INSIDE: U.S. WOOD PRODUCTS MEETING EUROPEAN DEMAND BIOMASS MAGAZINE
Biomass Conference Review International Biomass Conference & Expo draws 1,700 to Minneapolis
JUNE 2010 www.BiomassMagazine.com
INSIDE: AGAVE SHOWS POTENTIAL AS A BIOFUEL FEEDSTOCK May 2010
The Power of
Do States With Renewable Energy Standards Have a Better Chance of Attracting Biomass Power Projects?
5 |2010 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 1
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FEATURES ..................... 38 EVENT Biomass Bonanza The International Biomass Conference & Expo drew attendees and nearly 300 exhibitors to the Minneapolis Convention Center May 4-6. The general consensus was that biomass is an important component of American’s energy and environmental security. By Anna Austin and Lisa Gibson
48 INTERNATIONAL Possible Policy Change The U.K.’s race to renewable energy has hit a bump in the road as some project developers are asking for more government support for biomass so they can better secure funding. By Lisa Gibson
58 DEBATE Facing the Vocal Opposition Biomass projects aren’t always welcomed with open arms and developers are learning that it’s best to meet with stakeholders and get out in front of misinformation. By Lisa Gibson
64 ALGAE Mitigation Mechanism Algae have great potential as a carbon mitigation option for power plants, but some argue that the benefits don't come into play unless the algae are used to produce biofuels. By Lisa Gibson
70 AGAVE Avant-Garde Agave AGAVE | PAGE 70
A plant commonly used to make tequila may be the next big biofuels feedstock. Agave proponents say the plant has traits that make it a better cellulosic ethanol feedstock than poplars and switchgrass. By Anna Austin
DEPARTMENTS ..................... 06 Editor’s Note Powering Up With Biomass By Rona Johnson
07 Advertiser Index
78 SUPPLY Projecting Cropped Biomass Supplies: The Landowner Factor
10 Industry Events
A team of researchers used landowners as their key source in assessing whether an area has a reliable and reasonably priced biomass source. By Dan Conable and Tim Volk
11 BPA Update Biomass Power is a Natural Fit By Bob Cleaves
13 EERC Update Cellulosic Biorefineries: An Ethanol Revolution Paul Pansegrau
15 BTEC Update Time for Federal Tax Policy to Recognize Biomass Thermal By Charlie Niebling
17 Legal Perspectives Is Raising Money too Easy? By Todd Taylor
20 Business Briefs
82 POLICY Biomass is Having a (Political) Moment The federal government’s cash grant program under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the USDA’s Biomass Crop Assistance Program deserve a closer look by biomass project developers. By Rob Goldberg
86 INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IP Pitfalls in Talking With Others This second installment of a two-part series discusses the laws that affect third-party disclosures and provides tips to use when making such disclosures. By Richard B. Hoffman
90 FINANCE Understanding the Economic Drivers of Originating Biomass for Power Projects Developers intending to use biomass or to cofire with biomass need to understand factors such as long-term acquisition costs, bulk density, moisture content, storage, handling, logistics and energy quality when choosing their feedstocks. By Scott McDermott
22 Biobytes 24 Industry News 100 Marketplace
94 RESOURCE Guidebook Supports Small-Scale Biomass Project Development in NY The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has sponsored the production of a book to guide developers of small biomass-powered energy plants. By Mark Boustouler and Alison Reynolds
5 |2010 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 5
NOTE Powering Up With Biomass
his month’s issue is about biomass power. My belief that there has been a positive shift in the way people view biomass power plants, mainly because of the industry’s potential for job creation, is being borne out by the bills being passed in state legislatures. In Florida, the Senate Energy Committee passed Senate Bill 1186, which would ease the development of renewable energy. Although Florida doesn’t have a renewable portfolio standard (RPS), this is a step in the right direction in terms of stimulating project development. Wisconsin recently passed legislation (Assembly Bill 749) that provides a tax credit equal to 10 percent of the cost of equipment purchased to harvest or process woody biomass into fuel. In New York, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and state Public Service Commission awarded $204 million for renewable energy projects, including NRG Energy Inc.’s plan to cofire with biomass at its Dunkirk Generating Station. I should also mention that New York increased its RPS last year from 25 percent to 30 percent of electricity generated from renewable sources by 2015. In Washington, Gov. Christine Gregoire signed a bill that allows the Washington Department of Resources to provide five-year contracts for long-term biomass supply (see “Washington passes forest biomass contract law” on page 42). This is just a smattering of what’s happening in state legislatures and I’m sure I've overlooked several legislative initiatives. This by no means gives biomass power projects the green light in some areas, however, as there are still pockets of resistance, which you can read about in associate editor Lisa Gibson’s feature “Facing the Vocal Opposition” on page 58. Even in the midst of intense opposition, however, there is hope. In fact, I read an opinion piece in the Wasaudailyherald.com in Wausau, Wis, in support of the proposed Rothschild, Wis., biomass plant, which has been hotly contested. I was especially pleased to see this written in response to residents’ pollution concerns: “The first is a fear of pollution. This has the simplest answer: It is a misplaced fear. This plant would burn only woody biomass—not other, dirtier forms of biomass—and would do so according to contemporary emissions standards.” This article was written by the newspaper’s editorial board after its meeting with executives from developer We Energies and the Domtar paper mill, where the project is being proposed. This is proof that reaching out and making the case for clean-burning, job-creating biomass energy to intelligent, open-minded, well-intentioned people works. As Brian Manthey, We spokesman, said in Gibson’s article when talking about providing information and answering questions posed by the public: “The burden of proof is on us.” If the public can’t go to the project developers for information they will get it elsewhere.
Rona Johnson Editor email@example.com
6 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 5|2010
EDITORIAL EDITOR Rona Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org ASSOCIATE EDITORS Anna Austin email@example.com Lisa Gibson firstname.lastname@example.org COPY EDITOR Jan Tellmann email@example.com
Frazier, Barnes & Associates, LLC
2010 International BIOMASS Conference & Expo
102 & 103
2010 International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo
104 & 40
2010 Advanced Biofuels Workshop
ART ART DIRECTOR Jaci Satterlund firstname.lastname@example.org GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Elizabeth Burslie email@example.com Sam Melquist firstname.lastname@example.org
PUBLISHING & SALES
2010 Northeast Biomass Conference & Expo
Husch Blackwell Sanders, LLP
2010 Southeast Biomass Conference & Expo
Hurst Boiler & Welding Co.
Advanced Trailer Industries
Indeck Power Equipment Co.
Amandus Kahl GmbH & Co.
Keith Manufacturing Company
ASI Industrial CHAIRMAN Mike Bryan email@example.com CEO Joe Bryan firstname.lastname@example.org VICE PRESIDENT Tom Bryan email@example.com
Bandit Industries, Inc.
Mid-South Engineering Company
Bedeschi America, Inc.
BIBB Engineers Architects & Constructors
Precision Machine & Mfg. Inc.
Process Equipment/Barron Industries
R.C. Costello & Assoc. Inc.
Christianson & Associates, PLLP
EXECUTIVE ACCOUNT MANAGER Howard Brockhouse firstname.lastname@example.org
Continental Biomass Industries
SD&G Community Futures Development Corporation
SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER Jeremy Hanson email@example.com
Church & Dwight Co, Inc.
SGS North America, Inc.
CPM Roskamp Champion
Siemens Industry, Inc.
Davenport Dryer, LLC
Stoel Rives LLP
Detroit Stoker Company
The National Boiler Training and Renewable Fuels Institute
Energy & Environmental Research Center
The Parton Group, Inc.
Eide Bailly, LLP
The Shaw Group Inc.
The Teaford Co. Inc.
Eldridge Products, Inc.
Verdant Environmental Services
Electromatic Equipment Company, Inc.
West Salem Machinery
Encore Business Solutions
WestMor Industries, LLC
Wilkens Industries, Inc
Wolf Material Handling Systems
Buhler Aeroglide VICE PRESIDENT, SALES & MARKETING Matthew Spoor firstname.lastname@example.org
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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.
