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.

Researchers Turn Food Waste into Biodiesel

cincyfoodwasteWaste not, want not. That’s the attitude of University of Cincinnati researchers who are turning food waste into biodiesel. This news release from the school says Timothy C. Keener, PhD, and Drew C. McAvoy, PhD—along with fellow faculty members Pablo Campo-Moreno, PhD, San-Mou Jeng, PhD, and George Sorial, PhD—proposed an innovative Smart Cities Project titled “A Pilot Study to Produce Bioenergy and Fertilizer from UC’s Food Waste.”

The proposal to convert food waste into gaseous fuels, solid fuels, biodiesel and other products was accepted and today, the study flourishes under the direction of Keener and McAvoy. In October 2014, the team launched a pilot plant that has diverted 660 pounds of food waste generated from UC’s Center Court Dining Center for research.

The researchers have since developed a breakthrough synergistic technology that uses anaerobic digestion to turn nutrient-rich organic materials into fuel (biogas), fertilizer, or soil conditioner, while using the carbon dioxide fraction of the biogas to grow algae. Simultaneously, lipid oils in the algae are also extracted and converted to biodiesel.

This novel process, which essentially integrates algae production with anaerobic digestion, allows researchers to almost completely utilize the carbon found in food waste in a renewable manner.

McAvoy explains, “The anaerobic digestion of food waste coupled with algae production seems to be an attractive alternative for not only reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but also for the production of renewable energy.”

The United Nations estimates that “a third of all the food produced in the world is never consumed,” totaling about 1.3 billion tons of waste a year.

Tennessee Waste-To-Energy Facility Approved

PGHEplant1A sustainable waste-to-energy facility has been approved for construction in Tennessee. PHG Energy (PHGE) says its deal with city of Lebanon, Tennessee, will build a downdraft gasification plant that will cleanly convert up to 64 tons per day of blended waste wood, scrap tires and sewer sludge into a fuel gas that will generate up to 300Kw of electricity. The power generated from this plant will provide the plant’s internal power needs as well as contribute electricity to the wastewater treatment plant where it will be located.

“This is not incineration or burning,” Lebanon Mayor Philip Craighead pointed out. “There is no smoke or odor. The feedstock material is broken down at very high temperatures in a sealed vessel, and about 95 percent of what goes into the gasifier comes out as the fuel gas.” Craighead also said the remaining 5 percent to 10 percent of material exiting the gasifier is a high-carbon biochar that can be recycled or sold for agricultural or industrial uses.

PHGE President Tom Stanzione said the Lebanon project will deploy what his company believes is the world’s largest downdraft gasifier and added, “This is the same basic technology we utilized in all our previous designs, and we have upgraded capacity and power density to accomplish a lot more gasification in what is not a lot more space.”

The Large Frame gasifier, as the company refers to it, has been vetted through a rigorous testing process for more than two years at PHGE’s research facility. A standard PHGE gasifier can convert up to 12 tons of feedstock per day to fuel gas, while the Lebanon model will process up to 64 tons per day without substantially increasing the footprint of the plant.

PHGE officials say the plant will keep more than 8,000 tons of material out of landfills each year – the equivalent of a line of trucks over 4 miles long, as well as cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 2,500 tons each year.

This project will mark the 14th gasifier installation for PHGE.

Clean Energy Nets North Carolina $4.8 Billion

NCSEAThe clean energy industry in North Carolina is netting the state $4.8 billion. The NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) says the sector is a key driver in the state’s economy, growing by about 25 percent since 2012 – outpacing the growth of other industries in the state.

“This year’s Census not only reveals good news for the clean energy industry; it demonstrates powerful news for all of North Carolina,” said NCSEA executive director, Ivan Urlaub. “Consider the rise of clean energy business sectors like building efficiency and energy storage, which are creating immediate jobs and lowering business expenses, while preparing our state to affordably meet future energy demand. Our state is not only better off with clean energy, it’s thriving – and becoming a national model for how clean energy development can help strengthen economic competitiveness.”

Driven largely by the state’s market-based clean energy policies, North Carolina was recently named one of the fastest growing markets for clean energy solutions, and is ranked fourth nationwide in installed solar power. NCSEA created the Census in 2008, a first of its kind nationally, to help measure the impact of North Carolina’s clean energy policies and identify where policy is and is not achieving the results that policymakers, economic developers and industry members envisioned. One such policy is the Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit, which has reportedly returned $1.93 for every $1.00 utilized by state and local governments.

NCSEA is also crediting growing success in the biomass sector, with animal waste, poultry litter-to-energy and swine-waste-to-energy projects helping fuel the clean energy growth.

You can read the full 2014 North Carolina Clean Energy Industry Census report here.

