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Copied with permission from Renewable Energy World.Com daily d-News dated 1/25/12

Under Pressure: Startup Company Turns Water into Power

“We joked about it day after day, imagining it working every time someone uses the commode,” Zammataro said.

Upon further consideration, Zammataro, a former information-technology specialist at Merrill Lynch, started to see water pressure as a business opportunity. Could all that compression be used to spin a turbine and create electricity? Zammataro did some digging and quickly learned that the pressure in the pipes of a skyscraper isn’t all that great. But then a professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute introduced him to the pressure reduction valve, and the whole game changed. When a massive quantity of water is transported from high elevation to low, the water builds up more pressure than its receiving station can handle, up to 150 or more pounds per square inch (psi). As a point of comparison, the pressure that supplies your morning shower—and those spectacular street gushers—is as low as 35 psi. That pressure is stepped down by a pressure reduction valve, diffusing the energy with the help of a coiled spring. Rentricity was born when Zammataro realized he could replace the pressure reduction valve with an impeller, which runs a generator. The company figured out how to construct this relatively cheaply with off-the-shelf parts.

Rentricity’s signature project is the water treatment plant in Keene, New Hampshire. There, raw, untreated water arrives from a reservoir in the town of Roxbury, a few miles away and 90 feet higher in elevation. The water arrives at an unusable 150 psi and is reduced to 90 psi—formerly by pressure reduction valves, but now by two of Rentricity’s generators. Between them they create 62 kilowatts. Kürt Blomquist, the Public Works Director of Keene, says the technology has cut the plant’s energy bill in half. “Generally we have generated more power than what the plant required,” he said. “The power company will be owing us money.” The wattage they produce is tiny compared to a traditional hydroelectric dam, but still a valuable prospect for water utilities, where up to a third of operating costs go to paying the energy bill.

“I think it’s very promising and one of the best near term opportunities” for hydrokinetic power, said Peter Asmus, Energy Analyst at Pike Research. “The siting is fairly easy because they’ve already sited so much infrastructure there and in an industrial site people aren’t as concerned about aesthetics.”

Rentricity is poised to build a far larger plant, capable of producing 350 kilowatts, in Palos Verdes, California. Zammataro sees a $5.8 billion market for equipment and a $1.8 billion market for the electricity generated worldwide at water treatment plants, industrial facilities, power plants, and mining operations—basically anywhere where there is enough of a vertical drop and sufficient water flow. The firm is targeting cities at the base of the Appalachians and the Rockies, where elevations provide the necessary water squeeze. One such metropolis is New York City, where more than a billion gallons of water flows through the pipes each day, pressurized in part by reservoirs upstate. Rentricity is participating in a study to see if its generators could work at the city’s wastewater outfall pipes. If successful, Rentricity will have a unique opportunity to create clean power in the city where the whole idea began.

 
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Copied with permission from BioEnergy daily e-News.

DSM and POET to build commercial facility under JV

24 January 2012

The plant in Iowa will be converted so that it can process corn residue into cellulosic ethanol

DSM and POET have joined forces to convert  a facility into its first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in the US, which will be based in Emmetsburg, Iowa. The POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels joint venture will produce 20 million gallons of ethanol in the first year, growing to about 25 million gallons the year following. The plant is due to come online in the second half of 2013 and will put corn crop residue through a biological process using enzymatic hydrolysis and then fermentation to produce the ethanol.

Speaking to Biofuels International magazine, DSM’s chief technology officer Marcel Wubbolts says the companies had been considering the joint venture for about a year and a half and that their combined skills are very complimentary.

‘One of the things that we were very impressed by was the way POET’s value chain operates. This includes from how to turn the corn to stover, to processing, transporting, grinding the corn and pre-treatment. The company has really developed these areas,’ he says. ‘We have vast biotechnology experience where we have been improving enzymes and cellulosic sugars for bioethanol production. It is in this way that we are complimentary.’

The project is expected to cost about $250 million (€192 million) and the companies will each own a 50% share in the business. Wubbolts says that joining with POET will mean future possibilities for expansion. ‘POET provides technology in 27 plants and has the capabilities to roll out the new cellulosic technology at these facilities which produce corn ethanol at the moment. Using this method we could really expand throughout the whole world if we wanted to,’ Wubbolts explains.

“However, for the first phase of development under the joint venture, the companies will be focusing on the US. There is a very strong biofuels industry right now in the US for corn and corn waste,’ says Wubbolts. ‘We are using corn residue and have already set up contracts with farmers for them to provide us with the biomass. And we are not using feedstock that could be used for food. ‘The reason why we are using cellulosic biofuel technology is because we estimate the process creates a 111% reduction in greenhouse gases when compared to fossil fuels.’

 
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Copied from Biomass Power & Thermal Online Magazine

By Lisa Gibson - July 28, 2011

Missouri has ample resources for a booming anaerobic digestion sector, but surprisingly few parties have taken advantage of the enormous opportunity.