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5 |2010 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 7
industry events 2010 International Biomass Conference & Expo
Biomass Boiler Workshop
May 4-6, 2010
June 10-11, 2010
Minneapolis Convention Center Minneapolis, Minnesota This Biomass Magazine-sponsored conference will unite current and future producers of biomass-derived power, fuels and chemicals with waste generators, energy crop growers, municipal leaders, utility executives, technology providers, equipment manufacturers, project developers, investors and policymakers. Future and existing biofuels and biomass power producers will be able to network with waste generators and other industry suppliers and technology providers as well as utility executives, researchers, policymakers, investors, project developers and farmers. (701) 746-8385 www.biomassconference.com
Holiday Inn Downtown Superdome New Orleans, Louisiana This workshop consists of presentations about new technological developments and results to improve the operating performance, waste fuel burning capacity, efficiency and fuel economy of biomass-fired boilers (mostly stoker-fired). In addition, the program will include discussions on troubleshooting and problem solving challenges that attendees bring to the workshop. Participants will benefit by learning about the current retrofit technology for biomass boilers, seeing how other mill operations solve their biomass boiler area problems and receiving information and solutions to their mill specific problems. (425) 952-2843 www.jansenboiler.com
2010 International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo
Biomass ’10: Renewable Power, Fuels, and Chemicals Workshop
June 14-17, 2010 America’s Center St. Louis, Missouri The FEW provides the global ethanol industry with cutting-edge content and unparalleled networking opportunities in a dynamic business-to-business environment. It is the largest, longest-running ethanol conference in the world. The event delivers timely presentations with a strong focus on commercial-scale ethanol production, new technology, and near-term research and development. (701) 746-8385 www.fuelethanolworkshop.com
July 20-21, 2010 Alerus Center Grand Forks, North Dakota In its eighth year, this workshop offers a cutting-edge two-day technical program and exhibit with national experts who focus on biomass production (plant matter such as straw, corn, and wood residue) and biomass conversion to power, transportation fuels and chemicals. The workshop will be geared toward industry, research entities, government, community and economic development corporations, financial institutions and landowners. Topics will include trends and opportunities in utilizing biomass, renewable policies and incentives, renewable fuels, financing biomass-related projects, biorefinery chemicals and products, biomass for heat and electricity, biomass feedstocks, and algae. (701) 777-5000 www.undeerc.org/biomass10
2nd International Conference on Oil Palm Biomass
Northeast Biomass Conference & Expo
August 2-3, 2010
August 4-6, 2010
Matrade Exhibition and Conference Center Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Oil palm biomass has emerged as a viable asset for the palm oil industry. Research and development have made it possible to convert oil palm biomass into economic products including medium-density fibreboard, timber board, fertilizer and paper, and new technologies have been developed to generate biofuel and electricity from oil palm biomass. Oil palm biomass is already being used in some commercial ventures. +60 3 7804 3423 www.icopb.com
Westin Copley Place Boston, Massachusetts With an exclusive focus on biomass utilization in the Northeast U.S., this Biomass Magazine-sponsored event will connect current and future producers of biomass-derived electricity, industrial heat and power, and advanced biofuels, with waste generators, aggregators, growers, municipal leaders, utilities, technology providers, equipment manufacturers, investors and policymakers. (701) 746-8385 http://ne.biomassconference.com
2010 Farm to Fuel Summit
Gasification Technologies 2010 Conference
August 11-13, 2010
October 31-November 3, 2010
Rosen Shingle Creek Orlando, Florida This fifth annual summit will be an opportunity for industry leaders and stakeholders to learn, network and strategize to advance the development of renewable energy in Florida. Florida’s Farm to Fuel Initiative was developed to promote the production and distribution of renewable energy from Florida-grown crops, agricultural wastes and other biomass. More than 500 attendees from academia, industry and government participated in last year’s summit. (850) 488-0646 www.floridafarmtofuel.com/summit_2010.htm
Marriott Wardman Park Hotel Washington, D.C. The GTC is the largest gasification event in the world, attracting speakers and participants from the Americas, Europe, China and India. The GTC provides a single venue for participants to learn what is new in the gasification industry and why it is important. Speakers will address all aspects of the industry, from cutting-edge improvements in technology, through projects in development worldwide to updates on operations of plants based on coal, petroleum residues, biomass and secondary materials. (703) 276-0110 www.gasification.org
10 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 5|2010
Biomass Power is a Natural Fit Many policymakers in Congress share the common goal of moving the U.S. closer to energy independence and reducing its reliance on fossil fuels. To accomplish this goal, America must embrace energy policies that aggressively promote a diversity of sources and expand America’s renewable portfolio. As Congress debates energy and climate legislation this summer, lawmakers should recognize that biomass power is a natural fit to increase America’s energy security, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create thousands of clean energy jobs in the process. The Southeast U.S. may provide the greatest domestic growth potential for the increased use of biomass power. There is an abundance of woody forest waste in the Southeast, the trees grow quickly, and the entire region remains largely untapped. In other words, if there were a Saudi Arabia of biomass, the Southeastern U.S. would be it. In other parts of the country, biomass power facilities continue to pop up—creating stable, well-paying jobs in the small, rural communities that need them the most. These facilities supply a steady and reliable flow of electricity to the local utilities, providing clean electricity 24/7. The fact that biomass provides a constant flow of electricity will help states more easily meet aggressive standards for renewable electricity. Additionally, an abundant supply of biomass power will help stabilize local utility prices when there are fluctuations in the market. The Biomass Power Association has long supported implementing a federal renewable electricity standard (RES) of 25 percent by the year 2025. This national standard would provide the incentives necessary to jumpstart America’s renewable energy sector and integrate renewable alternatives directly into the electricity grid. BPA remains optimistic that Congress
will pursue an aggressive standard in order to promote renewable energy sources and develop the infrastructure necessary to become energy independent. Biomass is an essential component to any national renewable electricity standard because it will allow Southeastern states without steady Bob Cleaves supplies of wind or solar energy to president and meet their renewable goals with bio- CEO, BPA mass. What’s more, a recent Navigant Jobs Study projected that an RES of 25 percent by 2025 would produce more than 70,000 new jobs in the biomass power industry alone. Developing America’s biomass power industry will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the health of American forests. Biomass power is a natural fit to meet America’s energy and climate goals. Promoting the expansion of biomass power will increase our energy security, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and create thousands of new jobs. The U.S. DOE projects that, with the right policies, biomass power could produce as much as 15 percent of our nation’s electricity. Producing more of our electricity from biomass makes sense from both an economic and environmental perspective. As an added bonus, biomass power will also never run out—it’s renewable. If Congress is serious about addressing our energy needs and improving the environment, supporting biomass power should be the first step. BIO Bob Cleaves is president and CEO of the Biomass Power Association. To learn more about biomass power, please visit www.USABiomass.org.
5|2010 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 11
UPDATE Cellulosic Biorefineries: An Ethanol Revolution The Energy Independence & Security Act of 2007 contained a number of mandates with respect to renewable fuels. One of these mandates called for the production of 16 billion gallons of cellulosic or biomass-based fuel by the year 2022. This simply means producing ethanol from nonstarch sources such as corn stover and cobs, wheat straw, switchgrass, wood, sugarcane bagasse, agricultural residues, municipal solid waste, garden and lawn clippings, and rice hulls. In 2009, a total of 10.75 billion gallons of corn (starch) ethanol were produced from 170 production facilities operating in 21 states. According to EISA, corn-based ethanol is to be capped at 15 billion gallons. In order to produce the additional 16 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol, new facilities will have to be built that are scaled to produce sufficiently large quantities in order to sustain profitable enterprises. Going hand-in-hand with the production of ethanol will be the need for more flexible-fuel vehicles (FFVs) that can burn ethanol up to a level of 85 percent. The Energy & Environmental Research Center has worked with all facets of the ethanol industry: from siting corn ethanol plants, to developing new fermentation schemes, to inventing new thermochemical processes that require absolutely no fermentation. So hereâ€™s an answer to a question we get asked at least weeklyâ€”what is the status of this ethanol revolution? Indeed, it will take a revolution. With respect to FFVs the automakers seem willing to produce more E85 FFVs, but in most states gas stations that carry E85 lag way behind and there is still a severe lack of public acceptance and incentive to get consumers interested in FFVs. Of the 7 million or so E85 vehicles on the road, GM has made half of them and has plans for 50 percent of its production to be FFVs by 2012. With respect to the fuel production side, the U.S. DOE is trying to stimulate technology development for cellulosic ethanol plants. Within the past two years, DOE has provided awards to 20 organizations working to develop such tech-
nologies. Currently, 19 of the original 20 organizations are actively working toward their goals; one organization has dropped out; and three are producing cellulosic ethanolâ€”albeit at small scales. The array of technologies being developed is diverse, Paul Pansegrau in part due to the wide va- research scientist, EERC riety of cellulosic biomass feedstocks being utilized. Most ethanol plants today are located in the Corn Belt of the U.S., but most of the 19 organizations with DOE awards for cellulosic ethanol are developing their technology outside of the Corn Belt. This represents the diversification of feedstocks being developed. States that currently do not possess starch-ethanol production facilities and are hosting a DOE-funded project include Maine, Vermont, Florida, Montana and Louisiana. The technologies used to convert cellulose to fermentable sugars include biological methods that utilize concentrated acid hydrolysis and enzymatic hydrolysis, coupled with fermentation. Other technologies will utilize thermochemical means such as gasification to convert the biomass to gas and then reform that gas using chemical catalysis or biological fermentation to produce ethanol. When compared head-to-head, these various technologies offer an almost endless combination of possibilities for conversion of cellulose to ethanol. In conclusion, the status of the cellulosic ethanol revolution is that automakers are poised to do their part, consumers are lagging a bit in motivation, and technology options have yet to be proven commercially. Whether this is sufficient to meet the EISA goals remains to be seen. BIO Paul Pansegrau is a research scientist at the EERC. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (701) 7775169.
5|2010 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 13
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Answers for industry.
