GWU Education Partnership Launched

Delegates taking the exam for the Galileo Master Certificate

Delegates taking the exam for the Galileo Master Certificate

The School of Engineering and Applied Science at the George Washington University (GWU) is partnering with the European Energy Centre to offer renewable energy and energy efficiency educational opportunities. The Centre works closely with the United Nations Environment Programme.

This October short course educational seminars will be launched for current professionals who want to up-skill their expertise in the renewable energy industry. The classes will be taught by leading experts who have more than 20 years theoretical and practical experience. Seminars are open to all professionals and students regardless of experience. Class sizes are set in order to encourage Q&A consultancy sessions during the courses, both between the delegates and lecturer and also to provide an opportunity for the delegates themselves to network.

Training materials are developed by industry experts and are required to maintain the standards set by a team of Quality Assessors at an Independent Body, which has provided training seminars for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for participants from the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia.

“It is clear that the renewable energy industry must further expand worldwide to drive forward the growth expected from upcoming UN climate talks. Our experience tells us that employees pursuing careers within the Renewable Energy sector require support to continue their professional development and keep pace with technological innovations within the industry,” said Paolo Buoni, Director, the European Energy Centre. “Therefore, education and training must remain a priority for all individuals working within and affiliated with the renewable energy sector, and so we are very pleased to announce this collaborative Partnership with The George Washington University.”

Click here to learn more and to register for classes.

Senvion Canada Produces Longest Turbine Blade

Senvion Canada has begun the production of the longest blade in Canada: the 55.8 metre blade that is destined for the Senvion 3.2M114 Cold Climate Version (CCV) 3 MW turbine. LM Wind Power will produce 45 sets of blades all equipped with Senvion’s anti-icing system, adapted for harsh winter climates, such as that in Quebec.

csm_2012_32M114_StMichaelisdonn_397_7a1085d078All blades will be delivered to the the Mesgi’g Ugju’s’n (MU) wind farm, a project that involves a 50-50 partnership of the three Mi’gmaq Nations of Quebec (Gesgapegiag, Gespeg et Listuguj) and developer Innergex. The project includes installation of 150 MW of the 3.2M114 type turbine with 100 metre towers. Official construction of the project has begun, and the wind farm will be operational by December 2016.

At the occasion of the inaugural ceremony, Helmut Herold, CEO of Senvion in North America said, “For me, it is always impressive to see this technology up close. The serial production of the 55.8 metre blade with the anti-icing hot air system, is of tremendous significance for the advancement of turbine technology in Quebec’s wind industry. Not only are we seeing shifts in the cost competitiveness of wind, in comparison to any new hydro installation in the province, but with such a shift comes the ability to technologically innovate,”

“Furthermore, said Herold, “blades with the anti-icing system are perfect for communities, such as the three Mi’gmaq Nations, who want to benefit from wind energy but have to work through Quebec’s cold climate. In short, what we are producing here is community friendly technology.”

Troy Jerome, the executive director of the Mi’gmawei Maiwomi Business Corporation added, “The Mesgi’g Ugju’s’n Wind Farm project is a testament of how the Mi’gmaq people and our Mi’gmaq government can contribute to the greater Quebec economy and more specifically to the economy of the Gaspésie region. Through our partnership with Innergex and Senvion, we are pleased that LM Wind Power can deliver on the latest technology required to meet the extreme weather conditions of the Gaspésie region. This project is one great historic achievement, both for being able to achieve an agreement with the Quebec government on a large energy project and also for bringing together our Nation, the people of Gaspésie, German technology and of course LM Wind Power with this huge sweeping blade which will help us create beautiful clean green energy.”

UPM BioVerno Diesel Reduces Tailpipe Emissions

Studies have found that wood-based UPM BioVerno significantly reduces harmful tailpipe emissions. Several engine and vehicle tests were conducted by a number of research institutes including VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, University of Vaasa in Finland and at FEV, an internationally recognized vehicle engineering company based in Germany.

UPM BiofuelsThe Finnish company’s renewable diesel functions just like conventional diesel in all diesel engines yet it generates up to 80 percent less greenhouse gas emissions during its lifecycle compared to conventional fossil diesel fuels, as found by the research.