Neutral Fuels to Supply Biodiesel for Dubai

Neutral-Fuels-logoWaste oil-to-biodiesel maker Neutral Fuels will supply Dubai with locally produced biodiesel. This Neutral Fuels news release says the agreement makes Dubai the first city in the world to adopt biodiesel made 100 percent locally from 100 percent waste cooking oil for use in municipality vehicles.

Karl W Feilder, CEO & Chairman of Neutral Fuels, said: “This is a fantastic day for the UAE, for Dubai and for biodiesel. In adopting biodiesel – which doesn’t even require any engine modifications on diesel vehicles – the Municipality is creating a sustainability benchmark which the rest of the world should note.

“We are proud to be part of the UAE’s bold vision for a sustainable future, and applaud the Municipality for making such a strategic move.”

Today, VIPs, Dubai Municipality staff and a host of media gathered at the Municipality Headquarters in Al Rigga, Dubai, to celebrate the agreement, but also to witness another world first: a life-sized demonstration of how a biorefinery works.

“Neutral Fuels is keen for everyone to see for themselves exactly how Dubai’s used vegetable cooking oil is chemically converted into pure, clean biodiesel – so we recreated our Dubai production facility in the Municipality car park!” said Feilder.

Neutral Fuels has been producing biodiesel in the UAE since 2010, when it became the first biodiesel manufacturer ever to be licensed in Dubai.

Process to Make Renewable Fuel for Under $1/Gallon

duckweedusaA new process looks to make renewable fuel out of algae, waste water and even vegetable for under $1 per gallon. Duckweed USA says its new thermodynamically reversible process can make clean jet fuel, diesel fuel or gasoline from the less common feedstocks.

Using the patented Linear Venturi Kinetic Nozzle changes the aquatic-mass-to-energy process to one that requires no high-heat processes nor chemicals. 90% of the energy used in production is recoverable and feedstock is self-replenishing. With 3 variables in production cost nearly eliminated, the ideas of energy independence and financial self-sufficiency are now viable options at any level. For investors, no plummet in oil prices can spoil profitability projections when production is under $40 per barrel. Domestically and globally, this breakthrough opens doors to new opportunities of growth never before seen.

For stakeholders at any level, the bottom line is, as Michael Rigolizzo states, “Our system turns energy liabilities into assets. Every school bus that needs gasoline to every jet that needs fuel is a point of profit for synfuel-producing communities instead of a cost.” Duckweed believes its patented process could revolutionize the President’s action plan, the combination of energy types needed and especially the costs to be incurred by taxpayers. “By the time the 5-year initial phase of the action plan would be completed, the Duckweed process could be established – and turning profits – in every community along the Keystone Pipeline,” says Rigolizzo.

Duckweed says it already has interest from groups, such as Sparta, Georgia, Rutgers University and countries from Europe to Africa.

Indiana Town Considering Sludge-to-Biodiesel Plan

An Indiana town is looking at a plan that would turn sewer sludge into biodiesel. This article from the Princeton (IN) Daily Clarion says that city is negotiating a contract with Terre Haute, just up the road, to haul away the sludge and make it into the green fuel.

Sewer plant superintendant Charlie Woodruff said Terre Haute works with a company that makes biodiesel out of the sludge.

He estimated that Princeton generates about 10,000 to 14,000 gallons of sludge per day.

Hurst said a report will be presented Jan. 20 to the board, comparing the cost of contracting for the sludge disposal with Terre Haute to the cost of the chemicals the city needs to use to try to mitigate the stink that wafts away from the plant on Richland Creek Drive, toward homes and local businesses.

According to the Terre Haute Tribune Star, that city is expected to produce 12 million gallons of biodiesel from its sludge-to-biodiesel program.

MPM Technologies Signs Waste to Energy Deal

MPM Technologies, a subsidiary Carbon Cycle Power (CCP) has signed a lease agreement with an affiliate of Spokane Valley manufacturer Wheeler Industries, Inc., to house the demonstration unit of CCP’s waste-to-value solution. The patent-pending photon-induced, electric-arc gasification technology can procCarbon Cycle Power gasification technologyess biomass or municipal solid waste to produce heat and power.

“After reviewing several viable options, the one that made the most fiscal sense was to manufacture and demonstrate in the same location,” said Brian Burrow, interim CFO for CCI/MPM. “We’re literally building the unit on one side of the street and deploying the demo on the other side of the street. It really is an ideal scenario.”

Carbon Cycle Investments acquired a controlling interest in MPM following a stock purchase agreement in April 2013. The company already has an agreement with Wheeler Industries as the manufacturer of the reaction chamber of its gasification technology. Manufacturing will begin immediately.