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March/april 2014 Volume 5 • Issue 2

Helping Drax keep the lights on

How the UK power station is progressing with the conversion of half of its generating units from coal to biomass

Optimising the biomass supply chain

Why a diverse feedstock portfolio could prove advantageous

Regional focus: bioenergy in the US


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contents Bioenergy

Contents Issue 2 • Volume 5 March/April 2014 Horseshoe Media Limited Marshall House 124 Middleton Road, Morden, Surrey SM4 6RW, UK www.bioenergy-news.com publisher Margaret Dunn Tel: +44 (0)20 8687 4126 margaret@bioenergy-news.com EDITOR Keeley Downey Tel: +44 (0)20 8687 4183 keeley@bioenergy-news.com Assistant editor Natasha Spencer Tel: +44 (0)20 8687 4146 natasha@horseshoemedia.com Staff writer Daniel Traylen Tel: +44 (0)208 687 4143 daniel@horseshoemedia.com INTERNATIONAL Sales MANAGER Anisha Patel Tel: +44 (0) 203 551 5752 anisha@bioenergy-news.com North America sales representative Matt Weidner +1 610 486 6525 mtw@weidcom.com PRODUCTION Alison Balmer Tel: +44 (0)1673 876143 alisonbalmer@btconnect.com SUBSCRIPTION RATES £150/€210/$275 for 6 issues per year. Contact: Lisa Lee Tel: +44 (0)20 8687 4160 Fax: +44 (0)20 8687 4130 marketing@horseshoemedia.com

Follow us on Twitter: @BioenergyInfo

No part of this publication may be reproduced or stored in any form by any mechanical, electronic, photocopying, recording or other means without the prior written consent of the publisher. Whilst the information and articles in Bioenergy Insight are published in good faith and every effort is made to check accuracy, readers should verify facts and statements direct with official sources before acting on them as the publisher can accept no responsibility in this respect. Any opinions expressed in this magazine should not be construed as those of the publisher. ISSN 2046-2476

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2 Comment 4 News

21 Technology news 26 Green page

27 Incident report

28 EC proposes new energy targets for 2030

Where are the binding targets for specific member states, and why has the Commission omitted a transport-focused mandate?

30 UK government U-turn on biogas FIT review

The government has failed to deliver on its promise to address FIT degression

32 Biomethane Quality Protocol published

The Environmental Agency’s recently published Biomethane Quality Protocol is a ‘vital regulatory affirmation’ for the UK’s biomethane sector

33 Farm Bill signed into law

President Obama signs the Farm Bill

March marks the first anniversary of the EU Timber Regulation coming into effect

34 What does the EU Timber Regulation mean for the biomass industry? 36 Reaching targets

Avant Energy talks bad weather, stringent targets and the advantages of biogas over other renewable energies

39 Plant update: US

42 Biomass brings many benefits

43 Short- and long-term prospects

A look at the future role of bio-CCUS

How is Drax progressing with the conversion of half of its generating units?

46 Helping Drax keep the light on in a low carbon future 48 Optimising the supply chain

The different energy crops available for the production of renewables and why a diverse feedstock portfolio could prove advantageous

52 Chipping away at biofuel demand 53 Moving en masse 55 Falling hard

Controlling excessive dust during the conveying of biomass will help keep problems to a minimum

56 Choosing the right dryer 58 Home and dry

How biomass drying technology is evolving to handle a common feedstock found in many US-manufactured wood pellets

60 The Holy Grail for biodiesel?

Technological advancements are creating opportunities for biofuels producers to harness for DCO

63 Releasing more

Ethanol producers can today realise 15% more corn oil with the use of a novel enzyme

MARCH/APRIL 2014 Volume 5 • Issue 2

64 Mixing business with business

Alpental Energy Partners is turning hog manure into renewable energy at its Blue Mountain plant in Utah

