Determined To Profit Evan Chrapko sold his first company for $811 million. Now heâ€™s ready to take large-scale biogas technology global. Page 22
A Tennessee Town Buys in to Downdraft Gasification Page 28
And: Trends in Metal Recovery That Generate Significant Revenue Page 34 www.biomassmagazine.com
INSIDE ¦ ADVERTISER INDEX¦ OCTOBER 2012 | VOLUME 6 | ISSUE 10 2012 National Advanced Biofuels Conference & Expo 2013 International Biomass Conference & Expo
46 4 & 12
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22 FEATURES 22 BIOGAS Betting Big on Biogas Building the largest AD facility in North America isn’t enough for Himark BioGas. The Canadian company has a global vision. By Luke Geiver
28 POWER The Upside of Downdraft Gasification This gravity-based technology combines feedstock flexibility with a positive economic punch. Just ask the mayor of Covington, Tenn. By Luke Geiver
34 ENERGY-FROM-WASTE Maximizing Metal Recovery Revenue streams linked to ferrous and nonferrous metal recovery technologies are on the rise, thanks to innovative hardware and advanced strategies. By Anna Simet
DEPARTMENTS 04 EDITOR’S NOTE On Not Wasting the Energy Potential in Waste By Tim Portz
06 INDUSTRY EVENTS 07 POWER PLATFORM Legislation until Lame Duck Session: A Look Ahead By Bob Cleaves
08 THERMAL DYNAMICS The State of Biomass Heat: A 2012 Reflection By Joseph Seymour and Charlie Niebling
10 WASTE-HEAT NOTIONS A New Frontier By Kelsey Southerland
14 BUSINESS BRIEFS 18 BIOMASS NEWS 44 MARKETPLACE
40 SUSTAINABILITY Verifying Forest Sustainability There are several programs a business may choose from to prove that their woody feedstock was sustainably harvested. By Charles A. Levesque and Eric W. Kingsley
Biomass Magazine: (USPS No. 5336) October 2012, Vol. 6, Issue 10. 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.
OCTOBER 2012 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 3
On Not Wasting the Energy Potential in Waste
TIM PORTZ VICE PRESIDENT OF CONTENT & EXECUTIVE EDITOR
Biomass-to-energy projects often fail to attract investors and debt partners because of their inability to demonstrate a reliable and consistent feedstock plan along with some assurance of longterm price stability. Coupled with the fact that large volumes of biomass feedstocks often found well away from major population centers, it becomes readily apparent why biomass-to-energy projects often struggle to move beyond the conceptual stage. Viewed in that context, municipal solid waste is a veritable dynamo as a feedstock. The U.S. EPA estimates that on average, every American generates nearly 4.5 pounds of waste each day. When it comes to waste, feedstock availability and population—and energy demand, by extension—are highly correlated. Waste also has a well-established, robust and efficient collection system that is paid for by collection tipping fees. Why then, does the U.S. lag so far behind other parts of the world in waste to energy? The International Solid Waste Association reports that Europe boasts nearly five times more waste-to-energy (WtE) facilities than the U.S. Perhaps the abundance of available land to dispose of waste plays a role. Waste professionals often talk of a mythical place known as “away,” a location that the public believes is the final destination for its refuse. When attempts are made to retrieve this valuable feedstock from “away” and produce energy from it, however, public outcry often begins. Opponents of WtE facilities quickly hang the “garbage burner” label on a project and developers find themselves forced into a public education role to keep their project moving forward. This month’s issue of Biomass Magazine is nothing if not a firm reminder that the WtE industry in this country continues to innovate and evolve in spite of the rampant misinformation that persists about its technologies and environmental footprint. Anna Simet’s feature “Maximizing Metal Recovery” highlights the value delivered to WtE facilities and the general public through the continued advances made in front- and back-end metal recovery at these facilities. Luke Geiver’s feature on downdraft gasification is not only a compelling technology feature, but also reinforces how WtE projects so often solve multiple problems simultaneously. Waste does not go “away,” nor should it. In all forms it carries energy, and because of its long list of advantages as a feedstock, developers will continue to eye it for conversion into power, thermal energy and, increasingly, liquid fuels. While the general public can wring their hands, our industry knows that a refusal to capture energy from this ubiquitous feedstock would be an incredible waste.
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Networking Opportunities: Speak. Exhibit. Sponsor. Attend. 4 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2012
EDITORIAL PRESIDENT & EDITOR IN CHIEF Tom Bryan email@example.com VICE PRESIDENT OF CONTENT & EXECUTIVE EDITOR Tim Portz firstname.lastname@example.org CONTRIBUTIONS EDITOR Anna Simet email@example.com FEATURES EDITOR Luke Geiver firstname.lastname@example.org NEWS EDITOR Erin Voegele email@example.com COPY EDITOR Jan Tellmann firstname.lastname@example.org
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OCTOBER 2012 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 5
¦INDUSTRY EVENTS National Advanced Biofuels Conference & Expo November 27-29, 2012 Hilton Americas - Houston Houston, Texas Next Generation Fuels and Chemicals Produced by BBI International, 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 petroleumderived products. Early bird registration rates expire Oct. 16. (866)746-8385 www.advancedbiofuelsconference.com
You deserve consistency and quality through your entire biomass pelleting process —from chips to load-out. Get it with CPM. U Equipment for your total biomass process U Integrated biomass expertise U Engineered for quality, durability and consistency U Energy efficient Look to your Partner in Productivity—CPM—for your biomass pelleting solutions.
International Biomass Conference & Expo April 8-10, 2013 Minneapolis Convention Center Minneapolis, Minnesota Building on Innovation Organized by BBI International and produced by Biomass Magazine, the International Biomass Conference & Expo program will include 30-plus panels and more than 100 speakers, including 90 technical presentations on topics ranging from anaerobic digestion and gasification to pyrolysis and combined heat and power. This dynamic event unites industry professionals from all sectors of the world’s interconnected biomass utilization industries—biobased power, thermal energy, fuels and chemicals. (866)746-8385 www.biomassconference.com
International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo June 10-13, 2013 America’s Center St. Louis, Missouri Where Producers Meet Now in its 29th 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
Canadian Renewable Fuels Summit 2012 December 3-5, 2012
800-428-0846 6 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2012
Westin Ottawa Hotel Ottawa, Ontario Canada is now a frontrunner in the worldwide effort to create clean, renewable transportation fuel. Attend the Canadian Renewable Fuels Summit to learn from industry experts, engage in valuable peer to peer collaboration, find solutions to your business challenges, and discover new products and services. The CRFS is a great opportunity to exchange ideas and gain a global perspective on the renewable fuels industry. We offer insightful plenaries and are now offering concurrent industry breakout sessions.
