INSIDE ¦ ADVERTISER INDEX¦ NOVEMBER 2013 | VOLUME 7 | ISSUE 11 2014 Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo
2014 International Biomass Conference & Expo
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By Tim Portz
07 INDUSTRY EVENTS 08 BUSINESS BRIEFS 34 MARKETPLACE
Net Zero Zeal
ON THE COVER An Oregon Army National Guard sergeant looks for spot fires from an ORARNG HH-60M Black Hawk helicopter. PHOTO: U.S. Army National Guard
Oregon Army National Guard Deploys Biomass Thermal Page 16
Plus: US Coast Guard Eyes Isobutanol to Fuel Fleet Page 30
06 EDITOR’S NOTE Brothers in Arms
Alaska’s First Land¿ll Gas Plant an Air Force Asset Page 12
POWER 10 NEWS 11 COLUMN National Bioenergy Day: Spotlight on Biomass By Bob Cleaves
12 DEPARTMENT Mission Alignment ReEnergy Holdings’ biomass power plant at New York’s Ft. Drum may soon be added to the U.S. Army's growing list of renewable energy success stories. By Tim Portz
COPYRIGHT © 2013 by BBI International
Biomass Magazine: (USPS No. 5336) November 2013, Vol. 7, Issue 11. Biomass Magazine is published monthly by BBI International. Principal Office: 308 Second Ave. N., Suite 304, Grand Forks, ND 58203. Periodicals Postage Paid at Grand Forks, North Dakota and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Biomass Magazine/Subscriptions, 308 Second Ave. N., Suite 304, Grand Forks, North Dakota 58203.
16 PELLETS 14 NEWS
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16 FEATURE Fighting the Good Fight As part of its Net Zero initiative, the Oregon Army National Guard has pellet heat installations underway at four of its sites. By Susanne RetkaSchill
THERMAL 20 NEWS
NOVEMBER 2013 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 3
*OTJHIU*OÄ˜VFODF-FBET These companies and organizations are serious about developing algae as a source of fuel, feed, food, and countless other products. Are you? Joining the Algae Biomass Organization puts you in touch with the entire algae value chain, from suppliers to producers, from engineers to investors, from state governments to Capitol Hill. Learn about our tiered membership programs and the benefits at www.algaebiomass.org, or call 507-765-2134 today. "DDFMFSHZ$PSQPSBUJPOt"MHBFEZOFt"MHBF*OEVTUSZ*ODVCBUJPO$POTPSUJVN+BQBOt"MHFOPM #JPGVFMTt"MHJYt".&$t"VSPSB"MHBF *ODt#BUUFMMF1BDJÄ•D/8/BUJPOBM-BCTt#JPQSPDFTT "MHBFtÄ‡F#PFJOH$PNQBOZt$FMMBOB--$t$FSFQMBTU *ODt$IVSDI%XJHIUt$PMPSBEP -JOJOH*OUFSOBUJPOBMt$PNCJOFE1PXFS$PPQFSBUJWFt%JWFSTJÄ•FE5FDIOPMPHJFT *ODt &$0$BQUVSFt%VLF&OFSHZt&BSUISJTF/VUSJUJPOBMT--$t&MFDUJD1PXFS3FTFBSDI*OTJUVUFt &WPEPT#7t'FE&Y&YQSFTTt'SFESJLTPO#ZSPO 1"t(FOFSBM"UPNJDTt('1JQJOH 4ZTUFNTt(SFFOÄ•FME&UIBOPMt)FMJBF$PSQPSBUJPOt*"5" *OUFSOBUJPOBM"JS5SBOTQPSU "TTPDJBUJPO t*(7*OTUJUVUGVFS(FUSFJEFWFSBSCFJUVOH(NC)t,FMMFSBOE)FDLNBO --1t ,JNCFSMZ$MBSLt-JOEF"(t.BUSJY(FOFUJDTt.JDSP#JP&OHJOFFSJOH *ODt.56"FSP &OHJOFT(NC)t/""##/BUJPOBM"MMJBODFGPS"EWBODFE#JPGVFMTBOE#JP1SPEVDUTt/FTUF 0JM$PSQPSBUJPOt0QFO"MHBFt0SJHJO0JM*ODt1FUSJYP(SPVQt1IZDBMt104#JP4DJFODFTt 4"#*$t4BQQIJSF&OFSHZt4PMJY#JP4ZTUFNTt4PMVUJPOT$0*ODt4UPFM3JWFT--1t4VCJUFD (NC)t4ZOUIFUJD(FOPNJDTt5FYBT"HSJMJGF3FTFBSDIBOE&YUFOTJPO$FOUFStÄ‡F.JUDIFMM 'BNJMZ$PSQPSBUJPOtÄ‡F4DPVMBS$PNQBOZt6OJUFE"JSMJOFTt601)POFZXFMMt7BMJDPSt 8JMTPO4POTJOJ(PPESJDI3PTBUJ
NOVEMBER 2013 | VOLUME 7 | ISSUE 11
24 BIOGAS 22 NEWS 24 FEATURE Anchoring Air Force Energy Goals The Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson landfill gas-to-energy facility near Anchorage, Alaska, serves Ft. Richardson with half of its power. By Anna Austin
30 ADVANCED BIOFUELS & CHEMICALS 28 NEWS 29 COLUMN An Urgent Call to Action By Michael McAdams
30 FEATURE Isobutanol to the Rescue The U.S. Coast Guard is testing the feasibility of powering its fleet with isobutanol gasoline blends. By Chris Hanson
NOVEMBER 2013 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 5
Brothers in Arms The U.S. military is the largest single user of energy in the world. Its five branches consume every type of energy product available, and in staggering quantities. In a 2010 Global Green USA report, author Schuyler Null notes that if the U.S. military were a country, it would rank 54th in the world in total energy use, edging out developed countries like Portugal, Qatar, Israel and North Korea. TIM PORTZ Add to that the military’s strategic VICE PRESIDENT OF CONTENT & EXECUTIVE EDITOR objective to grow its use of email@example.com able energy to 25 percent by 2025, and the picture that emerges illustrates the U.S. military as being one of the hottest markets for renewable energy in the world, with needs for abundant electric, thermal and liquid fuel energy. The Biomass Magazine team has been watching this sector develop the past two years and has published news stories in print and online the mandates, strategic initiatives and military exercises that have marked the growth of renewables in the armed forces. When we built the 2013 editorial calendar last fall, we knew it was time to dedicate an entire issue to biomass energy in the military. We thought November would be a great time to honor the men and women, in and out of uniform, driving these initiatives. The mix of technologies featured in this issue demonstrates the variety of locations our armed forces operate near, as well as the varying biomass resources available in each region. Sue Retka Schill’s article “Fighting the Good Fight” (page 17) catches up with the Oregon National Guard as it explores the opportunity for local forest biomass resources to simultaneously move away from nonrenewable petroleum heat energy while reducing the fuel load in the state’s forest acres. In his feature “Isobutanol to the Rescue,” (page 30) staff writer Chris Hanson details the U.S. Coast Guard’s corn-derived isobutanol tests, which the USCG hopes can prove the fuel can perform in a challenging marine environment. Finally, Anna Simet’s article about the landfill gas operation at the U.S. Air Force’s Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson near Anchorage, Alaska, (page 24) highlights why landfill gas is increasingly earmarked as a reliable source of baseload quality power for military bases. The U.S. military has a long history as an incubator for innovation, so its continued push into renewable energy production and use is not surprising. The mandate now, for the biomass industry, is to ensure biomass has a proportionate seat at the table as the military’s energy future is boldly reimagined.
