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INSIDE ¦ ADVERTISER INDEX¦ OCTOBER 2013 | VOLUME 7 | ISSUE 10 2014 Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo

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07 INDUSTRY EVENTS 10 BUSINESS BRIEFS 14 BIOMASS CONSTRUCTION UPDATE 46 MARKETPLACE

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20 POWER 18 NEWS 19 COLUMN USDA Commits to Biomass By Bob Cleaves

20 FEATURE Modular Mastery After perfecting the technology at its R&D center hosting the world’s largest downdraft gasifier, PHG Energy has completed its first waste-to-energy downdraft gasification installation in Covington, Tenn. By Anna Simet

24 DEPARTMENT The Value of Versatility Ineos Bio's novel biorefinery in Vero Beach, Fla., gasifies multiple waste feedstocks to produce power and cellulosic ethanol. By Sue Retka Schill

COPYRIGHT © 2013 by BBI International

Biomass Magazine: (USPS No. 5336) October 2013, Vol. 7, 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.

PELLETS 26 NEWS 27 COLUMN Pellet Heat Approaches Liftoff with Residential Consumers By Bill Bell

28 CONTRIBUTION Torrefaction: Pre- or Post-Pelletization Researchers at Oakridge National Laboratory have set out to discover the pros and cons to torrefying biomass both prior to and after pelletization. By Shahab Sokhansanj

TM

Please recycle this magazine and remove inserts or samples before recycling

OCTOBER 2013 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 3


Insight

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Leads More than 250 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 government to Capitol Hill. Learn about our tiered membership programs and the benefits at www.algaebiomass.org or call 507-765-2134 today.


INSIDE ¦

OCTOBER 2013 | VOLUME 7 | ISSUE 10

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32 FEATURE Thermal Triumphs Through strong and steady R&D, Metso has achieved many milestones in the biomass gasification and fast pyrolysis sectors. By Anna Simet

BIOGAS 36 NEWS 37 COLUMN Infrastructure Critical to Biogas as a Transportation Fuel By Amanda Bilek

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40 FEATURE Gaining Gasification Ground Numerous companies using a variety of feedstocks and technology platforms are solidifying the foundation of the advanced biofuel market. By Keith Loria

OCTOBER 2013 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 5


¦EDITOR’S NOTE

Let Us Be the First In mid-July, the U.S. EPA and Administrator Gina McCarthy announced new emission limits for future power generating facilities. Reactions to these rules were varied, but they generated plenty of “mehs,” as power industry insiders know the pipeline of new generation facilities is relatively small, particularly in the case of new coal plants. TIM PORTZ Still, the suggested rule and the VICE PRESIDENT OF CONTENT pathways available to meet the new & EXECUTIVE EDITOR tportz@bbiinternational.com limits are telling. In the vast majority of the mainstream coverage of these new limits, the first technology mentioned as a potential means for producers to achieve compliance is carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). While this technology is promising and should appear on the R&D budgets of every utility that derives a percentage of its power from coal, it is far from proven. So why, then, does the administration—via the EPA—continue to forward this as a means for compliance? Because CCS presents one of the only scenarios in which coalderived power and a legitimate response to increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere can coexist. Absent, so far, in this larger discussion of the carbon intensity of future power generation in the U.S. is biomass. It is fascinating that a technology without any real commercial deployment, such as CCS, can get more press than a solution that other countries have adopted, and is arguably a central element to their near- and long-term carbon mitigation strategies. The story, in bits and pieces, is told in this issue of Biomass Magazine. So, let Biomass Magazine be the first to emphatically forward biomass-derived power as a near-term option to reduce the carbon intensity of power generation in this country. Biomass presents a commercially proven and widely deployed means to achieve the same goals the administration is aiming for when it forwards CCS. As this month’s issue confirms with its focus on gasification, biomass continues to refine technologies that will facilitate the conversion of an even greater array of input streams into low-carbon power and fuels. These new limits for new production assets are just the beginning of what will likely be a spirited debate about carbon and energy in this country. As the discussion moves forward, it is vital that we all continue to remind policymakers and the general public that a pathway to low-carbon power already exists. We just need to embark upon it.

EDITORIAL PRESIDENT & EDITOR IN CHIEF Tom Bryan tbryan@bbiinternational.com VICE PRESIDENT OF CONTENT & EXECUTIVE EDITOR Tim Portz tportz@bbiinternational.com MANAGING EDITOR Anna Simet asimet@bbiinternational.com NEWS EDITOR Erin Voegele evoegele@bbiinternational.com SENIOR EDITOR Sue Retka Schill sretkaschill@bbiinternational.com COPY EDITOR Jan Tellmann jtellmann@bbiinternational.com

ART ART DIRECTOR Jaci Satterlund jsatterlund@bbiinternational.com GRAPHIC DESIGNER Elizabeth Burslie bburslie@bbiinternational.com

PUBLISHING & SALES CHAIRMAN Mike Bryan mbryan@bbiinternational.com CEO Joe Bryan jbryan@bbiinternational.com VICE PRESIDENT, SALES & MARKETING Matthew Spoor mspoor@bbiinternational.com MARKETING DIRECTOR John Nelson jnelson@bbiinternational.com BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR Howard Brockhouse hbrockhouse@bbiinternational.com SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER Chip Shereck cshereck@bbiinternational.com ACCOUNT MANAGER Kelsi Brorby kbrorby@bbiinternational CIRCULATION MANAGER Jessica Beaudry jbeaudry@bbiinternational.com ADVERTISING COORDINATOR Marla DeFoe mdefoe@bbiinternational.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.

Subscriptions Biomass Magazine is free of charge to everyone with the exception of a shipping and handling charge of $49.95 for any country outside of the United States, Canada and Mexico. To subscribe, visit www.BiomassMagazine.com or you can send your mailing address and payment (checks made out to BBI International) to Biomass Magazine Subscriptions, 308 Second Ave. N., Suite 304, Grand Forks, ND 58203. You can also fax a subscription form to 701-7465367. Back Issues & Reprints Select back issues are available for $3.95 each, plus shipping. Article reprints are also available for a fee. For more information, contact us at 701-746-8385 or service@bbiinternational.com. Advertising Biomass Magazine provides a specific topic delivered to a highly targeted audience. We are committed to editorial excellence and high-quality print production. To find out more about Biomass Magazine advertising opportunities, please contact us at 701-746-8385 or service@bbiinternational.com. Letters to the Editor We welcome letters to the editor. Send to Biomass Magazine Letters to the Contributions Editor, 308 2nd Ave. N., Suite 304, Grand Forks, ND 58203 or email to asimet@bbiinternational.com. Please include your name, address and phone number. Letters may be edited for clarity and/or space.

6 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2013


INDUSTRY EVENTS¦

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

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

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Business Briefs PEOPLE, PRODUCTS & PARTNERSHIPS

Law firm hires senior council Michael Best & Friedrich LLP has announced the addition of Angela James as senior counsel in the Environmental Practice group and the Energy and Sustainability Industry Team. James has worked on matters related to industrial regulatory compliance, air and water permitting, water quality trading, utility ratemaking and energy regulation. Prior to joining Michael Best & Friedrich, she was a senior associate at Stafford Rosenbaum LLP and a corporate attorney at Madison Gas and Electric Co. She also served as vice president of government relations at the Wisconsin Paper Council.

Cool Planet adds board member Cool Planet Energy Systems has added Archie Dunham to its board of directors. Dunham joined Conoco in 1966, eventually serving as chairman, president and CEO, and chaired ConocoPhillips until 2004. He is currently the non-executive chairman on the board of directors of Chesapeake Energy. He is also the past chairman of the United States Energy Association, the National Petroleum Council, the National Association of Manufacturers and a director at the American Petroleum Institute. Stobart adds chairman U.K.-based Stobart Group Ltd. has announced the appointment of Iain Ferguson as its chairman, effective Oct.

a Babcock Power Inc. company

1. Ferguson is chairman of Berendsen plc and a nonexecutive director on the boards of Balfour Beatty plc and Gregg’s plc. He formerly served as CEO of Tate & Lyle plc, and spent 26 years at Unilever. Viaspace elects board member Viaspace Inc. has announced the election of Khurram Irshad to its board of directors. He will take an active role in the company and help lead additional Giant King Grass bioenergy project developments, especially in Pakistan. Irshad is a citizen of Pakistan and a resident of California. He heads the agribusiness consulting firm Amaanco and is founder of Winergy Pakistan Ltd., which is developing a biogas plant at Landhi Cattle Colony in Karachi, Pakistan. He is

A POWERFUL RESOURCE FOR BIOMASS PLANTS. With g growing demand for renewable technology for biomass power plants, Riley Power Inc., a Babcock bioma Power Inc. company, responded by taking their 90 plus years ye of steam generating equipment experience and eestablishing themselves as market leaders in planning, designing, fabricating, constructing the p of state-of-the-art chute to and commissioning c stack technology. Power has provided customers with advanced Riley P stoker technology boilers, cutting-edge air quality control systems and innovative modular designs contro results of optimum performance and with proven p FRVWVDYLQJHIĂ€FLHQF\ FRVWV Whether you are building a new plant or converting Wheth existing one, contact the professionals at Riley an exi Power, your source for renewable energy project Power solutions. solutio

508.852.7100 508 852 7100 I www.babcockpower.com www babcockpower com I Riley Power Inc., Inc 5 Neponset Nepon Street, Worcester, MA 01615-0040

10 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2013


BUSINESS BRIEFS¦

also chairman and founder of Aquatech Infrastructures Ltd., a water and wastewater treatment company in Pakistan. Metabolix appoints COO Metabolix Inc. promoted Johan van Walsem to the position of chief operating officer. In the newly created role, van Walsem will be responsible for the management of the company’s biopolymers, biobased chemicals and crops businesses, as well as the key functional areas that enable these businesses to perform. He most recently served as the company’s vice president of manufacturing and product development, and has more than 20 years of experience in the processing industry.

Rotary Dryer

2 companies certified under PFI standards program The Pellet Fuels Institute has certified Massena, N.Y.-based Curran Renewable Energy and American Wood Fibers, with locations in Circleville, Ohio, and Marion, Va., under the PFI Standards Program. This is a third-party certification program that provides standard specifications for residential- and commercial-grade fuel. McGinn confirmed for Navy energy position Dennis McGinn has been confirmed as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and the Environment. He most recently served as president and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy. McGinn had a 35-year career with the U.S. Navy, where he served as a naval aviator, test pilot, aircraft carrier commanding officer, and national security strategist.

m rgy Syste Heat Ene

Polymer firm releases new sprayable coating Germany-based Ceramic Polymer GmbH, a provider of coating systems for biogas applications, has launched a new product line of “winter systems,” which can be applied at ambient temperatures of up to -10 degrees Celsius. The combination of specific fillers and reactive hardener compositions enables the use of the new winter product series during dry winter seasons. The coating systems are sprayable and cure within two to three days. After seven days of curing, the coated surface is generally chemical resistant.

SHARE YOUR INDUSTRY NEWS: To be included in the Business Briefs, send information (including photos and logos, if available) to Business Briefs, Biomass Magazine, 308 Second Ave. N., Suite 304, Grand Forks, ND 58203. You may also email information to evoegele@bbiinternational.com. Please include your name and telephone number in all correspondence.

