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INSIDE: UK TO DIVERT WASTE TO BIOGAS, SYNGAS PRODUCTION May 2009

Digesting

It All Anaerobic Digestion is a Popular Option in Areas Where It’s More Economical and Efficient Than Disposing of Waste in Landfills

www.BiomassMagazine.com


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4 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 5|2009


INSIDE

MAY 2009

VOLUME 3

ISSUE 5

FEATURES ..................... 28 UNITED KINGDOM Her Majesty’s Biogas As landfill space dwindles and natural gas production declines, officials in the U.K. have stepped up their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas and carbon dioxide emissions and to produce more energy from renewable sources, using anaerobic digestion and gasification. By Ryan C. Christiansen

34 PROFILE Taking Anaerobic Digestion by Storm StormFisher Biogas is poised to help food processing companies avoid costly tipping fees by building up to 30 anaerobic digestion plants in North America to turn that waste into energy. By Anna Austin

42 TECHNOLOGY From Lines on Paper to a Model of Success Kevin Bolin and his grandfather, Norman Dickinson, have taken their ideas from paper to the laboratory to bench-, pilot- and demonstration-scale and finally to realizing the commissioning of the first full-scale biosolids treatment plant using their SlurryCarb process. By Ron Kotrba

48 TRANSPORTATION The Value of Waste TECHNOLOGY | PAGE 42

DEPARTMENTS .....................

Organic Resource Management Inc. was one of the pioneers in collecting, processing and managing liquid organic residuals. Today the company has turned from direct-land application to anaerobic digestion as a low-cost, long-term recycling solution for organic waste. By Khalila Hammond

07 Advertiser Index 08 Editor’s Note Change is in the Air By Rona Johnson

10 CITIES Corner Avoiding the Knowledge Bottleneck By Tim Portz

11 Legal Perspectives

CONTRIBUTIONS ..................... 54 PROCESS Streamlining Treatment of Challenging Food Processing Wastewaters Ken’s Foods, a Massachusetts-based food manufacturer, explains the process it went through to more efficiently treat wastewater with high fat, oil and grease content. By Jim McMahon

What Clients Want in a Lawyer By Todd Taylor

13 Industry Events 14 Business Briefs 16 Industry News 59 EERC Update The Low-Down on Military Specs for Renewable Jet Fuel By Paul Pansegrau

60 Marketplace

5|2009 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 5


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Answers for industry.


advertiser INDEX 17th European Biomass Conference & Exhibition

58

2009 Atlantic BioEnergy Conference

27

2009 International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo

41

2009 International BIOMASS Conference & Expo

62 & 63

EDITORIAL

PUBLISHING & SALES

EDITOR Rona Johnson rjohnson@bbiinternational.com

PUBLISHER & CEO Mike Bryan mbryan@bbiinternational.com

Agra Industries

32

Bio-Mizer

23

ASSISTANT EDITOR Susanne Retka Schill sretkaschill@bbiinternational.com

PUBLISHER & PRESIDENT Kathy Bryan kbryan@bbiinternational.com

BRUKS Rockwood

20

Christianson & Associates PLLP

30

ASSOCIATE EDITORS Bryan Sims bsims@bbiinternational.com Anna Austin aaustin@bbiinternational.com COPY EDITOR Jan Tellmann jtellmann@bbiinternational.com E-MEDIA COORDINATOR Megan Skauge mskauge@bbiinternational.com

ADI Systems

VICE PRESIDENT OF MEDIA & EVENTS Joe Bryan jbryan@bbiinternational.com

Continental Biomass Industries

VICE PRESIDENT OF CONTENT AND COMMUNICATIONS Tom Bryan tbryan@bbiinternational.com SALES DIRECTOR Matthew Spoor mspoor@bbiinternational.com SALES MANAGER, MEDIA & EVENTS Howard Brockhouse hbrockhouse@bbiinternational.com

ART ART DIRECTOR Jaci Satterlund jsatterlund@bbiinternational.com GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Elizabeth Slavens bslavens@bbiinternational.com Sam Melquist smelquist@bbiinternational.com Jack Sitter jsitter@bbiinternational.com

26

ACCOUNT MANAGERS Clay Moore cmoore@bbiinternational.com Jeremy Hanson jhanson@bbiinternational.com Chip Shereck cshereck@bbiinternational.com Marty Steen msteen@bbiinternational.com Bob Brown bbrown@bbiinternational.com

18

Energy & Environmental Research Center

40

Eisenmann Corporation

19

Factory Sales and Engineering Inc.

36

Fluid Components International LLC

56

GEA Barr-Rosin Inc.

21

Geomembrane Technologies Inc.

52

Hunt, Guillot & Associates, L.L.C.

24

Hurst Boiler & Welding Co. Inc.

39

Indeck Power Equipment Co.

17

Jeffrey Rader Corporation

25

ADVERTISING COORDINATOR Marla DeFoe mdefoe@bbiinternational.com

Laidig Systems, Inc.

44

Larox Corp.

33

SUBSCRIPTION MANAGER Jessica Beaudry jbeaudry@bbiinternational.com

MAC Equipment

SUBSCRIBER ACQUISITON MANAGER Jason Smith jsmith@bbiinternational.com

Novozymes

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT, SALES Christie Anderson canderson@bbiinternational.com

Process Barron

22

Quality Recycling Equipment, Inc.

53

R.C. Costello & Assoc. Inc.

38

9

Mid-South Engineering Company

47

Robert-James Sales Inc.

64

Roskamp Champion/CPM (ME & V)

37 2

Shuttle-Buffalo Hammer Mill

12

SD&G Community Future Development Corporation

46

Siemens Energy & Automation, Inc. The Teaford Co. Inc.

Back Issues & Reprints Select back issues are available for $3.95 each, plus shipping. Article reprints are also available for a fee. For more information, contact us at (701) 746-8385 or service@bbiinternational.com.

Advertising Biomass Magazine provides a specific topic delivered to a highly targeted audience. We are committed to editorial excellence and high-quality print production. To find out more about Biomass Magazine advertising opportunities, please contact us at (701) 746-8385 or service@ bbiinternational.com.

31 3

Percival Scientific, Inc.

Rotochopper

Subscriptions Subscriptions to Biomass Magazine are $24.95 per year in the U.S; $39.95 in Canada and Mexico; and $49.95 outside North America. Subscriptions can be completed online at www.BiomassMagazine.com or subscribe over the phone at (701) 746-8385.

4

Detroit Stoker Company

6 48

W.S. Tyler

51

Weis Environmental

57

West Salem

50

Letters to the Editor We welcome letters to the editor. Send to Biomass Magazine Letters to the Editor, 308 2nd Ave. N., Suite 304, Grand Forks, ND 58203 or e-mail to rjohnson@ bbiinternational.com. Please include your name, address and phone number. Letters may be edited for clarity and/or space.

Cert no. SCS-COC-00648

5|2009 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 7


editor’s

NOTE Change is in the Air

T

here has been a subtle change in my title that is not so subtle when it comes to my duties here at Biomass Magazine. My title has changed from features editor to editor, which means that from now on I will be assigning and editing the features, news and contributions. This work was previously divvied up amongst three editors. While this may sound like a lot of extra work, it isn’t because before this title change I was the features editor for three magazines. Now I will be working with only one magazine. I think it’s a positive change because it will allow me to be even more involved in the biomass industry. There has also been a change in the titles and duties of our staff writers. If you are an avid reader you are probably familiar with Anna Austin, who is now an associate editor. Bryan Sims, who is also an associate editor, will continue to write for Biomass Magazine, but only for a short time. He is a member of the North Dakota Army National Guard and will soon be shipping off to Kosovo for a year. We wish him well. Susanne Retka Schill’s byline has appeared on many industry news stories and now, as assistant editor, she will be producing features as well, and helping me with some editing chores. As you may have noticed, we include the e-mail addresses and phone numbers of our staff at the end of each feature so that you can contact them if you have questions or concerns about their articles. Although they may not be able to answer all of your questions, they may be able to point you in the right direction. These changes are also good because they will allow us to easily ramp up as the magazine and the industry grow. I know this economic situation has taken the wind out of a lot of sails but it can’t last forever. We need to be ready for the day when the world realizes that new biomassbased industries are among some of the answers to our economic and environmental woes. I’m not saying it will be be easy, but we do have political momentum, and our legislators seem perfectly happy to throw good money after bad. Now we just have to convince them to throw our tax money into viable industries. OK, that’s the last jab I will aim at the federal government, at least in this column. In the meantime, the focus of this month’s magazine is anaerobic digestion and there are several features that you will want to read. This issue also includes a contributed article about Marlborough, Mass.-based Ken’s Foods, which uses an anaerobic treatment technology developed by ADI Systems Inc. and Kubota Corp. to handle wastewater with high concentrations of organic matter. As always, let me know if there is anything more we can do to meet the needs of the biomass industry.

Rona Johnson Editor rjohnson@bbiinternational.com

8 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 5|2009


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CITIES corner Avoiding the Knowledge Bottleneck

D

anny Kluthe may be the most knowledgeable person alive when it comes to the day-to-day details of operating an anaerobic digester on a hog farm. Kluthe is not a microbiologist, however, and he didn’t design the digester on his farm, nor did he design the internal combustion engine that turns his biogas into electricity. Still Kluthe’s digester works because of his knowledge. He understands how best to deploy this method of manure management and clean energy generation into his farm operation. Kluthe learned how often he needs to feed his digester, how to troubleshoot low biogas production, and how to deliver a consistent manure stream to his digester. All of this knowledge is crucial, specific and, for the most part, the domain of Kluthe alone. Ultimately, if biogas production from animal waste is to become a widespread method of manure management and clean energy production, Kluthe’s knowledge has to be shared with other people—many other people. This reality confronts each and every developing biomass industry. Before biomass gasification, algal cultivation, fermentation of crop residues and every other biomass industry can be scaled up, a means for educating a skilled pool of labor must be imagined, created and deployed. Fortunately, provisions for meeting this need are being included in the draft language of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. If this language is adopted, the U.S. secretaries of education and labor will be authorized to award

10 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 5|2009

monies to community colleges and universities to develop training programs to benefit these new industries. It is also incumbent on us in the biomass industry to be proactive and engage our educational institutions as we develop and scale Tim Portz, business these new industries. BBI I think one of the biggest developer, International challenges facing this industry and its educational partners will be synchronizing the pace of industry expansion with the growth of job training programs. A chicken and egg scenario begins to unfold as educational institutions are reluctant to create programming for industries which haven’t yet been commercialized and, at the same time, developing industries will struggle if skilled workers aren’t available to fuel the expansion. How then do we align ourselves as an industry with potential educational partners? Working relationships with educational institutions need to be included in business plans, on steering committees and on boards of directors. Through strategic relationships, the knowledge so unique to the Danny Kluthes of the world stands the greatest chance of finding its way to a workforce that the biomass industry will ultimately need. Tim Portz is a business developer with BBI International’s Community Initiative to Improve Energy Sustainability. Reach him at tportz@ bbiinternational.com or (651) 398-9154.


LEGAL

perspectives

What Clients Want in a Lawyer By Todd Taylor

The following is a conversation between Scott Hughes, the chief operating officer at Visiam LLC, a renewable energy company, and the author, about the most important things a renewable energy company needs in a lawyer.

Q.

What one word defines what you want in a lawyer? A. Passion. Entrepreneurs need to surround themselves with people who have a passion for the industry and their profession. Without that you are not bringing people to the party who share a common goal. As it relates to a lawyer, I believe that you need to align your company with someone who is not just there to bill, but truly cares about the profession, industry, and your company.

Q. How do you go about hiring a good lawyer? A. I do not lead with the “How much do you bill?” question. If that is the most critical thing to you, you should look through the yellow pages for someone cheap to do basic legal work. Cheap rarely equals good work. Think of this from your own business standpoint. Do you want to be the cheapest with no regard for quality? I believe in first having a good attorney with whom you share business principles, industry knowledge and passion. Second, I believe that you hire an attorney to be an adviser and counselor, not just someone to draft contracts. If you find the right attorney, you will save your company in the long run, and create opportunities that add value, more than any squabbling over a bill or a cheap lawyer will ever get you. When interviewing multiple lawyers, which I strongly recommend, go in with a

list of questions about their practice, their views of and experience in the industry, and personal interests. I want to know about why they do what they do and how they got there. Q. What do you expect an attorney to do for you? A. Again, the reason I hire an attorney is not to just draft contracts, but rather to help guide my business through unfamiliar situations. My favorite quote is from Malcolm Forbes, “Too many people overvalue what they are not, and undervalue what they are.” I believe that this is applicable to my attorney: Guide us where you have skill, provide insight on the industry, counsel us on avoiding mistakes, and I think that he/she should complement the organization and should be approachable on multiple issues regarding the law, the industry and strategy. Q. Do you think an attorney should help you find financing? A. I don’t expect it. With that said, they are there to be an adviser to the company and help in its success. Part of what I expect is to provide insight and access to a network of people and companies that can help my company. However, I hire an investment banking firm for financing. The attorney helps guide me through the legal issues related to fundraising and financing and if they can make an introduction that turns into something, so be it.