Legislation until Lame Duck Session: A Look Ahead BY BOB CLEAVES
This fall—as the season is in most years that are divisible by four—is full of uncertainty for Congress, as the attention of Washington, D.C., is focused on one thing only: the presidential race. The capitol city will be a ghost town as congressional incumbents and their staffers head back to their districts to campaign for most of October. Under these circumstances, we don’t expect much upcoming legislation that will affect the biomass industry through the end of the 112th Congress. Nevertheless, we held our annual Biomass Power Association fly-in in mid-September to remind our legislators in Washington, D.C., about our many important economic and environmental contributions, and the things we need as an industry for continued success. Over three days, our member companies met with members of Congress, senators and regulators. We told stories of the 15,000 men and women who work hard for our industry, the public-private partnerships that are saving forests while generating clean energy, and towns like Berlin, N.H., which have new beginnings thanks to biomass. We recounted time and again the regulations, policies and legislation we need to continue operating in light of falling natural gas prices, rising fuel prices and incentives that often don’t apply to existing infrastructure. And we showed appreciation to those elected officials who have stood by us at times when it hasn’t been the most popular thing to do. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., received the Friend of Biomass award for her continued efforts to advocate on our behalf for legislation that will keep us afloat. On receiving the award, Stabenow pointed out that the biomass industry supports
Michigan businesses using products grown in the state to produce energy. “I am honored to receive this recognition on behalf of the hard-working men and women who keep our forests healthy and provide renewable energy for homes and businesses throughout our state,” she said. “I will continue leading the effort to help our businesses spur new biomass and bio-manufacturing jobs, both in Michigan and across the country.” While we don’t expect a lot of legislating in Congress this fall, there are a few areas where we might see some progress. One is the Section 45 Production Tax Credit. It is up for renewal next year, and we are working with other baseload energy sources to encourage Congress to extend the placed-inservice date. This would be a temporary fix to our long-term tax parity challenges, but it would help dozens more facilities qualify for the upfront funding that they need to attract investors and ensure a successful project. We are also keeping an eye on a potential— although not very likely—House vote on the 2012 Farm Bill that has already been approved by the Senate. The bill includes close to $200 million in funding for the Biomass Crop Assistance Program over the next five years. Regardless of the outcome of the presidential, House and Senate races—and the congressional activities for the rest of 2012—we are laying the groundwork for favorable policies in the future. Author: Bob Cleaves President and CEO, Biomass Power Association www.USABiomass.org firstname.lastname@example.org
OCTOBER 2012 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 7
The State of Biomass Heat: A 2012 Reflection BY JOSEPH SEYMOUR AND CHARLIE NIEBLING
October means many things to many people, including baseball, budgets and biomass. While the boys of October battle for a pennant, the heating season has the biomass industry reflecting on the progress in 2012, and projecting for 2013 budgets and priorities. We would like to share our reflection of the state of the biomass thermal industry, as well as progress the Biomass Thermal Energy Council has made in 2012 and how our achievements will shape the new year. We are proud to report that the association reached a record 100 members and stands strong with proven staff and numerous biomass thermal initiatives at the state and federal levels, a reflection of BTEC's persistence and determination over several years. This progress has been hardearned, due in large part to the financial resources and talent BTEC members and associates have contributed in support of the organization's agenda to advance biomass thermal. Federal policy remains a pillar of BTEC's activities, despite the apparent gridlock in Congress and the looming presidential election. Working with Senate Energy Committee Chair Jeff Bingaman, BTEC helped draft S. 3352, an investment tax credit for highly-efficient commercial and industrial biomass heating systems. This first-of-its-kind bill would level the playing field for biomass thermal technologies with other renewable energy pathways and open the door for existing federal programs. Two other priorities include extension of the credit for residential biomass heating systems and shaping the next Farm Bill (complete with its suite of biomass energy programs). In addition to legislation, BTEC co-hosted multiple congressional biomass briefings that addressed the overlooked opportunity of biomass thermal energy. BTEC's efforts to promote thermal policies are extending beyond the federal level to state legislatures and agencies. The tireless work of advocates in the Northeast, the Midwest and the Pacific Northeast, to name a few regions, have helped change state-level policy emphasis on biomass heating. BTEC has submitted letters of support, notified local leaders, and spread the good news on these achievements far and wide, planting the seeds of success beyond state lines. As an example, the inclusion of thermal energy in New Hampshire and Maryland’s renewable portfolio standards (RPS), and the study of thermal in Massachusetts’ RPS, will create markets for your equipment, fuels and services. BTEC cannot replace grassroots state associations, but our resources can amplify and accelerate the message. 8 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2012
This year's educational and outreach activities have gone hand-in-hand with the association's policy priorities. In March, BTEC successfully concluded a major outreach effort, supported by the U.S. Forest Service's Wood Education and Resource Center, that funded many webinars, factsheets and interviews. Volunteer contributions from BTEC members helped reach the following impressive metrics: • 8,000-plus views of the BTEC webinar page, with 1,373 views of the live recordings. • 2,458 webinar attendees with an average webinar rating of 3.8 out of a possible 5. • 1,300 views of the factsheet resources webpage. • 700 visits to the audio interview webpage. • 24 virtual tours of biomass thermal installations. A separate grant from WERC that seeks to better engage architects and engineers on biomass heating is reaching new audiences, including the U.S. DOE and biomass energy manufacturers. This grant will continue into 2013. With a promising start to 2012, the remaining months bring both opportunity and strategic reflection. In the fall, BTEC staff will launch a registry and provide plaques for new biomass thermal installations to bring greater public visibility to successful projects. Also, BTEC will engage members for an industry survey and produce several webinars on new biomass thermal markets. The fall season will also see changes to the association's 2013 program plan and election of new board members and officers. Input will help guide and position BTEC's leadership and resources in an ever-changing business and policy environments. We can say unequivocally that BTEC's hard work has led to widespread recognition of biomass thermal as a vital element of our nation's energy policy. It is remarkable to think how far we have progressed in less than four years since our founding. We know there are serious needs in the biomass thermal industry: financial, regulatory, public acceptance and education. BTEC was founded with the sole mission of advancing the use of biomass for thermal energy applications, and support of the association helps meet those vital industry needs. Now is the time to add your voice to this growing biomass momentum. Authors: Joseph Seymour Executive director, Biomass Thermal Energy Council Charlie Niebling Chairman, Biomass Thermal Energy Council www.biomassthermal.org
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A New Frontier BY KELSEY SOUTHERLAND
Biomass developers are experts at using heat to make power. A very different method of doing so—one that elicits no combustion— hails from a free fuel source and may be the next frontier for the veterans of the biomass industry. Waste-heat-to-power (WHP) is the generation of emissions-free electricity from heat that is the byproduct of industrial processing. Some typical applications include steel or paper mills, chemical manufacturing facilities and glass manufacturers. In addition to traditional industrial manufacturing, oil and gas processing facilities are also home to sources of waste heat. Such energy-intensive industries require high-temperature heat to process and refine their products. For example, a facility might use 3,000-degree-Fahrenheit heat to refine their product. Once the refining has been done, energy is still left in the heat, which is perhaps reduced to 400 F or lower. Such low-temperature heat is often cast aside and regarded as worthless. This is waste heat, and is in fact an extremely valuable commodity, a source for baseload, emissions-free electricity. In addition to energy-intensive manufacturing facilities, gas compression stations and landfill gas facilities serve as ideal hosts for capturing waste heat. Both of these types of facilities employ the use of turbines or engines, and during the process emit capturable heat from their exhaust streams. Gas compression stations are often in remote locations and are responsible for compressing gas to keep it flowing along pipelines across the country. All power generated from WHP on compression stations and landfill gas facilities must interconnect into the grid, which is different than power generated from waste heat on industrial sites, as it may be used to reduce the site’s overall power needs. In states that value waste heat as a renewable equivalent, this can be a lucrative investment.
