BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1ReneSola has announced that it has sold its 34.6 MW Port Farms utility scale project in the United Kingdom to Foresight Solar Fund Limited. This represents ReneSola’s second project sale to Foresight Group, a leading, independent infrastructure and private equity investment manager, following the sale of its 6.4 MW Field House project in July 2015 to other funds managed by Foresight.
  • A survey commissioned by an environmental group found that 6 in 10 voters support President Obama’s landmark climate rule for power plants. The poll, released by the League of Conservation Voters, also concluded that 70 percent of United States voters want their state governors to comply with the regulation. Only 31 percent disagreed with the rule, and 17 percent said their states’ governors should not comply. The group characterized the support for the rule as an “overwhelming majority.”
  • Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) and Climate Investment Funds have released analysis on “the Role of Public Finance in Deploying Geothermal Energy in Developing Countries.” The research relied on stakeholder dialogue as well as three case studies on geothermal projects of different sizes and development models in Turkey, Kenya and Indonesia. Among the key findings, the researchers estimate public finance for geothermal “needs to increase 7-10 fold (from USD 7.4 billion currently to USD 56-73 billion) in order to drive enough private investment to meet developing countries’ deployment targets of 23GW out to 2030.” Policy recommendations include ambitious deployment targets, feed-in tariffs and centralized data-sharing.
  • In a supplement to federal loan guarantee solicitation announcements, the Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) has issued guidance for potential applicants who are looking for support on distributed energy projects. This supplement joins the existing Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy Projects and Advanced Fossil Energy Projects solicitations. Distributed thermal heating and/or cooling installations, including solar thermal and groundsourced geothermal, are included.

Alliance AutoGas Gets ‘Protect & Save’ Certs

Alliance AutoGas has received approval from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their bi-fuel police vehicles that can run using propane autogas or conventional gasoline. The certifications cover the following vehicles: Ford Taurus Interceptor 3.5L (2015, 2014, 2013), Ford Explorer Interceptor 3.5L & 3.7L (2016, 2015, 2014, 2013), Dodge Charger 3.6L (2015) and Dodge Charger 5.7 HEMI (2015, 2014, 2013). The company said of specific interest to U.S. Law Enforcement fleets are the certifications of the, Explorer Police Interceptor, the Taurus Police Interceptor, and the Charger Pursuit.

AllianceAutoGasThese platforms are being offered with Alliance’s exclusive plug and play technology. This technology allows for consistent OEM quality installs in a matter of hours. Certifications are secured by Blossman Services Inc. (BSI), the equipment distributor for Alliance AutoGas. BSI is the exclusive United States distributor and the Manufacturer of Record (MOR) for EPA and CARB certifications on behalf of Alliance AutoGas and its members.

Alliance AutoGas said they offer the only comprehensive conversion program in the United States and assist companies in determining if propane autogas is right for their fleet. From there they convert existing vehicles — without voiding any warranties. The state-of-the-art conversions are EPA-certified, to ensure safety and maximum efficiency, and performed for zero upfront cost. In addition, Alliance builds the fueling station wherever the fleet is based at no upfront cost and provides a guaranteed fuel supply going forward. Refueling infrastructure, said Alliance, is considerably cheaper than any other fuel source and scalable, growing with a fleet.

Justice Cracks Down on Biodiesel RIN Defrauders

scalesofjustice1To maintain the integrity of government incentives for biodiesel, the feds are cracking down on defrauders. This news release from the U.S. Department of Justice says four individuals have been sentenced for their part in the $23 million scheme.

Dean Daniels, 52, Richard Smith, 57, Brenda Daniels, 45 and William Bradley, 58, all of Florida, pleaded guilty and were sentenced today in U.S. district court for charges related to a scheme involving the false production of biodiesel.

Dean Daniels was sentenced to 63 months incarceration, Bradley was sentenced to 51 months incarceration, Smith was sentenced to 41 months incarceration and Brenda Daniels was sentenced to 366 days incarceration.

According to court documents, the defendants profited by unjustly generating and selling biodiesel credits (RINs) and unjustly claiming biodiesel tax credits for the production and blending of fuel that was not actually biodiesel.

“Congress enacted incentives for the production of biofuels to make the United States stronger and more energy independent and to move our energy economy into the 21st century,” said Assistant Attorney General Cruden. “The fraud perpetrated by the defendants threatens these important public policies. The Justice Department will vigorously prosecute those seeking to line their pockets using scams like this one.”