6 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | NOVEMBER 2013
EDITORIAL PRESIDENT & EDITOR IN CHIEF Tom Bryan firstname.lastname@example.org VICE PRESIDENT OF CONTENT & EXECUTIVE EDITOR Tim Portz email@example.com MANAGING EDITOR Anna Simet firstname.lastname@example.org NEWS EDITOR Erin Voegele email@example.com SENIOR EDITOR Sue Retka Schill firstname.lastname@example.org STAFF WRITER Chris Hanson email@example.com COPY EDITOR Jan Tellmann firstname.lastname@example.org
ART ART DIRECTOR Jaci Satterlund email@example.com GRAPHIC DESIGNER Elizabeth Burslie firstname.lastname@example.org
PUBLISHING & SALES CHAIRMAN Mike Bryan email@example.com CEO Joe Bryan firstname.lastname@example.org VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS Matthew Spoor email@example.com MARKETING DIRECTOR John Nelson firstname.lastname@example.org BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR Howard Brockhouse email@example.com SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER Chip Shereck firstname.lastname@example.org ACCOUNT MANAGERS Kelsi Brorby kbrorby@bbiinternational Brittany Ruhr email@example.com CIRCULATION MANAGER Jessica Beaudry firstname.lastname@example.org ADVERTISING COORDINATOR Marla DeFoe email@example.com
EXTERNAL EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS Timothy Cesarek, Enerkem Inc. Shane Chrapko, Himark Biogas Stacy Cook, Koda Energy Benjamin Anderson, University of Iowa Gene Zebley, Hurst Boiler Andrew Held, Virent Inc. Kyle Goerhing, Eisenmann Corp.
ZĞĚƵĐĞƚŚĞdŝŵĞĂŶĚ ĂƉŝƚĂůZĞƋƵŝƌĞĚƚŽ Renewable Energy World Conference & Expo North America November 12-14, 2013
Orange County Convention Center Orlando, Florida By 2020, at least 15 percent of the world will be powered by renewable energy and this will require investments in the trillions of dollars. This is the only show where utilities, project developers, investors and other stakeholders can access all their clean energy options in one place. Plus, they can visit with traditional power generation companies at the same time through these co-located events: Power-Gen International, Power-Gen Financial Forum and Nuclear Power International. Look for Biomass Magazine at booth #1129. 888-299-8016 | www.renewableenergyworld-events.com
International Biomass Conference & Expo March 24-26, 2014
Orange County Convention Center Orlando, Florida Organized by BBI International and produced by Biomass Magazine, this event brings current and future producers of bioenergy and biobased products together with waste generators, energy crop growers, municipal leaders, utility executives, technology providers, equipment manufacturers, project developers, investors and policy makers. It’s a one-stop shop and the world’s premier educational and networking junction for all biomass industries. 866-746-8385 | www.biomassconference.com
International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo June 9-12, 2014
Indiana Convention Center Indianapolis, Indiana Now in its 30th year, the FEW provides the global ethanol industry with cutting-edge content and unparalleled networking opportunities in a dynamic business-to-business environment. The FEW is the largest, longest running ethanol conference in the world—and the only event powered by Ethanol Producer Magazine. 866-746-8385 | www.fuelethanolworkshop.com
Achieve Cellulosic WƌŽĚƵĐƟŽŶ ,ĞůƉŝŶŐďŝŽĨƵĞůƉƌŽĚƵĐĞƌƐƌĞĚƵĐĞ ŽƉĞƌĂƟŶŐĐŽƐƚƐ͕ŝŶĐƌĞĂƐĞƉƌŽĮƚƐ ĂŶĚŝŵƉƌŽǀĞĞŶǀŝƌŽŶŵĞŶƚĂůƌĞƐƵůƚƐ ƐŝŶĐĞϭϵϵϱ͘ >ĞƚƵƐĂƐƐŝƐƚǇŽƵŝŶĚĞǀĞůŽƉŝŶŐǇŽƵƌ ƉƌŽũĞĐƚĂŶĚĐŚŽŽƐĞƚŚĞƌŝŐŚƚ ƚĞĐŚŶŽůŽŐŝĞƐĂŶĚƐĞƌǀŝĐĞƐ͘
We can provide: • Due diligence of cellulosic technologies ;ƐĞĐŽŶĚĂŶĚƚŚŝƌĚŐĞŶĞƌĂƟŽŶĨƵĞůƐ͕ ďŝŽĞŶĞƌŐǇ͕ƌĞŶĞǁĂďůĞĐŚĞŵŝĐĂůƐͿ ͻĞůůƵůŽƐŝĐͬďŝŽŵĂƐƐƚĞĐŚŶŽůŽŐǇĞǀĂůƵĂƟŽŶ ĂŶĚƐĞůĞĐƟŽŶ ͻWƌŽũĞĐƚĚĞǀĞůŽƉŵĞŶƚ ͻĞůůƵůŽƐŝĐďŝŽŵĂƐƐĨĞĞĚƐƚŽĐŬĂƐƐĞƐƐŵĞŶƚƐ ͻWƌŽĚƵĐƚĂŶĚĐŽͲƉƌŽĚƵĐƚƐŵĂƌŬĞƚĂŶĂůǇƐŝƐ
National Advanced Biofuels Conference & Expo
October 13-15, 2014
Hyatt Minneapolis Minneapolis, Minnesota Produced by BBI International, this national event will feature the world of advanced biofuels and biobased chemicals—technology scale-up, project finance, policy, national markets and more—with a core focus on the industrial, petroleum and agribusiness alliances defining the national advanced biofuels industry. With a vertically integrated program and audience, the National Advanced Biofuels Conference & Expo is tailored for industry professionals engaged in producing, developing and deploying advanced biofuels, biobased platform chemicals, polymers and other renewable molecules that have the potential to meet or exceed the performance of petroleum-derived products. 866-746-8385 | www.advancedbiofuelsconference.com
Contact Us Today and Get a FREE Quote. >ĞĂƌŶŵŽƌĞΛǁǁǁ͘ďďŝŝŶƚĞƌŶĂƟŽŶĂů͘ĐŽŵ ϴϲϲͲϳϰϲͲϴϯϴϱͮƐĞƌǀŝĐĞΛďďŝŝŶƚĞƌŶĂƟŽŶĂů͘ĐŽŵ
NOVEMBER 2013 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 7
Business Briefs PEOPLE, PRODUCTS & PARTNERSHIPS
Proterro adds executive, expands advisory board Proterro Inc. has named Timothy Cooper as vice president of engineering. Cooper has more than two decades of experience in bioprocessing. Prior to joining Proterro, he was employed by Eastman Chemical Co., where he was responsible for the companyâ€™s biotechnology effort and managed genetic engineering and fermentation development programs. He has also worked for Dow AgroSciences LLC, where he was responsible for development and scale-up of new fermentation processes and managed fermentation development efforts in three laboratories. In addition, Proterro has added James Barber,
principal of Barber Advisors LLC, to its advisory board. Barber previously served as president and CEO of Metabolix Inc. and served as global business director for organometallics and catalysts business at Albemarle Corp. He is an advisor to Solazyme Inc., Itaconix Corp., and P2 Science Inc., and sits on the boards of Agrivida Inc., Allylix Inc., Graham Corp., and Segetis Inc. Law firm merger to form Stinson Leonard Street Stinson Morrison Hecker and Leonard, Street and Deinard have announced they will merge, becoming one of the largest law firms in the U.S. The combined firm will operate as Stinson Leonard Street LLP, beginning Jan. 1. Mark Hinderks and Lowell Strortz will serve as co-managing partners and Allison Murdock will be the deputy managing
partner. The new firm will have more than 525 attorneys in offices in 14 cities, with substantial coverage in the Midwest, a presence in the Mountain West and Southwest and an office in Washington, D.C. The firm will offer regional and national practices in several areas, including corporate finance, banking and financial services, energy, environment, mining and natural resources, real estate and construction, and litigation. Enova adds COO Ken Ciarletta has been named chief operating officer of The Enova Group. He has more than 30 years of experience in the forest products and bioenergy business, with operations and sales experience in
pulp and paper, solid and engineered wood products, timber management and procurement, and supply chain responsibilities. Ciarletta is a long-term leader with Georgia Pacific, Weyerhaeuser, and REW Georgia Biomass. He was director of commercial and supply chain operations North America for Georgia Biomass. He previously served as plant manager for RWE’s Waycross pellet plant.