10 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2012
Advanced WHP technologies are being used today in the WHP, biomass, geothermal, and solar thermal markets. These technologies include Organic Rankine Cycle, Kalina cycle, Sterling engine, and the newest variation, thermoelectrics. Such technologies are capable of capturing heat as low as 195 F, and some may be able to reach lower temperatures. Innovation of such technologies is making what has always been considered waste a very valuable prospect. WHP potential is gaining momentum. In May, the governor of Ohio added WHP to the state’s renewable resource and energy efficiency standards, and 13 states currently recognize WHP as a renewable equivalent (defined as heat that is the byproduct of a process whose primary purpose is not the generation of electricity from a fossil fuel). Bipartisan bill H.R. 2812— The Heat is Power Act—has been introduced in Congress to offer WHP equal tax treatment with other sources of renewable energy, and a recent paper published by the U.S. EPA in August estimates a potential market size of about 10 GW. The possibility for 10 million American homes to be powered by emissions-free electricity from something currently disappearing into thin air is too good to waste. The WHP industry looks forward to welcoming more developers to the frontier and recognizes that the veterans of the biomass industry may very well be our next pioneers. Heat is power―let’s capture it! Author: Kelsey Southerland Executive director, Heat is Power Association 979.571.8094 firstname.lastname@example.org www.heatispower.org
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Business Briefs PEOPLE, PRODUCTS & PARTNERSHIPS
LS9 announces new hire, board appointment Jon Foster has joined LS9 Inc. as the company’s chief financial officer. In his new position, LS9 Inc. CFO Jon Foster is responsible Foster is a member of the California for management of Energy Fund board LS9’s financial and of directors. related functions. He has worked in leadership roles in Silicon Valley companies for 14 years, previously serving as CFO and executive vice president of corporate development at Atempo Inc. Foster has also served as a deputy director in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. LS9 also recently appointed Tjerk de
14 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2012
LS9 Inc. Chairman of the Board Tjerk de Ruiter has a proven track record in industrial biotechnology.
Ruiter to its board of directors, which elected him as its chairman. He spent 12 years at Dansico, with the last five serving as CEO of its Genencor division.
FirmGreen CEO attends White House meeting FirmGreen Inc. CEO Steve Wilburn, along with 12 other business leaders, met with Fred Hochberg, chairman of the U.S. Export-Import Bank , and several senior administration officials at a White House Business Council meeting in August. The focus of the meeting was
to discuss ways the government can assist the private sector to create jobs and help stimulate the economy through the export of U.S. manufactured products. FirmGreen is doing just that via a biogas project it is completing in Brazil. The company is exporting its green technology and startup services to develop the Gás Verde biogas processing facility at the former Jardim Gruamacho landfill. Japanese company invests in U.S. biopower Tokoyo-based IHI Inc., a subsidiary of IHI Corp., has acquired shares in five biomass-based power facilities from Chicago-based Exelon Corp. All five facilities are located in California and have been designated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as quali-
fied renewable energy generation plants. Each facility also has a power purchase agreement in place with investor-owned utilities. IHI will gain 70 MW of generating capacity through the transaction. According to IHI, it acquired a 50 percent stake in four plants; two in Bakersfield, one in Lincoln, and one in Frenso. The company also acquired a 45 percent stake in a plant in Jamestown.
chief financial officer. According to Codexis, O’Toole will bring a wealth of financial experience in the life sciences sector to his new position. O’Toole most recently served as vice president and chief financial officer of Response Genetics Inc., where he managed the finance and accounting department and was responsible for investor relations and information technologies. During his time there, O’Toole implemented policies and procedures that resulted in significant cost savings and operational efficiencies. He also successfully completed a number of equity financings.
Codexis appoints new executive officer Codexis Inc. has added David O’Toole as senior vice president and
Hawaiian algae producer recognized by the EPA U.S. EPA Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld recognized Hawaii-
based Kuehnle AgroSystems Inc. in August for its innovative work in algae production for use in biofuels as part of the Pacific Southwest region’s environmental awards program. The company has built a system to continuously produce algae for biofuel that pipes carbon dioxide and waste water from an oil refinery into tanks that accelerate algae growth. Kuehnle AgroSystems demonstrated its technology at Chevron’s Hawaii oil refinery in 2011 and has done significant work with the U.S. military to grow algae for biofuels. 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 email information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name and telephone number in all correspondence.
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BiomassNews Mass. takes action with RPS woody biomass regulations Massachusettsâ€™ renewable portfolio standard (RPS) is divided into two classes. The Class I standard applies to new resources and requires 15 percent renewable energy by 2020, with an additional 1 percent for each following year. The Class II standard applies to existing resources and requires 3.9 percent renewables and 3.5 percent waste-to-energy in 2009 and thereafter. The state made announcements regarding each class in August. More than two years after the process began, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources published its final regulation pertaining to the eligibility of renewable biomass for Class I of its RPS program, ending the moratorium on new biomass projects that was put into place in 2009. Indications are the regulations will make stand-alone biomass power within the state infeasible. A few days later, the DOER began a different moratorium on the qualification of wood biomass units for the stateâ€™s Class II RPS program and kicked off a rulemaking process on the RPS Class regulation to incorporate carbon emission limits and accounting from biomass plants in a manner consistent with the final regulations for the RPS Class I program.
18 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2012
Montpelier approves district heating project Mass. Class I RPS minimum renewable energy percentages Compliance Year Cumulative minimum percentage 1 2003 1.5 2004 2 2005 2.5 2006 3 2007 3.5 2008 4 2009 5 2010 6 2011 7 2012 8 2013 9 2014 10 2015 11 2016 12 2017 13 2018 14 2019 15 2020
The Montpelier, Vt., city council has elected to move forward with a district heating project that will replace an old, stateowned plant with a new biomass plant, but the road to approval was not simple. The council originally voted in favor of the new plant in June 2011, but rescinded its plans in a 4-2 vote Aug. 22, citing concerns about financial risks. The local community was not happy with the decision. According to Gwendolyn Hallsmith, director of planning and community development for Montpelier, the city council experienced significant voter outrage due to its decision to axe the project. The negative public reaction prompted Mayor John Hollar to call a special meeting Aug. 29, where the city council reversed its decision and voted to continue with the project, including changes to address financial concerns. Final determination of the project size will be made after construction bids are received in November.
NatureWorks expands facility, product offerings NatureWorks LLC is expanding its Blair, Neb., facility from 140,000 to 150,000 metric tons-peryear production capacity. Sulzer Ltd. recently shipped proprietary production equipment to the plant. The new equipment will allow NatureWorks to increase production of its Ingeo biopolymer and produce new, high-performance resins and lactides. The equipment is scheduled to be installed in the first quarter of 2013, with the increased capacity and new products becoming available in the second quarter. The new technology will enable NatureWorks to introduce new high-performance Ingeo resin grades in the injection molding and fibers arenas. The upgrades will also allow
NatureWorks to become the worldâ€™s first company to offer commercial quantities of a high-purity, polymergrade lactide rich in the stereoisomer meso-lactide, which will be used as an intermediate for copolymers, amorphous resins, grafted substrates, resin additive/modifiers, adhesives, coatings, elastomers, surfactants, thermosets and solvents.
TDA Research wins EPA award for biogas technology The U.S. EPA awarded Colorado-based TDA Research Inc. with a $300,000 contract under its Small Business Innovation Research program competition to support the demonstration of a proprietary biogas purification technology. The award is for Phase II work. TDA was awarded funding for Phase I of the program by EPA in 2011. The technology is a vacuum swing adsorption system that upgrades biogas to pipeline specification. The process uses a novel, low-cost, high capacity CO2 adsorbent. The system features low methane loss, as more than 95 percent of the methane that enters the system is sent to the pipeline. Additional features of the system include low capital and operating costs. TDA developed the proprietary adsorbent over several years. It is specifically designed to remove CO2 from gas steams. The technology has been shown to remove 95 to 98 percent of the CO2 from biomass. The material also removes water from the biogas stream, bringing the moisture content down to 150 parts-per-million.