UPDATE date exists for thermal. Therefore, tax incentives are the logical mechanism to promote biomass thermal. Ironically, the federal government has already established tax incentives for other thermal renewable technologies such as solar thermal and geothermal. BTEC seeks parity treatment for Charlie Niebling biomass thermal. In the 2008 Troubled chairman, BTEC Assets Relief Program, a modest credit for residential thermal systems was established under the efficiency title, 26 USC § 25C. This credit was enhanced in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in February. This incentive should be strengthened and reauthorized beyond 2010. For commercial and industrial installations, the most logical place to establish parity is in 26 USC § 48, the 30 percent business energy investment tax credit. Legislation has been introduced to achieve these goals. Sens. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, have introduced S. 1643, the Cleaner, Secure, and Affordable Thermal Energy Act, to strengthen the residential credit. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and others have introduced S. 3188, the American Renewable Biomass Heating Act to extend section 48 tax treatment to commercial/ industrial biomass thermal. In the House, companion bills have been introduced by Rep. Paul Hodes, D-N.H., also called the American Renewable Biomass Heating Acts (HR 2080 and another as yet un-numbered). BTEC is working hard to gain co-sponsor support for these bills and position them for consideration should a larger Energy Bill move in this session of Congress. Ultimately we view these as short-term goals. Longer term, we need one mechanism that provides support for biomass in all its uses. The answer may lie in a production credit under 26 USC § 45, which provides a tax credit based upon an equivalent million Btu or megawatt hour output basis from each of the three energy pathways for biomass. BTEC sees an important opportunity to work with groups such as the Biomass Power Association and the Renewable Fuels Association to advance this idea. It is time that this simple technology was accorded the same incentives that have benefited virtually every other renewable energy technology. BIO
America’s energy consumption can be divided into roughly equal thirds: transportation, electricity and heat (or thermal). Policies to promote renewable energy have focused largely on transportation fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel, and electricity from hydro, wind, solar, geothermal and biomass. Conspicuously absent from America’s support for renewable energy is biomass used to make heat. Congress overlooked biomass thermal because lawmakers were unaware of its enormous potential to cost-effectively address U.S. energy and climate challenges. In short, nobody asked. The Biomass Thermal Energy Council was formed to make the case for these and other policies that will enable biomass thermal to gain a solid place in the market. With the possibility of a comprehensive Energy Bill in 2010, we have the opportunity to correct this oversight. Biomass can be used to make heat in many forms including pellets or briquettes, wood chips, agricultural residues, willow, poplar, switchgrass and miscanthus. Highly efficient combustion technology is rapidly entering the market. Bulk fuel distribution systems are in place to expand the adoption of central heating systems in home and business heating, industrial process heat, district heating of whole communities, and combined heat and power. Biomass thermal fulfills all the same public policy objectives that are by necessity the basis and justification for energy tax incentives. These include: Reduced consumption of foreign fossil energy Increased efficiency of utilization for equivalent energy output, as compared to biomass electric generation and cellulosic biofuels Reduced greenhouse gas emissions due to the carbon lean status of biomass Reduced emissions of certain air pollutants such as sulfur dioxides and mercury, as compared to fossil fuels Strengthened local economic development and job creation Because of the small market penetration of new biomass combustion, these systems are expensive compared with fossilfueled systems. Fuel transport logistics have yet to reach critical mass with few customers spread over large geographic areas, thus increasing the distribution cost. Incentives are necessary to make biomass thermal more competitive. In time, with increasing market penetration, these incentives can be scaled down or eliminated. The renewable fuels standard (enacted in 2007) and the renewable electricity standard (pending) provide mandates for renewable transportation fuels and electricity. No such man-
Biomass Thermal Energy Council
Time for Federal Tax Policy to Recognize Biomass Thermal
Charlie Niebling is the general manager of New England Wood Pellet in Jaffrey, N.H., and chair of the Biomass Thermal Energy Council’s board of directors. 5|2010 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 15
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Is Raising Money too Easy? Todd Taylor shareholder, Fredrikson & Byron
ccording to some, raising money from angel investors and venture capitalists is too easy and may have helped cause the financial collapse and they aim to fix this with a new law. Sen. Christopher Dodd’s, D-Conn., proposed Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 would, if enacted, dramatically increase the complexity of raising private financing. Most capital in the U.S. is raised under Rule 506 of Regulation D that allows companies to file a simple form with the Securities and Exchange Commission and each state where sales are made, with no review on the merits of the offering. Before 1996, companies had to navigate the complicated and often contradictory securities laws of the SEC and each state. After 1996, state securities laws (except anti-fraud rules) were preempted by the federal Rule 506 and states had no power to put additional conditions on Rule 506 offerings. This has dramatically sped capital formation and reduced costs. But if Dodd has his way, a small provision in the 1,336-page act would change this all by: requiring the SEC to designate certain Rule 506 offerings as not qualifying for preemption considering the size of the offering, the number of states in which the security is being offered, and the nature of the offerees; requiring that the SEC review any filing made with regard to a Rule 506 offering
within 120 days, and that any filing which is not reviewed within the 120-day period would no longer have the protection of preemption unless a state securities commissioner determines that there’s been a good faith and reasonable attempt by the issuer to comply with all applicable terms, conditions and requirements of the filing, and any failure to comply with such terms, conditions and requirements “are insignificant to the offering as a whole;” permitting states to impose notice filing requirements “substantially similar to filing requirements required by rule or regulation under section 4(4) that were in effect on Sept. 1, 1996.” The first provision likely means that smaller offerings would lose the preemption and would have to once again deal with state regulation. The second provision is even worse. For 120 days after the filing with the SEC, a company would not know if its offering would be preempted from state securities laws. If the SEC does not review within 120 days, the offering is not preempted. Companies would likely have to escrow investor funds for four months while waiting for the SEC to review. Given all the other problems the SEC is dealing with, it is doubtful the SEC would be able to review every Rule 506 offering within this time frame. Plus, it is unclear how many state securities commissioners it takes to determine if the of-
fering is OK, how long they have to make that determination and what happens if they do not make that determination. If a company doesn’t escrow the funds for 120 days, the entire offering could retroactively be deemed to have been an unregistered sale of securities and the issuer could face serious civil liability. The bill also mandates that the SEC raise “accredited investor” thresholds, more than doubling the amount of income or net worth an investor needs to invest. According to Business Week magazine, this would reduce the pool of accredited investors by 77 percent. These provisions will harm innovation, company growth and job formation by small businesses at a time when that is exactly what this country and the biomass industry needs. I hope that by the time you read this, these provisions of the act have been removed, but if not, please contact your congressional representatives to get them removed. Regardless, if you are involved with a company seeking private financing, you need to be aware of these kinds of issues. Sometimes what happens in Washington D.C., really does impact the real world. BIO Todd Taylor is a shareholder in Fredrikson & Byron’s corporate, renewable energy, securities and emerging business groups. Reach him at email@example.com or (612) 492-7355.
5|2010 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 17
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July 20â€“21, 2010 Alerus Center Grand Forks, North Dakota, USA
Itâ€™s All Here
iomass is no longer a long-range option for U.S. energy needsâ€”it is a significant player. It has many near-term uses now, as seen in the alternative fuels and chemicals industry, and holds hope as the largest global sustainable and renewable energy resource. The Biomass â€™10 Workshop will deliver an all-inclusive look at the most pressing topics circling around the biomass industry today. Join industry leaders this summer in the heart of biomass country for exceptional networking and educational opportunities! Itâ€™s all here!
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BRIEFS Envirotek partners with GFE Global Envirotek recently announced that the company’s Extreme Biodiesel division entered into a strategic alliance agreement with GFE Global, an alternative fuel supply equipment and feedstock company. Extreme Biodiesel, an Envirotek majority-owned company, produces biodiesel and manufactures portable production units, called Extreme Extractors, at the company’s Corona, Calif., refinery. The company announced formation of a strategic alliance with GFE Global, which provides alternative fuel refiners with its extruder equipment for extraction of oil from various feedstocks. GFE, which owns a 1,000-hectare (2,471-acre) jatropha plantation in Costa Rica, is currently providing Envirotek’s Extreme Biodiesel division with samples of the Costa Rica grown and extruded jatropha oil for the production of biodiesel at its methyl ester refinery in Corona. BIO
Plum Creek joins BTEC as sustaining member Plum Creek, the largest and most geographically diverse private landowner in the U.S., joined the Biomass Thermal Energy Council as a sustaining member. Plum Creek manages approximately 7 million acres of timberlands in major timber producing regions of the U.S. and wood products manufacturing facilities in the Northwest. The company serves traditional forest product markets as well as emerging energy markets for biomass. A longstanding practitioner of sustainable forestry, in 1999 Plum Creek became the first company to have all of its lands certified to Sustainable Forestry Initiative standards. Mike Jostrom, director of renewable resources at Plum Creek, will be joining the BTEC board of directors. BIO
CleanTech Biofuels appoints new board member CleanTech Biofuels Inc., an early-stage provider of technology to convert municipal solid waste into sustainable biomass for renewable energy and biobased chemical production, has appointed Jose “Joe” Bared Sr. to its board of directors. This appointment fills a vacant seat on the board, bringing the total number of directors to five. Bared has more than 40 years of experience having served as the president, chairman, and/or director of a number of public and private companies including oil refineries and waste-to-energy facilities. He began his career as an engineer and founded The Bared Co. in 1968. BIO
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New Generation Biofuels appoints Saglio as CFO Renewable fuels provider New Generation Biofuels Holdings Inc. named Dane R. Saglio as chief financial officer, effective March 29. Prior to joining New Generation Biofuels, Saglio had worked as a consultant with emerging private companies in the areas of strategic planning, including exit strategies, transaction evaluation, capital structure, corporate governance, and financial and business operations evaluation, since December 2008. Prior to that, Saglio served as chief financial officer of EntreMed Inc., a publicly traded clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing oncology therapies. BIO
RISI hires Rahikainen as director of bioenergy services RISI, the information provider for the global forest products industry, announced the hiring of Anne Rahikainen as director of bioenergy services. Rahikainen previously worked as a senior consultant with Poyry Group, where her responsibilities included new business development, project management and supporting clients in the bioenergy and forest products industry sectors with key strategic questions such as market and product strategy, growth and new investments. At Poyry, she was involved with assessing and supporting numerous bioenergy related investments in the production of electricity, cellulosic ethanol and pellets. Her role at RISI will be to grow the bioenergy services practice by developing new multiclient, subscription and consulting products and growing the customer base within North America and internationally. BIO
Enerkem appoints new CFO Enerkem Inc., a waste-to-biofuels and advanced chemicals technology company, recently announced that Patrice Ouimet has joined the company as vice president and chief financial officer. Ouimet brings a wealth of knowledge to Enerkem’s current seasoned team of executives, with substanOuimet tial experience in corporate strategy, corporate development and investment banking. Prior to joining Enerkem, he was vice president, corporate development and enterprise risk management for Gildan Activewear, an international apparel manufacturer and marketer. As a chartered accountant, Ouimet began his career with Ernst & Young. He later worked in the investment banking primarily in the industrial and paper and forest products sectors. BIO
BRIEFS Agri-Tech partners with Cate Street Capital Mascoma awarded top biofuels designation Mascoma Corp. announced its favorable position atop the biofuels landscape, according to a Lux Research Inc. report issued earlier this year. Mascoma received top honors from the Lux report, “Ranking Biofuel Startups on the Lux Innovation Grid,” which analyzes a number of key criteria to indicate which companies are more likely to succeed as the market matures. The Lux Innovation Grid’s predictions are based on selective criteria including revenue per employee, patents, performance metrics, production capacity and other data. BIO
Myriant a GoingGreen Top 50 winner Myriant Technologies LLC, a biotech developer and manufacturer of renewable biochemicals, has been chosen by AlwaysOn as one of the GoingGreen East Top 50 winners. Inclusion in the GoingGreen East 50 signifies leadership among its peers and gamechanging approaches and technologies that are likely to disrupt existing markets and entrenched players. Myriant was selected by the AlwaysOn editorial team and industry experts based on a set of five criteria: innovation, market potential, commercialization, stakeholder value and media buzz. Myriant engineers naturally occurring organisms to utilize sugars from biomass, and can incorporate carbon dioxide from the environment to produce multiple high-value chemicals that are today made from petroleum. BIO
Comer joins Faegre & Benson Bob Comer has joined the Faegre & Benson environmental and natural resources practice as a special counsel in the Denver office. Comer previously served as associate solicitor for mineral, energy, land and water resources with the U.S. Department of the Interior. Comer has been involved in bringing many Comer noteworthy projects to fruition. In addition, he has successfully overseen a variety of complex permitting projects and environmental compliance activities, helped bring new and traditional energy to the grid, and navigated challenging federal land and water issues. Comer also served as associate general counsel for a Fortune 500 mining and mineral processing company. Faegre & Benson counsels clients on a range of natural resources matters—including legal and business issues related to energy, oil and gas, mining, electricity, renewable energy and public lands. BIO SHARE YOUR INDUSTRY NEWS: To be included in the Business Briefs, send information (including photos and logos, if available) to Industry Briefs, Biomass Magazine, 308 Second Ave. N., Suite 304, Grand Forks, ND 58203. You may also e-mail information to rjohnson@ bbiinternational.com. Please include your name and telephone number in all correspondence.
