German Quality Group to Test Biodiesel Heating Oil

AGQMThe German quality group AGQM (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Qualitaetsmanagement Biodiesel e. V.) will offer a test to assess oxidation stabilisers for Biodiesel (FAME) intended as blend component for heating oil. This news release from the group says the tests are meant to rule out probable harmful effects of the fuel itself as well as undesired interactions with other fuel components.

Since 2008 already, AGQM has offered a no-harm test for oxidation stabilisers used for Biodiesel blended to conventional Diesel fuel. Successfully tested products are published in AGQM’s ‘No-harm List’ which is available to the public and contributes considerably to improve the quality of Biodiesel blends.

The new test for oxidation stabilisers used for Biodiesel intended as blend component for heating oil is AGQM’s reaction to an increasing demand for Bio heating oil. Since this application of FAME must also be safely handled at all times and negative interactions with additives must not occur, this new test program was developed by AGQM in cooperation with the German mineral oil industry. In addition tests are carried out concerning the relative effectiveness to also be able to adapt the use of additives to the individual application from an economical point to view.

The registration deadline for this test is Oct. 16, 2015.

Deal to Provide Biodiesel to Utility Approved

pacificbiodieselA deal that would provide locally produced biodiesel to a Hawaiian utility received approval from regulators. This article from Pacific Business News says the deal was approved by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission and has Pacific Biodiesel Technologies providing the green fuel to Hawaiian Electric Co. for a 110-megawatt power generation facility.

The contract calls for Pacific Biodiesel to supply Hawaiian Electric with between 2 million gallons and 3 million gallons per year of biodiesel at a lower price than either of the biodiesel contracts currently in place.

Hawaiian Electric noted that the impact of $3 million in incremental savings on the typical 600 kilowatt-hour residential customer bill equates to a reduction of 30 cents per month, or a 0.2 percent decrease.

Iowa’s Renewable Energy Group Inc. has the current contract to provide biodiesel processed from waste fats and oils to the Campbell Industrial Park plant. That contract ends in November.

The article went on to say the new contract will use up half of Pacific Biodiesel’s production volume.

Sustainability’s Role In Farming

New Holland ZimmPollOur latest ZimmPoll asked the question, “What does sustainability mean to today’s farmers?”

We may not have an easy definition of sustainability, but it is clear most of us agree that it encompasses economics, the environment and social aspects.

Here are the poll results:

  • Economics – 6%
  • Environmental – 11%
  • Social – 0%
  • All of the above – 82%

Our new ZimmPoll is now live and asks the question, Where or how do you hunt?

Fall is in the air and for much of rural America it means hunting season. Guns are being cleaned and the camo is coming out. Do you hunt on your own property, with a group, on your own or not at all. Tell us in our latest ZimmPoll.

WiSER Encourges More Women in Energy

Many initiatives were launched during the United Nations General Assembly in New York City including the launch of the Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable energy (WiSER) Initiative. Founded by Abu Dhabil’s-based Masdar, a renewable energy company, and the Zayed Future Energy Prize, the goal is to empower women to be catalysts of innovation and the drivers of solutions to combat issues potentially aggravated by climate change including the need for renewable energy, clean water and access to food.

“As vital members of society, women are essential to building stronger and healthier economies. Nowhere is this need more important than in achieving a sustainable economic, environmental and energy future,” said Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, United Arab Emirates Minister of State Chairman of Masdar. “WiSER aims to be both a platform for dialogue, new thinking and thought-provoking ideas, as well as a pathway for women to gain real-world experience and to build the skills necessary to be leaders of industry, and drivers of commercial solutions.”

wiser_launch__cloudDuring the launch event at the Plaza Hotel, leadership from Masdar and the Zayed Future Energy Prize unveiled key elements of the WiSER initiative designed to promote the important role that women play in industries related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). WiSER also announced that the group will convene regularly in cities around the world to encourage participation in these fields.

“The WiSER initiative plays a critical role in connecting networks and building relationships across different communities to improve decision-making for sustainable development,” said Razan Al Mubarak, Secretary General of the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD). “To meet the challenges facing the global economy, women must occupy more decision making roles in government, engineering and science in order to meet our needs.”