¦BIOMASSNEWS BioNitrogen moves forward with plans for biobased urea plant BioNitrogen Corp. has signed a threeyear, non-exclusive agreement with PRM Energy Systems Inc. for the construction of gasification units for its proposed biobased urea plants. The company also recently signed an agreement to purchase biomass from a 40-acre parcel of land in Hardee County, Fla., where it plans to build its first commercial facilYear ity. In addition, BioNitrogen has 2011 committed to sell the urea fertilizer 2010 produced at its initial plant to United 2009 2008 Suppliers. 2007 Once complete, the plant will 2006 produce 124,000 tons per year 2005 of urea via a biomass gasification 2004 process. Traditional urea plants take 2003 in natural gas as feedstock. BioNi2002 trogen’s process, however, utilizes 2001 2000 biobased syngas. 1999 The company plans to use 1998 locally-sourced biomass for each of 1997 its future plants. The initial plant in 1996 Florida will take in a mix of waste 1995
vegetation, tree clippings and waste orange trees. The process can also be optimized to take in sorted municipal solid waste, agricultural waste, energy crops and other types of vegetation. U.S. imports/exports of urea U.S. Import U.S. Exports Tons Dollars Tons Dollars 6,459,601 2,554,524,030 228,243 105,313,710 7,023,904 2,026,790,689 167,405 55,363,236 5,210,089 1,335,455,887 318,679 95,538,808 6,042,747 2,662,617,702 253,336 143,261,967 7,216,146 2,019,709,872 299,114 0 5,520,214 1,225,503,720 722,845 0 6,243,176 1,393,491,708 590,915 0 5,425,080 917,432,910 776,248 0 5,488,430 787,671,770 966,074 0 4,254,034 508,930,431 1,061,943 0 5,346,045 706,618,403 872,661 0 4,259,209 564,288,785 730,475 0 3,602,924 446,177,662 980,706 0 3,665,798 477,916,299 926,548 0 2,777,130 394,455,674 1,028,095 0 2,779,014 415,633,208 1,620,930 0 3,236,394 445,844,822 971,403
SOURCE: USDA ECONOMIC RESEARCH SERVICE
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Reducing lignin to improve biomass Rather than working to more efficiently break down lignin, several scientists are working to reduce the quantity of it produced by plants. University of Georgia researchers partnered with researchers at the U.S. DOE-funded BioEnergy Science Center to identify a previously uncharacterized gene, GXMT1, which plays a major role in cell wall development of Arabidopis plants. The gene is responsible for a key step in the development of xylan, a polymer that makes woody biomass resistant to biofuel conversion. Scientists at the DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory have created a new enzyme that masks the synthetic precursors of lignin. When expressed in plants, the enzyme substantially reduces lignin content in the cell wall, increasing the digestibility of cell wall biomass. The new enzyme reduced the lignin content of Arabidopsis plants by up to 24 percent, leading to a 21 percent increase in the release of cell wall sugars.
BIOMASSNEWS¦ Obama signs executive order, biomass may benefit
Sapphire Energy marks new milestone
Existing U.S. CHP Capacity President Barack Obama has signed an executive order to facilitate investment in energy efficiency at industrial facilities. The order focuses on expanding the use of combined-heat-and-power (CHP) and could provide benefit to the biomass industry. The order directs several federal agencies to coordinate to achieve a nation-wide goal to establish 40 gigawatts encourage the use of, best practice state of industrial CHP by the end of 2020.The models and investment models, which will specified agencies will coordinate policies address the multiple barriers to investment to encourage investment in industrial efin industrial energy efficiency and CHP. ficiency in order to reduce costs for indusThe executive order coincided with trial users, improve U.S. competitiveness, the release of a U.S. DOE report, titled create jobs and reduce air pollution. “Combined Heat and Power, a Clean One of the first initiatives will be to Energy Solution.” As of last year, approxiconvene stakeholders though a series of mately 500 biomass-fueled CHP systems public workshops in order to develop, and were in operation in the U.S.
Algae oil producer Sapphire Energy Inc. has completed the first phase of its commercial demonstration algae-to-energy facility, the Green Crude Farm. Construction of the first phase began in June 2011 and was completed on time and on budget. The phase one cultivation area consists of groupings of 1.1 acre and 2.2 acre ponds, which are one-eighth of a mile long. The initial phase also included the installation of all the necessary mechanical and processing equipment needed to harvest and extract algae and recycle water for entire site. Once complete, the Green Crude Farm will produce 1.5 million gallons of algae oil per year, and consist of approximately 300 acres of algae cultivation ponds and processing facilities. The facility was funded with both private and public funds, including $85 million in private investment from Sapphire. The project was also backed by a USDA loan guarantee and a $50 million U.S. DOE grant.
OCTOBER 2012 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 21
BIOENERGY BROTHERS: Evan (left) and Shane (right) Chrapko are using the success of their biogas technology at a Kansas ethanol facility as a springboard for global growth. PHOTO: UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA
22 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2012
Betting Big on Biogas A Canadian company is creating a global presence with its advanced waste-to-energy technology. BY LUKE GEIVER
OCTOBER 2012 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 23
van Chrapko is a country kid from Alberta, Canada, and he isn't afraid of going big. He’s built and sold a dot-com company for $811 million, helped turn around a startup web-based firm before selling it to DoubleClick (later purchased by Google) and, with the help of his brother Shane and members of an Oakley, Kan., ethanol plant, developed the largest biogas plant in North America through their company Himark BioGas. He’s a software patent holder. He’s a technology guru who’s won the same award as the inventor of Java and the co-founder of eBay. He’s an investor and a technology guru. And, he believes renewable energy investment should not only happen close to where people live, but that the investment should be in biogas. Although Chrapko and his team at Himark have only two installations to speak of in North America, the company believes it has created an advanced, financially attractive and replicable anaerobic digester (AD) model that can be installed next to ethanol facilities or in remote Asian villages. The Himark vision for the waste-to-energy industry is anything but small, as evidenced in how Evan describes the roles he and his brother have taken in the company’s growth plan. “Shane and I split the world, into the developed world and the developing world.”