Q. What is the No. 1 thing you don’t want in a lawyer? A. One thing that I stay away from is a relative, friend, etc, of someone in the company. When someone says, we should hire so-and-so to be our attorney because he is related, I run. I have seen this fail more times than not. Look for someone who will represent the company not the personal interests of a shareholder, director or executive. Q. I’d like to go back to your comment on how a lawyer should provide some added value. A. I hire an attorney not just to draft contracts. Our chief executive officer, who has been in the industry a long time, said that there is nothing better than a good attorney, one who takes the time to understand the business and how a lawyer can help the business succeed. Lawyers who only read the statute and tell you what you can’t do are virtually useless. To this day, our chief executive officer talks about one of the attorneys that he had in the past who he respects and adores. Imagine a lawyer a chief executive officer respects and adores. You don’t often hear that about a lawyer, and that’s too bad and when you have a lawyer you can say that about, it’s a great thing. Todd Taylor is a shareholder in Fredrikson & Byron’s corporate, renewable energy, securities and emerging business groups. Reach him at ttaylor@fredlaw.com or (612) 4927355.

5|2009 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 11


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industry events Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals

Latin American Congress on Biorefineries

May 3-6, 2009

Termas de Chillan Concepción, Chile This event, which is in its second year, offers a forum for debate on scientific and engineering advances in the use of forest biomass. Topics will include fermentation of sugars, anaerobic digestion of biomass residues to obtain biogas, separation of forest biomass components through new technologies, and the integration of biorefineries into existing forest-industrial plants. A complete agenda will be available as the event nears. +56 41 2747438 www.bio-refinerias.cl/

InterContinental San Francisco Hotel San Francisco This year’s symposium provides a forum for experts from around the world to gather and discuss the latest research breakthroughs and results in this growing field. The four-day program is designed to facilitate the exchange of new information and technical progress among attendees from industrial, academic and government sectors. The program includes a variety of session topics including biomass pretreatment and fractionation, translational genomics for bioenergy feedstocks, commercialization of algal-based biofuels and more. (703) 691-3357 www.simhq.org/meetings/sbfc2009/index.html

May 4-6, 2009

Biomass to Liquids

World Renewable Energy Congress

May 6-7, 2009

May 19-22, 2009

Crowne Plaza Hotel London This two-day conference brings together experts from a wide range of disciplines in the biomass industry. Topics such as technology developments, project updates, policy and regulation, and biomass feedstock will be addressed. Attendees will gain an understanding of trends and developments in gasification technologies and learn how to control the debate and public perceptions of biofuels. +44 (0) 20 7827 6000 www.smi-online.co.uk/events/overview.asp?is=5&ref=3077

Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Center Bangkok, Thailand The World Renewable Energy Congress is a place for policymakers, researchers, manufactures, economists, financiers and others to present their views and to discuss bioenergy topics. Sessions will cover biomass for heat and power, biofuels, biogas and wastes. Subtopics will focus on bioenergy resources, technologies, environmental issues and case studies. WREC offers a networking opportunity between nations, institutions, disciplines and individuals. +66 2 470 8309 10 www.thai-exhibition.com/wrec2009asia/

Biofuels Summit

Biomass Boiler Workshop

May 25-27, 2009

June 11-12, 2009

Marina Mandarin Singapore The summit will showcase policies and successful strategies used by organizations to make profitable investment decisions. Discussion topics range from understanding worldwide key trends and developments in biofuels, understanding second-generation biofuels, financing biofuels projects, potential of producing biofuels from biomass waste and more. Attendees will learn about biofuels from around the world and establish valuable business contacts. +65 6297 8545 www.biofuelssummit.com/

Savannah, Ga. This workshop consists of presentations on technological developments and results to improve the operating performance, waste fuel burning capacity, efficiency, and fuel economy of biomass-fired boilers. In addition, the program will include troubleshooting and problem-solving discussions that attendees bring to the workshop. Participants will learn about the current retrofit technology for biomass boilers and associated equipments, and see how other mill operations can solve their biomass boiler area problems. They will also receive information and solutions to mill-specific problems. (425) 952-2843 www.jansenboiler.com

International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo

European Biomass Conference & Exhibition

June 15-18, 2009

June 29-July 3, 2009

Colorado Convention Center Denver This will mark the 25th anniversary of the world’s largest ethanol conference, which was recently recognized by Trade Show Week magazine as one of the fastest-growing events in the United States for the second consecutive year. The event will address conventional ethanol and nextgeneration ethanol and biomass. More details will be available as the event approaches. (701) 746-8385 www.2009few.com

CCH-Congress Center Hamburg, Germany This event is expected to draw more than 1,500 participants from over 70 countries. Participants will learn about the latest breakthroughs in the biomass field. The exhibition, taking place parallel to the conference, will feature the foremost companies and state-of-the-art products in the industry. The conference will also be accompanied by workshops, tours and a social program. +39 055 5002174 www.conference-biomass.com/index.htm

5|2009 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 13


business

BRIEFS KL Energy starts out strong in 2009 Cellulosic ethanol developer KL Energy Corp. has named a new chief executive officer, received an investment of $4 million and partnered with a Canadian company to build a cellulosic ethanol plant in the first few months of 2009. Steve Corcoran, previously KL Energy vice president of operations, is now chief executive officer. He Steve Corcoran, said the new funds will allow KL Energy to chief executive complete the final steps in the implemenofficer, KL Energy tation of its technology, and inspires new confidence in the company. KL Energy will provide its technology to Prairie Green Renewable Energy Inc., which is building a 5 MMgy to 10 MMgy cellulosic ethanol plant near Hudson Bay in Northeastern Saskatchewan. BIO

Logos Technologies to make biomass-based jet fuel Arlington, Va.-based Logos Technologies Inc. announced in April that it had been awarded a prime contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to produce fully compatible jet fuel from cellulose—the structural component of all plants and algae. With this process, Logos scientists estimate the cellulose waste streams from agriculture, industries and cities could supply a significant amount of U.S. transportation fuel needs with a fossil-fuel substitute that does not introduce additional atmospheric carbon dioxide, does not adversely affect food prices and offers superior performance and engine compatibility when compared with current biofuels. BIO

BIO’s Brent Erickson appointed to EBI advisory committee Brent Erickson, executive vice president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s Industrial and Environmental Section, was appointed to the advisory committee of the Energy Biosciences Institute. The EBI, a collaboration among the University of California, Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the University of Illinois and BP, was established in 2007 with a 10-year, $500 million grant from BP. Its mission is to harness advanced knowledge in biology, the physical sciences, engineering, and environmental and social sciences to devise viable solutions to global energy challenges and reduce the impact of fossil fuels to global warming. BIO

14 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 5|2009

Senators propose bill to boost energy transmission grid U.S. Sens. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and George Voinovich, R-Ohio, introduced legislation recently to clear the way for a national “electric power transmission superhighway,” unlocking the opportunity to dramatically increase the production of energy in rural states, such as North Dakota. The National Energy George Voinovich, Security Act is aimed Byron Dorgan, U.S. Senator, U.S. Senator, at boosting the nation’s D-N.D. R-Ohio energy and national security by reducing America’s reliance on foreign oil. North Dakota has a vast, diverse supply of energy resources, including coal, oil, wind and biomass, but expansion of the state’s energy industry has been hampered by a lack of transmission lines that could carry North Dakota-produced electricity where it’s needed. BIO

Ohio utility plans biomass conversion FirstEnergy has announced plans to repower units 4 and 5 at its RE Burger Plant in Shadyside, Ohio, to generate power using mostly biomass. According to the company, the capital cost for retrofitting the Burger Plant to burn biomass is approximately $200 million. Once the project is completed, units 4 and 5 of the Burger Plant would be capable of producing up to 312 megawatts (MWs) of electricity—its current capacity—which is enough to power approximately 190,000 homes. With the completion of this project, FirstEnergy’s portfolio of renewable energy could reach more than 1,100 MWs, including 451 MWs of pumped-storage hydro and 376 MWs of wind power. BIO

Lignol awarded $3.4 million to produce cellulosic ethanol British Columbia-based Lignol Energy Corp., a technology company in the cellulosic ethanol and biorefining sector, recently announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Lignol Innovations Ltd., was awarded $3.4 million to produce cellulosic ethanol and other biochemical products from under-utilized forest resources, including lodgepole pine killed by mountain pine beetle. Premier Gordon Campbell announced the award from the Ministry of Small Business, Technology and Economic Development at Lignol’s facilities in Burnaby, British Columbia, in April. Lignol will use the funding to support production runs at its industrial-scale biorefinery pilot plant utilizing forestry residues indigenous to British Columbia. This will lead to the creation of an engineering design package for a commercial biorefinery within the province. BIO


business

BRIEFS AE Biofuels and Merrick & Co. sign strategic agreement AE Biofuels Inc., a vertically integrated biofuels company, signed a strategic agreement with Merrick & Co. to commercially implement AE Biofuels’ patent-pending enzyme-based technology to convert nonfood biomass into ethanol and other materials through the design of new or the conversion of existing biofuels facilities. Merrick is a provider of engineering and architectural design-build, procurement, construction management and geospatial services. Under the agreement, the companies will work to deploy AE Biofuels’ next-generation biofuels technology to address the demand for cellulosic ethanol created by the revised renewable fuels standard (RFS). The Energy Independence & Security Act of 2007 increased the RFS to 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels, the majority of which must be advanced biofuels. BIO

Recchia joins BTEC board of directors The Biomass Thermal Energy Council recently announced that Christopher Recchia, executive director of the Biomass Energy Resource Center, has been elected to the board of directors. Recchia brings to the board deep experience in environmental conservation and a broad understanding of the impact that biomass thermal Christopher energy can have on reducing carbon emisRecchia, sions and increasing energy security. He executive director, Biomass Energy was named executive director of BERC Resource Center in May 2007. He has more than 22 years of experience as an environmental leader, developer of state and federal environmental policy, and implementer of programs that manage air, land and water resources.

Enerkem receives GoingGreen award Enerkem Inc., an advanced biofuel technology and project developer, received the GoingGreen East Top 50 Private Company 2009 Award given by the AlwaysOn editorial team to 50 of the top private companies emerging in green technology. Winners were recognized at the GoingGreen East Conference in March in Boston. “The GoingGreen East 50 companies have demonstrated their tenacity even in the toughest economic conditions the technology world has ever encountered,” said Tony Perkins, founder and editor of AlwaysOn. “We applaud their success in pushing the boundaries of innovation, creating market opportunities and transforming the industry even in the earlier stages of their businesses.” BIO

New England Wood Pellet forms subsidiary to market biomass heating systems New England Wood Pellet LLC, a manufacturer and distributor of wood pellets in the Northeastern U.S., has announced the formation of Propell Energy. This wholly owned subsidiary imports, sells and services state-of-the-art European pellet boiler systems for municipal and commercial applications. Not only are these heating systems environmentally friendly, but their lower operating costs can also yield a significant return on investment. Considered carbon-neutral by the U.S. DOE and the U.S. EPA, the use of pellet fuel from sustainably harvested wood releases only slightly more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than the natural decay of the forest. Propell Energy heating systems can be used in municipal, county and state government buildings; schools; hotels; office complexes; and health care and manufacturing facilities. BIO

BIO

Florida Syngas revamps Web site Florida Syngas recently announced that it has completed a significant overhaul of its Web site at www.FloridaSyngas.com. The site details the chronology of the organization and the technology development. The founders and the management team have bios on the site describing their skill sets. Featured are laymen’s descriptions of the technical jargon that is germane to the field of plasma physics as well as an animated photograph of an actual toroidal plasma arc. A glossary is provided and the Web site creator hopes to use public inquiries for alternative energy definitions to add to the breadth of the page. BIO

Landfill gas powers Poet plant Poet Biorefining-Chancellor, S.D., and Sioux Falls, S.D., have completed a landfill gas pipeline that is now providing methane gas to help power daily operations of the 105 MMgy Poet LLC ethanol plant. The 10-mile, low-pressure pipeline from the Sioux Falls Regional Sanitary Landfill began supplying methane to the plant at the end of February. The plant will utilize the landfill gas in a wood waste-fuel boiler to generate process steam. Combined, the two alternative energy sources will initially offset up to 90 percent of the plant’s process steam needs, currently met using natural gas, and has the potential to replace 90 percent of the plant’s total energy needs (combined with waste wood) over time. BIO 5|2009 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 15


industry

NEWS 100 percent biomass or bust gains ground Power providers have taken a keen interest in biomass due to its current cost competitiveness with coal and its clean-burning properties. Despite the new-found popularity, not every biomass power project gets the green light. The determining factor for whether a project moves forward or falls between the cracks is the amount of biomass being used—100 percent versus cofired. Lately, the sentiment seems to be all or nothing. In mid-March, the Georgia Public Service Commission approved Southern Co.’s largest utilities provider Georgia Power’s plan to convert its 164-megawatt coal-fired power Plant Mitchell Unit 3, located near Albany, Ga., to a 96-megawatt, 100-percent wood-fired biomass plant. Once completed, it will be the largest operating woody biomass-fired power plant in the U.S. “Georgia Power has indicated in its filing that conversion of the Plant Mitchell Unit 3 is consistent with the company’s renewable expansion plans, adds to fuel diversity and maximizes the life and value of the unit,” the GPSC said in a statement. “As part of the 2007 Integrated Resources Plan, the commission found Georgia Power’s plan to develop cost-effective renewable resources to be effective.” Under the Integrated Resource Plan statute, new power generation cannot be added to the system nor can significant changes be made to the capacity of an existing facility without a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity issued by the GPSC.