The defendants were all employees and officers of New Energy Fuels LLC, a business in Waller, Texas, that claimed to process animal fats and vegetable oils into biodiesel. The defendants subsequently relocated, operating a similar scheme at Chieftain Biofuels LLC in Logan, Ohio.

The defendants produced a low-grade fuel that was not biodiesel, however, the defendants would represent to the EPA that they had produced biodiesel. They would generate fraudulent biodiesel RINs and sell them to various third parties.

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.

RINS, Tax Credit Good Drivers of Biodiesel

John Wenzel, with FC Stone, is a large energy dealer and works primarily with large fuel dealers and end users. He spoke during the Biodiesel/Bioheat Forum in Mankato, Minnesota last week. He recently moved to Kansas City from Minnesota and said it was good to be be back.

biodiesel-bioheat-15-wenzelWhen asked what he was hoping to convey to attendees he answered, “I wanted to show how the current oil market is oversupplied but at some point we think it will balance out. I also took a good look at some of the cost drivers around biodiesel and there still is a good opportunity for fuel dealers, I think, to blend biodiesel and for it to be really profitable. It goes back to where are some of the RIN values and also with the tax credit coming up, that’s a big driver and will help fuel dealers blend more biodiesel.”

Wenzel said that it was good to be at an event where he could see biodiesel used in different ways such as with Bioheat. He also noted that Minnesota has a B10 mandate while New York is marketing biodiesel through Bioheat and he thought these are good examples for other states. Ultimately though, he said the biodiesel industry will need to work closely with the oil heating industry to ensure that Bioheat is affordable for consumers who are considering a move to natural gas to meet statewide emission goals.

Learn more about by listening to Chuck Zimmerman’s interview with John Wenzel: John Wenzel, FC Stone

Biodiesel/Bioheat Forum Photo Album

Clinton Voices Support for Renewable Energy

clinton-iowaWith a John Deere tractor as a backdrop, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton voiced her strong support for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), solar and wind energy during a visit to Iowa this week.

“We need to capitalize on rural America’s strength as a producer of clean, renewable energy,” said Mrs. Clinton during a speech in Ankeny, adding that she has two main goals in that area. “Half a billion solar panels within four years and enough energy production from renewables to power every home in America within 10 years.”

Noting that Iowa produces a third of its total energy from renewables, especially wind and biofuels. “If Iowa can do it…so can the rest of America,” she said.

“We need to strengthen the Renewable Fuel Standard,” Mrs. Clinton continued to applause. “So that it drives the development of advanced biofuels and expand the overall contribution that renewable fuels make to our overall fuel supply.”

Introduced by former Iowa governor and current Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Clinton discussed her plan to support rural America which includes investments in rural areas and rural transportation, making the production of agricultural products more profitable for farmers, and promoting the use of clean energy and renewable energy sources.

Listen to Vilsack’s introduction and Clinton’s speech here: Hillary Clinton on Ag in Iowa

Scottish Whisky Used to Power Homes

Scottish Whisky is being used to power homes. Well, not exactly the whisky, but the by-products, such as energy, as being used to power communities. The project, The Rothes CoRDe, part-owned by The Combination of Rothes Distillers, is leading the distilleries program.

“A number of whisky companies are part of an industry consortium looking at sustainable ways of processing by-products from our distilleries,” explained Iain Lochhead, Operations Director for John Dewar & Sons Ltd., part of the Bacardi group of companies.  “We believe we are doing our part in protecting the environment of Scotland. Since we use natural ingredients to make our whisky, we want to leave our surroundings in the same pristine condition as we find them.”

draff from whisky production

The plant utilises draff which is a by-product of whisky production. This comes from 17 different distilleries and is mixed 50/50 with wood chips.

The Speyside area of the Scottish Highlands is home to around 50 whisky distilleries. Rothes, in the heart of that region, is the site of a new, blended-biomass plant that generates heat and power for local communities. It works by burning draff (the spent grains used in the distilling process) with woodchips to create steam-generating electricity.

“We generate 8.3 megawatts of electricity every hour of every day. We use some onsite and export the rest – enough for 20,000 people in 8,000 homes,” said Frank Burns, Managing Director, Rothes CoRDe. “We are powering all of the local communities.”