From Canadian Oil Sands to Kansas Prairie There are several reasons Chrapko and his team are so high on their AD technology and visions for global expansion. For starters, there is the amount of investment put forth by the team. According to Evan, the company has invested double-digit millions into lawyer fees to protect the company’s technology patents and what Evan calls, Himark’s “head start.” The Integrated Biomass Utilization System, or IMUS, is a multi-faceted AD system. The system allows for multi-feedstock inputs and uses a patented high-solids-in-feed setup that creates
an optimal mix of solid and liquid waste into a digester core or vessel. The digester core features several separate digesters―a primary, secondary and tertiary. The core is heated and also employs a continuous maintenance feature that doesn’t interrupt the biogas production process. Although the Kansas ethanol facility, Western Plains Energy LLC, utilizes animal manure from adjacent feedlots for AD feedstock, Himark has also developed another version of the technology that is rated for tough-to-digest waste streams typically associated with hospitals, slaughterhouses or food processing facilities. The technology can digest pathogens and toxins created in those streams. But it’s not just the advanced technology or the money spent in protecting the patents that has the team excited, Evan says. It's using that head start, which can be linked to the oil sands of Alberta. As Evan explains it, several years ago, the Alberta government wanted to repair the black eye created from the unpopular sight of the oil sands (which can be seen from satellite imagery). “The ministry of energy started pouring lots of money into the (waste-to-energy) issues that we are talking about,” he says. Because the oil sands recovery industry is in the billions of dollars, Evan says it was a natural fit for the government to find a global-class solution. The solution, seen in Himark’s biogas technology, is at an advantage because, as he implies, the scientists and engineers who designed it came from a billion-dollar industry, not a million-dollar industry. “They (the scientists and engineers) were operating on a bigger scale,” and because of that, so can Himark. Since starting the Himark brand, the Chrapkos have contributed to the $8.4 million BioWaste-to-Energy for Canada Integration Initiative Corp., a not-for-profit center that helps other firms like energy-focused Himark enter the bioenergy sec-
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BIOGAS¦ tor in Canada. The initiative has already attracted 8 members. Western Plains Energy CEO Steve McNich is so high on the Himark technology package, that he recently provided an overview of the process and why it will benefit other ethanol facilities at an American Coalition for Ethanol conference in Iowa. During his presentation, McNich outlined the savings created from the AD technology. A 50 MMgy ethanol plant can replace existing boilers or MILO MAGIC: Himark BioGas is hoping other ethanol production plants will see the value of combining milo natural gas usage for a sav- feedstock and onsite biogas power production, a value that could equal roughly $35 million per year. ings of roughly $5 million per year. That same plant can also reduce electricity costs by The potential for Himark’s presence in North America is installing the biopower generation portion of the system for a large, according to Chrapko, but the company believes it has firstsavings of nearly $3.3 million. If, and this may be a big if, that hand knowledge to justify its global aspirations. Several members ethanol plant is using grain sorghum (milo) as a feedstock, the of the team operate out of overseas offices and have seen the plant would also qualify for advanced biofuel D5 RINs, which need for waste-to-energy applications. Evan also has his own in combination with the other savings, would add $35 million perspective on the need for waste to energy. During a research per year to the bottom line of that 50 MMgy ethanol facility. trip overseas, he says a scene at a hospital caused him to write a The yearly operations costs for the AD system co-located at lengthy, late-night email to his co-workers. the ethanol facility would total roughly $3 million, according to “I saw a woman on a step of a hospital in desperate need of Western Plains Energy. care,” he explains, “and the doors were locked and the power was off. I wrote that night that if we only put in one-half of 1 MW, The Global Appeal of Waste to Energy then we will have done a heck of a lot more than Silicon Valley or
OCTOBER 2012 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 25
¦BIOGAS Economic Impact
SOURCE: STEVE MCNICH, WESTERN PLAINS ENERGY LLC
Wall Street put together.” In addition to witnessing a scene Chrapko says happens too often in too many places, the company also has an analogy it believes explains the potential for waste to energy. Think of it, he
says, in comparison to the lifespan of the phone practices applied by most today. Developing countries waited to install the infrastructure to provide large-scale, widely distributed power. In some ways, he believes, those countries are similar to cellphone users of today who skip landline phone service altogether and go straight to cellphone for all phone applications. The same is happening with power production in many places. Many areas waited to install the infrastructure to produce and distribute power, and now, because those areas need power and waste-to-energy applications are available, companies like Himark can thrive. Not all companies are like Himark, however, a reality that Chrapko believes acts as an advantage. “We find our European
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BIOGAS¦ and American competitors at a disadvantage,” he says. “They are trying to force their equipment in a setting.” Chrapko says his company does just the opposite, looking to manufacture engines, vessels or other modules in the country of operation. “Adding more hoops to the equation doesn’t help anyone,” he says of companies trying to force an application specific technology on a project developer. Working with multinational corporations, local economic development offices and former bridge builders or power plant construction firms, has helped boost the reputation of Himark, Chrapko adds. Himark will still use its own case-specific project designs, but it won’t use a certain product if it will create added stress to the community employing the AD system. Currently, the company is working on more than two dozen projects overseas. As good as that may sound however, Evan says because they are huge projects, they will take years. But he’s not worried, for one simple reason. Himark invests in its own projects, deploys hundreds of man-hours to design a feasible project and performs feasibility studies. With all of the success of the Chrapko brothers, the company still hasn’t gone public, an element that allows the company to do what it wants without reporting to anyone, an element that also helps land large projects globally. “We have the supreme luxury of taking an ultra-long-term view,” he says, and foreign governments like that. That same view has also allowed the company to develop other companies, unnamed and not public yet, that can develop other AD system technology, including a bolt-on technology that he says will address what every AD operation will someday have, an algae nutrient processing piece. No matter what, the Himark team believes in biogas because it takes a negative and turns it into a positive, Evan says. Between renewable energy development, software patents and selling companies for hundreds of millions, Chrapko
won’t admit to loving one over the other, but if the company’s desire to know more about waste-to-energy's potential (and its $25 million R&D budget) isn’t enough to show why Evan isn’t, in fact, afraid to go big for biogas, then maybe it’s the excitement in his voice when he talks about an unnamed project that the company will soon announce. If the Oakley, Kan., installation looks big because it can replace 90 percent of the ethanol facility’s fossil fuel usage, then just wait. The project
Evan really wants to talk about but can’t just yet, a project led in part by GE, will be the biggest biogas installation in the world, Chrapko says, “probably by a factor of two or three.” Author: Luke Geiver Features Editor, Biomass Magazine (701) 738-4944 firstname.lastname@example.org
OCTOBER 2012 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 27
TEST-CENTER GOLD: A brick kiln production facility in Gleason, Tenn., offered PHG Energy the chance to test and prove-out its modular, feedstock flexible downdraft gasification set-up. PHOTO: PHG ENERGY
28 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2012
The Upside of Downdraft Gasification Waste to energy requires feedstock flexibility, but offers economic opportunity. BY LUKE GEIVER
avid Gordon’s resume may show he’s a veterinarian by trade or the mayor of a small town in western Tennessee, but after his involvement with an innovative downdraft gasification project, he might have to add a new title to the list: waste-to-energy spokesman. Through a partnership with Tennessee-based, twoand-a-half-year-old, PHG Energy, Gordon conquered the complex balancing act of wastewater remediation, biosludge removal, wood waste utilization and the always ballooning landfill tipping fees and transportation costs associated with all three. The city of Covington is already known as the Charm Pops capital of the world, Gordon says, and is the future home of the world’s largest ice cream production facility. But those catchy claims are already losing ground to the city’s project that utilizes a series of modular downdraft gasification units designed to produce electricity from a combined feedstock of woody biomass and biosludge that until PHG Energy came around, would have cost the city time and money to dispose of. Surrounding communities faced with similar wastebased issues are taking notice, Gordon says, calling for information on how the veterinarian mayor of Covington turned his self-proclaimed interest in technical stuff, into a model of converting dirty into dollars. Money saved from the $2.25 million project paid for through a bond is-
OCTOBER 2012 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 29
¦POWER Pursuing Renewable Revenue
PHOTO: PHG ENERGY
The city of Covington currently transports wastewater and dewatered sludge to a landfill that requires a two-hour round trip. Wood waste created in the city is also hauled out of the city, requiring a onehour trip. Because of the costs associated with hauling and disposal, Gordon began looking into better alternatives for the city. “When I first heard about biomass gasification, I was at a Tennessee Renewable Energy and Economic Development Corp’s seminar,” he says. “I listened to a gentlemen talk about biomass gasification and it really got my interest.” Through a mutual business acquaintance and more research, Wilson got in touch with the team from PHG Energy. There were other firms he spoke with and even other options discussed for utilizing VICTORY FOR THE MAYOR: The contracts have all been signed and this fall, PHG Energy will put the waste, one that included converting Mayor Gordon’s (pictured left) waste-to-energy vision on full display. the sludge to a class A sludge, which would suance from the Tennessee Municipal Bond Fund and a grant from allow the city more leniency for disposal methods. Now, Gordon the Clean Tennessee Energy Grant program offered by the state’s and the team at PHG Energy can point to several takeaways from Department of Environment and Conservation, will pay for some the Covington project and why downdraft gasification not only things any mayor would gladly promote: new soccer fields, baseball won out in the small Tennessee town, but why it can succeed in other places at larger scales. fields and a walking trail for the city of 9,000. The most glaring reason downdraft gasification makes sense is “I’m already getting contacts from municipalities that want to see how this is working,” he says of the close-to-construction that it fits into a popular belief in the biomass industry, that conproject, some calls coming from nearly 500 miles away. The excess version technology should be feedstock flexible. Turns out, mayrevenue generated through the tipping fees and in-house electri- ors like that idea as well. “In Covington,” says Chris Koczaja, vice cal generation is nice, he says, adding however, that “the project is president of sales and engineering for PHG Energy, “the biosolids alone would not work.” By taking a gasification approach, however, positive for other reasons.”