worked as a summer law clerk in 2012 with Earthjustice and in the fall of 2012 as a legal intern for the U.S. Department of Justice’s environmental enforcement section. From 2011 to 2013, he was a research associate with the U.S.-China Partnership for Environmental Law and, in 2013, worked as a student clinician with the Environmental and Natural Resource Law Clinic at Vermont Law School.
Michael Best & Friedrich adds attorney Michael Best & Friedrich LLP announced Cameron Field has joined the firm’s Environmental Practice Group in its Madison, Wis., office. Prior to joining Michael Best & Friedrich, Field
University researcher wins DARPA award Fuzhong Zhang, an assistant professor of energy, environment and chemical engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, has received a Young Faculty Award from the Defense
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Advanced Research Project Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense. The award recognizes an elite group of scientists early in their careers at research universities. Zhang’s award funds up to three years of research on his plan to engineer bacteria to produce nonnatural fatty acids, which can be easily converted to advanced biofuels and chemicals. He will engineer the fatty acid pathway to make a molecule with a chemical structure similar to isooctane, which is the major component in gasoline.
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PowerNews Army awards 13 biomass contracts A group of qualified bioContract recipients mass technology contractors Acciona Energy North America Corp., Chicago, Ill. were awarded 13 Multiple ECC Renewables LLC, Burlingame, Calif. Award Task Order Contracts EDF Renewable Energy, San Diego, Calif. by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Engineering and Emerald Infrastructure, San Antonio, Texas Support Center in Huntsville, Energy Answers International Inc., Albany, N.Y. Ala. The qualified MATOC EIF United States Power Fund IV L.P., Needham, Mass. companies will be eligible Energy Management Inc., Boston, Mass. to bid on future biomass renewable energy task orders, Energy Systems Group LLC, Newburgh, Ind. which include municipal solid Honeywell International Inc., Golden Valley, Minn. waste and waste-to-energy. MidAmerican/Clark JV, Bethesda, Md. According to the USACE, Pacolet Milliken Enterprises Inc., Spartanburg, S.C. the MATOC involves thirdparty financed renewable enSiemens Government Technologies Inc., Arlington, Va. ergy acquisitions and involves Stronghold Engineering Inc., Riverside, Calif. no Army or U.S. Department of Defense capital or military The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, construction appropriation. Engineering and Support Center develThe Army or DOD purchases the power oped the MATOC in collaboration with from contractors who own, operate or the Energy Initiatives Task Force, which maintain the energy generating assets. The was established by Secretary of the Army total estimated $7 billion contract value John McHugh in 2011. A total of 58 refers to the total dollar value of energy awards have been issued in four techavailable for purchase under all power nology areas: biomass, solar, wind and purchase agreement task orders for their geothermal. entire term, which can run up to 30 years.
USDA announces wood-to-energy deal The USDA has announced a new partnership with the Alliance for Green Heat, the Biomass Power Association, the Biomass Thermal Energy Council and the Pellet Fuels Institute that aims to expand the use of wood energy, helping to improve the health and safety of U.S. forests. The partnership agreement focuses on promoting wood energy nationwide as a means to address fire risks, bolster economic development in rural areas, improve air quality and meet renewable energy goals. Through the partnership and statewide efforts, the initiative will also help more communities learn about federal programs available to support wood-to-energy efforts. “This is the culmination of conversations over the past four years,” said Doug O’Brien, USDA acting undersecretary for rural development. “We formalized some of the things we talked about on what we can do together to kick it up to the next level.” Among the focus areas will be coordinating and prioritizing private and public research, he said, noting the outreach effort is important to USDA Rural Development.
12 Greenway Plaza Suite 1100 Houston TX 77046 Toll Free: 1 855 8HIMARK (1 855 844 6275) email: info@HimarkBioGas.com
10 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | NOVEMBER 2013
National Bioenergy Day: Spotlight on Biomass BY BOB CLEAVES
Oct. 17 marked the first-ever National Bioenergy Day. On and around that day, 24 events were held in 13 states—and one in Canada—to raise awareness about biomass and the larger bioenergy industry. We were honored that Biomass Magazine sponsored the initiative alongside Biomass Power Association, in addition to Biomass Thermal Energy Council, American Council on Renewable Energy, Pellet Fuels Institute, Forest Landowners Association and U.S. Industrial Pellet Association. In planning National Bioenergy Day, we wanted the focus to be on the role bioenergy plays in communities. The goal was to bring audiences, ideally people who benefit from bioenergy, to biomass facilities to witness firsthand what goes on. National Bioenergy Day activities drew in audiences from academia, government, media, and local communities. Visitors were able to learn about biomass electricity production, small-scale thermal heating, pellet manufacturing, managed forestry and the carbon cycle. They listened to lectures at universities and saw an anaerobic digester at work. I attended ReEnergy Holdings’ event at its Livermore Falls facility in Maine, where elected officials joined local residents for a tour of the facility and a presentation on the benefits of biomass. I’d like to highlight a few more National Bioenergy Day events:
• New York Biomass Energy Alliance facilitated a day-long event in northern New York where guests could visit a school district that is using woodchips for heating to save $110,000 per year, a 22 MW biomass facility, a shrub willow farm, and a wood pellet manufacturer. • In Michigan, the state biomass trade association joined forces with timbermen and forest products associations to hold a two-day event for visitors to tour a biomass facility, a forest products manufacturer, and a timber harvest/chipping operation. • A whistle-stop tour in the Southeast took a biomass digester to several college campuses in Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia to demonstrate small-scale heat and energy production. Additional events were held in California, Minnesota, Maine, North Carolina, Mississippi, Connecticut and Oregon. National Bioenergy Day was an event that truly showcased our industry, and the environmental and economic benefits it provides across America. We look forward to an even larger and more comprehensive National Bioenergy Day 2014. Author: Bob Cleaves President and CEO, Biomass Power Association www.biomasspowerassociation.com email@example.com
NOVEMBER 2013 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 11
WIN-WIN-WIN: Flanked by dignitaries including Maj. Gen. Mark A. Milley (in uniform), former commander of Ft. Drum, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (far right),ReEnergy CEO Larry Richardson discusses the Black River Project’s local economic impact.
