables space. They have the demonstrated experience and capabilities and have stepped up and made the business commitments to get the job done for us,” said James Macias, Fulcrum’s president and CEO. “We are eager to add Abengoa to our team. Abengoa has the skill and horsepower to take our design and technology development and successfully turn it into an operating commercial plant.”

This initiative, says Abengoa, provides a sustainable alternative for the large volumes of municipal solid waste generated in the area every year, which would otherwise be disposed of in a landfill. The process of converting MSW into renewable transportation fuels will significantly reduce the number of landfills, a growing concern because of the chemical pollutants released into the air and seeping into the groundwater.

The MSW biorefinery is set to go into operation in the third quarter of 2017.