Boiler

Biomass Pelletizing & Energy Systems Pellet Plants | Dryers | Furnaces | Steam Boilers | Thermal Oil Heaters | Cogeneration Dieffenbacher USA, Inc. 2000 McFarland 400 Blvd. | Alpahretta, GA 30004 Phone: (770) 226-6394 | mail@dieffenbacheratl.com

www.dieffenbacher.com OCTOBER 2013 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 11


SAVE THE DATE

OCTOBER 13-15, 2014

Hyatt Minneapolis | Minneapolis, MN www.advancedbiofuelsconference.com

NEXT GENERATION FUELS & CHEMICALS

NETWORK, LEARN AND TAKE YOUR BUSINESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL Make your plans to attend the 2014 National Advanced Biofuels Conference & Expo in Minneapolis, MN. Understand the latest techniques being developed in the industry and continue building relationships that last. Contact us today and to make your reservations. Email: service@bbiinternational.com Phone: 866-746-8385

Produced by


Biomass

Construction Update

BY KOLBY HOAGLAND With autumn approaching, North American bioenergy projects are rushing to take advantage of agreeable but fading climatic conditions. Projects in the northern U.S. and Canada are generally impeded by winter, with snow and rain making logistics and transportation around construction sites cumbersome, and freezing conditions hampering both concrete curing and plant commissioning procedures. The Q3 Biomass Construction Update lists four newly completed projects and 23 projects that are progressing toward completion. In the biomass power sector, commissioned Port Hawkesbury Biomass Project now supplies up to 60 MW of power to the grid. DOM Power’s Hopewell and Southampton Power Stations are nearing structural completion, as are DTE Stockton, Rothschild Biomass Cogeneration Plant, Gettysburg Energy & Nutrient Recovery Facility, and Eagle Valley Clean Energy. The eight biomass power plants listed represent nearly 500 MW of dispatchable generating capacity. The pellet sector continues to receive substantial European investment to meet climate change mitigation goals. German Pellets Louisiana recently broke ground in LaSalle, La., and will become the largest North American pellet plant, producing 1.1 million tons/year. Amite and Morehouse BioEnergy also recently broke ground and will supply Drax biomass power plant in Yorkshire, U.K. The diversifying biogas sector is now supplying transportation fuel along with process heat and electricity. The Sacramento Biodigester by CleanWorld Partners will annually displace 700,000 gallons of gasoline equivalent for its waste-hauling fleet, while producing 190 kilowatts of power. Commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol has arrived with the commissioning of Ineos Bio’s Indian River Bioenergy Center, a gasification/fermentation cellulosic ethanol facility in Vero Beach, Fla. This is a standalone facility, as are Abengoa Bioenergy Biomass of Kansas, Project Liberty, DuPont Cellulosic, and Enerkem

Biomass Power Project Complete

Pellets

PHOTO: ONTARIO POWER GENERATION INC.

Industry Still Hot Despite Cooler Weather

Atikokan Generating Station, Ontario Power Generation Inc. Alberta Biofuels. Green Energy Products and Quad County Cellulosic Ethanol Plant are bolt-on projects that will produce renewable diesel and cellulosic ethanol from conventional ethanol plants. Growth is expected in both standalone and bolt-on technologies, as the cellulosic ethanol industry discovers efficiencies and mutually beneficial partnerships. To list your plant in the BCU, please contact Kolby Hoagland at khoagland@ bbiinternational.com.

Biogas

Advanced Biofuel DTE Stockton LLC, DTE Energy

Port Hawkesbury Biomass Project, Nova Scotia Power Inc.

Location

Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia

CHP

Yes

Location

Stockton, Calif.

CHP

Engineer/builder

AMEC, Nova Scotia Power Inc.

Government incentives

Yes, accelerated depreciation

Engineer/builder

ESI Inc., DTE Stockton LLC

Government incentives

Primary fuel

Logging, mill residue

IPP or utility

Utility

Primary fuel

Woody biomass

IPP or utility

IPP

Boiler type

Stoker

Groundbreaking date

April 2011

Boiler type

Stoker

Groundbreaking date

September 2011

Nameplate capacity

60 MW

Start-up date

June 2013

Nameplate capacity

45 MW

Start-up date

December 2013

The plant is complete and is delivering biomass power to NSP customers in Nova Scotia.

Project is in final construction and start-up phase.

Atikokan Generating Station, Ontario Power Generation Inc.

Eagle Valley Clean Energy, Evergreen Energy

Location

Atikokan, Ontario

CHP

No

Location

Engineer/builder

Aecon, Doosan, Nordmin

Government incentives

10-year PPA

Engineer/builder

Primary fuel

Industrial pellets

IPP or utility

IPP

Primary fuel

Boiler type

Stoker

Groundbreaking date

October 2012

Nameplate capacity

211 MW

Start-up date

Q2 2014

Helical chutes are installed in the storage silos as is the prefabricated conveyor bridge from silos to power house. Project is within budget and on schedule.

14 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2013

Yes

Gypsum, Colo.

CHP

Yes

Government incentives

1603 Program grant

Forest restoration residue

IPP or utility

IPP

Boiler type

Stoker

Groundbreaking date

November 2012

Nameplate capacity

11.5 MW

Start-up date

December 2013


CONSTRUCTION UPDATEÂŚ Gettysburg Energy & Nutrient Recovery Facility, EnergyWorks BioPower, LLC Location

Gettysburg, Pa.

CHP

Yes

Engineer/builder

EnergyWorks, Adolfson & Peterson Construction

Government incentives

Yes

Primary fuel

Egg layer manure

IPP or utility

IPP

Boiler type

Gasifier and thermal oxidizer

Groundbreaking date

December 2011

Nameplate capacity

3.2 MW

Start-up date

Q4 2013

Project construction is in final stage before structural completion. Performance testing is scheduled to begin in October.

Location

Hopewell, Va.

CHP

No

Engineer/builder

Crowder Construction, ESI Inc., Babcock & Wilcox

Government incentives

Federal PTC, RECs

Primary fuel

Wood waste

IPP or utility

Utility

Boiler type

Stoker

Groundbreaking date

August 2012

Nameplate capacity

50 MW

Start-up date

October 2013

PHOTO: DOM POWER

Hopewell Power Station, DOM Power

Hopewell Power Station, DOM Power

Woodyard construction and boiler modifications are complete. Commissioning activities are ongoing. Atlantic Fiber Resources - Chander, Canadian Northern Timber Group

Rothschild Biomass Cogeneration Plant, We Energies Location

Rothschild, Wis.

CHP

Yes

Location

Chandler, Nova Scotia

Fire prevention technology

Firefly

Engineer/builder

Boldt

Government incentives

1603 Program grant

Builder

FW Technologies, Gremmier

Production capacity

240,000 metric tons/yr

Primary fuel

Urban wood waste, mill residue

IPP or utility

Utility

Pellet mill

TBD

Exporting/destination

Sweden, U.K., Germany, Ireland

Boiler type

Circulating fluidized bed

Groundbreaking date

June 2011

Feedstock

Softwood

Groundbreaking date

Q2 2012

Nameplate capacity

50 MW

Start-up date

December 2013

Pellet grade

Super premium

Start-up date

Q2 2015

Project is on hold pending an environmental study. Construction is planned to resume shortly.

Construction is 90 percent complete and the testing phase has started.

Southampton Power Station, DOM Power

German Pellets Louisiana, GmbH

Location

Franklin, Va.

CHP

No

Engineer/builder

Crowder Construction, ESI Inc., Babcock & Wilcox

Government incentives

Primary fuel

Wood waste

Boiler type Nameplate capacity

Location

LaSalle, La.

Fire prevention technology

German Pellet proprietary

Federal PTC, RECs

Builder

German Pellets Louisiana LLC

Production capacity

1.1 million tons/yr

IPP or utility

Utility

Pellet mill

Multiple companies

Exporting/destination

Yes/Europe

Stoker

Groundbreaking date.

October 2012

Feedstock

Softwood

Groundbreaking date

August 2013

50 MW

Start-up date

November 2013

Pellet grade

Industrial and premium

Start-up date

Q1 2014

Wood yard construction and boiler modifications are nearing completion. Biomass operations to begin in November.

Deconstruction of preexisting industrial plant has begun. Equipment has been ordered and construction of new buildings will begin this autumn.

Amite BioEnergy, Drax Biomass International Inc.

Morehouse BioEnergy, Drax Biomass Inernational Inc.

Location

Gloster, Miss.

Fire prevention technology

Fire Eye

Location

Beekman, La.

Fire prevention technology

Fire Eye

Builder

Haskell Company

Production capacity

450,000 metric tons/yr

Builder

Haskell Company

Production capacity

450,000 metric tons/yr

Exporting/destination

Yes/U.K.

Pellet mill

Exporting/destination

Yes/U.K.

Pellet mill Feedstock

Southern yellow pine

Groundbreaking date

August 2013

Feedstock

Southern yellow pine

Groundbreaking date

August 2013

Pellet grade

Industrial premium pellets

Start-up date

Q1 2015

Pellet grade

Industrial premium pellets

Start-up date

Q2 2015

Construction is on schedule.

Construction is on schedule.

OCTOBER 2013 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 15


ÂŚCONSTRUCTION UPDATE Biomass Power Project Complete

Pellets

Biogas

Advanced Biofuel UC- Davis Renewable Energy Anaerobic Digestion, CleanWorld

Green Whey Energy

Location

Turtle Lake, Wis.

Biogas production capacity

868 scfm

Location

Davis, Calif.

Biogas production capacity

123 scfm

Engineer/builder

Ecolab, Symbiont/Miron Construction

Biogas end use

Electricity generation

Engineer/builder

Peabody Engineering, Otto Construction

Biogas end use

Electricity generation

Substrate(s)

Waste water

Installed power capacity

3.2 MW

Substrate(s)

Food and ag. waste, manure, animal bedding

Installed power capacity

925 kW

Digester type

Upflow

Groundbreaking date

January 2013

Digester type

Three-stage, high-solids liquid digester

Groundbreaking date

May 2013

Gas cleaning technology

Unison Gas Conditioning Sys.

Start-up date

July 2013

Gas cleaning technology

Unison Solutions

Start-up date

December 2013

Project is complete and operational.

Project Complete

Construction procedes on schedule.

Quasar Energy Group - Barberton

UW- Oshkosh Foundation, Rosendale Biodigester LLC

Location

New Franklin, Ohio

Biogas production capacity

195 scfm

Location

Rosendale, Wis.

Biogas production capacity

380-475 scfm

Engineer/builder

Quasar Energy Group

Biogas end use

CHP

Engineer/builder

BIOFer Energy Systems

Biogas end use

CHP

Substrate(s)

Food waste, FOG, biosolids

Installed power capacity

810 kW

Substrate(s)

Dairy manure

Installed power capacity

1.4 MW

Digester type

Complete mix

Groundbreaking date

May 2013

Digester type

Complete mix

Groundbreaking date

July 2013

Gas cleaning technology

NA

Start-up date

September 2013

Gas cleaning technology

Biological desulp., moist. removal, carbon filtration

Start-up date

December 2013

The facility became operational on Sept. 20.

Underground piping is complete, CHP is installed, digesters are 80 percent complete, mechanical systems are being installed, and modifications at the dairy are underway.

FCPC Renewable Generation LLC Waste-to-Energy Facility Location

New Franklin, Ohio

Biogas production capacity

195 scfm

Engineer/builder

Quasar Energy Group

Biogas end use

Electricity, heat

Substrate(s)

Food waste, FOG, biosolids

Installed power capacity

810 kW

Digester type

Complete mix

Groundbreaking date

May 2013

Gas cleaning technology

NA

Start-up date

September 2013

PHOTO: UW-OSHKOSH FOUNDATION

On schedule, working toward substantial completion by Sept. 30.

Hometown Bioenergy LLC, Minnesota Municipal Power Agency Location

Le Seuer, Minn.