Mission Alignment ReEnergy has opened a new front with its Black River Project at the Army’s Ft. Drum, N.Y. BY TIM PORTZ
t. Drum is a U.S. Army post in upstate New York, positioned south of the Canadian border just beyond the eastern reaches of Lake Ontario. The 107,000-acre facility is home to the Army’s 10th Mountain Division and has been utilized as a training facility since its first acres were purchased over 100 years ago. Situated inside of the fort’s perimeter is a power plant that its new owner and operator, ReEnergy Holdings LLC, is hopeful will soon be among the Department of the Army’s growing list of renewable energy success stories. The facility, which ReEnergy has dubbed ReEnergy Black River, was designed and configured to burn coal but was idled by its former owners Energy Investors Funds Group in 2010. While the facility no longer delivered the returns EIF wanted, it fit perfectly with ReEnergy’s business model. In December 2011, the 12 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | NOVEMBER 2013
company purchased the plant from EIF and began an extensive retrofit project. Larry Richardson, CEO of ReEnergy, notes that EIF did well to preserve the value of the idled facility. “The prior owner had really done a good job of laying up the facility,” he says. “Certainly the key elements of the facility, the three boilers and the one turbine generator, had been laid up in a manner where the quality of those items was largely preserved.” Despite the facility’s preserved condition, ReEnergy’s additional investments into the Black River station topped $30 million with significant investments made to the facility’s fuel receiving and distribution infrastructure. “Where coal had previously been delivered by rail, we had to build the infrastructure to accept the biomass by truck, installing truck tippers as well as
a new fuel conveying and storage and processing system,” says Richardson. The plant’s initial design to deliver not only power to the grid but also hot water to an onbase district heating system was scuttled early in the life of the project. Apart from where it sat, the facility had no relationship with the base, with all of its produced energy being sold over the fence and onto the waiting power market. Richardson and his team at ReEnergy hope to change all that. At press time, ReEnergy is waiting to hear from the Department of the Army and the Defense Logistics Agency on their response to the Army’s request for proposal for enough renewably produced power to support the base, about 28 MW. “Without question, the location of the power plant inside the fence at Ft. Drum presented a great opportunity to provide secure, renewable energy to Ft. Drum on an ongoing basis, particularly-
SECURE, RENEWABLE AND BASELOAD: ReEnergy’s Black River Project is the largest asset in its power portfolio and the first on a military base.
FUEL CHANGE, INFRASTRUCTURE CHANGE: Originally designed to receive its coal via rail, ReEnergy made significant investments in wood-receiving infrastructure at the Black River Project, including these two truck dumpers.
since the plant had never delivered electricity to Drum in the past. It was a significant consideration in our investment decision and the alignment with the Department of Defense and the Department of the Army’s initiatives related to secure energy and renewable energy. We felt the alignment was great and timing was right to make this happen,” says Richardson.
Regardless of the Department of the Army’s final decision, the Black River project fits well into the growing power and fuel processing portfolio amassed and operated by ReEnergy. Operating predominantly in the Northeast, ReEnergy owns or operates 13 different facilities in six states with a total output of 325 MW, directly employing over 300 people.
Making environmental performance a core element of its operating philosophy, ReEnergy recently achieved certification from the Sustainable Forest Initiative, which verifies that its biomass procurement practices adheres to stringent, responsible forestry practices. Additionally, among the investments that ReEnergy made at the Black River Project was a new cooling tower. Before ReEnergy’s retrofit, water was simply taken from the Black River, a mile south of the facility, and process water was discharged back into the same river, resulting in a significant thermal plume. Richardson points out the significant advantage the cooling towers bring to the facility noting that it “allowed [ReEnergy] to reduce both the withdrawal of water from the Black River and the thermal discharge back into the Black River by about 90 percent.” Rounding out the facility’s forward-thinking operating strategies is a unique feedstock program being developed with assistance from the Biomass Crop Assistance Program. Hoping to leverage the marginal land in the vicinity of the Black River station, farmers are being recruited to establish shrub willow. Nearly 1,100 acres of marginal land in a three-county area will be planted with shrub willow and will eventually contribute to the facility’s fuel needs. The Black River project in many ways represents a series of firsts for ReEnergy. The facility is ReEnergy’s largest asset when measured by output, its first coal-to-biomass conversion, and the first company-owned asset that sits on a military base. Richardson is hopeful it won’t be ReEnergy’s last. “We definitely see an opportunity to replicate this business model at other military bases around the country,” he adds. “There is no question that the success here should be a differentiator for us as we pursue other opportunities around the country. That is why we are hopeful we will be awarded a contract here and really be a part of one the early success stories in the Army’s renewable initiatives.” Author: Tim Portz Executive Editor, Biomass Magazine firstname.lastname@example.org 701-738-4969
NOVEMBER 2013 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 13
PelletNews Electricity from pellets shows quick carbon savings Bioenergy deployment potential estimates for 2050 Lowest Estimate (in exajoules) IEA Bioenergy Technology Roadmap target bioenergy
Highest Estimate (in exajoules) ~150
IEA deployment potential for bioenergy
IPCC technical potential bioenergy supply in 2050, of which
* Dedicated woody bioenergy crops on surplus agricultural land
* Technical potential from wood obtained from natural forests (surplus forest growth)
* Agricultural and forestry wastes and residues
SOURCE: FOREST SUSTAINABILITY AND CARBON BALANCE OF EU IMPORTATION OF NORTH AMERICAN FOREST BIOMASS FOR BIOENERGY PRODUCTION
A new report has determined that wood pellets imported to Europe from the Southeast U.S. and British Columbia, Canada, for electricity production immediately or very rapidly contribute to climate change mitigation. The report, titled Forest Sustainability and Carbon Balance of EU Importation of North American Forest Biomass for Bioenergy Production, was prepared by the European Biomass Association, BC Bioenergy Network, U.S. Industrial Wood Pellet
Association and Wood Pellet Association of Canada. The document informs stakeholders about current biomass sourcing practices, highlights the role of Sustainable Forest Management in forest-based outlines commercial realities of SFM decision making in the context of healthy forests used for multiple purposes. It also examines the carbon dynamics of forests from which biomass fuels are obtained.
m rgy Syste Heat Ene
Enova to purchase Georgia plant Enova Energy Group has announced it will acquire Southeast Georgia Biofuels, a wood pellet plant in Nahunta, Ga. The plant, previously known as Biomass Innovations LLC, opened as a briquette manufacturing facility in 2009. The plant ceased operations in 2011 and was later purchased by Southeast Georgia Biofuels for conversion to wood pellet production. The conversion was completed in 2012. Following its purchase of the facility, Enova plans to install additional equipment to bring the plant closer to hitting its 150,000-ton-per-year capacity. Its current run rate is 75,000 to 100,000 tons per year. The plantâ€™s output is ENPlus certified. Pellets produced at the plant are currently marketed through Danish commodity brokerage firm Copenhagen Merchants out of the port of Brunswick. The arrangement will stay in place through the ownership transition.