66 Get your network on

72 Expanding knowledge

Some highlights from the 4th Central European Biomass Conference

73 Events Advert index

Helping Drax keep the lights on

How the UK power station is progressing with the conversion of half of its generating units from coal to biomass

Optimising the biomass supply chain

Why a diverse feedstock portfolio could prove advantageous

Regional focus: bioenergy in the US

Front cover image courtesy of Shepherd Group’s power and infrastructure team Bioenergy front cover_march-apr_2014.indd 1

12/03/2014 09:38

March/April 2014 • 1


Bioenergy comment

A lot to take in

P Keeley Downey Editor

olicy is the order of the day in this jam-packed issue of Bioenergy Insight as there’s currently so much happening, both in Europe and the UK and across the Atlantic in the US. Inside you’ll find articles addressing the ongoing woes of small-scale anaerobic digestion projects, information about the recently published Quality Protocol for wastebased biomethane, as well as important facts about the EU Timber Regulation — which has now been in place for one year. As ever we strive to keep you abreast of industry regulations. I recently attended the World Bio Markets conference in Amsterdam, where it was evident there are two regulatory changes everyone is talking about: the proposed 2030 energy targets in Europe; and the introduction of the Farm Bill in the US. The new European 2030 targets expand on the existing 2020 goals and include, among other things, a 27% EU-wide renewable energy

target. Such a proposal, without binding targets for specific member states, has not been well received. While industry leaders are expressing their disappointment with this seemingly ambitionless renewable energy framework, those in the US are, in contrast, extremely happy that the Farm Bill has been signed into law. A plenary keynote on the first day of World Bio Markets saw ePure president Rob Vierhout, Rina Singh of BIO and Gerard Ostheimer, biofuels lead at UN Sustainable Energy For All, launch into a panel discussion about bio-based global policy and trade. It didn’t take long for the topic of conversation to turn to policy upheaval in Europe. Vierhout opened with a bold statement: that ‘scrapping the obligations on individual countries’ and ‘uniting’ all EU member states is a ‘bad idea’ and that Europe’s currently ‘successful’ 20/20/20 programme is at risk of being ‘curtailed’ with the newly proposed 2030 policy.

Meanwhile, Singh expressed her pride in the US Farm Bill, describing it as the ‘envy of all other nations, with $900 billion (€650 billion) worth of legislation’. As Vierhout and Singh compared energy laws in their respective nations, Ostheimer made the point that we need to invest more in ‘developing countries’. He said: ‘Indonesia, for example, is the world’s largest rice exporter. This translates into a lot of rice straw cellulose material. This is just one of many opportunities that are present around the globe.’ With such a lack of certainty surrounding governmental support, is Europe’s once thriving renewable energy sector now at risk? Read more about all these bioenergy regulations from page 28 onwards. We hope you find everything you need and welcome your comments.

Best wishes, Keeley

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2 • March/April 2014

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Agriculture Biomass Landscaping Organic Recycling Pipeline Rental Surface Mining Tree Care Utility Installation Wood Waste Processing Vermeer, the Vermeer logo and Equipped to Do More are trademarks of Vermeer Manufacturing Company in the U.S. and/or other countries. Š 2014 Vermeer Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

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biomass news

xxxxxx Bioenergy

Spencer Group delivers part of Humber Ports biomass investment Engineering company Spencer Group has delivered the first project as part of a £150 million (€182 million) investment in biomass handling operations at the Humber Ports, UK. As part of a 15-year contract between port operator Associated British Ports (ABP) and Drax Power, Spencer has delivered a facility at the Port of Hull — the first to be completed under the longterm deal. The facility will enable sustainable biomass to be transported to Drax Power Station at Selby, as part of an programme which will see Drax transform into a predominantly biomass-fuelled generator within a few years. Under the contract, work on which started last year, Spencer is building biomass handling, storage and discharge facilities, as well as associated infrastructure.