WiSER will partner with academic and research institutions, women’s networking groups and corporate interests in to create education and training opportunities. Masdar and the Zayed Future Energy Prize also announced the members of the WiSER Advisory Council, who will oversee the implementation of the programs under the WiSER Initiative. The Advisory Council will serve as a global reference for the initiative on women’s leadership and careers in sustainability, particularly related to energy, water and climate change.

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.”

Senator Toomey’s Anti-RFS Amendment Tanks

Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) introduced an amendment that would eliminate corn ethanol from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). It was promptly defeated by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs by a vote of 15-7. Pro RFS supporters came out en masse against Toomey’s amendment and thanked the Committee for making the right decision on consumer choice at the pump.

Senator Toomey“Biofuels are a key part of energy independence and energy security,” said Jon Soltz, Iraq War Veteran, and Chairman of, the largest veterans group in America. “It is jarring to see a sitting U.S. Senator thumb his nose at our national security, just so he can repay his oil buddies. We need to figure out ways to use less oil. Pat Toomey is trying to make sure that we use more, and that his Big Oil pals make more profit as a result. It’s was a disgrace, but thankfully common sense won out, over Pat Toomey.”

Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen made the following statement upon the news of defeat. “Consumers can breathe a sigh of relief when they fill up at the gas pump because today’s vote by the committee ensures that ethanol will remain the number one source of renewable fuel in the world,” said Dinneen. “The committee understood the writing is on the wall when it comes to the RFS, and that legislative proposals that seek to purportedly ‘fix’ the statute are nothing more than political gamesmanship. When Congress passed the RFS it did so with the intention of stabilizing and growing the biofuels market. The committee rightly rejected the amendment by Senator Toomey because it would have done nothing more than squelched investment and created uncertainty in the market, and would thereby have had a detrimental impact on the energy and economic future of generations to come.”

Biofuels supporters cite the RFS as the most successful energy policy ever. did some research into Senator Toomey’s connections with the oil industry and found Big Oil his 12th largest contributor contributing $552,816,000. Of that, half (252,050) was made to his campaign committee over the course of the last few months, making the oil and gas industry the 10th largest contributor to Toomey this election cycle.

“It is no surprise that Senator Toomey’s amendment failed – it never had a chance of passing,” said Tom Buis, Growth Energy CEO. “Similar to legislation he has introduced before, it did not gain any traction and failed because this legislation only restricts consumer choice and attempts to dismantle a successful American industry that is creating jobs, improving our environment and reducing our dependence on foreign oil. The simple fact is that the RFS has bipartisan support and it has been the most successful energy legislation this nation has enacted in over 40 years.”

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDF1Platts, a leading global provider of energy and commodities information has begun publishing price assessments for a key ethanol byproduct increasingly used as animal feed in the U.S. and globally. The new references are for dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) and reflect values for the Midwest, the nation’s key corn, wheat and grains producing region, and exportable values at the U.S. Gulf Coast.
  • Global Concentrated Photovoltaic (CPV) installed capacity will increase more than fourfold from 282.5 MW in 2014 to reach 1.3 GW by 2020, across the seven major markets of the US, China, South Africa, Australia, Portugal, Italy and Spain, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData. The report states that while China and the US are the largest CPV markets globally, South Africa is expected to make a significant impact on the global arena over the course of the forecast period.
  • India submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), marking a significant milestone in the effort to reach the first, country-led climate deal in Paris this December. India is committing to, among other things: increasing non-fossil fuels in its electrical mix to 40% installed capacity by 2030 with the help of transfer of technology and low cost international finance including from the Green Climate Fund; and adding 175GW of new renewable energy generation by 2022 (of which 100GW will be solar).
  • Nearly 30 leading companies and organizations in Michigan today announced the formation of Clean Fuels Michigan. The new 501(c)(6) organization aims to maintain Michigan’s position as a global leader in automotive manufacturing by advancing a clear vision, strategy, and advocacy centered on advanced powertrain technology and innovation. The overall goal is to promote investment, job growth and sustainable technologies in Michigan. Clean Fuel Michigan will advance clean fuel neutral policies, such as electric, natural gas, propane and hydrogen fuel cell technology, advise policy makers, and help commercialization efforts.

EV Connect Launches EV CaaS

EV Connect has launched what they call the first-ever “EV Charging-as-a-Service” or “EV CaaS,” to reduce up-front costs and simplify the process for purchasing and installing EV charging station infrastructure by turning the purchase decision from a capital expenditure to an operating expense. The new program was developed in collaboration with GE and SparkFund.