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PELLET NEWS¦ Pellet producers awarded USDA payments
GCRE buys La. pellet plant
The USDA Pellet producers awarded more than recently announced $10,000 in payments include: a new round of Company Location Payment payments to biofuel Forest Energy Corp. Arizona $13,044 producers under the Appling County Pellets LLC Georgia $79,954 Advanced Biofuel Lignetics of Idaho Idaho $38,513 Payment Program. USDA Rural DeSomerset Hardwood Flooring Kentucky $12,979 velopment Acting Enviva LP Maryland $151,765 Under Secretary Doug Geneva Wood Fuels LLC Maine $13,374 O’Brien made the anMaine Wood Pellets Maine $24,127 nouncement Sept. 12 New England Wood Pellet LLC New Hampshire $65,984 on behalf of AgriculCurran Renewable Energy LLC New York $20,727 ture Secretary Tom Wood Fibers Inc. Ohio $11,149 Vilsack at the National West Oregon Wood Products Inc. Oregon $10,362 Advanced Biofuels Conference & Expo in Bear Mountain Forest Products Inc. Oregon $26,015 Omaha, Neb. Indeck Ladysmith Biofuel Center Wisconsin $14,284 The program SOURCE: USDA was established by traditional liquid biofuel producers, the 2008 Farm Bill. pellet produces and biogas producIt makes payments to eligible biofuel ers can also be eligible for payments. producers based on the quantity of Approximately three dozen pellet advanced biofuels produced from producers received payments under renewable biomass, other than corn this funding round. starch. The program is not limited to
Gulf Coast Renewable Energy closed on the acquisition of West Monroe, La.-based Bayou Wood Pellets LLC on Aug. 15. According to GCRE, it is making significant investments to expand the facility’s production capacity. Construction is already underway to increase the facility’s production capacity from 54,000 to 120,000 metric tons per year, said Westin Lovy of Bridge Lane Capital, a South Norwalk, Conn.-based asset management firm that provided funding for the acquisition and improvements. The pellet plant will take in feedstock generated from sawmill residue sourced from Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi. The resulting pellets will be sold to overseas utility customers under a long-term offtake agreement. In addition to the acquisition of the Bayou Wood Pellet plant, GCRE is also pursuing plans to develop three additional pellet plants in Mississippi, including a 320,000-metric-ton-per-year proposed plant in Copiah County, Miss. Regarding the company’s expansion plans, Lovy said GCRE and Bridge Lane Capital are actively seeking opportunities in not only pellet manufacturing, but also businesses upstream and downstream in the supply and delivery chain in order to serve the domestic and overseas markets.
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NOVEMBER 2013 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 15
COMBATING NATURE: An Oregon Army National Guard CH-47 Chinook helicopter flies past the Government Flats Complex fires after dumping a “Bambi” bucket of water on the fire near The Dalles, Ore., in August. ORARNG believes using biomass pellets and chips for energy can contribute toward restoring forest health in Oregon. PHOTO: U.S. ARMY NATIONAL GUARD
16 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | NOVEMBER 2013
Fighting the Good Fight
Biomass thermal coincides with the Oregon Army National Guard's energy security goals and has larger-picture benefits such as aiding wildfire reduction and job creation. BY SUSANNE RETKA SCHILL
ellet boiler heating systems will help the Oregon Army National Guard meet its ambitious goal of net zero energy at all of its 53 installations statewide by 2020. ORARNG, which volunteered to participate in broader initiative of 19 pilot projects at U.S. Army sites across the country targeting net zero energy, water and waste, has four thermal pellet heat projects planned at National Guard sites. These projects offer a couple of benefits for ORARNG, says Lt. Col. Ken Safe, construction and facility management officer and Net Zero Energy project lead. “It allows us to reduce our energy cost, because the sites where we’re doing the conversion are on propane,” he says. “The more substantial benefit for the net zero program is it allows us to get off fossil fuels and go to renewable energy.” In addition to reducing energy costs and aiding sustainability goals, the net zero program has energy security and independence goals as well. A net zero energy installation is one that produces as much energy onsite as it uses over the course of a year. ORARNG expects that 65 percent of the reduction from its 2003 energy baseline will come from improved energy efficiency. And, while the unit is looking at multiple renewable technologies including solar, geothermal, wind and wave energy, wood-to-energy rates high for thermal heat since it can be produced on the site where it is consumed, Safe points out, compared to renewable electricity that is transported or given renewable energy credits as offsets.
NOVEMBER 2013 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 17
PHOTO: OREGON ARMY NATIONAL GUARD
WARMING TRAINEES: The Biak Training Center, Powell Butte, Ore., will use a pellet boiler system to heat 20,000 square feet in a simulation center, classroom and administrative building.
TARGETING CLUSTERS: Oregon Army National Guard sites are centrally located for wood-to-energy utilization. In particular, the state would like to reduce the fire hazard in eastern forests.
Partnering For Pellets ORARNG has partnered with others in its planning efforts, receiving a $250,000 woody biomass utilization grant from the U.S. Forest Service in 2012 for design work, plus a $489,000 renewable thermal incentive from the Oregon Department of Energy.
18 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | NOVEMBER 2013
And, the project has received funding from the U.S. Endowment for Forestry & Communities Inc., with one product being a case study done by Dovetail Partners Inc. on the lessons learned from aggregating multiple projects into one planning process. Energy efficiency consulting firm Tetra Tech Inc. is helping with coordination and review of
the project design and did the initial evaluation, which identified buildings and locations for possible conversion. Seven National Guard buildings at five locations were identified where biomassfired boilers would be a cost-effective replacement for propane heating systems. Buildings at three of the National Guard facilities already have hot water boilers installed, making the conversion to pelletfired biomass boilers relatively easy. The Burns Armory in Burns, Ore., is a typical older armory, a 12,000-square-foot facility built around 1954. The Biak Training Center in Powell Butte, Ore., will convert to a pellet system to heat 20,000 square feet in a simulation center, classroom and administrative building. Conversion at the Youth Challenge Program facility in Bend, Ore., housing an academy for at-risk youth, has a favorable payback compared to other facilities due to its high heating and domestic hot water use for 10 months a year. Biomass conversion will be a bit more complicated for the maintenance shop at the Central Oregon Unit Training and Equipment Site in Redmond. The 10,000-square-foot building with its high bays and a few offices currently has a direct-fired radiant heat system. McKinstry Essention Inc. was awarded the design-build contract in late September for the installation of the biomass pellet boilers, storage and handling equipment, as well as associated safety and efficiency systems. SolaGen Inc. is supplying the biomass boilers. The Burns Armory is the smallest system with one 150 kilowatt (kW) unit. Biak is slated for one 220 kW boiler and COUTES for one 540 kW unit. The Bend Youth Challenge Program center would use two units, sized at 220 kW and 400 kW. The Biak and COUTES projects have been funded and construction is expected to be completed in April, while the Burns funding request is pending approval. The four heating conversions will annually replace 58,551 gallons of propane with 183 tons of pellets to achieve $85,000 in savings each year. As project planning unfolded, plans for biomass utilization at the Umatilla Training expanded. Initially, the ORARNG was
PELLET¦ looking at utilizing three pellet heating systems for the dining hall, a barracks and a simulation center, but wanted to study the possibility of building a single system or even a combined-heat-and-power system. As investigation proceeded and more was learned about the Army facility’s future following the Base Realignment and Closure process, the ORARNG realized it could have as many 25 or 30 buildings for its use, with other buildings being transferred to an adjacent Native American tribe and county. Thus, a larger system is now being considered that would utilize wood chips for district heating and power generation. A second $250,000 WBUG grant was awarded for the design, plus a $50,000 Wood Energy Cluster grant from the Oregon DOE and USFS. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has recommended the project be ranked as one of the Army’s top-five priorities for funding through its Energy Conservation Investment Program. That project is expected to replace 258,910 gallons of propane used yearly with 2,004 tons of wood chips for an annual savings of $362,000.