30 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2012
POWER¦ PHG was able to combine the biosolids with wood waste to create an acceptable feedstock, a situation Koczaja says helps to highlight PHG’s technology offering. “If we put a gasifier on the ground and someone says I have a bunch of woodchips that I want to gasify today, but three years from now I have this other opportunity waste stream, the equipment doesn’t have to change,” Koczaja says. That facet of the conversion approach helps not only PHG but other similar companies pursue projects, allowing users to hedge not just on what is available today, but what the future may bring as well. “That is one of the big pieces that I think people grab hold of,” he says. “It’s not just what is in front of me today, but what may be in front of me tomorrow.” The feedstock flexibility of the technology played only one part in Gordon’s decision. PHG Energy outperformed expectations, he says. In addition to helping Gordon land a state grant worth $250,000 (PHG is also helping Gordon seek out more), the company provided a plethora of information to Gordon to make the project make sense. Along with several emails, phone calls, information packets, directions to websites, and a trip to Florida to see the Organic Rankine Cycle generator that will be used to create electricity, Gordon says the PHG team found a way to make complex concepts manageable from an operational viewpoint, and most importantly, an economic standpoint. “This had to make economic sense,” Gordon says, “I couldn’t go into it just as an environmental program that was going to be nice and fuzzy and warm.” To do that, PHG provided Gordon with adaptable spreadsheets that allowed him to change variables or inputs into a financial equation, and, information that allowed him to show the city alderman proof that the process would pay for itself over time. Because of all the research and time devoted toward understanding the merits of downdraft gasification, Gordon now says he tells people, “I haven’t made it to geek status, but I’m a confirmed nerd.”
The first iteration of the project involved the Tennessee Valley Authority, Wilson says. The project would have provided 1 MW of electricity to TVA in return for 3 cents per kilowatt (kW) for 10 years. Unyielding construction deadline clauses didn’t allow Gordon to pursue the project, but on the fifth iteration, PHG and Gordon finally found a way to make it all work. In November, construction will begin at the current wastewater treatment facility where a system will be installed that includes a downdraft gasifer, thermal oxidizer and an 125 kW ORC generator that will produce electricity for the wastewater facility and heat to dry the woody biomass portion of the feedstock used in the process. Koczaja says the electricity will offset the facility’s utility bill, and the overall footprint of the facility will be roughly one and a half acres. Every day, 12 tons of biomass will be converted, biomass that would otherwise be landfilled, according to Mike Webb, business development director at PHG. Roughly 360 tons of waste will be deflected from the landfill per month. The gasifiers can convert feedstock blends up to 35 percent moisture, but the team prefers to convert at 25 percent. The mixture also has to have a minimum organic compound percentage. Webb says each gasifier consumes 8 tons of feedstock per day, producing roughly 4 million Btu per hour. The noise of the units will be very little, allowing for casual conversation while standing next to the system, he says. The part of the equipment that people can see is clean (something that surprises most people Webb points out) and nothing like incineration. There are air blowers and air compressors, and a cyclone to handle particulates (mostly carbon fines) created in the closed loop process. The majority of the maintenance will be on the feedstock handling side, in addition to general work to inspect valve seats and conditions. The producer gas, as PHG calls it, combusts at a lower temperature than natural gas, so there is reduced thermal nitrogen oxide potential.
OCTOBER 2012 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 31
¦POWER Koczaja says the project team looked at several possibilities for the Covington location, but in the end decided to work on what made the most sense for the city inside the fences of the wastewater treatment plant. After holding several city meetings with the public, Gordon says his city is excited about being out in front of the waste-to-energy opportunity he and PHG believe exists in the region.
The Downdraft Secret Most of Koczaja’s sentences describing the benefit of PHG’s technology begin with “the beauty of,” but, there is proof behind the PHG technology. At a brick production facility in Gleason, Tenn., PHG was able to put an early version of its technology to the test. At the facility, which has since gone under but graciously allowed PHG to continue operations of its six gasification units as a pseudo R&D lab and feedstock testing facility, PHG was able to prove the benefits of a gravity-based system. “We have taken the proven downdraft gasifier and made two significant changes,”
ONE FOR ALL: The downdraft gasification approach allows multiple gasifiers to run off one feedstock handling and supply set-up.
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POWER¦ he says. First, the team converted the technology to allow for industrial use by implementing SiC refractory lining in the entire gasifier box and stainless steel for the grate and residue box. Second, the team made the whole system scaleable by creating modular units. According to Koczaja, the scalability is related to the ability of up to three or four units to run off one materials-handling operation. The same handling operation needed to run one, can run four. The downdraft nature of the units also allows for greater conversion rates, as gravity forces the material to flow through the entire gasification chamber, which, Koczaja also says, can reach very high temperatures. The process creates biochar, but only 2 percent by weight of the feedstock. Because the feedstock travels through the entire chamber due to the downward path, the producer gas is much cleaner, according to Webb, and doesn’t require the need for gas cleanup typically used in fluidized bed or updraft gasifiers. The secret to PHG’s success isn’t just its technology. They’ve also developed an application strategy that is used for every project.
“There are two big things we look at for every project,” he says. “What is the feedstock and what is the application? That is how we kind of tailor our offerings to that specific project.” In Gleason, the downdraft gasifiers weren’t used to take advantage of a waste stream, they were used to offset the costs of another energy application: natural gas. Brick kilns, which require a high volume of natural gas for heat production created in the long corridors that turn liquid mixtures into solid bricks, can benefit from woody biomass. PHG used wood waste from a nearby hardwood flooring manufacturer as a feedstock to feed the gasifiers, which in return created thermal heat for the kilns. The price for natural gas has since dropped (drastically), and although PHG is looking at projects interested in a different energy application as opposed to propane or fuel oil, the waste-based energy crop (as Webb calls it) is where the company sees a huge market. “A lot of things are not what people think of as energy crops,” Koczaja says. “Once you start asking the questions and you start looking, there is a lot more biomass available than initially
meets the eye.” When Webb talks about the number of feedstocks they've tested, he says with a chuckle, “several.” The company performs the majority of the work required in a waste-to-energy project in-house, but does contract out some engineering and feedstock analysis testing, Webb says. And although the company doesn’t want to “outrun its headlights,” Koczaja explains that more people like Gordon are calling all the time about downdraft gasification technology. A customer in the Caribbean will produce 5 MW from agricultural waste with PHG’s technology and forest waste from federal land thinning will utilize downdraft gasification, potentially supplied by PHG. As Koczaja would say, that is the beauty of waste-to-energy technology. The waste-based portion provides flexibility of feedstock now and in the future for project applications from the Caribbean to the Blow Pop capitals of the world. Author: Luke Geiver Features Editor, Biomass Magazine (701) 738-4944 email@example.com
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PHOTO: COVANTA ENERY INC.