Biogas production capacity

Engineer/builder

Barr Engineering, I&S Group

Biogas end use

CHP

Substrate(s)

Ag and food wastes

Installed power capacity

8 MW

Digester type

Complete mix

Groundbreaking date

December 2012

Start-up date

December 2013

Gas cleaning technology

UW- Oshkosh Foundation, Rosendale Biodigester LLC

Structural completion of project is approaching. Installation of the four gensets has been completed. Commissioning is expected to begin imminently. Project Complete

Sacramento Biodigester, CleanWorld Partners

Indian River Bioenergy Center, Ineos Bio

Location

Sacramento, Calif.

Biogas production capacity

347 scfm

Location

Vero Beach, Fla.

Production capacity

8 MMgy

Engineer/builder

Peabody Engineering, Otto Construction

Biogas end use

Electricity generation and vehicle fuel

Engineer/builder

AMEC

Type of RIN

D3

Substrate(s)

Pre- and post-consumer food waste

Installed power capacity

190 kW

Process technology

Ineos Bio (gasifc./ferm.)

Coproducts

6 MW of biomass power

Digester type

Three-stage, high-solids liquid digester

Groundbreaking date

June 2013

Biofuel product

Cellulosic ethanol

Groundbreaking date

Q1 2011

Gas cleaning technology

BioCNG

Start-up date

March 2014

Feedstocks

Agriculture/yard waste, MSW

Start-up date

Q2 2013

Construction continues on schedule. Once complete, the digester will produce electricity and 700,000 gal/yr equivalent of renewable transportation fuel.

16 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2013

Plant commissioning has ended and project has reached completion.


CONSTRUCTION UPDATEÂŚ Biomass Power

Pellets

Biogas

Advanced Biofuel

Abengoa Bioenergy Biomass of Kansas LLC, Abengoa Bioenergy US Location

Hugoton, Kan.

Production Capacity

25 MMgy

Engineer/builder

Abengoa

Type of RIN

D3

Process technology

Proprietory process

Coproducts

21 MW of biomass power

Biofuel product

Cellulosic ethanol

Groundbreaking date

September 2011

Feedstocks

Corn stover, wheat straw, switchgrass

Start-up date

December 2013

PHOTO: GREEN ENERGY PRODUCTS

Project is 90 percent complete. Boiler and cogen plant commissioning has begun.

DuPont Cellulosic Ethanol - Nevada, DuPont Location

Nevada, Iowa

Production Capacity

30 MMgy

Engineer/builder

Fagen

Type of RIN

90% D3 RINs

Process technology

Enzymatic hydrolysis

Coproducts

Renewable solid fuel

Biofuel product

Cellulosic ethanol

Groundbreaking date

Q4 2012

Feedstock

Corn stover

Start-up date

Q2 2014

Green Energy Products, WB Services

Site concrete and steel erection continues. Construction on track for 2014 opening.

Quad County Cellulosic Ethanol Plant

Enerkem Alberta Biofuels LP Location

Edmonton, Alberta

Production Capacity

3 MMgy

Location

Galva, Iowa

Production Capacity

2 MMgy

Engineer/builder

Enerkem

Type of RIN

1.7 D4 RINs per gallon

Engineer/builder

Nelson Engineering

Type of RIN

D3

Process technology

Proprietary thermochemical

Coproducts

Process technology

Quad County Corn Processors - ACE

Coproducts

Solid biomass fuel

Biofuel products

Cellulosic ethanol, methanol, renewable chem.

Groundbreaking date

August 2010

Biofuel product

Cellulosic ethanol

Groundbreaking date

July 2013

Feedstocks

Sorted MSW

Start-up date

2013 methanol, 2014 ethanol

Feedstock

Corn fiber

Start-up date

April 2014

Construction of the Enerkem Alberta Biofuels facility is nearing completion with 28 permanent employees working full-time at the plant in preparation for commissioning.

Site foundations and fermenters are being constructed.

Southeast Renewable Fuels LLC

Green Energy Products, WB Services Location

Sedgwick, Kan.

Production Capacity

3 MMgy

Location

Clewiston, Fla.

Production Capacity

20 MMgy

Engineer/builder

WB Services

Type of RIN

1.7 D4 Rin's per gallon

Engineer/builder

Uni-Systems of Brazil

Type of RIN

D4

Process technology

Proprietary technology

Coproducts

Steam and biogas

Process technology

Fermentation

Coproducts

25 MW biomass power

Biofuel product

ASTM spec. bio-based diesel

Groundbreaking date

Q1 2013

Biofuel product

Advanced biofuel (ethanol)

Groundbreaking date

June 2013

Feedstocks

Organic fat, oils and greases

Start-up date

Q1 2014

Feedstock

Sweet sorghum

Start-up date

January 2014

Construction is on schedule. Structural steel work is 80 percent complete. Final major pieces of equipment are arriving on site, and piping work continues.

Foundation work is beginning. All equipment has been ordered and will arrive before the end of the year.

Project Liberty, POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels LLC Location

Emmetsburg, Iowa

Production Capacity

25 MMgy

Engineer/builder

Poet Design and Construction

Type of RIN

D3

Process technology

Enzymatic hydrolysis

Coproducts

Biomass power

Biofuel product

Cellulosic ethanol

Groundbreaking date

March 2012

Feedstock

Crop residue

Start-up date

Q1/Q2 2014

Biomass stackyard, saccharification and fermentation tanks, biomass receiving and grinding building are complete.

OCTOBER 2013 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 17


PowerNews UK announces sustainability standards U.K. pellet demand (in million metric tons) Consumption

Imports

Imports from U.S.

2010

1.99

2011

2.72

1.015

0.274

2012

3.38

1.47

0.475

2013 (projected)

4.54

SOURCE: USDA FAS GAIN, EU BIOFUELS ANNUAL 2013

New solid biomass sustainability standards are set to go into effect in the U.K. in 2015. According to the U.K. Department of Energy & Climate Change, once the standards take effect, the biomass industry will be required to show its fuel is sustainable to receive financial support under the Renewables Obligation. The requirements will apply to electricity generators of 1 megawatt (MW) capacity or higher that use biomass or biogas feedstock. The DECC estimates the 1 MW threshold will cover approximately 98 percent of all biomass power generation in the U.K. Power producers covered by the sustainability standards will also be required to provide an

independent sustainability audit with their annual sustainability report. In order to provide certainty to investors and developers, the DECC has indicated that there will be no additional unilateral changes to sustainability criteria before April 2027. “The coalition is committed to delivering clean, affordable and secure energy for consumers,” said Greg Barker, Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change. “This includes an important role for biomass power as part of the UK’s energy mix. The new criteria will provide the necessary investor certainty and, crucially, ensure that the biomass is delivered in a transparent and sustainable way.”

RE-Powering tool highlights bioenergy potential The U.S. EPA has updated its RE-Powering Mapping and Screening Tool. The tool, part of the REPowering America’s Land Initiative, provides preliminary screening results for renewable energy potential on contaminated land, landfill and mine sites. It now profiles 66,000 locations, up from 34,000. The tool pulls data from EPA databases of potentially and formerly contaminated lands. The REPowering Initiative has worked in collaboration with the U.S. DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory to develop screening criteria for biomass, solar, wind and geothermal potential on identified sites. Currently, the tool identifies 9,966 potential sites for biopower development. These sites have biomass resources of at least 280,000 metric tons per year within 50 miles, are at least 50 acres in size, are less than 10 miles from transmission lines and are close to graded roads and rail. In addition, 1,947 sites are identified as potential locations for landfill gas projects, with 9,966 potential sites identified as possible biorefinery locations. More than 70 renewable energy projects have already been installed on contaminated lands or landfills through the initiative, representing more than 200 MW of combined capacity. Most of these projects to date have been solar, with EPA data highlighting only one 20 MW project currently employing biomass. However, information published by the agency states that biomass potential at EPA’s tracked sites is more than 190,000 MW on a technical basis.

12 Greenway Plaza Suite 1100 Houston TX 77046 Toll Free: 1 855 8HIMARK (1 855 844 6275) email: info@HimarkBioGas.com

18 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2013


POWER¦

USDA Commits to Biomass BY BOB CLEAVES

In mid-September, the USDA made a public commitment to support bioenergy, including the biomass, pellet and thermal industries. At a press conference, Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Biomass Power Association and a few of our sister organizations. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who could not be there due to a last-minute emergency, expressed enthusiasm for the agreement. In a personal statement he issued, Vilsack said, “Today's announcements will help us find innovative ways to use leftover wood to create renewable energy and support good jobs in rural America. Wood-to energy efforts are a part of our 'all of the above' energy strategy. Appropriately scaled wood energy facilities also support our efforts to remove hazardous fuels and reduce the risks of catastrophic wildfires." This is a significant step forward for biomass. Public recognition by a federal agency for not only producing renewable energy, but also for our role in reducing the risk of forest fires, is a big deal. Particularly during a month when wildfires threatened Yosemite National Park in California, it was gratifying to see the federal government acknowledging the benefits of biomass. Part of the MoU will cover efforts to promote biomass to the general public, and part of the agreement will cover increased coordination among federal agencies in addressing biomass, something which could prove especially helpful to us as we prepare for a final ruling by the U.S. EPA on the regulation of biomass emissions under the Clean Air Act. In the weeks leading up to the announcement, the Biomass Power Association collected stories of successful USDA-biomass partnerships around the country. We found some excellent examples of how these publicprivate partnerships can keep federal lands healthy while generating clean energy, so I thought I would share a few of them here: • Colorado The Eagle Valley project by Evergreen Clean Energy will open this fall in Gypsum, Colo. It will use woody biomass from 2,500 acres of land ravaged by beetle kill and posing high wildfire risks, to power nearly 8,000 local homes and businesses. A USDA Stewardship Contract and a $40 million Rural Utilities Service loan guarantee made this possible.

• New York A USDA collaboration in New York with ReEnergy Holdings in the North Country region of New York is helping fund an innovative public/private partnership to invest in energy crops grown on marginal farmland and used as fuel to produce electricity. • Arizona The White Mountain Stewardship Project is a partnership between Novo Power LLC in Snowflake, Ariz., and the U.S. Forest Service, created largely as a result of the Rodeo-Chediski fire of 2002. The 10-year contract was established to thin approximately 150,000 acres in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. This program provides approximately 155,000 bone-dry tons of ponderosa pine chips annually to the region, enough to power approximately 20,000 homes and businesses. • California Avista, a biomass company based in northeast Washington, received at its Woodland facility in California logs that were damaged by wildfire in the Lake Tahoe area as a result of a U.S. Forest Service partnership. The Stockton, Calif., area also yielded wood byproducts from trees infected by light brown apple moth and the pathogen sudden oak death. • Montana Stoltze Land and Lumber in Columbia Falls, Mont., generates heat for mill operations and sells 2.5 MW of power to Flathead Electric Cooperative. A USDA partnership helped Stoltze replace a 30-year-old wood boiler. • Oregon Biomass One, a 30-MW wood-fired biomass power plant, is located in the Rogue River Valley in southern Oregon that includes federally managed lands such as Siskiyou National Forest, the Umpqua National Forest, the Klamath National Forest and the Medford District of the Bureau of Land Management. This year, an estimated 25 percent of Biomass One’s fuel consumption will consist of material processed and recovered as a byproduct from forest operations. U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management stewardship projects combined yield around 30,000 tons of woody biomass in the region each year. We are looking forward to seeing even more partnerships following the USDA agreement. Author: Bob Cleaves President and CEO, Biomass Power Association www.biomasspowerassociation.com bob@biomasspowerassociation.com

OCTOBER 2013 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 19


ÂŚPOWER

COVETED TECHNOLOGY: PHG Energy recently completed its first waste-toenergy downdraft gasification installation for the city of Covington, Tenn. PHOTO: PHG ENERGY