According to the study, the renewable diesel also reduces harmful tailpipe emissions including particle mass, hydrocarbon, carbon dioxide, nitrogeous oxide and carbon monoxide emissions, but the percentage of reduction varied based on vehicle technology and blend. However, all tests demonstrated similar or improved efficiency of the engine, without compromising the engine power, when UPM BioVerno was introduced to the fuel blend. In addition, it was found that by using 100 percent UPM BioVerno diesel fuel consumption decreased.

FEV Germany carried out a series of tests on UPM BioVerno’s effect on engine functionality and emissions with both a diesel blend containing 30 percent UPM BioVerno and 100 percent UPM BioVerno diesel. In addition to measuring engine output and fuel consumption, the tests focused on tailpipe emissions and the performance of UPM BioVerno compared with conventional diesel.

“UPM BioVerno renewable diesel was investigated in a screening campaign at FEV Germany. The results showed that even as a 30% blending component, the accumulated HC emissions were reduced by more than 50% and the CO emissions by more than 40% compared to reference fossil diesel. Our tests also showed good results in NOx emissions and efficiency,” said Dr. Ing Thorsten Schnorbus, manager passenger car diesel, FEV.

UPM BioVerno was also tested in University of Vaasa, Finland using a heavy duty engine. These experiments were performed in the Technobothnia Education and Research Centre in Vaasa.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1The Pennsylvania State House of Representatives has voted to remove the ethanol-blending mandate for gas sold in the state. In 2008, Pennsylvania set a requirement for sold petrol to be blended with a minimum of 10% ethanol whenever in-state ethanol production exceeded 350 million gallons. The bill will now be considered in the state Senate.
  • Energy companies from 26 countries have been selected as Finalists for the Platts Global Energy Awards, an annual program recognizing exemplary leadership, performance and innovation. The 2015 finalists, chosen from nearly 200 nominees from nearly three dozen nominating countries and representing 4 continents, were announced by program host Platts.
  • The current national offers of climate action submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) would reduce projected warming by approximately 1°C, according to a new analysis released from Climate Interactive and MIT Sloan. A Paris agreement based on these offers would put the world on track for a global temperature increase of 3.5°C (6.3°F), with a range of uncertainty from 2.1 to 4.7°C (3.7 to 8.4°F), down from the 4.5°C (8.1°F) of warming above pre-industrial levels if nations continue on the business-as-usual track.
  • Inventure Renewables, Inc. has announced construction of a commercial scale plant for Wilmar (China) Oleochemicals Co., Ltd. The commercial scale plant will be used to convert a waste vegetable oil byproduct into intermediate materials, which can be further processed into higher value food, feed and industrial products, including biodiesel.

Study: 15B Gallon RFS Can Happen in 2016

According to new research from the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD), the 15 billion gallons per year of ethanol set in the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) is currently achievable. With infrastructure in place, what is needed, say the Iowa State University (ISU) economists, is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to adhere to the law.

“Our results show that meeting the original 15 billion gallon RFS ethanol target in 2016 is feasible,” write ISU Profs. Bruce Babcock and Sebastien Pouliot. “The two key conditions needed to meet this consumption level are to allow the market for RINs [Renewable Identification Numbers] to work as intended, which will allow the price of E85 to fall to induce consumers to buy the fuel, and for EPA to set a consistent policy signal to industry that they will indeed have to meet this target. A clear and consistent message from EPA is needed to foster investment in fueling stations that will allow enough consumers to access E85.”

E85 pump in Des Moines IA

Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

The data used was from actual daily fuel sales and volume prices from a major Midwest retail chain and demonstrates that E85 is a viable means to meet renewable fuel mandates. The study also reviewed the willingness of flex fuel vehicle (FFV) drivers to purchase E85 at various price points.

According to the report, “Using these new direct estimates of consumer demand, we find that owners of current flex vehicles in all US metro areas would consume 250 million gallons of E85 if it was priced at parity on a cost per mile basis with E10, and one billion gallons of ethanol if E85 were priced to save drivers 23% on a cost per mile basis. These estimates assume that no new E85 stations are installed,” write the authors. The study shows that in one metro area, the market share of E85 exceeded 15 percent when E85 saved FFV owners money on a cost-per-mile basis.