ovanta Energy’s Steve Bossotti has worked in the energy-from-waste (EfW) industry since its inception and has performed virtually every role a plant requires. He was in the business when most plants were built in the 1980s and ‘90s, he says, and over the years has witnessed drastic innovation. One year ago, he became vice president of Covanta’s Organic Growth and Innovation Group, a company segment that focuses on fostering new ideas and embracing new market technologies. Two of the group’s main initiatives are to improve and maximize metal recovery efforts, as well as engage in beneficial ash reuse projects, Bossotti says, and those are things he’d like to see happen before he hangs up his hardhat. “In Europe it [ash] is widely used in roadbeds and construction materials, but in the METAL IN MOTION: A rotating metal drum magnet picks up pieces of iron, steel and other states we haven’t been successful doing that,” he says. ferrous metals. “There was some experimentation back in the 1980s, but it hasn’t come to fruition.” Ash reuse is a longer-term goal than metal recovery, Bossotti says, but the latter needs to be done in order for the you could pay a garbage guy $10 and he’d take your refrigerator, but former to happen. That means removing the tiny bits of ferrous and you can’t do that anymore, though we still get our share of bulky nonferrous metal from the ash, a pursuit that may sound insignifi- items.” With metals separation, there are two things a plant wishes to cant but can make a big difference at an EfW plant. From Bossotti’s accomplish: remove as much clean metal on the front end as posperspective, it’s “all about sizing and separation.” sible, and remove bulky items that won’t burn. Once that’s done, the remaining MSW is sent through the boilers. “It goes into a pit, we Metal Recovery ABCs When municipal solid waste (MSW) is hauled into a Covanta fluff it and feed it into the unit and create energy,” Bossotti explains. EfW plant, waste is dumped on the floor and bulky items are re- “It then comes out the back end of the boiler onto a conveyor, and moved. “You might see a refrigerator, but things are a lot different at that point it’s 23 percent by weight of what it was when it went in, today than they were 20 years ago,” Bossotti says. “In the old days and one-tenth of the volume of waste.”
PHOTO: COVANTA ENERY INC.
where we recover what we call the large nonferrous,” Bossotti says. Nonferrous metals consist of precious metals such as gold, silver and copper, as well as aluminum, magnesium and lead. Right now, roughly 30 percent of Covanta’s EfW plants have nonferrous metal removal systems that recover materials larger than three-eighths of an inch. In an effort to improve upon that, the company has partnered with Steinert U.S. Inc., to upgrade its technology to pick up even smaller materials. “The technology difference is that it uses double the poll changes,” Bossotti says. “The ionic charge on the particle gets confused and jumps away from the machine, or is repelled.” Covanta’s Fairfax, Va., plant has installed the technology and is now recovering twice the amount NEW STREAM: Covanta's Fairfax, Va., plant's new metals recovery system can extract very small particles of non-ferrous metals from the ash stream. of nonferrous metals. By adding an additional step that sends materials that fall through the last screen through another specially-designed Eddy Current Separator, very small, nonferrous particles are capThe vibrating conveyor, or grizzly feeder, levels out the waste tured. “Materials pass over a rotating drum in a casing,” Bossotti stream making metal extraction easier. The material is screened to explains. “By changing the charge on the particles several times it remove bigger pieces, and what’s left goes through a second screen confuses them so they repel away, shooting into an area that we before exposure to a magnet that captures all of the ferrous ma- hold them in.” terials—such as steel and iron—left in the ash. “The magnet size The rejects or ash left over is mixed with fly ash on the back depends on the plant size; some are six-foot diameter drums,” Bos- end of the boiler, and is then sent out as a combined product and sotti says. These drums roll above the conveyors and capture metals disposed of in monofills. Nonferrous metals are stored in a clean that jump to it and stick. Everything that does not adhere to the fer- area away from ash, and are shipped for sale roughly once a week. rous magnet continues to another conveyor, where it’s traditionally Ferrous metals are hauled out nearly six days a week. To put that into screened to three-eighths of an inch and greater and passed over an perspective, Bossotti says that some plants produce about 30,000 Eddy Current Separator, which utilizes rare earth magnets. “That’s tons per year of ferrous metals, and one container can hold 20-30
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OCTOBER 2012 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 37
¦ENERGY-FROM-WASTE and the deployment of new recovery tech- rous metals—iron and steel—from ash nologies. residues at our first waste-to-energy plant in Saugus, Mass., when it started up in 1975. A Second Perspective Our original metal recovery systems were “Recovering scrap metals for recycling designed with screens and magnets to rehas always been part of our standard op- cover only ferrous metals, but our current erating procedure at Wheelabrator waste- metal recovery efforts include recovering to-energy plants,” says Mark Lyons, senior both ferrous metals and nonferrous metals manager of business development at Whee- from the ash our facilities produce.” labrator. “We began recovering scrap ferA metals recovery system doesn’t have a significant impact on waste-to-energy plant operational performance, Lyons says, rather, the most important performance issue is that a metals recovery system needs to be properly maintained and operated so that it can continuously process the ash A hammer blow to your operating costs. The hammer mill Granulex™ is the produced by the facility during operations new dynamic grinding machine from Bühler. Designed for ultimate power, and recover scrap metals. “Most waste-toGranulex™ delivers high capacity grinding up to 15 t/h for wood and 75 t/h energy plant metal recovery systems are for biomass. Heavy design and supreme ease of maintenance minimize installed with some level of bypass funcdowntime, so you can make maximum use of this productivity. It’s an tionality,” he explains. “This means that if a investment in quality that is sure to show a rapid return – and deliver a particular component of the metal recovery hammer blow to your operating costs. system is down for repair or maintenance, one or more elements of the system can be bypassed so that the ash being generated by a facility can still be moved through the sysBühler Inc., PO Box 9497, Minneapolis, MN 55440, 763-847-9900, tem to the ash load-out building for email@example.com, www.buhlergroup.com al. However, the operational goal is to minimize metals recovery system bypass time TM in order to maximize the amount of scrap Granulex metal that is recovered and recycled.” High capacity hammer On recent technological improvemill DFZP. ments, Lyons says the biggest has been Powerful 500 hp (400 kW) in the efficiency and power of Eddy Curmotor for high capacity grinding. rent Separators. Wheelabrator is currently designing several metal recovery systems Large screen area reduces wear of screens that will take advantage of that. Aside from and hammers. technology, he notes the importance of metal recovery systems on the economics Screens and hammers designed for replacement by a and sustainability of EfW plants. “When single person in less than 30 most of our facilities originally came onminutes. line, scrap metal prices were much lower than they are today,” he says. “Since then, Smooth running sliding doors on both sides for fast and easy metal prices have generally trended higher, maintenance. while electric power rates and disposal fees have trended lower. Today, scrap metal sales Very high rotor speed for represent a much more significant fraction superior grinding efﬁ ciency. of a facility’s total revenue.” Bossotti agrees. “It’s no mystery that the metals market has been performing Innovations for a better world. very well, and recovery technologies have advanced from when most plants were
tons maximum. “That’s a lot of trucks,” he says. “All of our plants together process up to 20 million tons of metal per year.” Covanta Energy isn’t the only EfW giant working to improve its metal recovery efforts, however. Waste Management-owned Wheelabrator Technologies Inc. has a plan to increase its recovered scrap metal volumes over the next five years through better existing metal recovery system performance
38 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2012
ENERGY-FROM-WASTE¦ built,” he says, adding that what ends up in the trash is quite surprising. “We have one plant that pulls a large number of coins out of the ash each year; it’s astounding.” Not all plant owner/operator models that extract ferrous and nonferrous metals allocate revenue the same way. “The receipt of revenues from the sale of recovered scrap metals at the publiclyowned plants that we operate varies from plant to plant,” Lyons says. “At some publicly-owned plants, Wheelabrator and the owner share the revenues. At other publicly-owned plants, the owner keeps all the revenues.” Bossotti says that many client-based plants have sharing arrangements with Covanta. One main factor in such an arrangement is who is paying to get rid of the ash, because the operator is saving the client ash disposal costs for each ton of metal removed. “If there’s metal in there at the end destination, they don’t know the difference, but our goal is to remove as much as we can,” Bossotti says.