20 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2013


POWER¦

Modular

Mastery PHG Energy has proven its downdraft gasification technology and is ready to scale up. BY ANNA SIMET

W

ith a population of just over 9,000 people, the city of Covington in western Tennessee has made a mark on the renewables map. Its recently completed, waste-to-energy gasification plant installed by PHG Energy went on line in early September, and materials the city has been stockpiling during its development are now being fed into the system for power production. “Yesterday, Covington was throwing wood waste and sewage sludge into the landfill,” explains Chris Koczaja, PHG Energy vice president of sales and engineering. “Today they’re mixing 80 to 90 percent woodchips with 10 to 20 percent sewage sludge and gasifying it into heat energy.” Previously, the city was spending about $30 per ton in both tipping fees and transportation, but is already seeing positive cash flow. The system utilizes PHGE’s proprietary 12-ton-per-day capacity downdraft gasifier to supply 6 million Btus of producer gas per hour as the central technology. The gasifier design, which has been vetted through over 40,000 hours of commercial production use, allows the

OCTOBER 2013 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 21


¦POWER GENIUS GENERATOR: Power at the Covington gasification plant is produced via a General Electric Organic Rankine Cycle generator. PHOTO: PHG ENERGY

city to dispose of about 10 tons of urban wood waste and 2 tons of sewer sludge each day, or 360 tons per month. In a nutshell, PHGE’s plant design includes wood chipping and material handling, chip and sludge mixing and drying, gasification conversion of the feedstock to gas, a thermal oxidizer and an oil heater to provide heat power for a General Electric Clean Cycle heat-to-power Organic Rankine Cycle generator. Direct use of the ORC generator to produce power from a gasification plant was pioneered this year through a research and development project PHGE completed with General Electric. While just bringing the project on line is exciting—commissioning should be complete by late October—the successful installation is particularly noteworthy because it will likely lead to larger projects, which have traditionally utilized updraft gasifiers.

Up with Downdraft “For larger gasification projects, updraft gasifiers have been prevalent, as downdraft gasifiers have traditionally been limited in size and deemed not scalable,” Koczaja says. “[However] downdraft gasifiers offer easy operation and low operation and maintenance costs—very few moving parts—power density, and a cleaner gas as their output.” The cleaner gas is a result of air being drawn downward through the feedstock, in the same direction the biomass is moving. Main reactions occur in a throat-like constriction area where the tars and volatile gases are passed through a hot bed of char and broken down into carbon monoxide and hydrogen, at a much higher temperature than in an updraft gasifier. As a result, downdraft gasifiers produce cleaner gas. Through focused R&D, PHGE has been able to develop a line of gasifiers that maintain the benefits of downdraft while overcoming the issue of scalability. Rather than scaling up and then looking at symptoms to try to correct them, PGHE approached the core problem—the geom22 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2013


POWER¦ etry in the gasifier itself—first. “Our theoretical physicist on staff knew if he could create the right conditions inside the gasifier, he could change the fundamental design that the industry’s used over the last 100 years, in a way that would be feasible and very easy to operate,” Koczaja says. That approach proved successful, as PHGE has built what it believes is the largest downdraft gasifier in the world at 64 tons per day and 32 million Btu/hr, located in Greenwood, Miss. Fully functional and operating just like the smaller gasifier in the Covington project, Koczaja says the company uses this “full-scale, serial #1” for feedstock testing and proof of concept. There, a vast range of feedstocks have been successfully tested, including chips from wood waste or forest residuals, purpose-grown biomass crops, chopped or shredded tires, ag waste such as corn or cotton stalks, food processing wastes, municipal or industrial sludge, coal and processed and pelletized municipal solid waste. Feedstock flexibility is a noteworthy advantage a municipality would reap from gasification as opposed to a different technology. “New feedstocks can be introduced without having to modify components,” Koczaja says. Additionally, systems are generally easy to operate and can be stopped on a dime by personnel, all of which in Covington’s case are the city’s existing workforce, and not specialized technicians that had to be brought in. “If [Covington] needs to stop it for any reason, they can simply hit the stop button and it shuts down,” he says. “It can be started right back up.” And perhaps the most obvious advantage is that there isn’t a time or space element, as there is when using other technologies such as landfill gas. “You have to wait, and you’re also taking up space in the landfill. [With gasification] you’re skipping that step.” Via the Mississippi system and three other commercial installations at brick kilns, PHGE was able to prove these advantages and demonstrate the system to Covington, and Mayor David Gordon signed a contract with the company in July 2012. The total cost of the plant was $2.5 million, $250,000 of which was paid for with a grant from the

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservations. The remainder was financed through a 20-year Tennessee Municipal Bond Fund. Confident in the scalability of its modular design, PHGE is ready to move full speed ahead with larger installations.

Improving Economics “Since the system design is modular, it can easily be upgraded to accommodate larger municipal or industrial facilities,” Koczaja says. “Economies of scale kick in very quickly, and savings become substantial. Other such projects now in the development pipeline are showing payback periods of three to five years. Covington is a small town, and it’s always easier and cheaper to do things bigger. If we can make it work on Covington’s scale, the economics just get better for the cost of the installed equipment.” As for other current and future endeavors, Koczaja says PHGE is currently working

with some islands in the Caribbean on energy options. “I think that is one of the biggest things that gasification can help with…they are already bringing in types of energy and filling their landfills. We’re trying to help them connect those two dots to make energy, and utilize their tremendous growing seasons and land mass to grow their energy. Those dollars going offshore to buy oil are dollars they could keep in the local economy while dramatically decreasing energy costs.” There is one very important thing to note about gasification, Koczaja adds. “It’s here, and it’s real. It’s not conceptual with unrealistic goals and unrealistic components… it’s something, that in another month [in Covington], you’ll be able to come and touch, feel, and see that it works.” Author: Anna Simet Managing Editor, Biomass Magazine asimet@bbiinternational.com 701-751-2756

OCTOBER 2013 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 23


ÂŚPOWER

PHOTO: BBI INTERNATIONAL, SUSANNE RETKA SCHILL

DEPARTMENT

MEETING A MILESTONE: For a year, Ineos Bio New Planet Energy has been generating renewable power from the biomass gasifier, shown here with Peter Williams, CEO, left, and Mark Niedershulte, chief operating officer, in the foreground. Commissioning the syngas-fermentation-to-ethanol system took 10 months.

The Value of Versatility Besides cellulosic ethanol on a commercial scale, Ineos Bio’s Florida biorefinery generates 6 MW of power via a feedstock flexible gasification technology. BY SUSANNE RETKA SCHILL

T

he staff at Ineos Bio New Planet Energy LLC has settled into the daily routine of commercial production at the first-of-its-kind cellulosic ethanol and renewable power facility near the Indian River Landfill outside of Vero Beach, Fla. A steady stream of trucks delivers yard and tree trimmings to the feedstock yard, where the material is shredded and piled for open-air drying in the Florida sun before being moved over to the covered shelter and fed into a dryer and gasifier. The heat recovered from the cooling gas is used to generate 6 MW of electricity and the cleaned, cooled syngas goes to a patented anaerobic bacterial fermentation process producing 8 MMgy of ethanol.

24 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2013

In the continuous process, feedstock entering into the gasifier exits as ethanol less than 10 minutes later. The project is a joint venture between Florida-based New Planet Energy Florida LLC and Ineos Bio, a division of global chemical company the Ineos Group. The $130 million project received a $50 million U.S. DOE matching grant in December 2009 and a $75 million USDA loan guarantee in January 2011. A groundbreaking ceremony was held a month later. The process design was worked out in over 40,000 hours of operation since 2003 at a fully-integrated pilot plant in Fayetteville, Ark., using a wide variety of feedstocks. Ineos purchased the pilot facility

and technology in 2008 from Bioengineering Resources Inc., forming its IneosBio division to commercialize the process. The Ineos Group also is relatively new, being formed in 1998 to acquire a petrochemical refinery in Antwerp, Belgium. In a series of acquisitions, Ineos purchased technology rights and production facilities from companies such as Dow Chemicals, Rhodia, BASF, Chevron, Phillips, Monsanto, Hoechst and, in 2006, BP Chemicals. Sales in the past two years have topped $43 billion from 15 Ineos business segments that manufacture a wide range of chemical intermediates. The production network spans 51 manufacturing facilities in 11 countries.


PHOTO: BBI INTERNATIONAL, SUSANNE RETKA SCHILL

POWER¦

DIVERSIFIED FEEDSTOCK: Individuals and contractors deliver truckloads of vegetative waste round the clock. Ineos Bio is paid the tipping fee for its feedstock, generated by the 170,000 residents in the two participating counties.

In that context, Ineos Bio’s work in Florida seems small, but it is the first new technology Ineos has commercialized itself, although it has licensed more than 40 around the world. Peter Williams is CEO of both Ineos Bio and Ineos Technologies, which licenses the company’s technology portfolio. He says the company’s licensees typically take four years from project launch to being operational. “That’s with known technologies and experienced companies,” he adds. Ineos is quite pleased, he says, with the team’s accomplishment in bringing a new technology online in just five years. Mark Niedershulte, explains that at BP Chemicals and other earlier positions, he has worked on six new technologies where each took about 20 years in development. Given that University of Arkansas professor James Gaddy first isolated the ethanol-producing organism in 1992, this project fits into that timeline. When Ineos Bio purchased the technology rights and Arkansas pilot facility five years ago, Niedersholte says they focused their work on optimizing two new technologies, biomass gasification and the microbial fermentation, into ethanol. Other systems such as the generator and distillation unit were well-established technologies purchased from others. The Ineos Bio gasification process is a two-step, oxygen-blown technology that converts the prepared, dried biomass into a synthesis gas. Feedstocks of different bulk density, particle shape and size may be mixed together to optimize feed rate and minimize entrained air. Upon exposure to the heat in the lower chamber of the gasifier, further drying takes place followed by pyrolysis, generating a pyrolysis gas that passes through to the upper

chamber where it is mixed with more oxygen, generating more heat from partial combustion. The high temperature and residence time crack the pyrolysis gases into carbon monoxide, hydrogen and carbon dioxide. No tars or aromatic hydrocarbons are present in the syngas. The gasification proceeds in a reducing environment, with insufficient oxygen present for complete oxidation of the carbon present. This reducing environment suppresses the formation of dioxins and furans, and any dioxins or furans introduced with the feedstock are destroyed. The gasifier also operates at slightly negative pressure to prevent the escape of gases. The hot synthesis gas is quenched and cleaned and the heat recovered to generate renewable electricity. The cooled, cleaned syngas is compressed as it is introduced to the patented fermentation process at low temperature and pressure where bacteria rapidly convert the carbon and hydrogen into ethanol. Most of the syngas is converted to ethanol and any unconverted vent gas is cleaned and combusted to generate additional renewable power. Sufficient heat and power are generated and recycled in the integrated process to meet the facility’s entire energy needs, with between 1 and 2 MW of surplus power exported to the grid. With all its waste feedstock virtually local, and its ethanol being shipped to nearby Florida terminals as well, Ineos Bio has an impressive energy balance. Author: Susanne Retka Schill Senior Editor, Biomass Magazine sretkaschill@bbiinternational.com 701-738-4922

OCTOBER 2013 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 25


PelletNews EU pellet demand, production continues growth EU pellet production (in million metric tons) 2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013 (estimated)

2014 (projected)

3.52

5.782

6.294

6.669

9.241

9.62

10

10.15

10.3

Germany

1.1

1.46

1.6

1.75

1.88

2

2

Sweden

1.36

1.58

1.58

1.65

1.34

1.34

1.35

Austria

0.7

0.625

0.695

0.85

0.94

0.89

0.95

0.4

0.55

0.65

0.65

0.65

E.U. total

Portugal

SOURCE: USDA FAS GAIN, EU BIOFUELS ANNUAL REPORT 2013

The European Union recently published its annual biofuels report for 2013 with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s Global Agricultural Information Network, reporting European wood pellet consumption is expected to increase markedly, reaching 20 to 32 million tons of oil equivalent (Mtoe). The report estimated 2008 consumption at 2.5 Mtoe. Both domestic production of pellets within Europe and imports have increased in recent years. In 2006, the E.U. produced approximately 3.52 million metric tons of wood pellets. Production is expected to reach 10.15 million metric tons this year, and increase to 10.3 million metric tons in 2014. Imports measured only 800,000 metric tons in 2006, but are projected to grow to 6 million metric tons this year and 7 million metric tons next year.