The next step in the conversion process is for Georgia Power to obtain an air permit from the state Environmental Protection Division, which could take 15 to 18 months. The company plans to begin the transition in 2011 and bring the plant on line prior to the summer of 2012. Upon project completion, Georgia Power expects to create 50 to 75 new jobs related to waste wood recovery. The approval of Plant Mitchell’s conversion comes on the heels of the cancellation of Alliant Energy Corp. subsidiary Interstate Power and Light Co.’s proposed 649-megawatt Sutherland Generating Station Unit 4 in Marshalltown, Iowa. Alliant Energy said it intended to cofire the plant with biomass, such as switchgrass or corn stover. The company estimated it would burn 110,000 tons of biomass annually at the generating station. A combination of factors led to the cancellation of Alliant Energy’s proposal, including the current economic and financial climate, increasing environmental, legislative and regulatory uncertainty regarding regulation of future greenhouse gas emissions, and the terms placed on the proposed power plant by regulators, according to Alliant Energy. In November, the company’s proposal for a similar cofired plant in Cassville, Wis., was shot down by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, marking the first time in state history that a coal plant proposal was rejected by state regulators. Commenting on the cancellation of both Alliant Energy projects, Peter Taglia, staff scientist at Clean Energy Wisconsin, said he thinks it is a great thing to move away from coal and biomass proposals that are not focused on biomass. “In the aftermath of Wisconsin’s rejection of the coal plant proposed in Cassville, Xcel Energy has brought forward an application to convert a coal plant in Ashland, Wis., to 100 percent biomass via gasification,” he said. The Bay Front Power Plant project, estimated at $58 million, will require additional biomass receiving and handling facilities at the plant, an external gasifier, minor modifications to the plant’s remaining coal-fired boiler and an enhanced air quality control system. Xcel submitted its application to the PSCW at the end of February. Following all state regulatory approvals, engineering and design work is expected to begin in 2010, and the unit could be operational by late 2012.

Biomass power conversions are becoming increasingly popular among power providers.

—Anna Austin

16 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 5|2009


industry

NEWS Covanta to build waste-to-energy plant in England New Jersey-based Covanta Energy Corp. has purchased land in Northwest England and submitted an application for planning approval to build a new waste-to-energy plant in Cheshire County, according to the North of England Inward Investment Agency. The North of England Inward Investment Agency is a British government-funded consultancy and UKbased inward investment agency, which advises and assists North American companies considering U.K./European expansion. Covanta’s new facility will convert Cheshire County’s residential waste into enough electricity to power up to 50,000 local homes. The company plans to utilize a mix of commercial and industrial wastes from shops, offices and other businesses in the region. In addition to employing about 300 workers during its construction, the facility will create 50 permanent jobs upon completion. Beyond providing residential electricity, Covanta will provide combined heat and power to British Salt, a major local employer.

The company said it is also participating in ongoing discussions with other local businesses about using combined heat and power to see how they might benefit from the new facility. The Cheshire County project is the second U.K.-based plant Covanta has announced in recent months. In February, the company unveiled plans to build a 70-megawatt waste-to-energy plant in Merthyr, Wales, that will produce enough electricity to power up to 180,000 homes. The $575 million plant will be linked to rail-operated waste transfer stations across Wales, including municipal, commercial and industrial landfill sites. The facility is expected to process 875,000 tons of waste annually. Covanta Energy currently operates 38 waste-to-energy facilities in North America, Europe and Asia. —Anna Austin


industry

NEWS A university and a plastic recycling company are taking the lead in developing novel, cost-effective methods to produce saleable biobased products. Researchers at Stanford University have developed a synthetic wood substitute made from hemp fibers fused with a biodegradable plastic resin called polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB), which can be recycled to produce more of the same. PHB can also be used to replace the petrochemical plastics used to manufacture disposable water bottles, according to Sarah Billington, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at the university. Last year, the California Environmental Protection Agency awarded Billington and her colleagues a three-year $1.5 million grant to help the researchers develop biodegradable plastic beverage bottles. In 2004, the group received a two-year Environmental Venture Projects grant from Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment to develop durable and recyclable faux wood. The hemp-PHB biocomposite material has several characteristics similar to wood from trees, according to Craig Criddle, a professor of civil and environmental engineering, who collaborated on the project. “It’s quite attractive looking and very strong,” he said. “You can mold it, nail it, hammer it and drill it a lot like wood. But, bioplastic PHB can be produced faster than wood, and hemp can be grown faster than trees.” The biocomposite material is also stable enough to be used for furniture, floors and a variety of other products, Criddle added. The material is also degradable in anaerobic environments such as a landfill, where methane emissions can be captured and burned for energy recovery or reused to make more biocomposites. The research has attracted the attention of private investors and, at press time, the group said it intends to form a new company within a few months. 18 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 5|2009

PHOTO: LINDA CICERO, STANFORD NEWS SERVICE

Novel processes developed to make faux wood, synthetic fuel

The biocomposite building materials shown in the foreground are made of thin films of PHB and commercially made hemp fabric which, when layered and formed with heat and pressure, create a biodegradeable substitute for wood.

While Stanford researchers concentrate on biocomposites, Agri-Plas Inc. is focusing its efforts on producing synthetic oil. Agri-Plas uses a patent-pending “thermal reclamation” technology developed by Longview, Wash.-based Plas2Fuel Corp. that converts unwanted and unrecyclable agricultural plastics into a high-quality synthetic crude oil at its recycling facility in Brooks, Ore. The company is selling this reclaimed crude oil product to U.S. Oil & Refining in Tacoma, Wash. In December 2008, AgriPlas delivered its first full shipment of 8,200 gallons of oil. According to Mary Sue Gilliland, vice president of operations and business development for Agri-Plas, the company currently recovers approximately 750 pounds of oil, 90 pounds of char and 160 pounds of nondestructible gases. The gases are burned and the heat from the process is recycled. Gilliland said the company is adding a four-vessel unit at its recycling center to increase throughput capacity. The company aims to have 20 plastic-to-oil vessels installed, which will have the capability to process approximately 30 million pounds of waste plastic per month. Agri-Plas will operate its oil reclamation expansion under the name AgriPlas2Crude. —Bryan Sims


industry

NEWS

Two enzyme research efforts are getting closer to their goals of perfecting enzymes for cellulosic ethanol production. In March, Royal Dutch Shell PLC expanded its collaborative partnership with Redwood City, Calif.-based biocatalyst developer Codexis Inc. to enhance the performance of enzymes and microbes used in cellulosic ethanol production. Under the agreement, Codexis will work with Canadian cellulosic ethanol producer Iogen Corp. to improve the efficiency of biocatalysts used in Iogen’s ethanol production process at its demonstration facility in Ottawa. Iogen’s plant, which opened in 2004, uses an enzymatic hydrolysis pathway to produce ethanol from wheat straw. According to Codexis, the company uses DNA shuffling, a research technique that manipulates the DNA blueprint of an enzyme and recombines the DNA, to create new hybrid genes. The resulting gene library is screened to find enzymes that meet or exceed desired targeted performance characteristics. Codexis has been working with Shell since November 2006 to tailor its technology to the biofuels industry. Iogen and Shell first formed their partnership in 2002, when Shell acquired an equity stake in Iogen. As part of their collaborative agreement, Shell made a significant investment in Iogen by increasing its shares in Iogen Energy Corp., a subsidiary that is focused on technology development, from 26.3 percent to 50 percent. Meanwhile, researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and DNA2.0 Inc. are seeing the fruits of their labor as they develop a cost-efficient process to extract sugars from cellulose. Frances Arnold, the Dick and Barbara Dickinson professor of chemical engineering and biochemistry at Caltech, and researchers from gene-synthesis company DNA2.0 Inc. created 15 highly stable fungal enzyme catalysts that efficiently break down cellulose into sugars at high temperatures using a method called structureguided recombination. Prior to this finding,

PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER SNOW, CALTECH/THE ARNOLD GROUP

Enzyme research speeds cellulosic ethanol development

Pictured are portions of three natural fungal cellulase enzymes that have been recombined to create a synthetic, thermostable cellulase. The recombined cellulase enzyme modeled here function at higher temperatures than any of their three parents.

fewer than 10 such fungal cellobiohydrolase II enzymes were known to exist. Arnold, along with Caltech postdoctoral scholar Pete Heinzelman, used a computer program to design where specific genes recombine by mating the sequences of three known fungal cellulases that make more than 6,000 progeny sequences different from any of the parents while encoding proteins with the same structure and cellulose-degradation characteristics. By analyzing the enzymes encoded by a small subset of the sequences, researchers at Caltech and DNA2.0 were able to predict which of the 6,000 possible new enzymes would be the most stable, particularly under high temperatures—a characteristic called thermostability. According to Arnold, the next stage entails using the structure-guided recombination process to perfect each of the six cellulases that make up the mixture of enzymes required for the industrial degradation of cellulose. “We’ve demonstrated the process on one of the components,” Arnold said. “Now, we have to create families of all of the other components, and then look for the ideal mixtures for each individual application.” —Bryan Sims

5|2009 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 19


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NEWS EPA proposes GHG reporting program Large emitters of greenhouse gases (GHGs) will have to file their first annual GHG emissions reports with the U.S. EPA in 2011, if a new rule is adopted as proposed. EPA held about 100 meetings with more than 250 stakeholders, including trade associations, industries, environmental groups, and state and regional governments, during the development of the rule. Hearings were scheduled for April 6 and 7 in Washington, D.C., and April 16 in Sacramento, Calif. Written comments will be accepted for 60 days after the official publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register. To read the text of the proposal and supporting information visit the Web site at www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/ghgrulemaking. In general, the EPA proposed the new rule for suppliers of fossil fuels or industrial GHGs, manufacturers of vehicles and engines, and facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons or more of carbon dioxide equivalent per year. The GHGs covered by the proposed rule are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride, and other fluorinated gases including nitrogen trifluoride and hydrofluorinated ethers. The EPA estimated approximately 13,000 facilities will be covered under the rule, accounting for 85 percent to 90 percent of U.S. GHG emissions. The threshold is roughly equivalent to the annual GHG emissions from 4,500 passenger vehicles, 58,000 barrels of oil consumed or 131 railcars filled with coal. The vast majority of small businesses will fall well below the threshold and thus not be required to report. The EPA estimated that it will cost the private sector $160 million for the first year and $127 million in each subsequent year to comply with the new reporting requirement. In most cases, the required data will come from the facility level, with a few exceptions where the reporting will be done at the corporate level. Among the exceptions are

vehicle and engine manufacturers, fossil fuel importers and exporters, and local gas distribution companies. Under the EPA proposal, the first emissions report would be due on March 31, 2011, for emissions that occured during calendar year 2010. At that time, reporters would need to present total annual GHG emissions as an aggregate as well as separate emissions data for each source and supply category identified by the EPA. Fuel use and feedstock inputs used to generate emissions are to be reported, but not emissions from land-use changes or carbon storage. EPA has published information sheets for each of the source categories covered in the proposed rule on its Web site under the resources link. In addition to manufacturers of chemicals and gases, the source categories include energy-intensive industries such as refineries, coal mines, electrical generation, cement production, electronics manufacturing, food processing and more. Emissions sources associated with agriculture, other than from certain very large manure management systems, are not covered by the rule. The GHG reporting rule focuses on bottom-up data and individual GHG sources which will be used to inform decision makers as new policies are developed for GHG reductions. While the rule provides detailed data and will allow geographic analysis and industry analysis, it does not provide full coverage of total annual U.S. GHG emissions. The EPA will continue the annual Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks, which uses national energy data and other national statistics, to provide a comprehensive top-down national assessment of GHG emissions. The EPA has been tracking the national trend in emissions and sinks since 1990, submitting the report to the United Nations in accordance with the Framework Convention on Climate Change. —Susanne Retka Schill


industry

NEWS Biomass to Ammonia BIOMASS Feeder AIR Separation Plant

HARVESTGASTM Fluidized Bed Gasifier

SYNGAS Clean-up & Heat Recovery

Oxygen

Water Gas Shift & Pressure Swing Adsorption Hydrogen

Nitrogen

Ammonia Synthesis

Ammonia Storage

SynGest uses a gasification system to turn corncobs into anhydrous ammonia that farmers can use to produce more corncobs. SOURCE: SYNGEST

Iowa to get first biomass-to-ammonia plant SynGest Inc. has secured a site in Menlo, Iowa, to build what it says is the world’s first biomass-to-ammonia plant, to help supply the U.S.’s 18 million ton per year ammonia market. The San Francisco-based company has developed gasification and syngas technology to deploy in its first plant. The technology will be used to annually turn 150,000 tons of corncobs into 50,000 tons of anhydrous ammonia, which is enough to fertilize 500,000 acres of land. The process involves a pressurized oxygen-blown biomass gasifier operating in an expanding bed fluidized mode. The company’s patent-pending HarvestGas system gasifies biomass into a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, and is optimized to minimize the formation of methane. After the gas stream is cleaned, the carbon monoxide portion is shifted to maximize hydrogen. The hydrogen is purified and catalytically reacted with nitrogen to make ammonia. The plant includes an air separation system to provide oxygen for the gasifier and pure nitrogen for ammonia synthesis. The gasifier is a variant of existing designs used for coal gasification, explained Jack Oswald, SynGest chief executive officer. “We run at lower temperatures and pressures than comparable gasification units, thus we have our own design that is cheaper to build,” he said. “Everything else is off-the-shelf technology to minimize technology risk.”