EV-Connect-LogoEach EV charge station comes with GE’s WattStation and DuraStation as well as EV Connect’s base management software and service. Starting at $99 per month per charge station, the EV CaaS, says EV Connect, offers businesses and government entities a full-service resource to assist with financing, deployment and management.

“The single biggest hesitation facility owners have when considering EV charging station installation is up-front cost,” said Jordan Ramer, EV Connect President. “The EV CaaS program, in collaboration with SparkFund and GE, offers a pay-as-you-go alternative to capital purchases and greatly simplifies the decision-making process.”

EV Connect says they are the first provider to offer this type of program. In addition to overseeing procurement, permitting and installation, they manage all aspects of the charging station including service, driver support, station management and usage.

“Welcome to a new world of financing for EV charging infrastructure,” added Pier LaFarge, SparkFund Co-founder and CEO. “EV CaaS puts EV charging within reach of any facility by shifting financing from an upfront capital expenditure to a pay-over-time operating expense.”

MSU, ExxonMobil Partner for Algae Biodiesel

david-kramer1One of the nation’s premier research universities is partnering with one of the biggest oil producers to make renewable, algae-based biodiesel. This news release from Michigan State says the school and ExxonMobil will expand research designed to progress the fundamental science required to advance algae-based fuels.

David Kramer, MSU’s John Hannah Distinguished Professor in Photosynthesis and Bioenergetics at the MSU-DOE Plant and Research Laboratory, says that the overall goal of the partnership is to improve the efficiency of photosynthesis in microalgae to produce biofuels and bioproducts.

“Photosynthesis is the biological process that plants and algae use to store solar energy in biomass. It is how all our food is made, and we would starve without it,” said Kramer, who is leading the grant with Ben Lucker with the PRL and Joe Weissman, Distinguished Scientific Associate at ExxonMobil.

The key to bioenergy is the efficiency of photosynthesis, the process algae use to capture solar energy and the first step in converting the energy from the sun into a liquid fuel. Past research has shown that algae photosynthesis can be highly efficient under optimal conditions in the laboratory. Under realistic growth conditions however, this efficiency drops. There is a need to improve photosynthesis under simulated production environments.

“Fortunately, nature has provided us with a great potential for improvement. There are many different strains of algae that have adapted to work well in different environments,” Kramer said. “What we want to do is figure out how they are able to do this and what genes are responsible. With this knowledge, we can potentially combine traits to make strains that are more efficient even under harsh conditions.”

“We know certain types of algae produce bio-oils,” said Vijay Swarup, vice president of ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company. “The challenge is to find and develop algae that can produce bio-oils at scale on a cost-efficient basis.”

Propel’s Renewable Diesel Fuels California

propelPropel Fuels brings its high-performance renewable diesel to Hayward, California. This company news release says the fuel is available at Hayward’s “880 Gas” station at 391 West A Street. Propel also took the chance to address the Volkswagen diesel scandal.

Drivers can easily find the nearest Propel Diesel HPR location and real time pricing by downloading Propel’s mobile app available in the Android and Apple app stores. Sacramento-based Propel has pioneered low-carbon fuel retail in California, leading the industry with unparalleled innovation in retail technology and customer experience. The company’s CleanDrive® platform, the nation’s first integrated emission reduction tracking tool, enables consumers and fleets to quickly see the positive impact made by using low-carbon fuels including Diesel HPR and E85 Flex Fuel.

In light of the recent VW scandal and increased nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in affected Volkswagen diesel vehicles, Diesel HPR is a simple and affordable way to reduce emissions and improve local air quality. Diesel HPR reduces harmful air emissions including NOx by 14 percent, particulates by 34 percent, and reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) lifecycle emissions by up to 80 percent when compared to petroleum-based diesel. NOx emissions are directly linked to air quality in California, negatively impacting children, people with lung diseases such as asthma, and people who work or exercise outside.

“We understand that customers are frustrated with the recent news about VW’s diesel emissions. We wanted to remind them they can drive cleaner, with more efficiency and value by fueling with our Diesel HPR at 32 locations across California, now including Hayward,” said Rob Elam, CEO of Propel.