The authors also demonstrate how a strong and consistent enforcement signal from the EPA — transmitted through the market for RIN credits — can quickly transform the market for E85. They write, “Our finding that owners of FFVs like to save money on their fuel purchases is not too surprising: all of us do. Perhaps what is surprising is that EPA’s proposed decision to cut ethanol mandates reveals so little faith in their own compliance mechanism—the RIN trading system. …EPA set up the RIN trading system to create the incentive to invest in the infrastructure that is needed to expand the consumption of biofuels which, in turn, lowers RIN price. Using the power of the marketplace has proved to be an efficient method of achieving policy objectives.”

Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen commented on the study’s findings, stating, “This report confirms that if EPA and the Administration would just let the RFS and its RIN mechanism work as intended, we would obliterate the so-called ‘blend wall’ and increase consumer access to lower-cost, lower-carbon renewable fuels that are made right here in America. The authors show that Congress’ original vision for conventional biofuels under the RFS is indeed achievable in 2016 with existing infrastructure, and that the only thing missing is the resolve and commitment from EPA and the Administration to continue building upon the remarkable success story that is the RFS.”

Ethanol the Cure for Omaha’s Bad Gas

NEethanolboardNew tests show that Omaha has a case of bad gas, but ethanol could be the cure. The Nebraska Ethanol Board says gasoline at the Magellan fuel terminal in Omaha showed some samples tested to having as much as 30 percent by volume of toxic substances in fuel that wasn’t blended with ethanol.

Toxics such as benzene, xylene and toluene are added to gasoline to increase octane, which is necessary to reduce engine knock. These substances, known collectively as “aromatics”, are known toxins and, in some cases, known or suspected carcinogens or cancer-causing substances.

In the July fuel samples, these toxics accounted for nearly 30 percent of volume in base gasoline without ethanol added. However, when 10 percent ethanol was added to the mix, the volume of toxic compounds dropped to 23 percent—or nearly by one-fourth that of straight gasoline.

“While ‘aromatics’ may sound like a good thing, they are actually a huge threat to human health,” said Angela Tin, vice president of environmental health for the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest. “These toxics do not completely combust in the engine and therefore exit the tailpipe as tiny particles that enter our lungs, heart, brains and bloodstream.”

Particulate matter from vehicle exhaust has been linked to brain cancer, lung cancer, heart disease and asthma — and is especially harmful to infants, children and people suffering from heart or respiratory problems.

Tin says fuel with ethanol is a cleaner air alternative. “Ethanol is a clean-burning, non-toxic source of octane,” she said. “The more ethanol in our fuel, the lower the volume of toxic compounds in our fuel and in the air we breathe.”

Nebraska Ethanol Board officials point out that ethanol adds oxygen to fuel and that helps the fuel burn more completely with more of the toxic compounds completely burned in the engine rather than coming out the tailpipe.

California LCFS Opens Opportunities for Biodiesel

nBBThe National Biodiesel Board (NBB) is very pleased with the decision last week by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to readopt the Low Carbon Fuels Standard and the increased role biodiesel will play in that standard.

The new standard finds that biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent and often by as much as 81 percent versus petroleum, giving it the best carbon score among all liquid fuels.

“Biodiesel is the most sustainable fuel on the planet,” said Don Scott, National Biodiesel Board director of sustainability. “Low carbon alternatives can also be low cost alternatives when we use diverse supplies of renewable resources. This validates that California’s carbon reduction goals are obtainable.”

Scott took part in a conference call today with University of California-Davis Extension Agronomist Stephen Kaffka, who is director of the California Biomass Collaborative. “The production of low carbon intensity feedstocks from all sources is important,” said Kaffka. “The fuels that have the best carbon performance are the ones that should have a market in California.”

Kaffka adds that the standard allows for “innovation and competition” to create new fuels from new pathways. “These fuels can come from any number of sources, including agricultural crops, but also the conversion of forest residues, lumber harvesting and thinning, and the recycling and conversion of organic wastes from urban sources,” he said. “Diesel can be made from both crops and from residues of various sorts.”