The plant will fit on five acres of the 75-acre site at Menlo, with the remainder available for biomass storage. “The size of the facility is driven by the logistics of biomass collection,” he said. The plant will require 10 percent of the available corncobs from a 30- to 40-mile radius. Because 90 percent of the cost of anhydrous ammonia is determined by the cost of natural gas, the company’s product may be more costly than conventional anhydrous ammonia when the price of natural gas is low, Oswald said. The higher cost will be offset, however, by the lower cost of transporting the product, which is predominantly produced in the Gulf, to the Corn Belt. Financing for the $80 million facility is close to being finalized, according to Oswald, and negotiations are underway with a large agribusiness firm to handle both feedstock procurement and ammonia off-take. Depending on how the permitting process proceeds, groundbreaking will happen this fall or next spring. Construction is expected to take 18 months. As project development proceeds, SynGest is examining the provisions in USDA’s new Biomass Crop Assistance Program. BCAP pays farmers 75 percent of the cost to establish bioenergy crops and helps with collection, harvest, storage and transportation of biomass to a production facility. Oswald said the initial discussions they’ve had with USDA were well received. —Susanne Retka Schill

5|2009 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 21


industry

NEWS Canadian cellulosic ethanol projects progressing In March, Montreal, Quebec-based Enerkem Inc. announced that it will enter the U.S. ethanol market when it chose Pontotoc, Miss., as the site for its proposed 75.7 MMly (20 MMgy) cellulosic ethanol plant. The $250 million project will be co-located at the Three Rivers Landfill and will recycle and convert approximately 60 percent, or 189,000 tons, of municipal solid waste (MSW) per year into fuelgrade ethanol. Enerkem has secured a feedstock supply agreement with the Three Rivers Solid Waste Management Authority of Mississippi to supply its MSW. In addition to MSW, the plant will use wood residue from regional forest and agricultural operations. The company uses a thermochemical gasification and catalytic synthesis technology pathway, which has been refined and tested at the company’s pilot-scale facility in Sherbrooke, Quebec, since 2003. A groundbreaking date for the project hasn’t been determined, however, it’s likely to happen sometime in 2010, according to MarieHélène Labrie, vice president of government affairs and communications for Enerkem. “We are still developing the project, and are negotiating the final binding agreements with the Three Rivers Solid Waste Management Authority for the MSW feedstock,” she said. Meanwhile, British Columbia-based Lignol Energy Corp. received a $1.82 million grant in March from Sustainable Develop-

ment Technology Canada (SDTC), a nonprofit foundation established by the Canadian government in 2001, focused on financing the development of renewable technologies. In addition to this funding, SDTC previously contributed $4.42 million to Lignol for a total of $6.24 million. According to Ross MacLachlan, Lignol president and chief executive officer, the additional funding from SDTC will allow the company to enhance the functionality of its industrial pilot plant in Burnaby, British Columbia, in addition to covering short-term operational costs this year. “This funding has enabled us to extend this phase of operations well into the first half of 2009 with an expanded scope of our project, together with enhancements for enzyme utilization and process improvements,” he said. Enerkem’s gasification, sequential gas conditioning and catalysis technology converts sorted municipal solid waste and forest and agricultural residues into second-generation fuels and green chemicals. The company’s pilot plant in Sherbrooke, Quebec, has been operating since 2003. Its first commercial-scale ethanol plant in Westbury, Quebec, is “entering start-up phase,” Enerkem said. Construction of a third plant in Edmonton, Alberta, has also been scheduled. —Bryan Sims


industry

NEWS BIO urges Congress to invest in advanced biofuels It’s unlikely the infant cellulosic ethanol industry will meet the 100 million gallon renewable fuels standard in 2010, said Brent Erickson, executive vice president of Biotechnology Industry Organization’s industrial and environmental section. “Given the current economic turndown, the progress for commercialization has slowed down,” he told a group of reporters in an early April press briefing. “A major federal investment in the entire value chain of advanced biofuels and biobased products commercialization is needed.” Erickson and 10 BIO members representing second-generation technology development firms held the press briefing as the group prepared to visit Capitol Hill to present the following set of six policy recommendations:  Implement a comprehensive systems approach to advanced biofuels and biobased products deployment that recognizes the need for coordinated end-to-end infrastructure development.  Inject immediate capital into biorefinery construction, feedstock development and fuel delivery infrastructure through the DOE Biorefinery Loan Guarantee program, the USDA Biorefinery Assistance Program and the USDA Biomass Crop Assistance Program, and expand biofuel blending facilities, E85 pumps, rail capacity and flexible-fuel vehicles.  Ensure a strong market for advanced biofuels by maintain-

ing the RFS, addressing the blend wall issue, extending the cellulosic producer tax credit beyond 2011 and funding the U.S. DOE Reverse Auction program.  Incentivize the full range of biobased products produced by biorefineries by extending programs beyond support for liquid fuels.  Aggressively fund ongoing research and development to maximize economic competitiveness, sustainability and greenhouse gas (GHG) benefits of advanced biofuels and biobased products.  Explicitly incentivize GHG-reducing biotechnologies in climate change legislation such as energy saving biotechnologies, sequestration technologies and yield-enhancing biotech crops. Use allowances or revenues from auctions to aggressively fund existing DOE and USDA programs for advanced biofuels and biobased products. The group also recommended any evaluation of emissions associated with land-use change uniformly apply rigorously developed and consistent scientific methodology. Despite the slowdown in commercialization efforts, Erickson was optimistic about the future of the biomass industry. “We’re still very bullish about our future,” he said. —Susanne Retka Schill


industry

NEWS The potential for renewable energy production from public lands is significant and should be developed, Dan Arvizu, director of the U.S. DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory, told the U.S. Senate Energy Committee in a March hearing. According to Arvizu, if 10 percent of the wind, solar and biomass potential on public lands were developed along with 100 percent of the known geothermal potential, the total energy contribution would be 640 gigawatts. “Given that total U.S. electrical generation capacity is 1,088 gigawatts, you can begin to see the significance of renewable resources on public lands,” he said. Arvizu also told Senate committee members that NREL has determined that enough cellulosic ethanol could be produced to displace 8 percent of U.S. gasoline consumption by using leftover residue materials from logging and milling operations as feedstock. He noted that the percentage doesn’t include the harvesting of trees for

PHOTO: U.S. FORESTRY SERVICE

NREL: Use public lands to produce energy

Tapping into renewable energy resources on public lands, including pine beetle-infested forests such as this one, could provide a significant contribution to the nation’s energy needs.

energy. With the forest destruction caused by pine beetles, there is extensive additional feedstock in the Western U.S., he said. The director also posed several potential barriers to the development of public lands for renewable energy use. “Unduly burdensome fees and regulations in a leasing program could stifle development of the very clean energy resources that we as a nation are striving to encourage,” he said, adding

that the unique economics of these types of projects must be understood and reflected in future leases. Arvizu also recommended government agencies work together to ensure federal leases for renewable energy development are awarded to renewable energy developers, and to protect against those who would obtain leases only to drive up the cost or block development. —Susanne Retka Schill


industry

NEWS Paper industry seeks equality in pending RES bills The American Forest & Paper Association has recently voiced concerns to Congress that it is not eligible to receive the same credits that utility companies will under several pending bills to develop a federal renewable electricity standard (RES).

Because the paper industry uses biomass to make its products and generate electricity, it is likely to be negatively impacted by an RES under the proposed legislation, unless it is granted a renewable energy credit.

A federal RES would require all investor-owned utilities to buy an increasing portion of their electricity from renewable resources such as biomass. Utilities that are unable to meet the new federal requirements can purchase credits from other entities who have obtained credits. Utilities can also bank credits for four years and borrow credits from up to three years in the future. Several bills calling for an RES are pending, including one introduced by Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., that would create a 20 percent renewable energy minimum by 2021, and another introduced by Sens. Tom Udall, D-NM, and Mark Udall, D-Colo., requiring a 25 percent renewable energy minimum by 2025. If either proposal is passed, the demand for biomass is expected to increase, which could cause prices to rise. Because

the paper industry uses biomass to make its products and generate electricity, it is likely to be negatively impacted by an RES under the proposed legislation, unless it is granted a renewable energy credit. The AF&PA said the proposal creates “winners and losers between existing renewable energy industries, such as the forest products industry, and new power generators.� Like other businesses, the forest industry has been negatively affected by the economic downturn, losing 190,000 jobs, a 15 percent reduction in its workforce, since 2006. The AF&PA is asking the public to voice their concerns to key senators about the current RES proposals and the proposed modifications to improve it. The Senate is likely to consider RES legislation this spring. —Anna Austin

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industry

NEWS SDTC, North Carolina fund biomass projects Several biomass projects in the U.S. and Canada have received grants to help accelerate their biomass projects. In the U.S., the Biofuels Center of North Carolina awarded $584,000 to three biomass-to-liquid fuel-related projects within the state. The impetus behind the funding is help trigger the state’s renewable fuels standard, which mandates that, by 2017, all liquid fuels sold in North Carolina must come from locally grown and produced biofuels. The Biofuels Center is tasked to implement this initiative. Notable recipients of this funding include:  Research Triangle Institute in Research Triangle Park, N.C., which is developing technologies to remove tars and other impurities from biomass-derived synthesis gas.  Abell Foundation, which is working collaboratively with energy crop research

and development company Ceres Inc. and gasification technology company ThermoChem Recovery International Inc. to identify which energy crops could be grown in the state for thermochemical conversion to gases and liquids. The crops will be tested for their conversion potential at ThermoChem’s gasification plant in Durham, N.C.  North Carolina State University in Raleigh plans to demonstrate the use of a viable torrefaction pretreatment process in conjunction with a gasification process to produce liquid transportation fuels from woody biomass. In Canada, Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), a nonprofit that finances emerging clean technologies, awarded $53 million to 16 new clean energy projects, three of which involve biomass technologies.

Recipients of this funding include:  Alterna Energy Inc., which aims to develop a multimodule biocarbon production facility that will convert 121,000 tons of woody biomass into 27,500 tons of biocarbon.  Performance Plants Inc. plans to demonstrate improved cellulosic ethanol conversion processes by advancing trait development technologies that break down cellulose efficiently into biofuels and biochemicals.  Greenfield Ethanol Inc. intends to develop a biochemical technology process for lignocellulosic ethanol production using corncobs as feedstock. If successful, Greenfield Ethanol says it could produce approximately 70 MMly (18 MMgy) of cellulosic ethanol from corncobs by 2015. —Bryan Sims


www.atlanticbioenergy.ca

Hosted at Delta Beauséjour • Moncton, NB September 21-23, 2009

CALL FOR PRESENTATION ABSTRACTS The deadline for submission is May 27, 2009. If you would like to contribute a topic that is related, but not mentioned below, please feel free to submit an abstract.

•Provincial insights to build a future •Woody Biomass •Biomass Feedstock Yields •Anaerobic digesters •Government incentives/analysis of programs available •Waste management •Rising in the East •Environmental Issues •New Innovations •Emerging Technology •Futuristic Outlook The Atlantic BioEnergy Conference program will continue to provide ground breaking workshops and innovative presentations. This is an excellent opportunity to share cutting edge information to an expanding Canadian audience. To submit your presentation abstract online or further inquiries, please email abc@bbiinternational.com For more information about the 2009 Atlantic Bioenergy Conference visit:

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UNITED KINGDOM

Her Majesty’s Biogas

With natural gas production and landfill capacity declining, the U.K. is looking at converting waste to biogas and synthesis gas for heat, power, and fuels on a large scale By Ryan C. Christiansen

28 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 5|2009


UNITED KINGDOM

5|2009 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 29


UNITED KINGDOM

30 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 5|2009

PHOTO: MATT SEPPINGS

T

he natural gas fields in the North Sea, the body of water between the English Channel and the Norwegian Sea, are an important fossil fuel resource for the U.K. However, natural gas production there peaked in 2000 and has been declining sharply since 2003, according to the U.K.’s Department for Business Enterprise & Regulatory Reform in an October 2007 report titled “U.K. Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Production and Reserves.” Meanwhile, landfill capacity has also been declining. A common sight in London is a Thames River barge laden with rubbishfilled containers destined for landfills elsewhere. Alongside minerals, waste is among the two major types of freight cargos delivered to the wharves in greater London, according to an April 2007 report by Adams Hendry Consulting Ltd. titled “Assessment of Boatyard Facilities on the River Thames.” The report says one major waste disposal company employs 200 people and operates a fleet of six purposebuilt tugs and 47 container barges to transport more than 600,000 metric tons of waste by river each year. This is despite the fact that the Waste Strategy employed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has managed to decrease the total waste delivered to landfills by one-fifth from 80 million tons to 65 million tons between 2000 and 2006, according to DEFRA’s waste strategy progress report for 2007-’08. Londoners now recycle 20 percent of their waste and send the rest to landfills or incinerators at rates of 57 percent and 22 percent, respectively. DEFRA’s efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle are in support of the U.K.’s Climate Change Act, which became law Nov. 26, 2008, and which sets targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the U.K. by 80 percent of the 1990 level by 2050 and to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 26 percent by 2020. DEFRA’s efforts also support actions at the European Union level, including the EU Landfill Directive, which aims to reduce the amount of biodegradable municipal waste sent to landfills by 35 percent of the 1995 level by 2020.