26 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2013

Consumption has also grown rapidly, from 4.606 million metric tons in 2006 to 14.3 million metric tons last year. In 2013, the EU is expected to consume 16 million metric tons of wood pellets, with consumption growing to 17.1 million metric tons next year. The U.K. is currently Europe’s largest consumer of pellets, with 4.54 million metric tons of demand expected this year. Denmark and the Netherlands round out the top three consumers, with 2.5 million metric tons and 2 million metric tons of consumption expected this year, respectively. Sweden, Germany and Belgium also consume large volumes of pellets. Consumption in the U.K., the Netherlands and Belgium is dominated by large-scale power plants, while demand in Denmark and Sweden results from household and mediumscale use.

MSW pelleting project planned in Maryland Washington County, Md., recently announced it is forming a public-private partnership with America First Inc. to launch a two-phase waste-to-renewable energy initiative. During the first phase, a facility will be constructed to convert municipal solid waste (MSW) into refuse-derived fuel pellets. That facility will include recycling, sorting, shredding and pelletizing operations, with all nonrecyclable components of MSW processed into fuel pellets. The proposed phase two component of the project will include the development of a gasification plant to convert a portion of the MSW pellets into drop-in biofuels. Julie Pippel, Washington County director for environmental management, said the first phase of the initiative is currently expected to break ground in 2014, once all permitting requirements are met. Construction on phase two of the project would commence 18 months after phase one. According to Pippel, pellets produced at the facility will be sold into various markets, including the industrial sector for use as fuel in boiler systems and kilns. Washington County will provide the facility with the MSW it collects. There are also plans to mine the landfill to recover buried MSW in the future.


PELLET¦

Pellet Heat Approaches Liftoff with Residential Consumers BY BILL BELL

“We’re this far from taking off,” said a speaker at a pellet boiler firm’s recent sales meeting in Portland, Maine, while holding his thumb and index finger two inches apart. At the same time, another major pellet boiler firm in Maine is pounding the television airwaves with a commercial comparing the price of pellet fuel to heating oil, and Maine’s state energy agency recently announced an incentive program whereby up to 50 residential pellet boiler purchasers will receive rebates up to $5,000. The boiler firms and installers hope that this incentive will prove so popular that it will be extended beyond the initial funding. Speaking at the 2013 Kedel (a Danish pellet boiler) Summit in Portland, former Biomass Thermal Energy Council Chairman Charlie Niebling was asked what it will take for residential pellet boiler sales in Maine and New Hampshire to achieve liftoff. Niebling suggested that increased tension in the Middle East, thereby spiking oil prices, would be an obvious stimulus. Absent such a spike, Niebling stated that while the pellet sector is “poised to significantly expand,” it behooves the industry to undertake a strong education and promotion program. Other speakers at the meeting cited the need to answer consumer questions about bulk delivery, the longterm price outlook for pellets, the resale value of homes with central pellet heat, and greenhouse gas emissions. A panel of customers speaking at the end of the meeting emphasized that the desire to “get away from oil,” for both economic and environmental reasons, trumped whatever unanswered questions they had about switching to pellets. A secondary reason cited was a desire to spend their fuel dollars in support of Maine’s forest products economy. Sales staff at the meeting spoke with confidence, noting that the 20-year longevity of oil burners means that every year, five percent of Maine homeowners are in the marketplace for a new heating system. The marketing pitch is “pellets are half the price of oil, and emit one-tenth the greenhouse gas.” Will Maine be a significant partner in achieving pellet heat liftoff ? According to its critics, the outlook

among some trustees and staff at the state’s energy agency, Efficiency Maine, is that economic development considerations—the huge multiplier effect of a heating system using a locally produced fuel—are not central to the agency’s mission. In addition, the “insulation uber alles” crowd continues to demand that no home receive funds for a heating system change-out without the building envelope first being secured, a proposition that often leaves the homeowner with only enough funds for a new oil burner. There are indications that the insulationists’ shrill arguments, threatening legal action if Efficiency Maine does not interpret an ambiguous section of new state law in their favor, are losing sway at the state agency. Also, Efficiency Maine recently made a modest grant to assist the Northern Forest Center’s promising Model Neighborhood project, which incentivizes pellet boiler installations in a concentrated area of homeowners. At any rate, Efficiency Maine has just announced a wide range of incentives designed to reduce both energy demand and heating costs. Pellet stove purchasers will receive a $250 rebate provided the stove is EPA-approved and makeup air is ducted into the unit. Homeowners installing heat pumps or efficient new gas, propane, or oil furnaces will receive $500 rebates. The first 50 homeowners to install pellet boilers meeting HUD Energy Saver standards—or geothermal heat— will receive a $5,000 rebate, which is approximately the incentive amount that has proved most effective in selling pellet boilers. Our industry up here obviously hopes that this incentive, sales force enthusiasm, the media advertising being done by one boiler firm—Maine Energy Systems—promoting pellet heat in general, and word-ofmouth recognition of our product quality will get us into a sharply upward flight path. Author: Bill Bell Executive Director, Maine Pellet Fuels Association 207-752-1392 feedalliance@gwi.net

OCTOBER 2013 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 27


ÂŚPELLET CONTRIBUTION

Torrefaction: Pre- or Post-Pelletization Oakridge National Laboratory tests identify differing physical and chemical characteristics and energy use of two torrefied pellet pathways. BY SHAHAB SOKHANSANJ

R

ecent developments in densification technologies, including pelletization, have substantially improved the economics of moving biomass around the globe. This is one of the reasons that the wood pellet industry has become an inevitable part of the bioeconomy in the U.S., Canada and elsewhere. To be an effective alternative to coal, increasing the energy density of pellets is as important as increasing bulk density and durability. The high heating value of currently marketed pellets is about 19 gigajoule (GJ) per metric ton, which limits the proportion that can be used in cofiring with coal, with a heating value as high as 28 to 30 GJ per metric ton. In this context, removing the low-heat content volatiles from biomass is a promising strategy to increase the overall heat value of pellets and the ability to store them outside brings storage and handling costs on par with coal. Torrefaction, also known as mild pyrolysis/carbonization, is a thermal pretreatment

process to upgrade lignocellulosic biomass into a higher-quality energy and carbon carrier, to augment coal. The process subjects the biomass to temperatures ranging from 200 to 300 degrees Celsius in the absence of oxygen for up to 30 minutes. The slow heating process roasts biomass, releasing volatile compounds and breaking down hemicelluloses. Torrefaction has been proposed as a robust strategy to overcome the heterogeneity among different types of cellulosic feedstocks, thus producing a uniform-quality energy commodity with improved energy/carbon content and grindability. The bulk density of the torrefied material, however, is generally lower than that of the raw biomass, making transport and storage economically challenging. Therefore, combining torrefaction and pelletization has great potential to upgrade raw biomass to a universal energy commodity.

Pellets to the Test In a research project for the Environmental Sciences Division of Oak Ridge Na-

tional Laboratory, two process pathways were investigated to make torrefied wood pellets from Douglas fir wood chips. Both pathways started with dry wood chips as the raw material and ended with torrefied wood pellets as the final product. For Pathway I, the chips were ground, pelletized and pellets were torrefied. For Pathway II, the chips were initially torrefied and then ground and pelletized. Since there are pros and cons associated with each of these process schemes, a detailed laboratory experiment was planned to evaluate the characteristics of each operation, along with the compositional and physical properties as well as energy and mass balance. For the experiments, Douglas fir wood chips with an average size of 30 to 50 millimeter and initial moisture content of 45 to 50 percent were collected from Fibreco Co. located in North Vancouver, British Columbia. The material was first dried to 15 percent moisture content for grinding or almost bonedry condition for torrefaction prior to grind. Both untreated wood chips and torrefied

Physical Property Comparison Pellet type

Diameter (mm)

MC (%)

Particle density (g/cm3)

Bulk density (kg/m3)

High heat value (MJ/kg)

Durability (% )

Pellets made from untreated wood chips

6.43

6.7

1.16

674

18.82

80.7

Pellets made from torrefied woodchips mixed with 7% wheat flour binder, at 260 degrees Celsius

6.47

8.6

1.21

-

-

85

Regular white pellets torrefied at 260 C

6.28

1.9

1.14

614

21.08

63.9

Regular white pellets torrefied at 280 C

6.12

1.7

1.04

579

21.97

62

Regular white pellets torrefied at 300 C

6.12

1.5

0.96

510

23

60.9

28 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2013


PELLETÂŚ

wood chips were ground with a hammer mill under the same experimental conditions (the same feed rate and screen mesh size). Drying, followed by torrefaction, was performed in a Carbolite oven, which operates at temperatures ranging from room temperature to 600 C. Torrefaction was carried out in a stainless steel box installed inside the oven with nitrogen introduced to provide an oxygen-free environment. A lab-scale California pellet mill was used for pelletizing both torrefied and untreated materials at 13 percent moisture content.

Comparing Systems Since biomass is generally flexible and tenacious, it is energy intensive to reduce the particle size prior to the pelletization process or to use them in pulverized combustion systems. From the comparison of processes, it is clear that loss of moisture and some of the volatiles during torrefaction process makes biomass more brittle and easier to grind. The torrefied material was found to consume nearly 20 times less energy to grind than untreated wood chips. The torrefied material had to be reconditioned, however, to bring it back up to 13 percent moisture from the 2 percent level that followed torrefaction, before pelletization. Pelletization of the untreated materials was possible without using any binding agents, while the addition of a wheat flour binder, at

5 percent mass basis, was necessary to enable effective pelletization of torrefied material. Pelletization of the torrefied material with the use of binder resulted in pellets with relatively higher density, durability and lower moisture absorption than torrefied pellets. In order to understand the stability of the pellets in water, both types of pellets were immersed. Compared to the raw material pellets, which readily disintegrated when immersed in water, both types of torrefied material exhibited higher stability in water. However, it was found that the pellets made from torrefied wood chips fell apart relatively easily, whereas the pelletized-and-torrefied material stayed intact for more than two hours. Similar results were seen when the three samples were subjected to high humidity. It appears that penetration of the water vapor and its subsequent condensation is critically dependent on the external surface area of the pellets. In the case of pelletized and subsequently torrefied material, it appears that torrefaction substantially increased the external porosity of the pellets and more water vapor can potentially get condensed in the small pores present in the outer surface of the pellets. In the case of untreated pellets and torrefied and subsequently pelletized material, pelletizing could pack the materials tighter with less external surface area and less porosity available for vapors condensation.