Further Improvement In an initiative to improve its ferrous metal products, Covanta is working to recover more of it on the front end, as they are cleaner and more valuable at that point. “At one particular plant we’re taking front-end ferrous and running it through a silo through which we blow air,” Bossotti says. “That separates out paper and plastics that might be in the waste and creates quite a clean product, and returns that waste to where it started.” Some of the company’s plants are much smaller than others— 950,000 tons of waste per year versus 200,000—so another area of focus is regional processing facilities. At one location, Covanta is building a metal recovery system at the monofill in which three of its plants in the region dispose ash. “We still extract ash before it goes into the monofill, but instead of building three systems at each plant, we will do one,” Bossotti says. Covanta has also teamed up with Germany-based Tartech for the recovery and recycling of metals from EfW ash monofills. Covanta Tartech will utilize a proprietary and highly specialized technology provided by Tartech for recovering both ferrous and nonferrous metals remaining in ash that has already been deposited in monofills. The joint venture will develop projects at Covanta ash monofills and will look to partner with various municipal and commercial ash monofill owners. Covanta will have 10 or more metal recovery projects completed by the end of the year. Not all plants will be getting the same upgrades, Bossotti says. Some plants never had ferrous systems and will eventually be installing new systems, while others will be getting ferrous system upgrades. “Each plant is looking at its options and making the best decisions upon where to improve.” Author: Anna Simet Contributions Editor, Biomass Magazine (701) 751-2756 firstname.lastname@example.org
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OCTOBER 2012 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 39
Verifying Forest Sustainability More customers and policymakers seek assurances that the forest-derived fuel or feedstock they purchase is harvested in a sustainable manner. BY CHARLES A. LEVESQUE AND ERIC W. KINGSLEY
ncreased talk about the use of woody biomass for energy in the U.S. has many people wondering how best to assure that the fuel and feedstock used by wood energy firms is harvested sustainably. The forest products industry—sawmills and pulp mills, in particular—has been down this road for more than 15 years and many have turned to the major forest certification systems available in the U.S., namely the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, the Forest Stewardship Council and the American Tree Farm System. These systems may or may
not be the best way to demonstrate the sustainability of feedstock harvesting for the woody biomass energy sector. In the end, your customers’ needs and your company values should drive what you do about forest sustainability.
The Forest Certification Systems SFI, FSC and ATFS are private, nongovernmental programs, all of which are part of one of two major forest certification systems in the world: the Forest Stewardship Council and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification.
The claims and statements made in this article belong exclusively to the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Biomass Magazine or its advertisers. All questions pertaining to this article should be directed to the author(s).
40 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2012
260 million 490 million
Acres of certified land – global
In the U.S., the FSC system is part of the Forest Stewardship Council international program, whereas SFI and ATFS are part of PEFC. Collectively, the three certification systems currently have 92 million acres certified in the U.S. Some of those acres
SUSTAINABILITY¦ Forest Stewardship Council Sustainable Forestry Initiative American Tree Farm System Acres of certified land – U.S.
13 million 60 million 19 million
A Bit of History
Concerns over rainforest destruction lead to the Statement of Forest Principles at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. The forest principles laid out the definition of a sustainably managed forest, which was further refined through the Montreal Process. Ultimately, this led to the formation of the FSC in 1993 by a group of people from environmental organizations, social sciences and the forest industry. The SFI was created one year later by the American Forest and Paper Association, the national trade group of the U.S. forest products industry. Originally a self-verification system, SFI changed into a full third-party system by the late 1990s. SFI only covers the U.S. and Canada, but similar country-based forest certification systems from around the world became aligned under another international umbrella system called PEFC. SFI and ATFS had to pass the requirements of PEFC to be recognized as part of that system; SFI in 2005 and ATFS in 2008. Notably, ATFS was created for U.S. landowners in the 1940s and only changed to a third-party certification system within the past 10 years.
are certified to both SFI and FSC and are therefore double counted, and further confusing, FSC does not allow for reciprocity with SFI or ATFS, and vice versa. Importantly, SFI and ATFS do allow reciprocity between their systems because they are both part of PEFC. SFI is for larger ownerships, over 20,000 acres, while ATFS is for ownerships smaller than 20,000 acres. Most tree farms are much smaller and average just over 200 acres. So what do these systems do? In a nutshell, each of the FSC, SFI and ATFS systems has a standard— a series of detailed requirements for how a forest property must be managed—under which a landowner must manage in order to become certified. An outside accredited entity sends an auditor to conduct a third-part audit to determine conformance with the many detailed criteria in the standard. The audit will be conducted by an entity that has no direct affiliation with the company Family forests – less than 1 % or landowner being audited, ensuring that Large, business owned forests – approximately 70% there are no conflicts of interest. If landowners U.S. land ownership category certified to FSC, SFI or ATFS pass the initial and subsequent annual audits, they can make claims about products rel- Energy Plants and Sustainability ative to their certification program. They Energy producing plants that use can also label their product with the logo wood as feedstock, whether they are proof the program, if they get a companion ducing electricity, heat, pellets or biofuel, certification to the system’s chain of cus- generally have one thing in common: tody. A CoC system essentially assures they do not own the forestland from that a product indeed came from a certi- which their feedstock timber is harvestfied forest when a landowner makes that ed. As a result, they tend to have little claim. direct control over where and how their
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feedstock is produced in the woods. Some sawmills and pulp mills are similar in that regard, but even those that own forestland in large acreages do not own enough to rely solely on their own land for feedstock. SFI, FSC and ATFS help address the challenge of accountability when sourcing feedstock from forests owned by outside parties. In each case, certified entities are allowed to make public claims about sustainability, based on the premise that being certified to the rigorous third-party audited standard is an indication that they are managing in a sustainable way. If a woodusing energy plant were able to obtain the vast majority of its wood supply from certified forest land, it could use a CoC system to claim that its wood supply comes from sustainably harvested forests. This, however, is where the rub is. Most places in the U.S. simply do not have enough certified acreage to allow a manufacturing plant to make this claim, and the relatively lowvalue landowners receive from harvesting wood for energy purposes—as opposed to lumber, etc.—means that biomass users
42 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2012
SUSTAINABILITY¦ Sustainable Forest Forestry Initiative Stewardship (SFI) Council (FSC)
American Tree Farm System (ATFS)
Part of Forest Stewardship Council International Program
Part of Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification
Ownership acres required
• Bulk material transport • Coal-fired power plants
• Biomass energy systems • Waste to energy plants
• Waste incineration • Special solutions • Coal feeding
have limited opportunity to incentivize new certified acreage. Exceptions might include parts of Maine and Wisconsin, where substantial acreage is already certified to one or more of the systems. But if you aren’t located in Maine and Wisconsin or some other pocket of certified forest, what do you do? SFI has an option called fiber sourcing certification, which uses a different standard than the regular land management SFI standard. Fiber sourcing certifies the entire wood procurement system of the facility. It is a less rigorous system, but it reaches out to all the forest landowners who provide woody feedstock.
for wood sources. With this approach, it can be useful to show information about where your wood comes from, the amount that comes from certified forests, or the amount that was harvested with a licensed or certified forester and/or logger involved. There are many other ways to add additional components to a selfdesigned system. In the end, the system should do what you and your customers need it to do.
• Bunker discharge conveyor • Ash extraction through wet de-ashing systems • Lime handling
Another Approach: Design Your Own System In some cases, it might not be feasible or practical to use SFI, FSC or ATFS to demonstrate your commitment to forest sustainability, especially if your customers are not demanding it. In this case, there are ways to design your own system. One approach Innovative Natural Resource Solutions has used with clients is developing a tracking system
Authors: Charles A. Levesque President, Innovative Natural Resource Solutions LLC email@example.com Eric W. Kingsley Vice president, Innovative Natural Resource Solutions LLC firstname.lastname@example.org www.inrsllc.com
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Published on Oct 8, 2012