Barges laden with rubbish-filled containers destined for landfills elsewhere are a common sight on the Thames River in London.

“Local authorities in the U.K. all collect green waste for compost, but they have an obligation to divert as much biodegradable waste as possible from the landfill and so food waste is the next key element that needs to be captured and treated,” says Jeremy Jacobs, managing director of the Association for Organics Recycling, a trade organization for the biological waste management industry in the U.K. “Some will capture that with the green waste, but most of the work that is being done shows that collecting food waste separately gives you better capture rates and better participation by householders. [Also], you’ve got back-of-the-store wastes from the major supermarkets and you’ve got processors who are dealing with food waste all of the time who have the opportunity to provide significant volumes of this material consistently.”


UNITED KINGDOM DEFRA’s efforts also support the EU’s goal of sourcing 20 percent of its total energy from renewable sources by 2020. For the EU’s goal, the U.K. will need to increase its share of renewable energy from 1.5 percent in 2006 to 15 percent by 2020. The U.K. is expected to publish its renewable energy strategy this year.

Energy From Waste To help the U.K. lessen its dependence on natural gas and to reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfills, National Grid, an international utility that delivers gas and electricity to households in the territory of Great Britain and the northeastern U.S., commissioned Ernst & Young to look at the potential for using anaerobic digestion and gasification in the U.K. to produce biogas and synthesis gas. The report found that up to half of the country’s domestic gas heating could be generated from manure, sewage, food waste and wood waste. The January 2009 report, titled “The Potential for Renewable Gas in the U.K,” has been delivered to the U.K.’s Department of Energy & Climate Change. “After we published the report, the phones were red-hot with waste companies and local waste management authorities contacting us,” says Isobel Rowley, press officer for National Grid. “It certainly rang a bell.” According to the report, a small quantity of biogas, approximately 1.4 billion cubic meters, is currently being produced in the U.K. from landfills and sewage plants. For the most part, the biogas is being used to generate electricity at a 30 percent efficiency rate. Jacobs says since BERR announced in June 2008 the department’s intentions to change how many Renewables Obligation Certificates it will award to renewable electricity producers based on the technologies they use, more companies are looking at using anaerobic digestion or gasification to earn double ROCs beginning in April 2009. “The appetite is greater now than it has been in the past because of the financial incentives,” Jacobs says, “and also because the

price of energy has been extremely volatile. [In the current financial climate], proving the bankability of these projects is absolutely imperative; I think that the double ROCs will provide that. People who have been skeptical in the past now say that this is something which makes sense and payback is fairly quick.” However, instead of using these technologies to generate electricity, National Grid says it would be more efficient—as much as 90 percent efficient—to scrub biogas and syngas to pipeline specifications and to inject the gas into the gas network, a practice already being deployed in Germany, France and Austria, and also by National Grid in Staten Island, N.Y. “Because we are basically running out of landfill, a lot of local authorities are looking at tying up long-term contracts for their waste disposal. Our concern is that it doesn’t all just go for incineration or for electricity generation, but that a good portion of it actually goes for biomethane, which we feel is a more efficient use of it,” says David Pickering, development manager in National Grid’s Sustainable Gas Group. The company says as much as 50 percent of the U.K.’s residential gas demand could be met with renewable energy if every person and business in the U.K. sorted and directed their waste to anaerobic digestion and gasification plants throughout the country. In London, a city that will host the Olympics in 2012, Dow Jones Architects LLP and the professional services firm Arup Group prepared a report for the Greater London Authority titled “Rubbish In—Resources Out: Design Ideas for Waste Facilities in London” that includes conceptual designs for anaerobic digestion and gasification facilities within the city. The report supports London’s municipal waste management strategy, first published in 2003, that envisions that by 2020, 85 percent of the city’s waste will be managed within the city, up from 60 percent currently. The architects estimate that 328 hectares (811 acres) of land within the city will need to be utilized for 297 facilities, including 25 anaerobic digestion units and 11 gasification

5|2009 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 31


UNITED KINGDOM plants and supporting infrastructure. The architects suggest the facilities should be “bold and visible,” like little Wren churches built for practicing the renewable energy religion. Nationally, the cost to build the infrastructure to support using anaerobic digesters and gasification plants to produce enough biogas and syngas to satisfy 50 percent of the demand in the U.K. is £10 billion ($14 billion), National Grid says, or about £100 ($140) per megawatt-hour, which the company says is similar to the cost of generating electricity using off-shore wind towers.

Policies Needed The key to building a biogas and syngas industry in the U.K. is government policy and regulation, National Grid says. Producers must be given a commercial incentive to inject gas into the grid rather than use it to generate electricity. National Grid proposes a “biomethane injection incentive” which would provide enhanced returns to producers when biogas or syngas is injected into the grid rather than used to produce electricity. “We’re working closely with DECC, which published a consultation paper back in February called the ‘Heat and Energy Saving Strategy’ for the U.K., which is about providing the right incentives for a whole raft of energy conservation measures, in particular, heat. [The consultation] specifically mentions biomethane as a contributor to the renewable energy mix. We’ll be responding to that consultation positively,” Pickering says. “Presently, the playing field is somewhat tilted against renewable heat technologies and toward renewable electricity technologies,” Pickering continues. “One of the things that we’ve argued for is this thing called the renewable heat incentive, [which will be determined] by April 2011 at the latest. We’re hoping to get some kind of reasonably firm indication from the government on the level of the incentive well before then so that projects can take it into account.” The “Heat and Energy Saving Strategy,” published jointly by DECC and the Department for Communities and Local Government, lays out the U.K. government’s vision for actions that should be taken through 2020 for “de-carbonizing” the way Brits heat their homes and businesses. The strategy is 32 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 5|2009

a request for input from the British people, which closed May 8. “It is clear that without financial support, renewable heat will not be forthcoming on the scale we need,” the strategy says. “We already provide such support for renewable electricity and renewable transport fuels.” The government says it plans to provide the incentive to all eligible renewable heat producers at all scales, from household- to industrial-scale generators. However, because renewable heat technologies vary widely in the amount of financial support they require to make them attractive, the renewable heat incentive will be applied differently for various technologies. The incentive amounts will be shared for consultation later this year. The incentives will be funded through a levy on fossil fuels used for heating. In addition, National Grid says policies need to be in place to direct wet and dry wastes to appropriate facilities for conversion to energy. Finally, gas network owners who control the pipeline must be provided with incentives to connect the pipeline to biogas and syngas resources. National Grid says the government must continue to support research and development to improve biogas and syngas production and upgrade technologies.

Government Action Meanwhile, the U.K. government is working on policies to support biogas production through anaerobic digestion. In February, DEFRA published shared goals for the anaerobic digestion industry in the U.K., which is supported by farmers, technology providers, supermarkets, water and energy utilities, waste handlers, and the food products industry, as well as government officials and regulators. A DEFRA task group will develop an implementation plan for the shared goals, which are to make anaerobic digestion an established technology in the U.K. for converting food waste to biogas, including both post-consumer food waste and industrial food waste. This includes a pledge from the Food and Drink Federation, the voice of the food and beverage industry in the U.K., to send zero food and packaging waste to landfills by 2015. DEFRA’s Milk Roadmap includes establishing anaerobic di-


UNITED KINGDOM gesters at 30 dairy farms by 2010. For the farming sector in general, anaerobic digestion will be used to process food waste, crop residues and energy crops, in addition to manure. The ultimate vision is to have 1,000 farm-based anaerobic digesters in place by 2020. The implementation plan will include recommended regulations for encouraging growth in the use of anaerobic digestion. To kick-start anaerobic digestion in the U.K., DEFRA is working with the Waste & Resources Action Program, a private nonprofit organization backed by government funding from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, to construct three to six anaerobic digestion demonstration plants under the £10 million ($14 million) Anaerobic Digestion Demonstration Program, which is being jointly funded by DEFRA and BERR through the Environmental Transformation Fund. WRAP has set aggressive targets for turning waste into energy. The program wants to divert 8 million metric tons of waste using anaerobic digestion and other approaches, with the goal of providing government, businesses and consumers with £1.1 billion ($2.2 billion) of economic impact by 2011. WRAP’s business plan for 20082011 includes developing a market for the solid digestate produced from anaerobic digestion. To this end, WRAP and The Environment Agency have developed a draft Quality Protocol, applicable for England and Wales, for the collection, storage, transport and use of digestate. The draft protocol was published in January and will be reviewed by the European Commission’s technical standards committee this year. “[The protocol] provides confidence in the market,” Jacobs says. “If you’re going to be using digestate in the future, you need to be sure that it meets a standard. It also means that this material will be a product—and not a waste—and so when it is spread to land, waste regulations don’t apply. It makes use of the digestate or the liquor fraction much easier for the processors.”

Challenges Ahead Renewables obligation certificates, the proposed renewable heat incentive and the quality protocol for digestate will help to bring more anaerobic digester projects for converting food waste into biogas to fruition in the U.K. However, space and financial considerations will continue to be stumbling blocks. “We live in a small, crowded island in the U.K.,” Jacobs says, “and we have the issue around finding sustainable markets for digestate. I think planning is important in speeding up delivery of projects, because it seems to take an awfully long time to get anything built in this country. “They say a green waste composting facility takes 12 to 18 months and an industrial composting facility maybe two years and above,” Jacobs continues. “I suspect an anaerobic digestion facility would not be dissimilar. It should be quicker than that, because we need significantly more infrastructure to comply with our landfill directive obligations and our diversion targets.” BIO Ryan C. Christiansen is a Biomass Magazine staff writer. Reach him at rchristiansen@bbiinternational.com or (701) 373-8042. 5|2009 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 33


PROFILE

34 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 5|2009


PROFILE

Taking anaerobic Digestion by Storm Ontario, Canada-based StormFisher Biogas is ready to cause a whirlwind of activity with its plans to develop up to 30 anaerobic digestion plants in North America within the next five years. By Anna Austin

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PROFILE

36 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 5|2009

PHOTO: STORMFISHER BIOGAS

I

n the world of renewable energy, anaerobic digestion has swept across the globe like an epidemic. In today’s economy, alternatives to ever-volatile energy costs are being aggressively pursued. Although the concept of transforming what would normally be disposed of as waste into useable energy is not new, its applicability has expanded considerably. In addition to being a cheaper energy source, to some businesses it is a way to alleviate costly tipping fees associated with waste disposal. That‘s what StormFisher Biogas is counting on as it develops projects for up to 30 anaerobic digestion plants in North America. Although the company is only a few years old, it has set its goals high—and has $350 million in capital to fuel its efforts. Based in Ontario, Canada, StormFisher sees the value of being versatile. Leaning slightly away from the trend toward on-site farm animal manure digestion, the company is preparing to accept byproducts from beef, fruit and vegetable processing, brewing, winemaking and distilling, and ethanol, biodiesel, rendering and dairy operations that will be transported to strategically located digestion plants. Ryan Little, vice president of StormFisher business development, says the initial appeal for businesses to contract their waste with StormFisher is to gain access to a cheaper alternative than landfill disposal. From a

This biogas plant in Werlte, Germany, was designed by StormFisher’s engineering partner Krieg & Fischer Ingenieure GmbH. The layout is similar to the configuration of StormFisher’s plants.

consumer’s perspective, businesses would be seen in a more positive light, especially those involved in food manufacturing, if they are contributing to clean energy and sustainability, rather than adding to crowded landfills and emitting foul odors and pathogens.

Taking Off London, Ontario, will soon be home to StormFisher’s flagship project—the company’s first $15 million biogas plant. Con-

struction is slated to start in July, and Little says it has been long awaited. “Initially, we had planned to be operational this year, but since it’s the first of its kind in Ontario the regulatory aspects are taking longer than we had anticipated,” he says. “There are lots of moving parts in this business—from feedstock to energy off-take to [carbon dioxide], construction strategy and regulations—all of it is coming together pretty nicely, but it has been a long haul for sure.”