Pathway I, which involved drying, grinding, pelletization and torrefaction, consumed slightly higher amount of energy compared to Pathway II, which consisted of the direct torrefaction of the wet wood chips, grinding and pelletization. However, this lower energy consumption was at the expense of using binders during pelletization. Additionally, the quality of the wood pellets resulting from the pelletization of the torrefied material was still poor, including lower heat values and higher moisture content. Therefore, in order to get the benefit from the energy savings of Pathway II, we need to develop effective process strategies to improve the binding and pelletability of the torrefied material to make it more durable, denser and stronger. Torrefaction following pelletization currently appears to be a promising strategy to obtain torrefied wood pellets which are transportable with improved durability, reduced moisture content and higher energy value. Author: Shahab Sokhansanj Bioenergy Resource and Engineering Systems Group Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory sokhansanjs@ornl.gov University of British Columbia researchers involved in the torrefaction project include: Bahman Ghiasi, Takaaki Furubayashi, Linoj Kumar, Tony Bi, Anthony Lau, Jim Lim, Chang Soo Kim and Jack Saddler.

OCTOBER 2013 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 29


ThermalNews Pellet stoves sold 2010

2011

2012

Italy

176,000

182,000

195,000

France

27,000

38,000

53,200

Spain

16,000

10,000

11,000

Germany

15,000

7,000

7,000

Austria

3,273

5,000

7,000

SOURCE: EUROPEAN PELLET COUNCIL, 2012

PFI conference predicts growth Presentations at the annual Pellet Fuels Institute conference held in July show that the outlook for the industry is still positive, both domestically and internationally. Daniel Saloni, assistant professor in forestry at North Carolina State University, pointed out that both aggressive and conservative economic models for the pellet industry are predicting growth. Although U.S. pellet stove sales dropped when natural gas prices nosedived over the past couple of years, Seth Walker, an associate economist with RISI Inc. estimated the U.S. currently has approximately 845,000 pellet stoves installed. According to

Walker, an additional 50,000 to 60,000 stoves are expected to be added annually over the next several years. While the EU power market has gotten much attention, the heating market comprises 40 percent of the EU pellet market, with no subsidy required. “Pellets are 30 percent cheaper than heating oil,” said Gordon Murray, executive director of the Wood Pellet Association of Canada. “The consumer market in the EU has grown into a very stable market,” added Arnold Dale with Sweden-based Ekman & Co. “It is no longer seasonal. People prefer to buy pellets in the summer months.”

30 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2013

Metso supplies plant to Finland district heating project Metso has announced it will supply a 10 MW biomass plant for hot water district heating to energy company Elenia Lämpö in Turenki, Finland. The facility will be fired using locally sourced biomass, such as forest residues and peat and utilize Metso’s advanced BioGrate combustion technology, which enables a wide selection of fuels. The plant is scheduled to be operational in early 2014. BioGrate is a rotating grate with a conical primary combustion chamber. The fuel input can range from 4 MW to 20 MW and is fed from underneath the center of the grate. Fuel dries in the middle of the grate by the heat radiating from the refractory lining bricks and by the flames without disturbing the burning fuel bed in the combustion zone. According to Metso, after the near complete combustion of the residual carbon, the ash falls from the edge of the grate to the ash space filled with quenching water. “Elenia Lämpö's investment in the heating plant is an excellent example of a project that increases the utilization of local Finnish fuels in an energy-efficient and environmentally friendly manner. The Turenki site highlights the need for a flexible and highly adjustable plant solution that is able to effectively respond to heating needs throughout the year. The advanced BioGrate combustion technology enables a wide selection of fuels, low internal consumption and highly flexible adjustability,” says Teemu Koskela, who is in charge of bioheat plant sales at Metso.


THERMAL¦

Significance of the USDA Wood-to-Energy MoU BY JOSEPH SEYMOUR

Ninety seconds, or 175 words. That was my window for brief speech conveying the positive benefits of biomass thermal energy to an audience of reporters, federal agency staff, and forestry groups during last month’s USDA Woodto-Energy memorandum of understanding (MoU) signing. On the stage to my left were colleagues from the biomass power, pellet, and consumer advocacy sectors, and to my right USDA leadership. We were all there to recognize one thing: the vital role of woody biomass utilization for energy in promoting forest health, rural economies, and energy independence. Groups such as BTEC, the Pellet Fuels Institute, Biomass Power Association, and Alliance for Green Heat have all—to some extent—engaged each other and the USDA on various bioenergy issues, but the signing ceremony on the morning of Sept. 11 formalized each group’s roles and set industry-wide goals. The MoU on Wood Energy had been in development with the aforementioned partners for well over a year, and was carefully tailored to address today’s energy and environmental issues. It was no coincidence that Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden announced the recipients of the USDA’s State-wide Wood-to-Energy Teams prior to the MoU signing. Fighting forest fires and funding fuels reduction efforts are straining the Forest Service’s resources, and supporting biomass utilization can help meet those needs. Neither the federal government nor the biomass industry needs an arrangement like the MoU to promote forest health or produce renewable energy, but its presence creates new opportunities for growth and improvement. The purpose of the MoU is straightforward, “to establish the basis for cooperative programs, communications, technological advances, and project development toward an expanded use of wood energy in the U.S.” The words “communication” and “cooperation” are used nearly 10 times in the short document. In effect, USDA is creating a two-way street to improve its biomass energy programs, eligibility requirements, and research projects, among others. In turn, bioenergy groups are expected to collaborate with USDA

on their projects, communicate industry advancements, and contribute expertise to agency activities. The concept of an MoU between the USDA and the agricultural sector is not new. Just this spring, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy resigned its agreement with the USDA from 2009.That agreement is also focused on the nexus of energy and environmental issues, with a clear goal of helping the dairy industry increase sustainable practices and the Innovation Center’s own goal of reducing the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by the year 2020. While it is difficult to tease out whether one caused the other, the dairy industry has seen significant USDA investments and awards since its initial agreement: 140 successful REAP(Rural Energy for America Program) related loans and grants, 180 awards for biogas systems, conservation planning assistance for 6,000 dairy farmers, 354 on-farm and in-plant energy audits, and 18 conservation innovation grants. With its agreement, the dairy industry went from, “Got Milk?” to “Get-er-Done.” So what tangible progress will the new Wood-toEnergy MoU yield? That answer lies with the partners and the USDA. From a biomass thermal perspective, I see several near- and longer-term USDA activities like agency participation in BTEC’s thermal efficiency standard project, quantifying the health benefits of hazardous fuels reduction for bioenergy, increased eligibility and awareness of biomass thermal fuels and technologies in agency programs, and exploring new programs and partnerships to further biomass thermal deployment. But again, the MoU is as much about the benefitting the USDA as it about the bioenergy industry. So, how can you help the USDA improve its bioenergy capabilities? Don’t be shy, we now have an open line of communication. Author: Joseph Seymour Executive Director, Biomass Thermal Energy Council Jseymour@ttcorp.com 202-457-0868

OCTOBER 2013 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 31


ÂŚTHERMAL

BIO-OIL BRILLIANCE: Metso and VTT will reach a milestone this fall with the completion of a commercial-scale, bio-oil production facility in Joensuu, Finland, at a wood chip-fired cogeneration facility owned by energy company Fortum. PHOTO: FORTUM

32 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2013


THERMAL¦

Thermal Triumphs Relentless R&D efforts have enabled Metso to successfully commercialize large-scale gasification and fast pyrolysis technologies. BY ANNA SIMET

U

sing fast pyrolysis—gasification’s cooler, oxygenless cousin—to economically produce a bio-oil that serves as a replacement for alternative fuel oil has been a challenging endeavor. Despite its unusual properties and typically high capital and operating expenditures, however, there is increased interest around bio-oil production and utilization, and researchers and companies are achieving success in solving commercialization barriers. One of those companies is Metso, whose technology partner, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, has been working on bio-oil since 1982. Jussi Mantyniemi, general manager of technology for Metso’s power business line, says the patented, integrated bio-oil production process has three main parts, the first of which is fuel handling. This includes fuel receiving, drying of the biomass to 10 percent moisture, crushing and conveying. Prepared fuel then enters a fluidized pyrolysis reactor where the dried biomass is pyrolysed in oxygen-free conditions. “The heat for the reaction is provided by the hot sand from the host boiler,” Mantyniemi explains. “After the reactor, in the cyclones, vapors are separated from the sand and char, which are returned to the boiler.” Vapors from the reactor are condensed to form bio-oil, and noncondensable gases are introduced to the boiler for heat and power generation. The technology has been thoroughly tested in a process demonstration unit at VTT, as well as a 7-ton-per-day scale unit at Metso’s research and development facility in Tampere, Finland. Metso and VTT will reach a milestone this fall, with the completion of a commercial-scale production facility in Joensuu, Finland, at a facility owned by energy company Fortum. “The pyrolysis plant is integrated into the existing CHP (combined-heatand-power) plant, and will produce 50,000 tons annually of bio-oil,” Manthyniemi says. Previously, for proof of concept, around 40 metric tons of bio-oil was combusted in Fortum's 1.5 MW district heating plant in Masala, Finland. Commissioning of the plant is scheduled for this fall. Though it may serve as proof that bio-oil can be produced and used at commercial scales, there are still hurdles to robust market development.

Market Development According to Mantyniemi and VTT reseachers, the biggest challenge in commercialization of fast pyrolysis technology is to make bio-oil production competitive in combustion applications. In other words, the whole value chain from the fuel procurement to the end use must be capable of operating in the margin between the price of the reference fuel and the price of the feedstock. The margin for heavy fuel oil replacement is relatively OCTOBER 2013 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 33


small, which makes developing commercial cases very vulnerable. Cases where replacement of light fuel oil is possible are more lucrative, due to the bigger margin. In case of Joensuu, Fortum is planning on utilizing the produced bio-oil in district heating boilers around the Joensuu and Helsinki areas for peak loads, rather than heavy and light fuel oils. Another hurdle to commercialization is burner technology development, as relatively few burner manufacturers have developed commercially available burner models for fast pyrolysis bio-oils, and designs are sensitive to the changes in the quality of the bio-oil. This may cause problems in ignition, flame detection and flame stabilization. On potential users of bio-oil, Mantyniemi says the main customer segments are the pulp and paper industry and heat and power plant owners who have access to biomass. “The integration of the pyrolysis plant energy flows, and utilizing the existing infrastructure, are advantages.” Initial use of bio-oil will be replacement of heavy fuel oil in any current application like industrial boilers, district heating boilers and industrial lime kilns, he adds. “[Bio-oil’s] high-energy density, i.e. transportation cost, is low compared to other forms of bioenergy, and it can be used as a substitute to heavy fuel oil with very limited modifications to the existing equipment and process.” Metso is on track to achieve successes in fast pyrolysis similar to what it has experienced commercializing its gasification technology, which it has spent over 30 years perfecting. According to Bill Partanen, gasification business development manager, the company’s circulating fluidized bed (CFB) gasification systems are based on many years of

PHOTO: METSO

¦THERMAL

GASIFICATION GIANT: Vaskiluodon Voima’s plant in Vaasa, Finland, is Metso’s first utility-scale application of large-scale biomass gasification. Generating 230 MW electricity and 170 MW thermal, the facility has been operating since December 2012.

Cymic CFB and Hybex bubbling fluidized bed system technologies, with over 200 facilities operating worldwide.