Another innovation is converting pot ale – the residue from copper whisky stills – into organic feedstock that local farmers use for their animals. “By recovering by-products from our distilleries, we turn them into material of purpose and value,” Burns said. “Ultimately, everything we make, whether it’s animal feed – or even the ash from our boiler process – goes back to the land or to the farm.”

David Williamson of the Scotch Whisky Association, added, “In the end, we want to take this industry forward, to invest and grow, but also make sure we preserve the natural environment we rely on to support Scotch whisky for many years to come.”

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1The Public Utilities Commission voted to keep solar net metered customers on existing rates until the Commissioners determine long-term rules by December 31. The Commission’s decision allows Nevadans to go back to work. The solar market shut down last Thursday when NV Energy declared that the previous cap had been hit. Hundreds of solar workers appeared before the Commission during several hearings over the last month to tell their personal stories about the impact of NV Energy’s attempt to stop solar competition.
  • The World Wildlife Fund and ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability USA recently highlighted the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing model as one of five top priorities to be addressed at the state and national levels, in order to support cities in their fight against climate change. PACE programs provide financing for energy- and water-efficiency improvements and enable property owners to pay for them over time through their property taxes. Meanwhile owners see immediate savings on their utility bills, while reducing their greenhouse gas footprint or their water use.
  • Marathon Capital has announced the successful sale of OwnEnergy, a leader in locally-owned renewable energy systems, to EDF Renewable Energy. The acquisition of OwnEnergy’s team, development platform, and pipeline of wind projects will add to EDF RE’s already extensive North American portfolio containing 3.2 gigawatts (GW) of wind, solar, biomass, and biogas projects.
  • PosiGen Solar Solutions, marked the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina by making a clean energy contribution to the City of New Orleans to help create a resilient City Hall. PosiGen, with partners SimpliPhi Power and Schneider Electric, is providing 25 kW of solar PV panels, energy storage and an educational monitoring display for the public. The rooftop solar installation will deliver clean power for City Hall to reduce energy costs, as well as provide backup power in the event of power disruptions or a future natural disaster.

#ACE15 President’s and Media Awards

ace15-presidentsAmerican Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) president Ron Alverson of Dakota Energy surprised his friend Steve Roe with Little Sioux Corn Processors in Marcus, Iowa with this year’s President’s Award. This honor is awarded to individuals or organizations who display principled dedication and support to ACE and to the U.S. ethanol industry.

Little Sioux is a grassroots ethanol plant started in 2003 with local community investors. The company has grown to include over 800 investors and is currently undertaking its third expansion which will bring its capacity to over 135 million gallons per year.

ace15-riterACE Director of Communications Chuck Beck awarded the Excellence in Media award this year to Tom Riter of WNAX in Yankton, SD.

Riter is a veteran farm broadcaster and a native of Rock Rapids, Iowa. He is a regular contributor to the National Association of Farm Broadcasting news service on issues pertaining to the ethanol industry.

2015 ACE Annual Meeting Photos

First Power by People Award at #ACE15

ace15-power-awardIn honor of its successful photo campaign featuring the people of the ethanol industry, the American Coalition for Ethanol awarded its first “Power by People” award at last week’s annual meeting.

The award was presented to Husker Ag of Plainview, Nebraska for the plant’s continued efforts to provide consumers access to higher ethanol blends. The new award was created to recognize a plant or an individual who has gone the extra mile to help get ethanol’s message out to the public.

“Everyone is very proud to have worked together to receive this prestigious award,” said Seth Harder, Husker Ag general manager. “We are proud to be members of Husker Ag.”

ACE Executive Director Brian Jennings said Husker Ag’s recent response to a Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) public hearing made them a perfect fit for the inaugural Power by People Award. According to Jennings, when the RFS hearing was announced, Harder and his team immediately stepped forward with a group of employees, shareholders, investors and a fuel retailer to testify in Kansas City despite short notice.

In addition to addressing policy issues, Husker Ag provides support for flex fuel infrastructure throughout northeast Nebraska. In 2012, Husker Ag passed a resolution to promote higher ethanol fuel blends at the retail level. Since then, the Plainview ethanol plant has provided grant money and ethanol for several retail locations including Creighton, Crofton, Hartington, Osmond, and Pierce at two locations. Plainview and Norfolk locations are in various stages of flex fuel pump installation, and equipment is ready for installation at possibly four more locations.

2015 ACE Annual Meeting Photos