Joseph J. James, president of Columbia, S.C.-based, Agri-Tech Producers LLC, announced that his firm has entered into a strategic partnership with Cate Street Capital of Portsmouth, N.H. Cate Street Capital will facilitate the manufacturing and purchasing James of what may be the world’s first commercialgrade torrefaction machines, which will provide large amounts of torrefied fuel for electric utility test burns. It will also provide lease financing for select operators seeking to acquire and use ATP’s torrefaction machines. That first machine, called the Torre-Tech 5.0, will be completed by mid-summer and will produce 5 tons of torrefied wood per hour. BIO
Sapphire signs top CFO and president, international James Lambright, former head of the U.S. Export-Import Bank and chief investment officer of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, is joining Sapphire Energy as chief financial officer and president, international. Lambright will expand Sapphire’s Lambright presence in international markets where, as in America, complex energy needs dominate the agenda. Lambright’s experience in the financial markets is extensive. In 2006, the U.S. Senate confirmed his nomination as president and board chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the U.S., where he oversaw a $60 billion credit portfolio of project and export finance transactions in more than 150 countries. In 2008, the U.S. Treasury Department named him chief investment officer of the TARP. BIO
Joule among 50 most innovative companies in the world Joule announced its inclusion among Massachusetts Institute of Technology Technology Review’s 2010 TR50—an inaugural list of the 50 most innovative companies in the world. Operating since 2007, Joule was chosen alongside noted industry-changers such as Google, Apple and Twitter, reflecting its potential to reshape the oil industry with solar fuels and chemicals, including fungible diesel and ethanol that surpass today’s barriers to abundant, sustainable and cost-competitive supply. Joule’s proprietary production process directly converts sunlight and waste carbon dioxide into liquid fuels—removing costly feedstocks and inefficient processing steps from the equation. As a result, Joule effectively bypasses the cost and resource constraints that have hindered biofuels—pioneering a new, breakthrough category of drop-in replacement fuels at unprecedented quantities and costs. BIO
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BIObytes Biomass News Briefs
3D glasses made from Cereplast’s bioplastics
Q microbe process patented The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a patent to Qteros Inc. and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, describing the creation of products such as biofuels through the fermentation of biomass by the Q microbe, a naturally occurring anaerobic microorganism. UMass Amherst microbiology professor Susan Leschine and her research associate Thomas Warnick discovered the microorganism in the soil near a Massachusetts reservoir and were surprised to find that it condenses the enzymatic hydrolysis and fermenting processes into one step. Qteros is the exclusive licensee of the patent, titled “Systems and Methods for Producing Biofuels and Related Materials,” and has demonstrated that its process offers ethanol producers significant cost reductions.
R.W. Beck awarded DOE BPA R.W. Beck, a wholly owned subsidiary of Science Applications International Corp., was awarded a $21 million blanket purchase agreement (BPA) by the U.S. DOE and the Golden Field Office to support the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Biomass Program, according to SAIC. R.W. Beck will serve as the DOE’s independent engineer on 18 integrated ethanol biorefinery pilot and demonstration projects, providing services including assistance in program
management, technical and financial due diligence, construction and operations monitoring and Recovery Act compliance, according to SAIC. The BPA’s period of performance expires Sept. 30, 2015. The projects are part of the Biomass Program and DOE will award grants to partially fund their design, construction and operation, helping promote the development and commercialization of cellulosic and algae-derived biofuel, along with biochemical production, in the U.S., according to SAIC.
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Oculus3D, a company focused on film-based 3D projection technology, will be the first to offer eco-friendly 3D glasses, made from Cereplast Inc. bioplastic resins and ready for distribution to movie theaters this summer. The CO2 emissions for the more than 10 million fossil fuelbased, nonbiodegradable plastic glasses offered by movie theaters
today is equivalent to the harmful emissions generated by burning 50,000 gallons of gasoline or 917 barrels of oil, according to Cereplast. The Oculus3D eyewear will feature Cereplast’s Compostables resin made with Ingeo polylactic acid. The 3D glasses will biodegrade at a compost site in less than 180 days with no chemical residues or toxicity left in the soil.
Cyclone Power delivers biomass-powered engine Cyclone Power Technologies reported delivery of a biomass-to-power engine system to the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency-funded company Robotic Technology Inc. for use in its Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot, a biologically inspired, organismlike robotic vehicle that finds and processes biomass in a manner similar to eating. Cyclone’s six-cylinder Rankine cycle external heat engine is
capable of generating up to 18 horsepower of mechanical power. A more powerful version of the engine is expected to be used in future field prototypes of the EATR. According to RTI, the EATR has numerous potential commercial applications outside military purposes such as in border patrol, agriculture, forestry, natural disaster clean-up and recovery, and power generation in industrial or large-scale farming and logging settings.
Helius Energy gains consent for 100 MW biomass plant UMM to offer gasification curriculum The University of Minnesota, Morris, received an $85,000 grant from the Minnesota Renewable Energy Marketplace– Alliance for Talent Development initiative to deliver and expand biomass gasification curriculum. The university will offer an intensive three-week course on campus this month, it said. Participants will include four-year students from Morris, two-year students from Minnesota West Community and Technical College and Alexandria Technical
College, undergraduate students from other institutions, and working adults seeking training and employment in biomass gasification. The curriculum is offered through a partnership with several institutions and organizations. MNREM is one of 39 regional projects funded through the U.S. Department of Labor Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development Initiative.
Finite Carbon announces Tennessee project Wayne, Pa.-based Finite Carbon Corp. launched last summer to provide landowners with a single-source, end-to-end solution for creating and monetizing carbon offsets, is developing a forest carbon project for Lyme Brimstone Forest Co. in Tennessee. It will be Finite Carbon’s first project in the eastern part of the country to be listed under the new Climate Action Re-
serve protocol. The project involves more than 4,300 acres of Brimstone Forest lands in the Cumberland Mountains near Oak Ridge, according to Finite Carbon. The company expects the project to generate several hundred thousand carbon offsets over the next 100 years. Lyme Brimstone Forest is a subsidiary of the Lyme Forest Fund, the forest land investment arm of Lyme Timber Co.
U.K. biomass power plant developer Helius Energy PLC has been granted consent by the Department for Energy and Climate Change to construct a 100-megawatt biomass power plant at Avonmouth Dock on Great Britain’s Bristol Channel. Helius announced the signing of an option to lease agreement for the 18-acre site in October 2008.
When complete, the power plant will be fired primarily by woody biomass and will produce enough electricity to power about 200,000 homes. Electricity will be fed to the local grid, to which Helius reports it has already secured access rights. More details will be released as the project progresses, according to the company.