Gasification Successes The first CFB gasification system was installed by Gotaverken— now Metso—at a papermill in Varo, Sweden, in 1987, and is it still in operation at the mill, Partanen says. Nine years later, the power boiler business of Götaverken and Finnish boiler company Tampella were merged by Kvaerner, which was acquired by Metso in 2007. “The con-

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THERMAL¦ tinued growth and development of boilers and gasification with these companies has spanned more than 30 years,” Partanen says. As a result of lessons learned over the past 30 years, Metso currently has the two largest CFB gasification plants in successful operation in the world. The Vaasa, Finland, facility, cofires up to 40 percent forest residue in an existing 230 MW electric and 170 MW thermal pulverized coal utility boiler and is the first utility-scale application for Metso. Generating 230 MW electricity and 170 MW thermal, the facility has been in successful operation since December 2012. There are benefits to gasification cofiring, Partanen says, one of which is reusing the existing infrastructure inclusive of the boiler/turbine, an investment cost of approximately 30 percent of a new biomass plant. Additionally, cofiring with biomass provides the option to keep an old, coal-fired plant in operation by reducing mercury, CO2, and SO2 emission limits that might otherwise require new emissions controls equipment. The facility Metso completed in the city of Lahti, Finland, uses sorted municipal solid waste (MSW) to produce 90 MW of thermal energy and 50 MW of electricity for district heating. “This is Metso’s first demonstration facility using sorted MSW, and has been in successful commercial operation since December 2011,” Partanen says. “These are the first forest residue and sorted MSW gasification systems to demonstrate that gasification of these feedstocks can be successfully applied in both the industrial and utility sectors.” Large-scale biomass gasification projects, such as the aforementioned, offer some advantages over small or medium-sized projects, the

biggest of which is economies of scale. “Large-scale gasification can be utilized at large utility and industrial applications where smaller systems would not be cost effective,” Partanen says. “It’s more costly to build and operate multiple small systems than a single large system. The fact that Metso has demonstrated that up to 40 percent of the coal can be displaced with syngas in a utility boiler with no boiler de-rating is an important milestone. Smaller systems don’t make economic sense in utility applications.” On attributes that have allowed Metso to overcome challenges associated with large-scale biomass gasification, Partanen says it has been Metso’s long history of R&D in gasification technology and persistence that has pushed the technology into commercialization. “[Gasification technologies] must go through a learning cycle, and that takes time,” he adds. “Success is also based on understanding what is required, and then building the equipment and systems that fit the need. An example is fuel properties, and the effects these properties will have during the gasification process. Tars have always been a problem with gasifiers, and understanding how to deal with these tars is critical…an understanding of fuels and how different fuel characteristics affect fluidized bed boiler operation is the key to how [Metso] has overcome the challenges associated with gasification.” Author: Anna Simet Managing Editor, Biomass Magazine asimet@bbiinternational.com 701-751-2756

SARY A N NIVER 1984 –

2014

JUNE 9 – 12, 2014 Indianapolis, IN

NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES EXHIBIT.SPONSOR.SPEAK.ATTEND.


BiogasNews

PHOTO: FIBERIGHT LLC

Michigan State U opens AD facility

TRASH TO GAS: Fiberight LLC’s waste recycling plant in Marion, Iowa, will produce MSW-derived feedstock for biogas production.

Fiberight to produce compressed biogas Waste-to-energy firm Fiberight LLC could break ground on a waste recycling plant in Marion, Iowa, before the end of the year. The Marion City Council voted unanimously in August to approve a resolution establishing a 15-year waste supply agreement with the company. Once complete, the facility will process municipal solid waste (MSW) into feedstocks for the production of compressed biogas and cellulosic ethanol. Equipment at the plant will separate out recyclable materials from the MSW. The remaining waste

36 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2013

stream is comprised of soluble organics, which will be fed into a proprietary highrate anaerobic digestion (AD) system, and cellulosic materials, which will be processed into cellulosic biofuel at a nearby plant in Blairstown. Biogas generated in the AD system will be compressed for use as transportation fuel. Craig Stuart-Paul, chief executive of Fiberight, estimates the production of bioCNG will begin during the second quarter of next year.

Michigan State University recently celebrated the opening of an anaerobic digestion (AD) facility that will take in waste from its farms and dining halls, creating energy for several campus buildings. The system will take in approximately 17,000 tons of organic waste and generate 2.8 million kWh of electricity per year. The campus is also home to a small AD system used for research purposes. According to Dana Kirk, a specialist from MSU’s Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering who is overseeing the project, approximately 20 percent of the energy produced by the new system is used to sustain the anaerobic digestion process. The remaining 80 percent is available for on-campus use. “This system is the largest on a college campus in the United States,” Kirk said. The MSU AD project is one of four on-campus AD systems highlighted during a recent Biomass Magazine webinar. During the event, Kirk spoke about the university’s Anaerobic Digestion Research Education Center, which was founded in 2008 to provide research, evaluation and education related to integrated AD systems for smalland medium-sized facilities.


BIOGAS¦

Infrastructure Critical to Biogas as Transportation Fuel BY AMANDA BILEK

While many of you are familiar with the use of biogas as a means for powering or heating our homes and businesses, I believe that the use of biogas as a transportation fuel is the least well-known and understood application for this versatile and greenhouse gas reducing resource. For this reason, my previous columns have focused on the vast potential of biogas as fuel for our vehicles. If this potential is to be reached, however, a critical component of the plan needs to be addressed first: infrastructure. While current biogas projects can clean and compress biogas into a useable vehicle fuel, new infrastructure is needed to distribute the fuel to our vehicles. Fortunately, the infrastructure needed to use biogas as transportation fuel is enabled by the large infrastructure buildout already occurring for compressed natural gas (CNG). Since biogas can be cleaned to a form that is a direct replacement for conventional natural gas (referred to as biomethane), new fueling pumps and compression equipment capable of filling up CNG vehicles can also dispense blended or pure biomethane. Increasing the amount of biomethane in the overall system not only provides a domestic transportation fuel option, but also decarbonizes the natural gas distribution system, similar to how integration of renewable electricity in the transmission system decarbonizes the electricity grid. In late August, a new biogas fueling station opened at the Rodefeld Landfill in Madison, Wis. The fuel coming out of the nozzle at the bio-CNG filling station will come from biogas collected at the landfill. Dane County had already initiated the process of converting its county fleet vehicles to run on natural gas instead of diesel fuel, which has displaced 25,000 gallons of diesel/gasoline and saved Dane County taxpayers an estimated $50,000 annually. Dane County taxpayers will see even greater savings with lower natural gas purchases. Currently, natural gas prices are forecast to remain low, but combining biomethane with conventional natural gas

purchases provides an important hedge in the event natural gas prices spike. Wisconsin joins the ranks of states that have installed dedicated fueling infrastructure for biogas, including Indiana, Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania. The blending of biomethane with conventional natural gas is also being pursued by Clean Renewable Fuels. Currently, the majority of gasoline dispensed in the U.S. is a blend of 90 percent gasoline and 10 percent ethanol. This concept can be applied to CNG fueling. Clean Energy Renewable Fuels has developed RNG-10 and RNG-20 to market an even cleaner and low-carbon option to customers, and continues to build out natural gas fueling infrastructure. As the infrastructure improves, we will see a significant increase in vehicles filling up with a mix of conventional natural gas and biomethane. While progress is being made in the U.S., Sweden provides a great illustration of what the future could look like. Nearly half of the vehicles—not just passenger—designed to run on natural gas are fueled by biomethane. Sweden harnesses biogas from wastewater treatment facilities, agriculture byproducts, household organics and food processing waste to fuel taxis, trains, buses and large fleet vehicles. The country has built an impressive biomethane distribution system to fuel all these vehicles. Many exciting developments are occurring in our transportation system, and the build out for natural gas refueling infrastructure will bolster increased use of biogas to help meet our transportation needs. Although it is encouraging to see new infrastructure construction, like the bio-CNG fueling station in Wisconsin, there is much more that could be done to fully capture the vast biogas opportunity. Author: Amanda Bilek Energy Policy Specialist, Great Plains Institute. abilek@gpisd.net 612-278-7119

OCTOBER 2013 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 37


AdvancedBiofuelNews Cellulosic plants expected to generate RINs for 2013 compliance U.S. EIA forecast Company

Product

Capacity

Utilization

Production (in million gallons)

Ethanol-equivalent production (in million gallons)

Ineos Bio

Ethanol

8 MMgy

50%

4

4

KiOR

Liquids

11 MMgy

50%

5.5

9

Various pilot plants

Ethanol

1 Mmgy

10%

0.1

0.1

SOURCE: U.S. EPA

EPA finalizes 2013 RFS blending volume requirements The U.S. EPA has finalized the 2013 volume requirements for the renewable fuel standard (RFS), mandating that 16.55 billion gallons of renewable fuels are blended with the U.S. fuel supply this year. At this blend level, biofuels will make up 9.74 percent of U.S. transportation fuel. The 2013 RFS requires 1.28 billion

NextFuels revives hydrothermal technology 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 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.

38 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2013

ethanol-equivalent gallons of biomassbased diesel, accounting for 1.13 percent of the fuel market. The requirement for advanced biofuels is 2.75 ethanol-equivalent gallons, or 1.62 percent of the transportation fuel volume. The cellulosic standard is 6 million ethanol equivalent gallons, which equates to 0.004 percent of transportation

fuel. The remaining 12.514 billion gallons of fuel, on an ethanol equivalent basis, can be met by renewable biofuels. The EPA also extended the 2013 compliance date to June 30, 2014 and announced it plans to reduce both the advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel volumes in the 2014 RFS rulemaking.

Advanced biofuel industry urged to unite Industry leaders at the National Advanced Biofuel Conference & Expo had an adamant, clear-cut message for attendees: if there was ever a time to unite and work together as one force, that time is now. During the kickoff general session, Advanced Biofuel Association President Michael McAdams urged biofuel industry members—whether biodiesel, renewable diesel, cellulosic or first-generation ethanol producers—to protect what they have built over the past 30 years. Specifically, the renewable fuel standard (RFS). “During the next several weeks, we’ll be in the throes [of the RFS’s fate],” he said. McAdams discussed a key July RFS hearing on Capitol Hill, which he described as “a bit theatrical,” and “tilted against higher blends of ethanol.” During the hearing, which played out seemingly well for the industry, both

stakeholders and non-industry members in opposition of the RFS were intensely questioned. As for the ultimate fate of the RFS, McAdams said indications suggest the RFS will not be repealed, but it also won’t be left as status quo. “Everybody in this room has a lot at stake between now and October…for three years I’ve been saying ‘it’s coming, it’s coming,’….and now it’s here. When your industry associations ask you to write a letter or make a call, you need to do it this time.” Additional speakers during the general session included Wayne Simmons, ABFA chairman and CEO of Sundrop Biofuels; Joe Jobe, National Biodiesel Board CEO; Gary Haer, Renewable Energy Group vice president of sales and marketing, and Tim Burns, president and CEO of BioProcess Algae.


ADVANCED BIOFUELS AND CHEMICALS¦

Algae Fuel Passes Another Crucial Test BY MARY ROSENTHAL

The big test of any advanced biofuel is whether it can be produced cost competitively, in a way that reduces greenhouse gases and delivers more energy than it requires, while its inputs such as land, water and nutrients can be provided sustainably. For years, we have known that algae is one feedstock that can theoretically meet all those requirements. In August, the theoretical gave way to real-world data, and the news is even better than expected. For the first time, researchers conducted a lifecycle analysis (LCA) of pilot-scale operations at an algae-to-fuel facility, and found substantial reductions in greenhouse gases over petroleum and a sustainable energy return. They also found that algae-based fuels from the pilot plant are on par with commercial-scale, first-generation biofuels. It concluded that greenhouse gas reductions and energy returns are set to increase even further once economies of scale in production take hold. This latest peer-reviewed LCA, published in Bioresource Technology, examines the cultivation and hydrothermal liquefaction technologies at Sapphire Energy’s Green Crude Farm. This report reinforces a clear trend in the algae industry: During the past few years, the environmental and energy performance of algae-derived fuels has continued to get better. In 2011, the U.S. EPA qualified algae under the advanced biofuel provisions of the renewable fuel standard after finding that algae-based biodiesel could reduce emissions by more than 50 percent compared to conventional fuels. Last fall, the National Research Council report on the sustainability of algal fuels in terms of land use, water and other factors definitively concluded that sustainability concerns are not a barrier to future growth.