The London plant, which should be operational in the spring of 2010, will utilize approximately 140,000 tons of food processing waste from local grocery stores, meat processing plants and industrial bakeries. With an output of about 2.8 megawatts (MWs), Little says the plant will be able to supply power to about 2,800 houses. “That number could vary depending on whether they leave the lights on or run the dishwasher a lot,” he jokes. “But I use the proxy of one house per kilowatt— which is about the equivalent of 2,800.” StormFisher will construct, own and operate all of its plants, and sell the energy to the Ontario government for use in its power grid. Little says the company was formed partly in response to the province’s Standard Offer Program, a feed-in tariff that was put in place in Ontario at the beginning of 2007. Feed-in tariffs are incentives to encourage the adoption of renewable energy through government legislation. Regional or national electric utilities are obligated to buy renewable electricity at above market rates, which are set by the government, to help overcome any cost disadvantages of using renewable energy sources. According to the program criteria, biogas projects under 10 megawatts are paid 11 cents per kilowatt hour. Spain, the U.K. and Australia have all adopted feed-in tariffs. “My co-founders and I viewed the enactment of the tariff as a chance to level the playing field and let entrepreneurs,

PHOTO: STORMFISHER BIOGAS

PROFILE

StormFisher co-founders, from left to right, Ryan Little, Bas Van Berkel and Christopher Guillon

rather than utility companies that had been developing 120-megawatt wind projects before, gain access to this market,” Little says. “So that’s what got us started—our goal was to start something that was environmentally friendly, one way or another.” After extensive research and analysis of many different renewable energy technologies, Little and StormFisher co-founders, Bas Van Berkel and Christopher Guillon, believe that from an entrepreneurial standpoint, there is a huge opportunity for biogas, not just

in Ontario but across North America. “It’s something that made sense—taking a waste product and being able to create something valuable, in terms of the energy and fertilizer,” Little says. “The three of us started that way, and attracted interest from a Boston private equity company (Denham Capital Management), which is supporting us for 30 projects over a period of five years. We’ve grown to a company of about 25 to 30 people, and now have our noses to the grindstone.”

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PHOTO: STORMFISHER BIOGAS

PROFILE

StormFisher’s plants will utilize a continuous digestion system where organic matter is constantly added in stages to the reactor.

Development Methodology When selecting a site for a biogas plant, as with plants of any type, several logistical issues must be considered. “Really, it’s a soup of things,” Little says. “The first thing we look for is a location that is a willing host—a province or state that supports green energy and wants a plant. It makes things a lot easier if they are on our side rather than resistant; some places just aren’t keen on these types of things. We look at environmental regulations and whether they are supportive.” Another key factor is power—and the potential to enter into a long-term, fixedrate contract. “Ontario’s been great that way,” Little says. “The government will buy all the power we create at a fixed price for 20 years.” In the U.S., Wisconsin is considering a similar program that could kick in toward the end of the year, and there are 10 to 20 other states looking at feed-in tariffs. The next step is to analyze feedstock market dynamics. “It’s great if there is a huge food processing industry with tons of byproducts being generated,” Little says. “But if there are landfills nearby that take it for $10 per ton, it doesn’t work out as well. We look for places that need to responsibly manage these byproducts.” In many cases, tipping and transportation fees can be more than $100 per ton, he says. 38 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 5|2009

Feedstock logistics could influence not only the location but also the size of the plant. “It depends on how much feedstock is available in a certain area, because we don’t want to be trucking it in too far,” Little says. StormFisher’s 2.8 MW London plant will be one of the company’s smallest plants. The company also plans to build a second plant in DeForest, Wis., which will produce 5 MW and will likely be the maximum size of StormFisher’s plants. “If more feedstocks are available, we could go bigger,” he says. “We’d like to go bigger at some point, but five looks to be the maximum right now.” Little says all materials will be transported via truck, but the hiring for trucking services will be done on a case-by-case basis. “A group using the same transport company for 30 years might want to maintain that relationship,” he says. In addition to the London and DeForest plants, StormFisher has developed a third project in Lethbridge, Alberta—a 3.2 MW plant that will power about 3,000 area homes. All necessary permits have been granted for this project, which is in its final stages of development and is slated to break ground in 2010. StormFisher’s plants will utilize a continuous digestion system, where organic matter is constantly added in stages to the


PROFILE

StormFisher, Sanimax Form Partnership StormFisher has partnered with Quebec, Canada-based Sanimax to build eight of the plants in its portfolio. Sanimax, a collector of animal and food byproducts, vegetable oils, and hides and skins, operates a 20 MMgy biodiesel facility at DeForest, Wis., the future location for one of StormFisher’s biogas plants. Ryan Little, vice president of StormFisher business development, says the relationship between the companies is complementary as both are interested in renewable energy and particularly in biogas. “Rather than go off on their own, they came to us, and partnering with them made a lot of sense, in that they are generating the materials we need,” he says. StormFisher will also be able to take advantage of Sanimax’s extensive transportation system. “That allows us to focus on the biogas aspect of things, rather than having to build the logistics infrastructure,” Little says. Little says that although StormFisher’s initial plans are to own the 2.6 megawatt plants, Sanimax has the option of investing money in them for part ownership. The initial plan is to focus on Sanimax’s current territory, which includes the Great Lakes and upper Midwest regions. These specific biogas plants will process food byproducts from area facilities, such as schools and restaurants, to generate electricity and natural gas. Sanimax and StormFisher are currently pursuing major food processing companies to source additional raw materials for the proposed plants. When all eight plants are operational, the companies estimate they will be capable of powering approximately 20,000 homes.

reactor—rather than a batch system, where material is added to the reactor at the start of the process in a batch, and is sealed for the duration of the process. StormFisher doesn’t own its own technology and has no plans to develop one. The company prefers to work with technology suppliers on a plant-by-plant basis and hopes to emulate the successful biogas industry in countries such as Europe, where more than 5,000 biogas plants are in operation similar to the ones StormFisher is developing.

Although the range of possibilities for plant locations is broad, StormFisher will focus on the most promising and welcoming areas. “Ontario, Wisconsin and Alberta are our current areas of focus right now,” Little says. “With being able to move ahead now—and the election of President Obama—it’s really an exciting time.” BIO Anna Austin is a Biomass Magazine associate editor. Reach her at aaustin@bbiinternational.com or (701) 738-4968.

5|2009 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 39


40 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 5|2009




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TECHNOLOGY

to a Model of Success What started as a light bulb idea is now trademarked by EnerTech as the SlurryCarb Process and could become the future of biosolids management. By Ron Kotrba 42 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 5|2009


TECHNOLOGY

EnerTech Environmental Inc.’s Rialto Regional Biosolids Processing Facility in Rialto, Calif., utilizes a slurry carbonization process, trademarked SlurryCarb, to turn sewer sludge from five surrounding municipalities into E-Fuel, a renewable solid fuel substitute for coal. PHOTO: ENERTECH ENVIRONMENTAL INC.

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TECHNOLOGY

44 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 5|2009

PHOTO: ENERTECH ENVIRONMENTAL INC.

W

hat started as an idea from an inventive, tinkering grandfather and his grandson could have a tremendous impact in biosolids management thinking. Kevin Bolin, president and chief executive officer of the biosolids processing company EnerTech Environmental Inc., tells Biomass Magazine about the humble beginnings of his company and the technologies that his company has developed. Bolin and his grandfather Norman Dickinson, an inventor, would talk about the elder man’s inventions and the possibility of making them commercial. In 1992, Bolin and his grandfather started EnerTech as a vehicle to realize his grandfather’s many ideas. Previously, the younger Bolin had no experience in biosolids treatment. “At that time, all we had was my grandfather’s ideas—what we called ‘lines on paper,’” he says. Bolin’s career to that point was nonlinear, working as an accountant, then selling television time for a CBS affiliate. In 1992, he left his job selling air time and began a new venture with his grandfather. The basis of the new company was “really just a light bulb,” Bolin says. “So what grandpa and I had to do was figure out how to take those ideas and first go into the laboratory and start proving those things out. Then building bench models, pilot- and demo-scale production, all the while trying to figure out

Construction of the aerobic platform is underway at EnerTech Environmental Inc.’s Rialto Regional Biosolids Processing Facility.

how to fund the company.” Friends, family and angel investors all helped with the latter. Demonstrating the technology, however, was up to the two founders of EnerTech. The technology that developed from those “lines on paper” is trademarked the SlurryCarb process, which is short for slurry carbonization. It’s a process that converts

sewage sludge and other high-moisture organics into what EnerTech calls E-Fuel, which yields 6,500 to 8,000 British thermal units (Btus) per pound. Bolin says the fuel is comparable with lignite coal, but E-Fuel is renewable and carbon neutral. In early spring, EnerTech is commissioning its first full-scale biosolids treatment


TECHNOLOGY plant utilizing the SlurryCarb process. The plant is in Rialto, Calif., and once fully operational later this year, the company will have the capacity to produce 160 tons of E-Fuel per day. EnerTech has made arrangements with five surrounding municipalities—Orange County Sanitation District, Los Angeles County Sanitation District, the city of Riverside, the city of San Bernardino and the city of Rialto—to supply the new facility with biosolids. Mike Moore, OCSD environmental assessment division manager, says Orange County produces about 700 wet tons of sewer sludge a day, about a third of which the county has contracted with EnerTech for delivery. Moore says in addition to its contractual feedstock arrangement with EnerTech, OCSD takes on an advisory role with the company when needed. “We advise them on a number of issues—outreach and education, marketing—so we provide guidance when asked, and we require them to follow the tenets of our nationally certified biosolid management system,” Moore tells Biomass Magazine. Not only does OCSD supply EnerTech’s Rialto facility with feedstock, Moore says OCSD is also the recipient of the plant’s liquid waste stream. In addition to EnerTech commissioning its first owned-andoperated plant in Rialto, the company licensed its technology to Mitsubishi Corp. in Japan. “Outside the U.S. we’re going to utilize a licensing model,” Bolin says. In Abu Dhabi, the first-of-its-kind carbon- and waste-free city is being built and Bolin says EnerTech has been preliminarily selected to provide biosolids treatment.

The SlurryCarb process and E-Fuel “The process of carbonization—that’s been around since the cavemen,” Bolin says. “It’s basically converting wood to charcoal.” But biosolids are delivered at approximately 80 percent moisture, an extremely wet product, which is where the “slurry” in SlurryCarb comes in. After the sewage sludge is run through the SlurryCarb

reactor, EnerTech employs centrifugation and drying to remove any excess moisture. The reactor is simply a plug-flow reactor, or a “wide spot in the line,” Bolin says, which is a section in the process where pressure and heat can be applied to the biosolids for a 10-minute residence time. “We don’t like to evaporate water,” Bolin says. “When you evaporate water, because of the latent heat of evaporation, you lose at least 1,000 Btus per pound. That’s clearly a result of changing phase—going from a liquid to a gas or going from water to steam. You lose that energy and it’s not recoverable.” He says all chemical engineers are familiar with the saturation curve of steam or the liquid-vapor equilibrium. “If you add pressure to a liquid, it actually takes higher temperatures to change phase,” he says. Under atmospheric pressure, water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Add pressure, however, and the boiling temperature of water can increase—depending on how much pressure is added. “With an increase in pressure, you can actually raise the boiling temperature to 300, 400, 500 degrees F and still stay in the liquid phase, and not lose the latent heat of evaporation.” To demonstrate this, imagine 100 tons of biosolids at roughly 80 percent water. “A typical dryer is going to use a lot of muscle and heat in order to evaporate those 80 tons of water,” Bolin says. Assuming a theoretical 1,000 Btus per pound necessary for evaporation, it would require 160 million Btus to dry the 80 tons of moisture resident in the 100 tons of biosolids. “That’s a lot of energy,” Bolin says. In the SlurryCarb process the biosolids are pressurized first and then heated. “In order to get to our reaction temperatures, we add some energy—roughly 32 million Btus as opposed to the 160 million Btus needed to dry down the material,” he says. Once reacted, the material still has some moisture—it’s about a 50/50 mix of cake and water at this point—so conventional drying methods are used, which takes another 32 million Btus. Added to the

5|2009 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 45


PHOTO: ENERTECH ENVIRONMENTAL INC.

TECHNOLOGY

Company President Bolin says environmental permitting of the Rialto Regional Biosolids Processing Facility was completed in a quick nine months.

previously needed 32 million Btus of energy, the SlurryCarb process requires only 64 million Btus versus the 160 million that would have been necessary to evaporate the water from the sewer sludge. The pressures and temperatures employed in the SlurryCarb process change the basic molecules of the feedstock, according to EnerTech. “The end result of this reaction we’re driving with heat and pressure is that our reactive product, which once had an affinity for water, no longer has an affinity for water because it’s become hydrophobic,” Bolin says. No catalysts are used in reaction, and approximately 85 percent of the water resident in the incoming biosolids can therefore be removed by mechanical rather than thermal energy. Once the post-reacted sewer sludge comes out of the reactor, it’s cooled down to 212 degrees F, then it’s depressurized, and finally the remainder of the water is removed via centrifuging or with a filter press. Bolin says, “What’s leftover is a nicely isolated carbon product that’s conditioned for use as fuel.” The coal-comparable E-Fuel has multiple applications—virtually anywhere a solid fuel is being used, E-Fuel can be substituted in. “In Rialto, we have two cement-kiln customers utilizing E-Fuel,” Bolin says. “And as a fuel for gasification, we recently entered into an agreement with a company that is actually going to convert the fuel into liquid transportation fuels. We can also utilize the fuel ourselves in our Rialto facility.”