Texas ag department seeks bioenergy proposals As diversifying the state’s energy resources becomes increasingly important, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples announced the Texas Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the Comptroller’s State Energy Conservation Office, is requesting proposals from entities to conduct a comprehensive bioenergy study. The report will identify the state’s bioenergy needs and investigate opportunities for Texas within the renewable energy industry.
The goal of the study is to provide TDA, the Texas Bioenergy Policy Council, the Texas Bioenergy Research Committee and the Texas Legislature with an in-depth review of the capabilities and challenges of the Texas bioenergy industry. For more information, go to http://esbd. cpa.state.tx.us/bid_show. cfm?bidid=88071%20or or visit www.TexasAgriculture.gov/ bioenergy.
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PHOTO: STEMPOWER RESOURCES
Stempower Resources’ Biobaler is pulled behind a tractor.
Biobaler connects land management, biomass supply Brush lands in the upper Midwest are a great biomass resource, but can be hard to harvest because the vegetation is thicker than most agricultural machinery allow, but not thick enough to warrant forestry equipment. Stempower Resources’ Biobaler is designed to aggregate vegetation 1 to 8 inches in diameter and can link land management with the biomass supply chain. The cutting and baling equipment simultaneously harvests and bales brush with minimal soil disturbance. It’s been on the market for about four months and Stempower, based in St. Joseph, Minn., has focused on linking its capabilities with the land management industry, according to Peter Gillitzer, Stempower president and co-founder. The coupling can offer lower management costs, and therefore a savings to wildlife management agencies that clear land to create habitats. The Biobaler can also bring in extra revenue if buyers for the bales can be secured, which Gillitzer said has been the biggest challenge. Minnesota Power recently tested about 12 truckloads of the bales in
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its ML Hibbard steam electric generating plant in Duluth. The company is evaluating the bales’ fuel quality, availability, Btu value and moisture content to determine whether they are viable as a long-term feedstock. “They’ve burned all the loads but are still working on the analytics,” Gillitzer said, adding that further discussions and negotiations are ongoing. Minnesota Power most likely would not operate its own Biobaler, but would purchase bales already harvested. “They’re really good at running plants and don’t have any interest in operating one of these,” he said. Stempower is also in discussions with other power generators for the purchase or testing of bales, but Gillitzer declined to release more information, as no contracts are in place. Brush is an attractive biomass resource because there is no competition for a supply from paper mills, it can be stored indefinitely without rotting, and dries naturally in the sun without expensive equipment, Gillitzer said. —Lisa Gibson
NEWS ‘Seinfeld’ actor launches waste-to-energy company John O’Hurley, well-known for his portrayal of Jacopo Peterman on the sitcom “Seinfeld,” as the host of the TV game show “Family Feud” and as the season one winner of “Dancing with the Stars,” has taken on a new role in a less-glamorous industry that will convert hog manure into power. O’Hurley and his new company Energy-Inc. have signed a contract to install a waste-to-energy system at High Ridge Farm in North Carolina to convert waste from the farm’s 3,000 hogs into electricity. O’Hurley, who said his interest and convictions in renewable energy aren’t a surprise to those who know him, described the company’s initiatives as the result of a two-year ramp up. “The technology hasn’t had a presence in this country, but it’s been used with quite a bit of success for the past 10 years or so in Europe and Asia because fuel prices, historically, have made it a comfortable environment,” he said.
‘It’s our first attempt to move into an industry that has been zeroed in on as the No. 1 polluter because of methane and the residual effluent. It’s a significant environment problem, and also a public relations problem because of the stench; nobody wants to live near one, and we can change that template for them.’ Now that the technology has been improved since its migration to the U.S., it has evolved into an efficient mechanism to produce large amounts of energy from waste, O’Hurley said. Much higher fuel prices in the U.S. and a more technologically and government-friendly climate for clean technologies influenced the decision to introduce the Advanced Thermal Conversion Technology in this country, he added. Nevada-based Energy-Inc. has an exclusive license to distribute the ATCT system, which O’Hurley said involves two main platforms. “One, we take any waste that has a Btu value such as manure, municipal solid waste, agriculture waste, wood waste—anything not nuclear or metal— and produce electricity with near zero emissions through a pyrolytic gasification technology,” O’Hurley said. “We super heat the waste without the presence of oxygen to generate a synthesis gas; the gas turns a generator if necessary or can used as a replacement for natural gas. It’s an entirely closed system and produces steam, heat, hot water and residual biochar.”
O’Hurley described the footprint of a typical system as being able to fit in the back of an 18-wheel truck. A daily input of 500 tons of waste biomass should yield about 1.9 million Btu of syngas and 9,125 tons of biochar fertilizer annually. The system to be installed at High Ridge Farm is a 12-ton per day unit. “It’s our first attempt to move into an industry that has been zeroed in on as the No. 1 polluter because Actor O’Hurley is a partner in Energy-Inc. of methane and the residual effluent,” O’Hurley said. “It’s a significant environment problem, and also a public relations problem because of the stench; nobody wants to live near one, and we can change that template for them.” The system will enable farms such as High Ridge to utilize all of the effluent/manure, which moves through flow systems directly into the power plant. “This will provide all of High Ridge’s electricity, and also some excess to sell back to the grid,” O’Hurley said. Soon, Energy-Inc. will also be working to develop closed environments for the hog industry, using the byproduct of their units—controlled hot air—to provide a consistent 72-degree Fahrenheit environment for swine. “This will create a stress-free environment as hogs are very sensitive to their environmental conditions, and their size can be really affected by stress,” O’Hurley said. The systems are available for purchase and there is no capital outlay, according to O’Hurley. “We’ll bring it to them,” he said. “It’s done like a car lease—they purchase the power from us at a reduced rate, and anything leftover, they participate in that as well.” He added that the system at High Ridge Farm should be complete and operational within six months. —Anna Austin
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NEWS WM’s waste-based energy strategy progresses In the midst of multiple new renewable energy investments and partnerships—most recently involving Canadian cellulosic ethanol producer Enerkem Inc., organic waste-to-biogas technology company Harvest Power Inc. and plasma gasification technology developer InEnTec LLC—“waste” is no longer an applicable term for the materials Waste Management has collected and handled for decades. Carl Rush, vice president of WM Organic Growth Group, who directs the strategy behind WM’s renewable energy investments, said the company’s versatile presence in the biomass/biogas energy industry, aside from its goals of sustainability, is the key to WM’s continued success. “With these investments—Enerkem, Terrabon, S4 Energy Solutions— each fills a potential niche within the recovery of material value,” he said. “We are looking for those we think are closest to commercialization and have the highest likelihood of success, and we have invested with those who have met those criteria.” On WM’s most recent announcement of forming joint venture company S4 Energy Solutions with InEnTec to develop, operate and market plasma gasification facilities using InEnTec’s Plasma Enhanced Melter technology, Rush said the first major milestone will be to complete a 25-ton-per-day demonstration unit to prove the technology at scale. “It’s been done at smaller scales, so we’re proving it up at our Columbia Ridge Landfill in Oregon,” he said. The unit is currently under construction, Rush added, and should be fully operational by the end of the year. As InEnTec’s technology produces syngas that can be used to make a variety of products including electricity, liquid fuels such as methanol/ ethanol, hydrogen and, potentially, diesel, Carl said the products WM are focusing on are categorized into a value hierarchy the company has de-
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veloped. “Electricity is the base case for outputs; the next level up is liquid fuels, which we are developing some of right now, and the next level up is the specialty chemicals and higher value products,” he said. “Syngas has a lot of flexibility, so it becomes a function of how efficient and how effective the conversion technology is that you put on the back end.” WM also recently invested in organic waste-to-biogas company Harvest Power. “We made an investment, but what really intrigued us about Harvest Power was that they are pursuing biogas as an output of their technology, but also recognize that there may need to be first steps taken in the composting arena in order to get into the game,” Rush said. Ideally, the relationship will extend beyond an investment, he added, and WM and Harvest Power are jointly looking at projects in the composting and anaerobic digestion sectors. The same goes for WM’s investment in Enerkem, which is currently operating a commercial-scale syngas-to-ethanol/methanol plant in Westbury, Quebec, and is constructing a 20 MMgy waste-to-biofuels plant in Pontotoc, Miss. “At this point it’s an investment, but it’s a different type of syngas technology than S4 Energy Solutions,” Rush said. “We’re keenly interested in what they are doing and are looking for opportunities to do things jointly with them while we watch their development, understand their technology and see what they can accomplish.” WM is well on its way to meeting its goal of generating the renewable energy equivalent of powering 2 million homes by 2020, added Wes Muir, WM director of corporate communications. When WM announced its goal in 2007, it generated enough renewable power for 1 million homes, he said. —Anna Austin
NEWS Metabolix, ADM begin Mirel bioplastic production Massachusetts-based bioscience company Metabolix Inc. and agri-giant Archer Daniels Midland Co. have begun producing Mirel bioplastic at their $300 million commercial facility in Clinton, Iowa, and expect to make initial deliveries to customers by May. Through their joint venture, the companies are working up to the plant’s full production capacity of 110 million pounds per year, according to Metabolix. Mirel is a family of biodegradable, biobased natural plastics made from plant-derived sugar. Through a microbial fermentation process, the base polymer Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) is produced within the microbial cells and harvested, according to Metabolix. The company has developed industrial strains of the cells, which can efficiently transform natural sugars into PHA. The recovered polymer is made into pellets to produce Mirel bioplastics products. Mirel resins will biodegrade in natural soil and water environments, along with home and industrial composting systems. Target markets for Mirel include agriculture and horticulture agencies such as Ball Horticultural Co.; compost bag producers such as Heritage Plastics; marine and aquatic companies such as Bioverse; consumer product manufacturers such as Newell Rubbermaid; business equipment producers such as Labcon; and packaging companies, according to Metabolix. “We believe that these six segments represent over 2 billion pounds of initial addressable demand. The market remains extremely robust for Mirel,” said Metabolix CEO Richard Eno. “We have
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over 3,000 leads for various applications of which we have selected a pipeline of about 100 prospects that are in various stages of product development with Mirel.” Metabolix and ADM continue to experience significant demand for Mirel and are shifting their focus toward ramping up sales, implementing next-generation Mirel technology and exploring prospects for plant expansion, according to Eno. Production is in the early stages of commercialization so capacity utilization levels will remain relatively low for the next few quarters, according to Metabolix. It will increase as production processes are optimized and as demand increases through acquisition of new customers.