Listen to the conference call here: National Biodiesel call on California LCFS

Germany Drives Demands for Renewable Electricity

Renewable electricity demand in Europe is on the rise with businesses and consumers voluntarily purchasing renewable electricity with Guarantees of Origin. According to data published by the Association of Issuing Bodies (AIB), the European market is expected to reach a total market volume of 400 Terrawatt hour (TWh) in 2015 with Germany playing a dominating role.

In 2014 Germany reached a volume of 80 TWh, and is on track to reach a volume of 100 TWh in 2015, accounting for 25 percent of the European volume. The German figures as of Q2 in 2015 already Market demand for renewable electricity in Europeshow a market demand of 69 TWh, an increase of 11 TWh, 19 percent higher than the 2nd quarter last year. Germany, with a total power consumption of 580 TWh, is now close to having 20 percent of all consumption documented as renewable.

For Europe in total, the 2015 2nd quarter numbers show an increase of 25 TWh compared to Q2 in 2014 – an increase of 11 percent. The total demand for Q2 reached a record volume of 255 TWh.

The development in 2015 follows a record-breaking 2014, during which the market experienced a 27.6 percent growth and an all-time high of 314 TWh in renewable electricity demand. Moreover, for the first time since 2011, there was a real balance between supply and demand.

The European demand for renewable electricity documented by Guarantees of Origin now constitute more than 10 percent of all electricity consumption in Europe (ca. 3,300 TWh) and more than one third of all electricity from renewable sources in Europe (ca. 900 TWh).


BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1JinkoSolar Holding Co., Ltd. will supply TSK Electrónica y Electricidad, S.A. (“TSK”) with 49.8MW of PV solar modules for the largest solar PV plant in Mexico. Located in the State of Durgango, the solar PV plant is the first PV solar plant in Mexico to be connected to the National Power System. Durango TAI is currently in the second stage of construction of phase one. The total five phases of 49.8 MW is expected to be completed this year.
  • NorthWestern Energy has completed its previously announced acquisition of the 80-megawatt Beethoven wind project located near Tripp, South Dakota from BayWa r.e. Wind LLC for $143 million.
  • Dominion Foundation has presented the University of Maryland with a $50,000 educational grant. The grant, part of Dominion’s Higher Educational Partnership, was one of 40 awarded to colleges and post-secondary schools to fund projects in energy, environmental studies, engineering and workforce development.
  • Voya Financial has announced that it has joined the RE100, a global list of prominent companies that have pledged to source 100 percent of their electricity from renewable energy in an effort to reduce CO2 emissions and advance environmentally responsible business practices. Voya has purchased clean, emission-free wind energy credits equal to 100 percent of its electricity usage since 2007.

Logan’s Gap Wind Farm Up & Running

The Logan’s Gap Wind facility located in Comanche County, Texas is up and running. A majority of the power created from the 200 MW wind farm will be sold to Walmart via a long-term power purchase agreement.

Siemens SWT-2.3-108 wind turbines“Logan’s Gap Wind is our fourth operational wind power facility in Texas and we are now serving three different regions throughout the state,” noted Mike Garland, CEO of Pattern Energy, who built the wind farm. “We continue to bring new facilities online both on time and on budget, demonstrating our ability to execute on our growth strategy. We are pleased to be working with one of the leading corporations in the world as it acquires renewable energy and lowers its carbon footprint. We are increasingly partnering with America’s leading companies as they recognize that wind power, which continues to decline in cost, is both good for the environment and good for business.”

The facility will sell 75 percent of the electricity produced to Walmart and a financial institution. Walmart has a 10-year power purchase agreement to acquire 58% of the expected output from the facility. Seventeen percent of the expected output will be sold under a 13-year fixed price agreement with a A-/Baa2-rated financial institution. The remaining 25 percent of expected output will be sold at ERCOT spot market prices.

“Walmart has a goal to be supplied by 100 percent renewable energy, and sourcing from wind energy projects — like the Logan’s Gap Wind Facility — is a core component in the mix,” added Mark Vanderhelm, vice president of energy for Walmart. “The energy we’ll procure from this facility represents nearly one-fifth of the U.S. portion of our goal to source seven billion kilowatt hours of renewable energy by 2020. That’s a significant leap forward on our renewable energy journey.”