reducing fire risks in overgrown forests, the state seeks to foster economic development and job creation in communities that have been impacted by the decline in forestry products, he adds, plus there is another long-term strategy. “Creating this opportunity to keep people working in the woods, to keep producing pellets and woodchips and other products locally helps us maintain that workforce so as these new markets and opportunities for more advanced fuels develop, we have the skills and infrastructure and people in place to take advantage of those opportunities and continue to grow that industry.” “It’s really exciting to feel like you’re part of a broader goal,” Safe adds. “We have a forest health situation in Oregon where we’re at risk of wild fires, and to some degree pine beetles and other insects with the congestion in forests. From forest health to jobs for local economy, both in the forest and the manufacturing of pellets all the way
to transportation, there’s a number of jobs added at the local level.” With the National Guard ultimately being a community-based organization, pellets are a good fit. As the gas heating systems in other guard facilities around the state reach replacement age, Safe says, he will recommend they take a closer look at biomass thermal heat. “We’ll be getting the net zero thermal renewable credit, as well as helping the local economy.” While replacing currently low-priced natural gas isn’t a cost savings right now, Safe points out that [the market] is hard to predict five or 10 years ahead. “I’ve been raising the question when I give talks about our Net Zero Energy program,” he adds. “Even as a backup system, the more, the better in my opinion.” Author: Susanne Retka Schill Senior Editor, Biomass Magazine firstname.lastname@example.org 701-738-4922
Bountiful Benefits The multiple partners in the ORARNG project reflect the multilayered benefits being anticipated from the biomass energy projects. “Oregon was a pilot state for a wood-to-energy effort with the forest service,” says Ron Saranich, regional biomass coordinator with the USDA Forest Service. “Facilities that are eligible are all sited in areas where we wanted to do hazardous fuel reduction—basically east and central Oregon where the high threat of fire danger and overgrown forest is located.” Oregon is adopting a wood energy cluster approach, explains Matt Krumenauer, senior policy analyst for Oregon’s Department of Energy. “Right now the smaller projects that are able to offset heat load at facilities are very competitive and able to be developed with pretty good energy savings and other benefits. Clustering multiple projects in a given geographic area begins to develop the sort of demand that helps meet land management objectives.” Besides
NOVEMBER 2013 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 19
ThermalNews The State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry celebrated the grand opening of a new combined heat-and-power system in September at its Gateway Center. The system fires biomass pellets and natural gas, providing the campus with 65 percent of its heating needs and 20 percent of its electrical power. PELLET POWER: New York Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, ESF According to ESF Presi- President Neil Murphy and State Sen. John Defrancisco cut the ribbon at the official opening of the ESF’s Gateway dent Cornelius Murphy Jr., Center. when operating at full power, Plan, which states ESF’s commitment to the system reduces campusachieving carbon neutrality by 2015. The wide fossil fuel usage by 9,000 barrels of oil per year, and lowers campus utility CHP system will serve as a teaching tool, benefitting students enrolled in ESF’s costs by 20 percent. new sustainable energy management The Gateway Center is the centermajor and renewable energy minor. piece of the college’s Climate Action
PHOTO: SUNY COLLEGE OF ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND FORESTRY
SUNY fires up biomass CHP system
EPA expands RFS definition of heating fuel
The U.S. EPA has published a final rule to expand the definition of heating oil under the renewable fuels standard (RFS). The amendment expands the scope of renewable fuels that can be used to comply with the RFS by adding an additional category of compliant fuel produced from qualifying biomass that is used to generate heat to warm homes or other buildings. However, renewable identification numbers cannot be generated for the new category of fuel oils if that fuel is used to generate process heat, power, or other functions. The original definition of heating oil included any No. 1 or No. 2 nonpetroleum diesel blend that is sold for use in furnaces, boilers and similar applications and contains at least 80 percent mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils or animal fats. The expanded definition includes biobased fuel oils that do not meet the original definition but are actually used to heat homes and other facilities to control ambient climate for human comfort.
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Ameresco opens Calif. landfill gas project
INSTALLING INNOVATION: Sid England (left) and Ruihong Zhang of UC Davis; Michele Wong of CleanWorld, John Meyer of UC Davis and Mike Feuz of Otto Construction break ground on the UC David READ facility.
UC Davis READ facility breaks ground
CleanWorld has broken ground on an anaerobic digestion facility at the University of California, Davis. The UC Davis Renewable Energy Anaerobic Digester facility is under construction at the former UC Davis landfill in Davis, Calif. The facility represents the successful commercialization of a technology developed by Ruihong Zhang, a UC Davis researcher and professor. The biodigester will divert 20,000 tons per year of food waste from dining
22 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | NOVEMBER 2013
halls, dormitories and local restaurants, agricultural waste and green waste out of Davis-area landfills. Biogas produced by the biodigester will be combined with gas captured from the landfill, generating 1 megawatt of power. In addition to electricity, the project will produce more than 4 million gallons of fertilizer and soil amendments. The UC Davis READ facility is expected to be generating power by December.
Ameresco Inc. recently celebrated the completion of its 1.4 megawatt landfill gasto-energy project at the Johnson Canyon Landfill in Gonzales, Calif. Ameresco designed, permitted, constructed and now operates the facility at the landfill, which is owned by the Salinas Valley Solid Waste Authority. Ameresco Johnson Canyon LLC has an agreement with SVSWQA to purchase landfill gas for use in its plant. Electricity generated at the facility is being sold to the city of Palo Alto under a 20year power purchase agreement. “We are thrilled to have partnered with the Salinas Valley Solid Waste Authority and the city of Palo Alto to provide residents with clean, renewable energy for years to come,” said Michael Bakas, senior vice president of renewable energy at Ameresco. “We have had a successful track record working with many counties and municipalities in California and across the nation to provide alternative energy resources, and we are excited that our project will help SVSWA and Palo Alto and its constituents to achieve their sustainability goals in a cost-effective manner.”
SARY R E V A N NI 1984 –
FIRING UP: Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan, Col. Brian Duffy, Base Commander of JBER, and Doyon Utilities President Dan Gavora at the commissioning of the Anchorage Landfill Gas-to-Energy Project. PHOTO: DOYON UTILITIES
24 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | NOVEMBER 2013
Anchoring Air Force Energy Goals Alaska’s first landfill gas-to-energy project provides the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson with seven times its renewable energy mandate per the Energy Policy Act of 2005. BY ANNA SIMET
NOVEMBER 2013 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 25
PHOTO: U.S. AIR FORCE
LANDFILL GAS TO THE RESCUE: The JBER landfill gas plant generates 100 percent of Ft. Richardson's back-up emergency power.
PHOTO: DOYON UTILITIES
he farthest north facility of its kind at 61 degrees latitude, the Anchorage Landfill Gas-to-Energy Project at the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson is the largest green energy project amongst the U.S. Air Force’s Pacific operations. Its existence is the result of collaboration by the Municipality of Anchorage, Doyon Utilities and JBER, and after just one year of successful operations is being expanded. The pieces to the project puzzle had been falling together for many years before it was a done deal. The first piece was passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which required federal facilities to increase renewable energy consumption to at least 7.5 percent by 2013. In 2006, because it was exceeding the threshold limit for nonmethanogenic organic compound emissions, the Anchorage Regional Landfill brought on line a gas collection system, which it tested and operated for three years. During that time, Doyon Utilities purchased the utility infrastructure—electrical, water, sewer and natural gas distribution system— on three Army bases in Alaska: Ft. Wainright, Ft. Greely, and Ft. Richardson, which have merged into a joint base facility that is now run by the Air Force, says Robert Zacharski, JBER site manager. In 2010, the Municipality of Anchorage put out a request for proposals to use gas generated at ARL, and Doyon Utilities was selected. A contract was signed in 2011, and the power plant became fully operational just over one year later.