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NEWS Summerhill unveils biomass powder technology
GDF Suez plans huge biomass plant in Poland
New York-based Summerhill Biomass Systems publicly unveiled its technology for converting plant waste into biomass powder in March. Summerhill has patents pending on its system, which produces a burnable fine powder fuel, similar in texture to baking powder. The fuel can be used to produce heat and burns as intensely as gas, according to the company. The powder would cost less than heating oil, including delivery, and is more efficient than ethanol and other types of biofuels produced around the world, according to James McKnight, president and cofounder of Summerhill. The system can consume timber, brush, corn stalks and other plant waste, emitting no smoke or odor. “With our system, everything can be used,” he said. “Nothing is wasted.” The system is controlled by a thermostat and can be used in grain-drying operations as well as commercial and small industrial applications. The company initially received a $75,000 grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority for feasibility studies and is looking for additional investors. McKnight also presented his technology at the 2008 World Bank Alternative Fuels Symposium.
GDF Suez has signed a contract with engineering firm Foster Wheeler for the design and construction of a circulating fluidized-bed boiler for a proposed 190-megawatt 100 percent biomass-fueled power station near Polaniec, Poland. Foster Wheeler will design and supply the steam generator, auxiliary equipment and biomass yard, and will also construct and commission the boiler island. GDF Suez and Foster Wheeler believe the power station will host the world’s largest biomass boiler fueled by wood chips and biomass crops when complete. The facility will be located at the site of GDF Suez’s 1,800-MW coal/biomass cofired-power station, Polaniec Power Station. GDF Suez spokeswoman Sabine Wacquez said the facility will require 222,000 tons of agri-fuels and 890,000 tons of woody biomass each year. The total project investment is €240 million ($3.2 million), Wacquez said. The power station is expected to be operational by the end of December. GDF Suez has more than 50 sites in the U.S., Europe and Brazil that annually consume more than 2 million tons of biomass for power generation.
NEWS Researchers discover furan-degrading bacterium Researchers at Delft University of Technology in Netherlands have discovered that the bacterium Cupriavidus basilensis breaks down furans and other harmful byproducts generated when sugars are released from wood. The discovery holds the potential to remove harmful compounds during the production of second-generation chemicals and fuels from waste wood, avoiding the current expensive and environmentally unfriendly methods. Cupriavidus basilensis completely metabolizes the furans, which can hinder fermentation, and leaves the valuable sugars untouched, according to the university. Assisted by supervisors Han de Winde, professor of industrial microbiology, and Harald Ruijssenaars, senior scientist at Bird Engineering, researchers Frank Koopman and Nick Wierckx unlocked the components of the entire degradation process in the bacterium, identifying the genes and enzymes involved. The initial discovery of the bacterium’s capabilities, however, was unexpected. “As often in this type of research, there’s quite some serendipity at stake here,” said de Winde, head of the university’s Department of Biotechnology. “We were indeed targeting microbial pathways for lignocelluloses (hydrolysates)
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degradation, however, finding this extraordinary bug yielding full blown and new hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF/furfural) utilization pathway was not our immediate expectation.” In addition, the team was successful in incorporating the degradation process into a bacterium with common industrial biotechnological uses, Pseudomonas putida. Their work was published March 2 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “Although still in early days, transferring the detoxification ability to bacteria (or other microorganisms) that at the same time can perform other industrially relevant processes would add value and efficiency to certain biotech processes,” de Winde said. “Judging from our current insight into the biochemical and molecular aspects of the HMF/furfural degradation route from Cupriavidus, this should work in other bacteria as well.” He added that the team is awaiting further proof. The research is part of the Dutch university research consortium Bio-based Sustainable Industrial Chemistry, geared toward developing new concepts for sustainable production of energy and chemicals. —Lisa Gibson
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NEWS U of Toronto researches bark biorefinery process The process can use any bark, although composiThe University of Toronto will use a portion tional differences among different species may make of an $8.2 million award from the Ontario Research some candidates better for certain products, Yan Fund’s Research Excellence Program to develop a said. “We are certainly very interested in Canadian bark biorefinery that will produce green adhesives species including bark from mountain pine beetleand biobased foams from tree bark. infested trees.” Associate Professor of Forestry Ning Yan and The project received $1.75 million and could Professor Mohini Sain are leading a multidisciplinary have significant impacts on forestry, along with the team in developing the process. “We will be using Yan automotive and chemical industries, according to the extraction, separation and purification for turning barks into adhesives,” Yan said, adding that hydroxylation will university. “Bark contains other niche specialty chemicals that convert the bark biomass to biobased foam. “The biobased can have antimicrobial and neutraceutical/pharmaceutical apfoam with controlled foam structure can be used in building, plications,” Yan said. If the project proves successful, it would provide a methconstruction and automotive industries as more environmentally sound alternatives for traditional petroleum-derived foam od for converting a waste residue available in large quantities to commercially viable and value-added products with valueproducts,” she said. The team is in the early phases of project development, added market potential, Yan emphasized. It can be implementfocusing on fundamental research and bench-scale technology ed in existing forestry operations to complement the product development for intellectual property generation, which is cru- portfolio. “It also identifies another stream of waste nonfood cial for scale-up and demonstration efforts, according to Yan. biomass resources that can be utilized for bioproducts develThe team aims to have some products ready for pilot trials opment, offering more options and easing some of the conin four to five years with the help of its partners: FPInnova- straints due to demand on biomass feedstock,” she said. “Furtions, a forest bioeconomy development company; the Wood- ther developing nonfood feedstock to high-value chemicals bridge Group, a foam technology provider; Huntsman Corp., and functional materials is fundamental to this project.” a differentiated chemicals manufacturer and marketer; Arclin, —Lisa Gibson a provider of bonding and surfacing solutions; St. Marys Paper Corp., a paper mill; Tembec Inc., a paper company; and AbitibiBowater, which produces newsprint, commercial printing papers, market pulp and wood products.
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NEWS Massachusetts coalition publicizes initiative’s negative impacts
Proponents of renewable energy in Massachusetts have formed a coalition to educate the public about the detriments of a proposed ballot initiative that would unreasonably limit carbon emissions. The initiative is slated to appear on the Nov. 2 ballot and will mandate that biomass power plants, along with other renewable facilities, emit no more than 250 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour in order to qualify for the state renewable portfolio standard (RPS) of 20 percent by 2025. Without that qualification, plants will not generate renewable energy credits, a key portion of their revenue. The mandate is completely unreasonable, according to Matthew Wolfe, chairman of the Committee For A Clean Economy, which formed the coalition, and principal of Madera Energy Inc, a renewable energy project developer. “It totally ignores the life-cycle analysis of biomass, considered to be carbon-neutral,” he said. In addition, the definition of biomass in the initiative is broad and would include wood, waste, anaerobic digestion and more. “A lot of different things would be captured in this ballot measure,” he said. The initiative would stymie renewable energy development in Massachusetts, making it difficult to meet its RPS. “We want to try to develop as much renewable energy as possible and this would hurt that,” Wolfe said. It would also significantly impact job creation in the state and hinder innovation. “We want to try to innovate our way out of our dependence on fossil fuels,” he said. The technologies available are efficient and the problem is not with the biomass industry, but the “not in my back yard” (NIMBY) mindset, Wolfe said, adding that not everyone would agree. “A lot of this opposition is based on NIMBYism,” he said.
The coalition’s campaign, led by Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications, will focus partially on debunking NIMBY-related concerns, but also will educate the public on the overall benefits of biomass power, along with the other effected renewable energy sectors, such as biofuel and anaerobic digestion. Wolfe said the organization has seen positive feedback so far from focus groups. “This is an opportunity to bring together people with common interests around a common issue, which up to this point, hasn’t been very well organized,” he said. Madera is developing a 47-megawatt combined-heat-and-power plant, the Pioneer Renewable Energy Project, in western Massachusetts. The plant will run on clean wood biomass and will have the capacity to provide steam and heat to nearby homes and businesses. Massachusetts has ample woody biomass resources, prompting several other power plant proposals in the state but citizen opposition is broad and seems to be gaining ground. At the beginning of December, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources suspended all consideration of new biomass projects for participation in the state RPS as it awaits the results of a third-party study to determine the sustainability and carbon neutrality of biomass power generation. The study, led by the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, is largely fueled by the vocal citizen opposition. It should be completed by June, with any new rulings released at the end of the year. Even with such staunch resistance, Wolfe is optimistic that his coalition will succeed in convincing voters that the initiative will adversely affect the state. “This isn’t a great thing that’s happening in Massachusetts, but we’re confident that we can win this,” he said. —Lisa Gibson
NEWS Colorado raises state RPS With the signing of a bill anticipated to create thousands of new jobs, Colorado—the first U.S. state to enforce a renewable portfolio standard (RPS)—has once again moved to the front of the pack of states that have followed its lead over the years, and is now second in aggressiveness only to Maine’s RPS of 40 percent by 2017. On March 22, Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter signed into law HB 10-1001, calling for Colorado to draw 30 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. The bill trumps the state’s previous goal of 20 percent by 2020, an amendment that passed in 2004. The bill requires a portion of the RPS to be met through a subset of renewable generation, or distributed generation (DG), which does not require additional transmission facilities to connect to the grid. By 2015 and through 2019, 20 percent of retail electricity sales in Colorado must be renewable with DG equaling at least 1¾ percent of retail electricity sales; 30 percent of its retail electricity sales by 2020 and thereafter with DG equaling at least 3 percent of its retail electricity sales. All providers of retail electric service in Colorado, other than municipally owned utilities that serve 40,000 customers or
Colorado Gov. Ritter signs HB 10-1001 to increase the state’s RPS.