Hampton Feedlot Inc. in north central Missouri’s Chariton County is developing the state’s first electricity-generating, on-farm anaerobic digester. Surprising, considering Missouri is among the top five hog-producing states in the country, and has a typical cattle farm head count of around 5,000.
Its roughly 200 hog operations alone are capable of producing 2.7 billion cubic feet of methane to generate 177,000 megawatt hours of electricity each year. “There’s ample ground [for energy production],” says Christopher Chung, CEO of the Missouri Partnership, an organization devoted to promoting the state for business investment in certain targeted sectors, including energy solutions.

Over the past year, the Missouri Partnership has focused a closer and more serious eye on biomass, biofuels and biogas opportunities in the state, biogas being the most recent. “We’ve started looking at ways to position Missouri’s wealth of assets to attract companies that generate energy using those systems,” Chung says. “We know we’ve got hog farms. We know we are generating a lot of animal waste that can be successfully converted to energy, but who is it we need to reach out to? Where are the primary targets? Who is in a position where they are expanding biogas-to-energy generation facilities, and can we get in front of them to talk about Missouri?”

But finding business investors and equipment manufacturers is only half the battle. Chung adds that educating farmers about the opportunities under their feet is a vital piece of the puzzle. “I think it was a while before farmers realized the potential for renewable energy generation through wind, for example, and realized they could be leasing out areas for wind turbines,” he says. “And I’m sure the same learning curve exists for lots of other applications for renewable energy, including biogas.”

 
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Copied with permission Soya Tech Daily e-News dated 1/16/12

US Warships Run on Algae Oil in Trial to Cut Emissions

Guardian (UK) -- January 14, 2012 -- Giant cargo boats and US Navy warships have been successfully powered on oil derived from genetically modified algae in a move which could herald a revolution in the fuel used by the world's fleets - and a reduction in the pollution they cause.

The results of substituting algal oil for low-grade, "bunker" fuel and diesel in a 98,000-tonne container ship are still being evaluated by Maersk, the world's biggest shipping company, which last week tested 30
tones of oil supplied by the US Navy in a vessel traveling from Europe to India. Last month, the navy tested 20,000 gallons of algal fuel on a decommissioned destroyer for a few hours. Both ran their trials on a mix of algal oil - between 7% and 100% - and conventional bunker fuel.

"The tests are not complete yet, but we had very few problems," a Maersk spokesman said.

Collaboration between the world's two biggest shipping fleets is expected to lead to the deployment of renewable marine fuels. Maersk uses more than $6bn of bunker fuel a year for its 1,300 ships, and the US
Navy, the world's biggest single user of marine fuels, burns around 40m barrels of oil a year. The navy plans to test more ships on algal fuel next year as part of its "green fleet" initiative and has pledged to cut 50% of its conventional oil use a year by 2020. Maersk hopes to achieve similar cuts in the same time.

"Shipping takes 350m
tones of oil a year and causes 3-4% of all greenhouse gas emissions, so it is very attractive to find alternatives. We can envisage [the world's] ships being 10% or more powered by biofuels in 20 years' time," Jacob Sterling, the Maersk head of climate and environment, said.

The exact nature of the algae, one of
30,000 single-cell organisms known to exist in the wild, is a secret closely guarded by Solazyme, the company that manufactures the fuel in giant fermentation tanks in Pennsylvania. The fast-growing algae are fed crop or forest waste and convert their sugars to oil.

"The technology is there. The question now is how to scale up," Tyler Painterm, the chief finance officer of Solazyme, which has a contract to produce 450,000 gallons of biofuels for the navy's trial, said. "We have tested thousands of algae, found in swamps, in mountains and at sea and we know we can be competitive."

Unlike early biofuels, which made transport fuel from food crops, the new "second generation" process uses only plant waste and does not displace foods which could be fed to people or animals. Nevertheless, immense amounts of feedstock would be needed to power the world's ships. Maersk estimates it could take the crop waste of an area half the size of Denmark to completely power its ships.

But even a partial switch to algal oils would massively reduce air pollution. Bunker fuel, which is little more than asphalt, can produce as much pollution from a single ship in a year as 50m cars and is the most polluting fuel in the world.
$6 billion is Maersk's annual bill for bunker fuel to power its 1,300 ships. It hopes a move to renewable fuels will help cut back on emissions

Author: John Vidal

(c) 2012 Guardian Newspapers Limited.

 

 

By Stephen Lacey, Editor


April 13, 2011   |   American politicians act like children when it comes to crafting energy policy, says former Shell President John Hofmeister. And it needs to stop.

 

The last month was a big one for energy. Oil prices reached two-and-a-half year highs; Japan dealt with a nuclear power plant on the verge of a meltdown; the one-year anniversary of the Gulf Oil disaster neared; and the International Energy Agency, historically known as an interest group for oil producing nations, issued a report calling a more aggressive build-out of clean energy to offset declining oil production and climate change.

 

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By Bryan Sims | April 05, 2011

 

Decatur, Ill.-based agribusiness firm Archer Daniels Midland Co. has agreed to acquire a soybean crushing facility and 30 MMgy biodiesel production plant from Prairie Pride Inc. in Deerfield, Mo. ADM will also form a partnership with PPI for the biodiesel portion of the business.

PPI responded to ADM’s acquisition of its soy crushing and biodiesel production assets, stating,

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