A Sound Model to Follow Moore says one of the key elements other companies can learn from EnerTech is its ability to get the political backing and to conduct successful public outreach before it began the process of project development. “Too often facilities have failed because they didn’t do things right,” he says. “Too often projects do the design, build and defend rather than getting the support they need before they even start. We talked with EnerTech early on about developing a relationship with the people in Rialto—and they did.” 46 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 5|2009


PHOTO: ENERTECH ENVIRONMENTAL INC.

TECHNOLOGY

Feedstock is delivered at the Rialto Regional Biosolids Processing Facility.

OCSD worked with EnerTech on permits for air emissions, and the liquid effluent, of which OCSD is the recipient. “Since we receive its liquid waste stream that goes through the Rialto treatment facility and then into the Santa Ana River Interceptor line, we talked to them about ammonia and salts that we allow to go into that line, which eventually comes to us,” Moore says. When dewatering occurs at the plant, there is a centrate that comes off the centrifuge, which Bolin says is a high-strength wastewater. “We have to pretreat that [before discharge into the Santa Ana River Interceptor line], and in our pretreatment step we actually generate methane gas that goes back into our process,” he says. The most difficult aspect of bringing a biosolids technology to market is not an issue with technology, according to Bolin, but

with commercialization—getting a first-ofits-kind commercial plant up and running. “As a company we’re very well capitalized, and obviously the Rialto project has been financed,” he says. Good technology and teamwork, and working closely with customers, the public and stakeholders to make sure they are all comfortable with the project is extremely important, he says. Of the EnerTech SlurryCarb process and its approach to business, Moore says, “This will be the full-scale pilot, if you will, and it will be replicated all over the world. I’m sure of it.” BIO Ron Kotrbaa is a Biomass Magazine senior writer. Reach him at rkotrba@ bbiinternational.com or (701) 738-4942.

Conversely, municipalities and municipal agencies like the OCSD should consider an overall approach to managing biosolids, Moore says. “We were one of the early adopters of the environmental management system for biosolids and we were one of the first agencies in the nation to be certified by the National Biosolids Partnership,” he adds. “That caused us to rethink the way we manage, to stop thinking of this material as waste and rather think of it as a product you typically don’t dispose of, but can if you want to.” There are some benefits to landfilling biosolids. It could help breakdown the landfill trash already being dumped; more so than straight municipal solid waste. In so doing, the methane produced as a result is cleaner, so if landfill gas capture and utilization is to occur, the gas would require less cleanup, and it is higher quality. Also, Moore says some of the landfills where biosolids are dumped have reported higher quality leachate. Bolin says permitting for the Rialto facility in Southern California—one of the most stringent permitting zones in the U.S.—was completed in a nine-month period. For air, EnerTech’s Rialto plant is a minor source for major pollutants—nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides and particulate matter. 5|2009 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 47


TRANSPORTATION

48 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 5|2009


TRANSPORTATION

THE VALUE OF WASTE In 2007, only 2.6 percent of the nearly 29.2 million metric tons of organic waste generated in North America was recovered, due to inefficient collection processes. Organic Resource Management in Ontario, Canada, is on a mission to make sure that waste doesn’t go to waste. By Khalila Hammond

5|2009 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 49


TRANSPORTATION

Redirecting Organic Waste While ORMI was one of the first companies to dispose of organic residuals using the process of direct-land application, the company found that the process

50 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 5|2009

PHOTO: ORGANIC RESOURCE MANAGEMENT INC.

I

n 1981, Charles Buehler set out to solve the “organics diversion” dilemma to find an alternative disposal system for liquid organic residuals rather than disposing of it in a landfill. The alternative he sought would deliver cost-effective, environmentally sustainable solutions for managing organic residuals and provide efficient customer service. Eight years later, Buehler established Organic Resource Management Inc. in Woodbridge, Ontario, which specialized in the infield composting process and directland application of processed waste, but he soon realized that the two processes were not enough to sustain the business. After attending a conference and tradeshow on biogas and touring an anaerobic digestion facility in Germany, Buehler decided to expand the company’s waste management services. Since then, ORMI has pioneered the collection, processing and management of liquid organic residuals, and has developed proprietary systems specifically for preparing and optimizing the energy value of organic residuals for reuse.

In addition to typical produce wastes, the ORRS also accepts meat and dairy products, flower shop wastes, liquid beverages, waste fats and drippings from in-store food preparation.

incurred regulatory issues with odor management that made it difficult to sustain. ORMI soon turned to anaerobic digestion as a low-cost, long-term recycling solution for organic waste. The company has since grown and now specializes in the collection of nonhazardous liquid organic residuals for delivery to recycling facilities and anaerobic digester locations for energy production and composting.

Industrial food and beverage processors such as restaurants, cafeterias and grocery stores typically generate large quantities of organic waste that must be removed from their wastewater prior to releasing it into the municipal sewer system. In most cases, grease interceptors and dissolved air flotation systems are not efficient enough, and other pretreatment technologies are required. ORMI provides its services to


TRANSPORTATION ‘We have worked with ORMI for about two years now. Before working with [ORMI] we were running on farm manure and producing about 700 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per day. Now we produce nearly 1,400.’

more than 8,000 food and beverage processing facilities in Ontario, Québec and Lower Mainland British Columbia that are challenged by managing wastewater effluent quality to meet sewer use bylaw limits. Using a fleet of specialized vacuum trucks, ORMI collects and transports liquid residuals to recycling facilities on a 24-hours-per-day, seven-days-a-week basis. The residuals are taken to the company’s processing facilities to remove any excess water and are then transported to recycling and anaerobic digester locations. In 2008, ORMI successfully demonstrated the process of converting organic residuals into valuable high-energy feedstock for the production of biogas. Armed with its financially viable technology for handling organic residuals, the company created the Organic Resource Recovery System. The process provides on-site management of solid organic food waste, grinding the material into slurry. The residuals are then stored on-site where they are hydrolyzed and acidified in preparation for anaerobic digestion. The system, which includes a mill, holding tank and vacuum truck, reduces total waste volume by an average of 5:1. Despite being developed and patented in 1995, the ORRS process is not yet fully commercialized. Buehler reports, however, that the ORRS system has been working well in terms of cleanliness and odor issues at its two generator locations at Loblaws grocery store and Lester B. Pearson Airport in Toronto. “ORMI has continued to grow its core business right up to and through our last quarter,” Buehler says. “We felt that with the anaerobic digestion world starting to move, it was the right time to completely focus on our core busi-

PHOTO: ORGANIC RESOURCE MANAGEMENT INC.

Paul Klaesi, owner, Fepro Farms

ORMI has a fleet of specialized vacuum trucks that collect and transport liquid residuals to recycling facilities seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

5|2009 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 51


TRANSPORTATION ‘We believe that the convergence of organics recycling with renewable energy through anaerobic digestion will create an excellent opportunity [for the company as well as the biogas industry].’ Charles Buehler, owner, Organic Resource Management Inc.

ness, [which] allowed us to strengthen our balance sheet going into these uncertain economic times.”

On-Farm Contracts ORMI has secured an exclusive 20year organic residual supply agreement with four Ontario farm-based anaerobic digesters. The company supplies 5,000 metric tons per year of liquid organic waste to Clearydale Farms in Spencerville, Donnandale Farms Inc. in Stirling, and Ledgecroft Farms Inc. in Seeley’s Bay. The company

pays a “tip fee” that is adjusted based on the amount of gas generated. ORMI also supplies 4,500 metric tons of organic residuals to Fepro Farms in Cobden. Of the 19,000 metric tons of off-farm feedstock supplied, more than 2,000 kilowatts of electricity are generated. “We have worked with ORMI for about two years now,” says Paul Klaesi of Fepro Farms who has owned and operated an on-farm anaerobic digester since the spring of 2003. “Before working with [ORMI] we were running on farm manure and producing about 700 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per day. Now we produce nearly 1,400.” On-farm anaerobic digestion of manure creates biogas, which is composed of methane and carbon dioxide and can be used to generate electricity and heat. The liquid organic residuals collected by ORMI have helped produce four to 10 times more biogas than manure alone, and is an ideal feedstock when used with manure for anaerobic digesters. “An important concept to remember, and one that often gets overlooked or its importance underestimated, is that ORMI significantly improves the value of an anaerobic digester and the organic residuals it collects,” Buehler says. “We are able to blend and control the type and quality of the feedstock, making the operation of the anaerobic digester much more efficient than if it were run using raw, unprocessed organic waste.” Using anaerobic digesters to process liquid organic residuals helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the reliance on landfills. The process also helps reduce odor and pathogens and improves the nutrient availability in the digestate, which can be used as an organic fertilizer to spread on farm fields.

Remaining Competitive According to ORMI’s 2008 annual report, the company says it believes that anaerobic digestion has not emerged previously in North America primarily because of an abundant supply of relatively low-cost energy. Anaerobic digestion has been successful in Europe due to its appropriately priced energy markets that 52 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 5|2009


TRANSPORTATION support the purchase of electricity generated by the system, positioning organic residuals as a low-cost recycling solution. In Ontario, ORMI’s market, pricing regime and operational policies are slowly changing in favor of anaerobic digestion, but much progress is still needed. Currently, two government incentive programs exist in Ontario to drive the development of anaerobic digestion. The Ontario Biogas Systems Financial Assistance Program encourages the production of clean energy generating systems such as anaerobic digesters for biogas energy production within the province. The program assists farmers and rural businesses in formulating feasibility studies for the installation of biogas systems in addition to covering a portion of the construction and implementation costs. The Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program encourages the development of small renewable energy generators of clean, renewable electricity to contribute to the Ontario power grid. Generators can receive up to 11 cents per kWh. Much of ORMI’s success depends on remaining competitive in the rapidly growing anaerobic digestion market. Competition in the nonhazardous liquid waste service industry has increased over the years from within the industry and other companies diversifying into the field. The challenge is for ORMI to overcome the capital cost of installing its ORRS equipment as compared with other collection alternatives. A lack of readily available, low-cost organic recycling alternatives in North America is another major constraint to the advancement of its system. ORMI also continues to build its knowledge base on various types of recycling and disposal alternatives. The company is working with the University of Guelph through the Ontario Centre of Excellence to conduct a project titled, “The Economics and Feasibility of the Co-Substrates Anaerobic Digest for Farms in Ontario.” The study investigates the costs and benefits associated with on- and off-farm waste streams and centralized anaerobic digesters, and helps determine strategies to control low-cost recycling

and disposal alternatives within the organic waste market. ORMI sees a tremendous opportunity in the diversion of organic residuals from North American landfills, which combines both the concept of recycling and renewable energy through the process of anaerobic digestion. “We continue to forge ahead developing systems and infrastructure to position ourselves to take advantage of what we believe will be an unprecedented growth opportunity as the biogas renewable energy industry emerges in Canada

and the United States,” Buehler says. “We believe that the convergence of organics recycling with renewable energy through anaerobic digestion will create an excellent opportunity [for the company as well as the biogas industry].” BIO Khalila Hammond is the managing editor of Bioenergy Canada. Reach her at khammond @bbiinternational.com or (519) 576-4500. This feature appeared in the March issue of Bioenergy Canada.

5|2009 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 53


PROCESS

54 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 5|2009


PROCESS

Streamlining Treatment of Challenging Food Processing Wastewaters Ken’s Foods’ upgraded wastewater treatment facility efficiently reduces chemical oxygen demand and total suspended solids in challenging food processing wastewaters, and supplies 200,000-plus cubic feet of biogas per day, providing 100 percent of the heat required for the treatment plant’s operation. By Jim McMahon

A

lthough all food processors have to deal with wastewater generated in their operations, the characteristics of the effluent exiting their facilities can vary greatly, requiring different processing technologies for the most efficient handling of the wastewater. Ken’s Foods of Marlborough, Mass., a large-volume food manufacturer of salad dressings and marinades, recently upgraded one of its three wastewater treatment facilities to more efficiently process its high-strength organic content wastewater, effluents which contain a high content of fat, oil and grease (FOG) and present serious challenges for waste treatment. The upgrade incorporated a unique treatment process called anaerobic membrane bioreactor (ADI-AnMBR), a relatively new form of anaerobic treatment technology developed by ADI Systems Inc. in cooperation with Kubota Corp. of Japan, which utilizes submerged membranes for biomass retention and solids-liquid separation. The system maximizes biogas production, increases solids digestion and provides a means to easily handle wastewaters with high concentrations of organic matter. The treatment plant is the largest of its kind in the world, producing effluent that is virtually free of suspended solids, with a level of chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal of 99.4 percent, allowing its 100,000 gallons per day of wastewater to easily discharge into the municipal system. Considering the highstrength levels of organic content—COD, biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and FOG—in the wastewater, this performance is exceptional by any industry standard. The company’s existing low-rate an-

aerobic reactor, previously built by ADI Systems (an ADI-BVF system), was converted to operate as the reactor portion of the new AnMBR. As a byproduct of the combined system, 200,000 to 300,000 cubic feet of biogas are being produced per day, which are being captured to provide not only 100 percent of the wastewater treatment plant’s heating requirements, but enough residual biogas capable of powering more than 50 percent of the company’s manufacturing facility.