fewer, are considered required utilities. In the U.S., 29 states now have renewable electricity standards; those that do not are primarily in the south. —Anna Austin
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NEWS U of Toledo establishes sustainable materials institute The newly approved Institute for Sustainable Engineering Materials at the University of Toledo, Ohio, will bring together research teams to solve materials development-related problems, such as minimizing and recycling waste, within a variety of industries. The institute was formed in response to a growing corporate interest in environmentally friendly products and the development of sustainable ways to manufacture goods. It will function as a separate office within the school’s College of Engineering and will bolster the school’s standing as a center for green technology and innovation. “We want to be a problem solver for industries,” said Nagi Naganathan, dean of the College of Engineering. “We want them to know we are the product solution site. We have a proven track record to respond to industry problems and we will be agile in terms of our response.” He added that it will be an application-driven program wherein the client will come to the researchers with a problem. “We will reconstitute ourselves in terms of expertise to respond to that particular problem,” he explained. University researchers contributing to the institute have done work for 40 outside companies including Shell, DuPont, BP and Dow Chemical Co. “We already have some proven outcomes we
can share with industries in terms of why this institute will be beneficial to them,” Naganathan said. Work at the organization will extend to sectors including engineering materials, biochemical and thermochemical processing of renewable feedstocks into biofuels and value-added chemicals, and green chemistry and engineering, according to Maria Coleman, professor of chemical engineering and co-director of the institute. The center is studying the conversion of numerous biomass sources, including secondary and tertiary wastes, energy crops and algae, into products and fuel through fermentation or gasification, according to Glenn Lipscomb, professor of chemical engineering and chairman of the College of Engineering. The research groups will also address options for recycling of plastic material, which has been a focus of the University’s Polymer Institute, according to Saleh Jabarin, professor of chemical engineering, co-director of the Institute for Sustainable Engineering Materials and director of the Polymer Institute. “This [Institute for Sustainable Engineering Materials] will create integration among all the things we undertake here at this college,” Naganathan said. —Lisa Gibson
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NEWS University of Florida study downplays RPS potential A recently released University of Florida study indicates that increased woody biomass use for power generation through implementation of a 7 percent renewable portfolio standard (RPS) in Florida would bring about a modest increase in the state’s gross domestic product, employment and state government revenues, but suggests that a more ambitious RPS would require significant forest management practices and could have negative implications on the forest products manufacturing sector. The study’s impetus was to evaluate economic effects that varying statewide RPS levels would have on Florida as well possible effects on woody biomass demand, supply and timber prices. Florida is not one of 29 U.S. states that have implemented a mandatory RPS, but a 20 percent RPS by 2020 has been contemplated since 2008 after being endorsed by the Florida Public Service Commission and Gov. Charlie Crist. John Bonitz, of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, said he doesn’t think the study proves or disproves the feasibility of a 20 percent RPS in Florida, despite recent doubt-casting media reports suggesting that the state’s forests cannot support one. He believes the study does not use the best available renewable energy data, and that it assumes woody biomass to play an extreme role in an RPS. “The other renewable energy source potentialities in the study—wind, solar and hydro—those numbers were almost half of what we found in our ‘Southern Solutions Report for a National Renewable Energy standard,’” he said. As a result of these drastically lower estimates, Bonitz said, when analyzing the RPS, biomass renewables had to make up that difference and therefore resulted in extreme assumptions. In the report, which found that a 20 percent RPS in Florida
is feasible, regional power production from biomass even at the highest level outlined in the report’s estimates, would require annual harvests of no more than 0.2 percent of forest resources. Bonitz said he agreed with the study’s emphasis on a need to improve management of forestlands to grow more wood, which is the case in all woody biomass-to-energy practices. According to the Florida Forestry Association, the state hosts nearly 16 million acres of timber resources that infuse more than $16.6 billion into the state’s economy. The UF study also conflicts with a study commissioned in 2008 by the FPSC and the Florida Governor’s Energy Office, which determined that Florida could economically produce nearly 25 percent renewable energy by the year 2020. Outside of Florida, there are a few other states in the Southeast contemplating an RPS; North Carolina is the only state in the region that has implemented one. Bonitz and the SACE are working to help southern states evaluate RPS possibilities. Regarding opposition to the role of biomass in RPSs, he said most of it is embellished by the media. “It’s a small amount of protesters who have a misunderstanding of the technology, and we work throughout the region to answer questions, address concerns and help people learn more about biomass electricity and biofuels,” he said. “There are a lot of complexities; it’s not a simple technology to address and understand, but it’s really easy to succumb to fear mongering. Biomass is clearly something we want to do sustainably; there’s tremendous potential in Florida and it’s still underestimated and underappreciated.” —Anna Austin
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NEWS Researchers study miscanthus, switchgrass pests Miscanthus and switchgrass, two of the leading cellulosic ethanol feedstock contenders, just like any other crops, are threatened by pests that need to be studied and carefully mitigated. Researchers at the University of Illinois Energy Biosciences Institute have recently identified potential pathogenic nematodes—microscopic, wormlike organisms—of both crops and at what levels they are present in different areas. In a 2008-’09 nematode survey, the group analyzed samples from 37 miscanthus and 48 switchgrass plots in Illinois, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, South Dakota and Tennessee. They found that all sample sites had at least two nematode species that have been reported to reduce biomass in most monocotyledon hosts. The presence of nematodes is not unheard of, however, as the organisms provide a variety of functions to soil systems including nutrient mineralization through feeding interactions. Lead UI researcher Tesfamariam Mekete told Biomass Magazine that results obtained thus far did not come as a surprise. “The result of our first survey fits in our preliminary hypothesis and expectations,” he said. “Most of the nematodes we identified are common parasites of monocotyledon plants such as corn.” The levels of the nematodes found in the switchgrass and miscanthus samples were comparable to densities found in other crops, Mekete said, but the damaging population thresholds for the biofuel crops are still unknown. Damage symptoms observed by the researchers included visible stunting of lateral roots and destruction of the fibrous root system, which could contribute to a decline in biomass yield. Currently, there are several control methods for a given nematode in different crops, Mekete said, but there is no information available
Biomass crops such as switchgrass, just like food crops, are threatened by potentially yield-robbing pests.
on bioenergy crops such as switchgrass and miscanthus. “Though we are screening some biocontrol agents and other available methods,” he said. The next step for the research team will be work on host suitability and damage threshold densities in a greenhouse setting. Mekete said the group plans to set up field experiments at Urbana and Havanna, Ill., in the summer. Eventually, they hope to develop species-specific DNA tests to help identify nematodes in order to develop control tactics. —Anna Austin
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NEWS BCAP proposed rule draws thousands of comments The USDA’s Biomass Crop Assistance Program proposed rule has drawn more than 20,000 submissions during the 60-day comment period, according to USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan. USDA released the proposed rule Feb. 3, allowing comment submissions until April 9. The final count could be significantly higher, she added, as that number was a preliminary estimate given several days before the comment period deadline. In similar past scenarios, the few days prior to the cut-off date saw an influx of comments as many people wait until the last minute. Merrigan could not yet describe the range of input received, but she said the USDA will be working as quickly as it can to assemble a team to organize and analyze the comments. “We put out a variety of options for people to give us feedback,” she said. “It will be very interesting to see if there is some consensus in key areas of the rule, but only time will tell. There’s a lot of work to do to get to the final rule.”
Merrigan made the remarks about BCAP during an energy forum officially recognizing a memorandum of understanding recently signed by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, to encourage the development of advanced biofuels and other renewable energy systems. The Department of the Navy has set new energy targets for the Navy and Marine Corps and biofuels are a major component of these; the departments will now work together on projects that support President Obama’s initiative to make the U.S. a global leader in developing a renewable energy economy, reducing energy consumption derived from fossil fuels and increasing energy production from renewable energy sources. At press time, Merrigan and Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations & Environment Jackalyne Pfannenstiel could not yet comment on any specific USDA/DON projects.