System Details The landfill gas collection system draws from 87 acres of landfill and consists of 36 vertically drilled wells, 21 horizontal collector wells that range between 60 and 120 feet deep, and eight interconnections with the leachate system. “We purchase methane from the municipality of Anchorage,” Zacharski explains. “A vacuum is applied to the landfill—if we get too much we’ll flare off the excess—and we bring our portion through a mile-long [low-pressure] pipeline to the base’s generating building.”
26 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | NOVEMBER 2013
EARLY EXPANSION: The JBER Landfill Gas Waste-to-Energy Plant consists of four generator units designed to run on methane gas sourced from the Anchorage Landfill. A fifth is currently being installed, several years earlier than expected.
There, five 1.4 MW GE Jebaucher gas engines produce power that is tied into the base’s distribution system, enough electricity to meet half of the power demand for the Ft. Richardson side of JBER, or 100 percent of its emergency backup power.
The facility is currently undergoing an expansion—which was part of the initial plan—but it’s happening much earlier than expected, as there are few landfills of this size operating in similar climates to use as baselines for methane generation. “Initially
With an operation and maintenance budget of $639,000 for the power plant, gas processing facility and transmission pipeline, Doyon Utilities uses subcontractors as well as in-house personnel. The system is run by one operator, 40 hours a week, who can monitor it remotely to check for abnormalities, according to Zacharski. Surprisingly, operational challenges caused by the harsh climate have been minimal. “The gas supply remains very consistent between winter and summer,” Zacharski says. “You might think digestion would slow down in winter, but we haven’t found that’s the case.” Initially there were some issues with the outer piping and freeze ups, but it was remedied this summer. “We had some teething problems, but it hasn’t been really different operating a similar plant [elsewhere],” Zacharski says. One specific climate-driven innovation that the project partners believe is the only application of its kind and will reduce future maintenance and repair costs is installation of preinsulated HDPE (highdensity polyethylene pipe) with electric heat trace, to ensure the pipeline won’t become blocked with frozen condensate. In this case, the heat trace is a thin wire along the bottom of the pipe that can generate heat when needed. While the climate overall hasn’t been too different from developing a project in more temperate regions, doing so on a site owned by the military may pose more challenges than the typical model, according to Zacharski. “The Air Force has different
Operation, Maintenance and the Military
ideas of what an acceptable payback is, so you have to structure your finances to meet those expectations, and that may be difficult to do,” he says. “They want a pretty rapid turnaround.” Additionally, approval processes are lengthy. “Getting a notice to proceed to build a plant and making a schedule becomes challenging, when you don’t know when you’re going to get the go-ahead to start construction, or even if the project will go. On the private side of the fence, you have that control, but you lose a little of that on a military installation.” For the $35 million project, Zacharski said cash flow will turn positive in about four years. It is expected to result in a savings to JBER of $32 million in power costs
we put in four 1.4 MW generators, totaling 5.6 MW, and we’re just commissioning the fifth unit right now, which will put the plant at 7 MW. Our project financial model underestimated the gas generation in the landfill, so once we started operating it became apparent we could push up the fifth unit installation from year five to after year one.” A sixth unit is scheduled in five years, but Zacharski says gas use will be maxed out at that point.
over the initial contract period and $73.6 million over the potential life of the project, and the municipality will annually take in $1 million from gas sales, nearly $52 million over the life of the project. “In general, this has been a very successful project,” Zacharski adds. “It utilizes waste gas that was being flared, producing no value to anyone, to increase Doyon’s, the municipality’s and the Air Force’s bottom line.” Author: Anna Simet Managing Editor, Biomass Magazine firstname.lastname@example.org 701-738-4961
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AdvancedBiofuelNews Highest level of blends available under each scenario 2010 Low biofuels Medium biofuels (with butanol): 9% GHG reduction
High biofuels: 27% GHG reduction (diesel)
15% butanol 7% biodiesel
5% drop-in biofuel
19% drop-in biofuel
4% drop-in biofuel
9% drop-in biofuel
19% drop-in biofuel
SOURCE: ELEMENT ENERGY, "THE ROLE OF BIOFUELS BEYOND 2020"
Study highlights GHG reduction potential of butanol, drop-in biofuels U.K.-based Element Energy recently published a report finding that advanced biofuels offer a more cost-effective means to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the next 17 years, when compared to electric vehicles. The report, titled “The Role of Biofuels Beyond 2020,” was commissioned by BP. The U.K. has set targets calling for an 80 percent reduction in GHGs by 2050 when compared to a 2050 baseline. While electric plug-in and hydrogen vehicles are expected to play a significant role in realizing GHG reductions in the long term, the analysis
shows that the vehicle fleet will continue to be dominated by vehicles with internal combustion engines through at least 2030, which means biofuels will play an important role in meeting emissions goals. The analysis considers three scenarios. A “low biofuels” case in which conventional biofuels are blended at E10 and B7, a “medium biofuels” case assuming E20 and an increasing share of cellulosic ethanol, and a “high biofuels” case that considers the impact of blending butanol and drop-in biofuels at high rates.
NextFuels revives hydrothermal technology, plans test facilities
California-based NextFuels has unveiled its strategy to produce advanced biofuels from wet, unprocessed agricultural waste via a hydrothermal process originally developed by Shell in the 1980s. The company is currently focused on converting agricultural waste from palm oil production in Southeast Asia into
28 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | NOVEMBER 2013
drop-in coal and petroleum replacements. The technology processes biomass within liquid water at temperatures of 300 to 330 degrees Celsius and pressure of 200 to 230 atmospheres, producing a putty-like GreenCrude. The GreenCrude can either be burned as a coal replacement, or further
refined into transportation fuels. NextFuels is in the process of designing and assembling a pilot plant in the Netherlands. The facility is expected to be operational by the second quarter of next year. The company also plans to construct a demonstration plant in Asia.