Overloading the Original Wastewater System The company’s wastewater originates from wash-down of cleaning mixers, filling machines and other process equipment. It is then screened and pumped into an equalization tank to begin the treatment process. After equalization, the wastewater is sent to the low-rate anaerobic reactor, which is capable of treating waste streams of moderate to very high organic strength. Before the upgrade, this was followed by a sequencing batch aerobic reactor (SBR) that was needed to polish the anaerobic effluent. These two stages of treatment achieved overall COD, FOG and total suspended solids (TSS) removals of 98 percent to 99 percent. The plant was designed for a maximum flow of 550,000 gallons weekly and 100,000 gallons per day. Due to production increases, daily and weekly flows exceeded these design values causing excessive solids loading from the BVF reactor to the SBR. “We had too many solids coming from our anaerobic digester,” explains Dale Mills, treatment plant chief operator for Ken’s

Marlborough plant. “We were manually monitoring the SBR decant to the city and stopping it when the water quality was not good enough.” The city of Marlborough allows the release of 100,000 gallons of effluent per day and limits the concentration of suspended solids effluent to 600 milligrams per liter (mg/l). The manufacturing plant’s production had become inhibited by the overload in the treatment plant. Ken’s brought in ADI Systems to engineer a solution to the problem. “The SBR aerobic system was never the bottleneck,” says Dwain Wilson, director of process operations for ADI Systems. “The solution was to increase the capacity of the anaerobic reactor, and we suggested an anaerobic MBR application.”

Existing BVF Anaerobic Reactor Ken’s BVF anaerobic system already in place has been removing more than 90 percent of the organic material from the wastewater. This system is capable of handling wastewaters that are high in FOG and variations in wastewater flow and characteristics. The BVF’s organic loadings are low (typically 0.3 to 3.0 kilograms COD) and hydraulic retention times are relatively long (typically more than seven days), providing an inherent stability and robustness often not found in higher-rate anaerobic processes, and allowing for significant digestion of influent solids and waste activated sludge. The large volume and inventory of biomass within the BVF reactor eliminates the need for extensive primary treatment of the waste stream (such as a primary clarifier).

The claims and statements made in this article belong exclusively to the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Biomass Magazine or its advertisers. All questions pertaining to this article should be directed to the author(s).

5|2009 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 55


PAGE TAG

PROCESS

The BVF is equipped with a floating, insulated geomembrane cover. Built by Geomembrane Technologies Inc., the cover collects biogas, minimizes heat loss and provides odor control.

New Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor

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56 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 5|2009

The existing ADI-BVF system was converted to an ADI-AnMBR to expand its treatment capabilities. One of the key components to any anaerobic treatment system is effective separation of treated water from the biogas generated by the anaerobic digestion process, while ensuring the biomass is retained within the reactor. The ADI-AnMBR process, based on technology developed by Kubota, is a form of high-rate anaerobic contact process that uses a submerged membrane barrier to perform the gas/liquid/solids separation and biomass retention functions. This near-absolute barrier to solids ensures efficient system operation, even under high organic loading and intense mixing scenarios. Membrane treatment technologies are often employed when higher quality effluents are required, or when wastewater characteristics make conventional gravity settling technologies difficult or ineffective. The biogas generated in anaerobic digestion is utilized to continually clean the membranes during operation via a gas scour system. Ken’s ADI-AnMBR provides for higher organic loadings and mixing intensities compared with other anaerobic technologies, increasing organic removals, improving biogas production, and allowing for treatment of wastewaters with very high suspended solids and FOG. The system is most applicable to processing wastewaters with strong, concentrated wastes with poor settling characteristics. The AnMBR system can operate at both thermophilic and mesophilic temperatures, yet it avoids common operating problems at thermophilic temperatures, such as biomass loss and unstable operation. “The anaerobic MBR increases the solids retention time within the system,” Wilson says. “The longer the solids re-

tention time, the lower the biomass yield, reducing the amount of biomass that will require disposal. It also allows the development of specialized bacteria that can acclimate to unusual organics and break them down.” The AnMBR has four anaerobic basins, each equipped with seven submerged membrane units. A removable GTI geomembrane cover system on each AnMBR basin provides a gas-tight seal with biogas collection capabilities. These covers allow the biogas to be captured in the headspace above the cartridges and then returned to the gas scour system for reuse. The TSS concentration coming out of the AnMBR averages less than 1 mg/l, BOD is typically less than 25 mg/l, and the COD removal in the AnMBR is greater than 99.4 percent The ADI-AnMBR system at Ken’s is the first installation of this technology in North America and the largest in the world.

Repurposing the Aerobic Sequencing Batch Reactor The SBR’s role is to polish the anaerobic reactor effluent to meet discharge standards, a function it was not able to do satisfactorily under the original system’s higher-than-design loading conditions. The now very clean effluent from the AnMBR goes into the SBR, which has been repurposed for use as a sulfide oxidation and nitrification tank. Ken’s purposely adds and maintains biological solids in the tank as a suitable biomass population for the treatment process. Now that the solids loading to the SBR from the anaerobic process have been eliminated, the SBR is used to easily oxidize sulfide and ammonia.

Captured Biogas Powers Treatment Plant The biogas generated by the BVF/ AnMBR process is proving to be valuable for the replacement of conventional energy sources such as natural gas and electricity.


PROCESS

“We capture the biogas produced in the anaerobic digester and we heat the processing building and the reactor with it,” Mills says. “So we do not have any fuel costs for heating the treatment building, or the reactor which is kept at 95 degrees Fahrenheit. We also have a considerable amount of extra biogas that we flare right now, between 200,000 and 300,000 cubic feet per day.” ADI provided a complete recovery and utilization system which included gas collection, treatment, storage, compression and delivery systems. “We are planning on using the flared biogas for a waste-to-energy project for cogeneration of electricity in our manufacturing facility,” says Mike Kolakowski, engineering manager for Ken’s Foods. “It is a combined-heat-and-power project—the amount of biogas that is generated from the reactor will reduce our draw from the utility grid by well over 50 percent.”

Improved Efficiencies In addition to significantly lowered TSS, COD and BOD levels, and captured biogas as an energy resource, 36,000 gallons of fats, oils and grease are removed and rendered per year, as well as 500 tons of dewatered residual solids. Also, the quality of the water in the SBR is consistently clean enough for automated, timed release, allowing the maximum 100,000 gallons per day to be decanted. This has eliminated the problem of manufacturing interruption previously caused by the challenges to the wastewater treatment system. “The system is extremely cost effective,” Kolakowski says. “The overall cost of operating the AnMBR processing facility represents at least a 50 percent reduction compared to other more traditional means of water treatment.” BIO

CLEANING FUEL GAS PRODUCED BY BIOMASS COMBUSTION WITH ELECTROSTATIC PRECIPITATORS WEIS ENVIRONMENTAL is a company specialized in manufacturing of Dry and Wet Electrostatic Precipitators designed for biomass power plants in the North American market. WEIS ENVIRONMENTAL represents Beth GmbH, a German company with more than 120 years of experience in pollution control technology. WEIS ENVIRONMENTAL offers tailor-made engineering solutions in designing, constructing, and implementing a wide range of dust removal systems.

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EERC

UPDATE

The Low-Down on Military Specs for Renewable Jet Fuel Much as race cars are different than passenger vehicles intended for street and highway use, military aircraft are different from commercial airplanes because their airframes, engines and fuels are specifically designed for high-performance flying. Just as airframe and engine technology have progressed, so has fuel technology. The U.S. Air Force currently recognizes jet propellant-8 (JP-8) as the standard turbine engine fuel for its fleet of turbine-powered aircraft. There are currently three sources of JP-8 for military use: petroleum-derived (not including tar sands Fischer–Tropsch-derived, and renewable-derived. Petroleum-derived jet fuel is the traditional fuel. It is obtained by refining crude petroleum. About 9 percent of a barrel of crude oil is refined to jet fuel for commercial and military use. FT fuels are those produced from either natural gas or coal. This technology was utilized by Nazi Germany during World War II to create liquid fuels from coal. Renewable fuels are more modern than either petroleum- or FT-derived fuels in use and development. As the term renewable implies, jet fuel from this source is produced from something that is produced in a repeatable cycle, such as farming. The current military specification for jet fuel utilized by the USAF recognizes all three sources. While the major portion of fuel utilized by the USAF is petroleum-derived, efforts are underway to qualify fuels derived from both FT and renewable sources. In the future, this will enable aircraft in the USAF fleet to utilize JP-8 from any source, either as a blend with petroleum-derived JP-8 or, eventually, as a standalone fuel.

The technical criteria that JP-8 must meet to power a USAF aircraft are detailed in MIL-DTL-83133F, a 22-page document. It is important to realize that this document doesn’t say what the fuel must be, but only what the fuel must possess in terms of physical Paul Pansegrau, properties. It is like the differ- research scientist, EERC ence between saying you want a 75-pound animal that is yellow in color, has a great disposition and retrieves versus saying you want a Labrador. In this manner, MIL-DTL-83133F states what the fuel must do, no matter its origin. This includes properties that both petroleum- and FT-derived JP-8 must also satisfy, including a freezing point of minus 52.6 degrees Fahrenheit, a net heat of combustion of 18,700 British thermal units per pound and a distillation curve identical to petroleum-derived JP-8. Those interested in biofuels should be excited for the future, since airplanes, both military and commercial, will be fueled by jet fuel obtained from petroleum, FT technology, and renewable sources. In many ways, the military specification for jet fuel is paving the way for the production of fuels from renewable biomass resources, which can only help to keep our skies blue. BIO Paul Pansegrau is a research scientist at the EERC. He can be reached at ppansegrau@undeerc.org or (701) 777-5169.

5|2009 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 59


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60 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 5|2009

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5|2009 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 61


THANK YOU!

to all our sponsors and exhibitors for supporting this incredible event.

Exhibitors A3 Energy Partners Action Unloaders ADAGE ADI Systems Inc. AGRA Industries, Inc. Alternative Feeds, LLC. ANDGAR Corporation Andritz-Sprout Applikon Biotechnology Ascendant Partners Inc. Atlas Systems, LLC Babcock & Wilcox Company Bandit Industries, Inc. BBI International Bio-Mizer BioFuels Business Biomass Products & Technology Biomass Thermal Energy Council Borregaard / LignoTech Briquetting Systems BRUKS Rockwood Buhler Inc. California Pellet Mill and Roskamp Champion CECO Environmental Concord Blue CONSOL Energy, Inc. Research & Development Continental Biomass Industries, Inc. Cousineau Forest Products, Inc. Davenport Dryer Duratech Industries International, Inc. Earthsaver Equipment, Inc. EERC Energy & Environmental Research Center Electrix, LLC Electronic Wood Systems, N.A. Emerging Fuels Technologies Evergreen Engineering FECON, Inc. Fine Line Instrument FMW Forest Concepts, LLC Fredrikson & Byron, P.A. Frontline BioEnergy, LLC

GE Energy Genencor速 A Danisco Division GOLDEN Specialty , Inc. Greenberry Industrial Harder Mechanical Contractors Harris Group Inc. Hengye USA Hunt, Guillot & Associates, LLC Huntleigh McGehee Hurst Boiler & Welding Co. Inc. Hydro-Thermal Corporation Imperial Systems, Inc Indeck Power Equipment Company Industrial Accessories Company Innovative Magnetic Technologies Inc. Jackson Lumber Harvester Company, Inc. Jeffrey Rader Corporation Josef BINDER Maschinenbau- und Handelsges.m.b.H. KEITH Manufacturing Company Komax Systems Komptech USA Inc. Konecranes America, Inc. Laidig Systems, Inc. L.D. Jellison, Inc. LECO Corporation Louisiana Chemical Equipment Co., L.L.C. Messersmith Manufacturing, Inc. Monitortech Corporation Moyno Natgun Corporation Nexterra Energy Corp North American Clean Energy Northwest Environmental Business Council Northwest Pump & Equipment Novozymes Pacific Ag Solutions Pacific Construction Management Pacific Power Products Pallmann America Inc Paso Robles Tank, Inc. Pawert - SPM Ltd.

Plattco Corporation Ponsse N.A. Inc. / Miller Timber Services Powerhouse Technology Price Biostock Price LogPro, LLC. Process Barron Pumpaction Corporation Rapat Corporation Rawlings Waste Wood Recovery Systems Resonant BioSciences, LLC. Roeslein & Associates, Inc Ronning Engineering Co. Inc. Rotochopper, Inc. Rural Energy Marketing, LLC S S D Western, LLC Schutte-Buffalo Hammermill, LLC SGS North America Inc. Siemens Energy & Automation, Inc. SOFTAC Systems Ltd. SolaGen Incorporated SSI Shredding Systems, Inc. Stanley Consultants, Inc. Stoel Rives LLP The Avogadro Group, LLC The Teaford Company, Inc Trace Environmental Systems TSI Twin Ports Testing Inc US Department of Energy Biomass Program US Environmental Protection Agency USDA Forest Service - Woody Biomass Utilization Group Vecoplan, LLC Vero Construction Management Vogelsang USA Weaver Silos and Reclaimers, Inc. Weis Environmental Wellons, Inc. West Salem Machinery Western Ag Enterprises, Inc. Worley Parsons Wunderlich-Malec Engineering / Systems

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Biomass Magazine - May 2009