The big advantage of this latest analysis is that it addresses one significant drawback of previous studies. Up until now, most peer-reviewed research relied on theoretical production estimates or data available only in the public sphere. Now, a look at one of the first real world operations has given us proof that algae-derived fuels can indeed be produced sustainably and competitively. Meanwhile, the energy return on petroleum fuels has been getting worse. Decades ago, you could expect petroleum to yield 100 times the energy it took to extract the stuff. Today, gasoline will yield as low as four to five times the energy, and prices are near 10-year highs. Furthermore, given that finding new sources of oil is increasingly energy intensive, we can expect the energy return to steadily decrease. Talk about diminishing returns. What does this mean? When the benefits of algae-derived fuel and other advanced biofuels are getting better and the benefits of fossil fuels are being eroded to record lows, you know change is coming. The pilot-scale demonstrations of algae-to-fuel technologies we see today will give way to full-scale production in the next couple of years. Nobody expects fossil fuels to become easier to extract, or to somehow become carbon neutral. And nobody expects gas prices to fall. It all points to a competitive future for advanced biofuels. We know it’s not a question of “if,” and we can see that the “when” is getting closer every day. Author: Mary Rosenthal Executive Director, Algae Biomass Organization mrosenthal@algaebiomass.org 763-458-0068

OCTOBER 2013 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 39


¦ADVANCED BIOFUEL

PHOTO: KEN CHILDRESS, KIOR

40 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2013


ADVANCED BIOFUELÂŚ

Gaining Gasification Ground Companies focused on producing liquid fuels via biomass gasification are making noteworthy progress. BY KEITH LORIA

OCTOBER 2013 | BIOMASS MAGAZINE 41


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clude low feedstock and operating costs, compatibility with the current fuel infrastructure and maximum yield achievements. One such company making a name for itself in the sector is KiOR Inc., a six-year-old company focused on converting biomass into a renewable crude.

Drop-in Fuels KiOR Inc. was founded in 2007 by Khosla Ventures and a group of catalyst scientists who were looking for opportunities to produce renewable fuels from cellulosic biomass. Using a one-step catalytic process, the company developed a means to convert abundant nonfood feedstocks into a renewable crude oil. Using standard refining techniques, the renewable crude oil could be processed into fuels that can drop seamlessly into the existing fuels infrastructure. The company validated the technology and feasibility of the process at its pilot plant in Pasadena, Texas, and subsequently scaled up 400 times in a demonstration unit. It then built a 13 MMgy cellulosic fuel production facility in Columbus, Miss., which commenced

PHOTO: KEN CHILDRESS, KIOR

roject Alpha in North Carolina is going to commercially test a broad range of purpose-grown energy crops. Chemtex International Inc. received a $99 million conditional loan guarantee from the USDA a year ago, along with a $3.9 million grant from the USDA through the Biomass Crop Assistance Program, to help establish 4,000-plus acres of miscanthus and switchgrass across 11 North Carolina counties to help supply the new facility. “The Chemtex project in Clinton, N.C., will use a multifeedstock strategy including switchgrass, high biomass sorghum and arundo donax, as well as select hardwood tree species, miscanthus and Bermuda grass residuals,” says Mark Conlon, vice president of sector development for the Biofuels Center of North Carolina. The push for renewables has fast-tracked the strategic thinking of several biomass companies that have turned to biomass resources to explore the viability of gasification for liquid fuel, fertilizer and chemical production. All in various stages of development with significantly different technology platforms, each have many common goals, which in-

PINING FOR BIOFUEL: This year, KiOR brought on line its 13 MMgy facility in Columbus, Miss., which uses southern yellow pine to produce cellulosic gasoline and diesel.

42 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2013


ADVANCED BIOFUEL¦ shipments of cellulosic gasoline and diesel in 2013. KiOR’s technology is feedstock flexible and has successfully tested a number of different biomass sources. Its Columbus facility is focused on southern yellow pine, which is in abundant supply and has a relatively stable pricing history. “We are beginning to see traction on the commercial development of feedstocks other than southern yellow pine, including hardwood, energy crops and waste products such as railroad ties, all of which we expect to be able to procure at lower costs without negatively impacting the overall growth-to-drain in the basin,” says Fred Cannon, KiOR president and CEO. “This has never been done commercially, so KiOR is charting new territory. We have encountered the normal challenges that any startup company would, but are building our on-stream percentage and getting more fuel on the road.”

provides significantly reduced sizing costs, reduced tar and soot made in the gasifier, improved methane selectivity, and significantly improved duty factor of the feed system,” Goetsch says. “We also have a proprietary oxygen injection system that reduces temperature gradients in the injector region. This mitigates the formation of slag in the gasifier.” SynGas Technology makes use of a circulating solid system that integrates the gasifier with a fluid bed combustor to further take advantage of the differences in slagging propensity of inorganic material in biomass between

the oxidizing environment of the combustor and reducing environment of the gasifier. The system is designed to take advantage of cellulosic feedstock and can handle feedstocks from agricultural residuals to woody biomass. The company has also developed a proprietary, hydrothermally stable, circulating solid catalyst that efficiently transfers heat into the gasifier and provides methane reforming activity and partitions sulfur between the syngas and flue gas streams. This design also reduces the amount of oxygen used in the process— since air can be used in the combustor—and

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High Pressure, High Throughput Conversion technologies for syngas derived from fossil fuels are proven and, in many cases, commercially viable to produce fuels and chemicals. Most, if not all, of the conversion technologies operate at high pressure. The challenge has not been making these materials but making them economically. Duane Goetsch, chief technical officer for Elk River, Minn.-based SynGas Technology LLC, says the focus of SynGas Technology involves the development of a high-pressure, high-throughput gasifier for biomass. Building a modular gasifier island will leave few opportunities for future modifications to reduce costs, Goetsch says. “For this reason, we have developed biomass gasification technology that operates at higher pressure (about 25 standard atmosphere) and significantly shorter residence times than competing technology.” SynGas Technology approached the gasifier design from the vantage of taking virgin biomass and producing synthesis grade syngas.This has led to several unique and proprietary features, which involve syngas that meets the end users specifications regarding the ratio of H2-to-CO, contaminant levels and duty factor with respect to time on stream. “To do this, we’ve developed a proprietary feed system that modifies the composition and morphology of the virgin feed and

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PHOTO: KEN CHILDRESS, KIOR

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PROCESS CONTROL: Gasification technology developers are experimenting with different levels of pressure and process parameters to develop efficient biomass gasification technologies.

gives lower CO2 content in the syngas stream, which reduces downstream CO2 removal costs. Overall, the gasifier has a thermal efficiency of 90 percent and a carbon efficiency of 51 percent. This technology traces its roots to the Exxon Advanced Gas Conversion Process developed in the 1980s and 1990s. The gasifier section makes use of similar fast-fluidized bed technology and builds on the original catalyst development. The technology team was reassembled in 2007 at SGT, and it has been advancing the technology using biomass at pilot scale. The company estimates capital costs savings associated with the gasifier island of $50 million to $100 million and operating costs savings of about 20 percent compared to lower pressure gasification. “We are currently raising funds to build a demonstration facility in northern Minnesota. We anticipate that $25 million will be needed to build and operate the facility and we’re at about 40 percent of our goal,” Goetsch says. “Our objective is to complete the data package necessary to generate process guarantees and information needed to minimize or reduce costs associated with the wrap of a commercial scale facility.”

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44 BIOMASS MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2013

The most obvious challenge of using biomass for gasification is that it is an inferior feed compared to natural gas or petroleumderived fuels. It is hydrogen deficient and the high oxygen content is undesirable, considering fuels are basically composed of chains of carbon and hydrogen. Gasification of biomass produces lowerratio syngas, typically 1.0-to-1.5. Conversion processes that produce fuels typically require ratios around 2-to-1. The higher ratio can be achieved by using more steam in the gasifier or incorporation of water-gas-shift technology, but both result in lower thermal efficiency and reduced carbon efficiency, which directly translates into lower product yield and higher cost. As an entry into gasification of biomass, Sundrop Fuels Inc., in Longmont, Colo., is constructing its inaugural facility near Alexandria, La. The combined commercial and demonstration plant will annually produce about 60 MMgy of finished gasoline from natural


ADVANCED BIOFUEL¦ gas to the production process, which will result in virtually 100 percent of all the carbon in the plant material being converted into biogasoline. The company expects to formally break ground on the site at the end of the year and to build several biofuels megaplants over the next decade.

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Earlier this year, Haldor Topsoe Inc. teamed with Andritz Carbona, Gas Technology Institute, Phillips 66 Co. and UPM-Kymmene in completing the first production of gasoline from woody biomass in an integrated 20-barrel-per-day (840 gallons per day) demonstration plant located near Chicago. Henrik Udesen, business development manager of Haldor Topsoe, explains that the Des Plaines, Ill., plant is gasifying wood pellets into biofuel via the company’s TIGAS (Topsoe integrated gasoline synthesis) process. “We supply the technology but we are not directly involved with the gasification ourselves, and are

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gas while providing the platform for Sundrop Fuels to prove its proprietary gasification technology of making renewable “green gasoline” from woody biomass. “At the center of our advanced biofuels production is the Sundrop Fuels proprietary, ultrahigh-temperature pressurized gasification system. Inside a specially designed thermochemical reactor, woody biomass is quickly converted using indirect radiation heat transfer to rapidly drive the extremely high temperatures needed,” Steven Silvers, a spokesman for Sundrop Fuels, says. “Hydrogen from natural gas is added as a secondary feedstock, combining to create a renewable feed stream that is the key ingredient for our biogasoline, which is 100 percent compatible with today’s combustion engines and transportation fuels infrastructure.” At a molecular level, Sundrop’s biogasoline will be the same as petroleum-based gasoline. The renewable feed stream is then converted to methanol, and then to gasoline using commercially established processes. Sundrop Fuels’ innovative production method represents a number of patents resulting from work done over many years, culminating with a research and development site that Sundrop Fuels operated in Colorado. This facility was dismantled and will become part of the new plant in Louisiana. “What makes our process unique from conventional biomass gasification is that it steadily maintains ultrahigh temperatures to drive the endothermic gasification reaction,” Silvers says. “This makes the process operate at extraordinary highefficiency, producing more yield of renewable liquid fuel per ton of biomass feedstock than any other production method. Using natural gas as the power source, temperatures inside the Sundrop Fuels radiation-driven gasifier reach more 1,300 degrees Celsius (2,372 degrees Fahrenheit)— hotter than lava flowing from a volcano.” The use of natural gas to provide additional hydrogen is also a unique aspect. Advanced biofuels production has historically been limited because plant material feedstock has generally about a 1-1 ratio of hydrogen to carbon, while gasoline used in today’s combustion engines must have twice as much hydrogen as carbon. To correct this imbalance, Sundrop will add hydrogen obtained from natural

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relying on the other companies for that part,” he says. “Once the gasifier has produced a syngas, our technology comes into play to convert the syngas gas into something useful.” The combined technologies include gasification by Andritz Carbona, GTI/Uhde’s Morphysorb process to capture acid gases, the woody biomass supplied by UPM-Kymmene. Collaborator Phillips 66 Co. is conducting single-engine emission tests and moderate fleet testing of the renewable drop-in gasoline. “We are ready to help this development, but also realize we’re still at the beginning of this and are looking at the importance of working in this field,” Udesen says. “Our challenge is to develop new ways to be part of the solution for the future of fuel supply.” Author: Keith Loria California-based freelance writer 703-691-3607 freelancekeith@gmail.com

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