ADVANCED BIOFUELS AND CHEMICALS¦
An Urgent Call to Action BY MICHAEL MCADAMS
I don’t cry wolf, but we are in the fight for the future of our industry. In mid-October, we saw a leaked draft of the proposed renewable fuel standard (RFS) 2014 Renewable Volume Obligation rule, which apparently would have favored the oil industry across the board. This draft proposal, which was cleverly leaked and circulated to the press, sought to color the attitude and direction of both the regulatory process as well as legislative discussions. All of this done at a time when the government is shut down and the press is solely focused on opening the government and avoiding a catastrophic default of paying our debts. Not to mention, most of the folks who would respond are at home on furlough. Our industry is currently staring down an effort to repeal the RFS by the oil industry and livestock agriculture, who are joined by several environmental organizations and the small engine manufacturers. We have endured multiple hearings on both sides of the Capitol and endless press briefing and articles assailing the RFS and the renewable fuels industry. Nevertheless, we are still standing and delivering more gallons of environmentally sustainable cheaper fuels every day. For over 40 years, the oil industry did not build a single refinery. They didn’t need to, because the big boys just kept making the refineries they owned larger and squeezing out the smaller refineries that competed against them. Today, to avoid their obligations under the RFS, refiners are exporting record volumes of gasoline. These exports specifically reduce their obligations under the act and save them cents on the gallon. Removing those gallons also reduces the size of the pool and reduces competition for price, thereby leaving consumers exposed to higher prices from the lack of volume and competition. And, refiners make more margins on their fewer gallons; this is 101 economics. And now we return to dysfunctional Washington, D.C. We have a government that has been shut down for two weeks with no agreement to open back up or increase the nation’s debt limit. There is no clear path for extending the biofuels tax credits—which all expire at the end of the year—and no Farm Bill
because we allowed the funding extension to expire at the end of September. And now, on top of these legislative issues, the renewable fuel sector also has to worry about just exactly what the U.S. EPA will do on the 2014 obligations. Under the RFS, the agency is required to release the next year’s volume obligations by Nov. 30 of each year. Because EPA did not finalize the 2013 numbers until August this year, most observers expect them to miss the deadline again, especially considering 96 percent of EPA employees are on furlough with no pay. On the good news front, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy issued the following statement in response to extensive press coverage on the leaked 2014 RVO document: "The Obama Administration remains firmly committed to furthering the development of all biofuels—including corn-based ethanol, cellulosic biofuel, and advanced biofuel—as part of the president's commitment to developing a clean energy economy. Biofuels are a critical part of the president's all-of-the-above energy strategy that is reducing America's dependence on oil and creating jobs across the country. At this point, EPA is only developing a draft proposal. The agency has made no final decision on the proposed renewable fuel standards for 2014. “And no decisions will be made on the final standards without a full opportunity for all stakeholders to comment on the EPA's proposed 2014 renewable fuel standards and be heard on how to best foster a growing biofuels industry that takes into account infrastructure- and market-related factors." That means advocates for advanced biofuels still have an opportunity to stand up and fight to protect the RFS. The time is now and the need is for everyone to get involved. Contact your members of Congress, send comments to EPA, write a letter to your local newspaper or call me to talk about what you can do to help. The need is urgent and the wolf is lurking close by. Author: Michael McAdams President, Advanced Biofuel Association 202.469.5140 www.advancedbiofuelassociation.com
NOVEMBER 2013 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 29
PHOTO: U.S. COAST GUARD
30 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | NOVEMBER 2013
Isobutanol to the
Rescue The U.S. Coast Guard is testing isobutanol gasoline blends in its marine engines. BY CHRIS HANSON
NOVEMBER 2013 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 31
ince its founding in 1790 as the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service, the U.S. Coast Guard has had a history of implementing new technology within its fleet. During the U.S. Civil War, for example, the USRC Naugatuck boasted twin-screw engines, ironclad armor and semisubmersible technology that allowed it to increase or decrease the ship’s draft in shallow waters. Continuing its pursuit of maritime innovation and reinforcing its motto of Semper Paratus (Always Ready), the USCG is conducting a year-long engine test using renewable, isobutanol-blended gasoline through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with Gevo Inc., Honda Motor Co. Ltd. and Mercury Marine. With a fleet of more than 2,000 cutter ships, boats and aircraft that conducted 19,790 search and rescues in 2012, cost-effective advanced biofuels that meet the USCG’s standards will help the organization break its reliance on foreign fuel sources and provide a stable fuel source in the event a conflict disrupts fuel supply lines.
Producing the Fuel
PHOTO: GEVO INC.
In 2011, the USCG began an alternative fuel study, motivated by the government’s desire to minimize its carbon footprint, says Michael Coleman, project manager for the U.S. Coast Guard Research and Development Center. From that initial study, the USCG
researched different alternative fuels for their affordability, availability, safety and potential carbon footprint reduction. The USCG selected four fuels: natural gas, ethanol blends, biobutanol and biomass liquid fuels. “Out of those four fuels, we did a desktop evaluation including many technical factors including maturity, performance, physical safety and logistics,” Coleman says. “Out of those, we decided to proceed with biobutanol as our test fuel.” For the engine tests, the USCG is sourcing the isobutanolblended fuel from Gevo’s plant in Luverne, Minn. The USCG selected a blend of 16.1 percent isobutanol and gasoline because of its potential benefits in an aquatic environment. “The Coast Guard, along with many other folks in the marine industry, is very interested in next-generation biofuels instead of ethanol-blended gasoline,” says Brett Lund, chief licensing officer for Gevo. He adds ethanol-blended gasoline is currently not compatible with most boat engines and its solubility with water make isobutanol a more attractive option. Gevo’s Luverne facility is a retrofitted ethanol plant that produces isobutanol using Gevo’s Integrated Fermentation Technology. Gevo is producing 8,700 gallons of blended isobutanol fuel at the facility for the Coast Guard tests. Producing the fuel presented some challenges that Gevo had
COAST GUARD COLLABORATION: Gevo Inc. produces and blends the needed 8,700 gallons of isobutanol-blended biofuel for the U.S. Coast Guard’s year-long test.
32 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | NOVEMBER 2013
PHOTOS: U.S. COAST GUARD
BOATING WITH ISOBUTANOL: The isobutanol blended fuels are being tested in a 25-foot response boat, left, and a 38-foot special purpose craft at its training center in Yorktown, Va.
to overcome, says Lund. Yeast naturally wants to produce ethanol, and small amounts of isobutanol. “We’ve spent quite a bit of time, five years or so, using metabolic engineering to develop a yeast that makes, almost exclusively, isobutanol,” he says. He notes isobutanol is toxic to the yeast and causes it to perish, therefore Gevo also had to develop a tolerant yeast strain. As the isobutanol is produced in the broth, Gevo extracts the isobutanol vapor under vacuum and condenses it into a liquid. “That really allows us to get the isobutanol out of the process without having to use conventional distillation to remove the water,” Lund explains.
Setting Sail After the initial alternative fuel study, the second phase of the isobutanol tests under the CRADA occurred over a three-month period in early 2013 using Honda outboard engines and craft, since Honda is one the major engine manufacturers for the USCG, Coleman says. In addition to material and benchmark testing, Honda also put the isobutanol blend through an endurance test prior to giving the USCG the approval of trying the fuel in its own boats, he explains. During Honda’s test, the engines operate at full throttle for eight hours a day over several months and then are taken apart and inspected. The next round of fuel tests are in progress at the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center in Yorktown, Va. “The training center is basically an area where Coast Guard members can learn how to operate the different boat platforms, be it anywhere from standard boat handling procedures to the mechanics of those craft,” says Lt. Kevin Sorrell. The center is a convenient location for testing due to its availability compared to other operational units, he adds.
At the Yorktown training center, the fuel is being tested on a 38-foot special-purpose craft using Mercury outboard engines as well as a 25-foot response boat (RBS) that uses Honda outboard engines. “Both crafts are operationally used in the Coast Guard,” says Sorrell. “RBSes are basically stationed all throughout the United States. The special purpose craft is more of a law enforcement craft, specifically used down in the southern U.S., like the Gulf of Mexico and Florida area.” “What we hope to accomplish with this project is to get the information that’ll give the Coast Guard decision makers the ability to make an informed decision on whether to proceed with butanol as an alternative fuel,” says Coleman. If the fuel tests turn out for the better, a positive testimonial from the USCG could be quite valuable for the advanced biofuel and boating industry. “This is really the option they are most excited about for their fleet and their industry. The fact that it’s all home-grown and the isobutanol is 100 percent produced in the U.S. is also beneficial,” says Lund. “They, as well as other branches of the military, like solutions like that because you avoid some of the risk of being cut-off from fuel supply.” “The nice part from our perspective is, if it’s good enough for the U.S. Coast Guard, it’s pretty much good enough for any marine application out there,” Lund adds. “Nobody runs their boats like these guys do.” Author: Chris Hanson Staff Writer, Biomass Magazine 701-738-4970 email@example.com
NOVEMBER 2013 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 33
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