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NEWS OPG contracting biomass for conversion Ontario Power Generation is moving forward with plans to repower its 211-megawatt (MW) coal-fired Atikokan Generating Station with biomass and has issued a call for potential woodbased biomass fuel suppliers. Located in northwestern Ontario, Atikokan will be the first power station that OPG will convert to biomass. The company owns three other coal-fired power plants in Canada, and has previously announced plans to evaluate repowering all of them with biomass by the end of 2014. Spokesman Ted Gruetzner said OPG is looking to contract 90,000 metric tons of fuel for Atikokan in the form of wood pellets. Fuel suppliers to the power station will be required to prove that the supplied biomass is being sourced from sustainable forest management practices. If all of the wood fuel required to power the Atikokan facility came from harvested wood, OPG said, it would be less than 1 percent of the current allowable harvest within the prov-
ince. According to the Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs, Ontario contains 2 percent of the world’s forests and 17 percent of Canada’s forests. There is not yet a definitive timeline or cost set for the project, Gruetzner said. “We’re still doing engineering and studying what will be needed in terms of storage and fuel handling,” he added. “The big issue is determining how our burners will work with it (wood pellets) and configuring the fuel handling processes.” In the fall of 2009, as part as the province’s Green Energy Act, which calls for Ontario to phase out all coal-fired plants, the Ontario Power Authority launched a renewable energy feedin tariff that guarantees specific rates for energy generated from renewable sources. The rate for biomass is 13.8 cents per kilowatt for plants under 10 MW and 13 cents for larger facilities. —Anna Austin
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NEWS Shell, Virent announce biogasoline demonstration plant The world’s first biogasoline demonstration plant is up and running in Madison, Wis., with the capacity to produce 10,000 gallons per year from plant sugars. The facility, dubbed Eagle, is the latest milestone in a joint research and development effort between Virent Energy Systems Inc. and Royal Dutch Shell plc that aims to commercialize biogasoline production from Virent’s Bioforming platform technology. “The demonstration plant was delivered on time, on budget and without injury, producing on-spec biogasoline and frankly, it’s performing better than planned,” Lee Edwards, Virent CEO, said during a conference call March 23. “This is an important milestone for Virent as we progress plans toward commercialization.” The process is similar to a standard oil refinery converting crude oil to transportation fuels, but Eagle uses sugars from various biomass sources to produce the same hydrocarbon mixtures used in standard transportation fuels, according to Randy Cortright, Virent founder and chief technical officer. Those sugars can be sourced from corn stover, sugarcane pulp, wheat and corn, but Eagle’s feedstock has come from beet sugar, according to Virent. The companies declined to release a cost estimate of the plant. “This demonstration for Virent has shown the growth of our company,” Cortright said. “We will be able to collect information and collect the expertise to build a commercial-size plant that will be able to generate transportation fuels.” This year, Virent and Shell will focus on engineering, design and implementation plans, using Eagle’s success. Volumes produced at the plant, which is 100 percent bigger than Virent’s lab-scale operations, will be used for engine testing and fleet testing, as well as in engineering and commercial analyses.
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“We are looking with Virent into how we can scale up this technology,” said Luis Scoffone, vice president of alternative energies for Shell. The most important factor is that Eagle, sited at Virent’s Madison facilities, demonstrates the processes’ scalability, he added, noting that feedstock and location are important elements in the commercialization equation. Edwards said a timeline for a commercial facility has not been established, but it will need to be clearly defined within the next five years. “We have many milestones still to deliver going forward,” he said. “It’s important during 2010 that we learn as much as we can while we complete the fleet testing schedule for this year.” —Lisa Gibson
NEWS Study evaluates landscape effects on biomass crop yields Understanding biomass productivity on specific landscape positions is essential to realizing the highest financial returns on the integration of herbaceous and woody biomass crops at the field scale while providing a reliable and consistent feedstock source that meets quality specifications for the bioenergy market, according to a recent University of Minnesota study. Led by Gregg Johnson, associate professor, the research team investigated the differences in woody and herbaceous crop productivity and biomass yield of crops planted on seven varying landscape positions at the University of Minnesotaâ€™s Agricultural Ecology Research Farm, part of the Southern Research and Outreach Center in Waseca, Minn. Terrain features were analyzed using Geographic Information Systems technology. Crops evaluated in the study were alfalfa, corn stover, corn, grain, willow (two clones), cottonwood, poplar and switchgrass. Landscape positions included summit (excellent water drainage but visible erosion), depositional (receives water from two hill slopes and is characterized by poor drainage and accumulated topsoil), flat (poorly drained but has retained topsoil), and four hill slopes with east, south, southwest and north aspects. The researchers recognized that harvest intervals between woody and herbaceous crops are different and adjusted sampling methods accordingly. Willow data represented growth in the second year postcoppice, whereas poplar and cottonwood data represented third-year growth; alfalfa, switchgrass, and corn data represented combined yields from 2006 and 2007. The study also takes into account the fact that soil physical and chemical properties change depending on landscape position. Bedeschi has been designing, manufacturing and marketing industrial equipment for the biomass, cement, brick, mining, mineral, power, wood, pulp, and paper industries for over 100 years. Our line of products encompasses equipment for UDZPDWHULDOVKDQGOLQJGHVLJQHGWRĂ€WWKHVSHFLĂ€F needs of our clients such as: Â‡$SURQ)HHGHUV Â‡&UXVKHUV Â‡6WDFNHUVOLQHDUDQGFLUFXODU Â‡5HFODLPHUVOLQHDUFLUFXODUDQGEOHQGLQJ Â‡6KLS/RDGHUVDQG8QORDGHUV With our in-house engineering department, we design and engineer all of our equipment, using the latest software systems. We fabricate, assemble and test all of our machines in our 500,000 ftÂ˛ PDQXIDFWXULQJIDFLOLW\2XUĂ€HOGWHFKQLFLDQVIROORZ the erection/assembly phase of the machines on site, along with providing start-up and commissioning assistance â€” allowing us to supply machines and plants to engineering companies and clients around the world. BEDESCHI AMERICA, INC. :+LOOVERUR%OYG6XLWH 'HHUĂ€HOG%HDFK)/Â‡ 3K firstname.lastname@example.org www.bedeschiamerica.com 9LVLWRXU%RRWKDWWKH,QWHUQDWLRQDO %,20$66&RQIHUHQFH ([SR
Key findings of the study included: Total switchgrass and biomass yields were lower at the depositional, south hill slope, southwest hill slope and north hill slope compared with other landscape positions. Cottonwood biomass yields were consistent across all positions, showing no differences in yield among sites. Poplar biomass yield was lower at the depositional position compared with all other positions. Cottonwood and poplar did not display significant correlations between biomass yields and soil/terrain attributes. High productivity of both willow clones at the depositional and flat positions relative to other landscape positions indicate that willow is a good cropping option in landscape positions with saturated, anaerobic soils. Total alfalfa yield was lower at the depositional and west hill slope landscape positions compared with all other positions. Alfalfa biomass at the west hill slope position, however, was higher than the depositional position but lower than the other positions. Total corn stover yield was significantly lower at the depositional and flat landscape positions compared with all other positions; yields were higher where there was less soil moisture compared with landscape positions with saturated soils. The researchers believe the study provides a first step in developing cropping systems that provide a knowledge-based approach to crop selection and placement on the landscape with the goal of functional optimization. â€”Anna Austin
NEWS Using funds it was awarded from the U.S. DOE, Massachusettsbased Myriant Technologies LLC has begun design and engineering phases in the development of its biobased succinic acid facility at the Port of Lake Providence, La. It will be the biggest of its kind in the world. Myriant, a biotechnology developer and renewable biochemical manufacturer, was awarded up to $50 million for the project and hopes to begin construction on the facility by September of this year, according to Myriant. The company’s process for producing its biobased succinic acid uses both carbon dioxide and local sorghum to displace petroleum-based feedstocks. Succinic acid is used in a variety of applications including plastics, fibers, polyesters and pigments. Of 19 integrated biorefinery projects that won funding or loan guarantees from the DOE in 2008, Myriant’s is the only one focusing exclusively on biobased chemicals rather than biofuels. The project, which will also benefit from an additional $10 million from the Lake Providence Port Commission and the Louisiana Department of Transportation, will help revitalize the U.S. manufacturing base, bringing much-needed job growth to northeast Louisiana, according to the company. Myriant and the port had previously invested more than $13 million to make the site shovel-ready and Myriant has plans to further expand at the location.
PHOTO: MYRIANT TECHNOLOGIES LLC
Myriant draws from DOE-awarded funds
An aerial view shows Myriant’s biobased succinic acid facility site at the Port of Lake Providence, La.
“This project unleashes a new era of investment and job creation here in the United States by bringing together our core strengths in biotechnology, agriculture and manufacturing,” said Stephen J. Gatto, chairman and CEO of Myriant. “The advent of industrial biotechnology represents an extraordinary opportunity for the United States, and we believe, a defining moment in our history.”
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40 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 5|2010
NEWS KEDA assembles biomass working group In a proactive effort fueled by increasing nationwide interest in biomass energy, the Koochiching Economic Development Authority board in Koochiching County, Minn., is assembling a biomass working group to gain a thorough understanding of the industry’s important elements. The team of six to nine people will include foresters, loggers, the land management sector and representatives from the county’s largest employer and user of timber: the Boise Cascade Inc. paper mill. “We want to get a good cross-section of people who understand what’s out there and how it’s used,” said KEDA director Paul Nevanen. “We’d like to assemble a team that can put a business plan together for projects around here.” The group will be the contact for any parties interested in developing projects in Koochiching County. The county has no biomass projects so far, but Nevanen said it’s just a matter of time. “People are looking in that direction and doing some planning around it,” he said. “We’d like to have a clear understanding of how we can capitalize on that.” The team will study supply chain logistics, as well as resources for project investors and one of the main goals is to establish a planning document. “I don’t know yet what that will look like or what it will morph into,” Nevanen said.
The first meeting was in April, and will be followed by regular quarterly meetings. While members will not rule out any viable source, woody biomass will be the main focus. “That is the resource we are blessed with,” Nevanen said, adding that the group will be sensitive to Boise and its pricing. “It’s important to compile this team, so when opportunities arise, we’ve done our homework,” he said. —Lisa Gibson
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