Spencer has now handed over the port facility to ABP. The project was delivered on schedule and within budget, with Simon Brett, head of projects at Humber for ABP, commenting: ‘The facility will be able to accommodate up to four trains per day, loading through a state-ofthe-art system that complies with all environmental and safety standards.’ A key feature of the development is a silo tower which, at 50m tall, is one of the highest structures in the city of Hull. The facility will handle 1 million tonnes a year of biomass imported by sea from the US and Canada in the form of wood pellets created from sustainable forestry residues and thinnings. The biomass is stored in warehouses before being delivered by truck to the new facility and unloaded into feeders which take it to a 250m conveyor, carrying it to the top of the silo. The silo is capable of storing up to 1,800 tonnes of wood pellets and is filled

A 250m long conveyor delivers wood pellets to the storage silo

by 60 truckloads of biomass over a three-hour period, twice a day, loading at a rate of 600 tonnes an hour. The technology ensures an even load as the biomass is discharged into rail wagons which pass through the base of the structure at crawling speed. The automated system is capable of loading up to 30 rail wagons with 1,500 tonnes of material in 45 minutes. Spencer Group COO Gary Thornton says: ‘The Humber Ports are becoming

a major gateway for biomass shipments into the UK and a strategic asset driving the growth of green energy industries along the estuary. The facility at the Port of Hull is a beacon for the Humber’s growing reputation as the UK’s renewables region.’ Philip Hudson, Drax director of corporate affairs, adds: ‘The facility at the Port of Hull is an impressive feat of engineering, addressing a number of operational challenges.’ l

Cool Planet to start building renewables plant Cool Planet Energy Systems, a technology company producing green fuels and biochar products, has started building its first commercial facility in the US state of Louisiana. Called Project Genesis, the new facility is designed to

4 • March/April 2014

produce 10 million gallons a year of high octane renewable petrol blendstocks, as well as biochar, all made from sustainable wood residues. Permits have been received to begin earthwork and grading, with construction now scheduled to follow. The plant will be located at the Port of Alexandria, on the Red River Waterway. This site was chosen because of the large availability of

woody biomass there, as well as interstate and rail access and direct barge access to more than nine refineries. 'We could not have picked a better location to build our first commercial facility and start transforming the nation's fuel and food supplies,' says CEO Howard Janzen. Cool Planet's technology turns biomass into green fuels and biochar and has the ability to be carbon

negative. Its green fuels are to be blended directly into the current fuel supply to reduce greenhouse gases from the air without sacrificing performance or increasing prices at the pump. The company's strategic investors include BP, Google Ventures, Energy Technology Ventures (GE, ConocoPhillips, NRG Energy), and the Constellation division of Exelon. l

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biomass news

RES stops work on North Blyth biomass facility Renewable energy developer RES is ceasing work on its £300 million (€362 million) biomass power station project at the Port of Blyth in Northumberland, UK. RES' decision follows the withdrawal of a key project partner in late 2013 due to ongoing uncertainty in UK energy policy. The company says the government's 'inconsistent' support for dedicated biomass energy over the last two years — as well as increased uncertainty over the UK's energy policy under the government's Electricity

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Market Reform process — has 'critically undermined' the investment case for the North Blyth Biomass Power Station. The decision to end the biomass power station project means the loss of hundreds of millions of pounds of investment into the Blyth estuary and wider Northumberland economy. RES' COO for the UK Gordon MacDougall states: 'Despite the support the project enjoys locally due to the significant benefits it would bring to the local and regional economy, the North Blyth Biomass Power Station currently faces insurmountable investment barriers due to uncertain government energy policy. 'It's bitterly disappointing for RES that we are unable

to bring this exciting project forward, and deliver the significant boost it would have represented for the Blyth and Northumberland economy. However, the gradual erosion of support for dedicated biomass leaves us with no other option.' RES has called upon the government to clarify its support for renewable energy as a vital part of the UK energy mix, in order to ensure that independent generators and major investors alike have the certainty needed to continue investing in UK infrastructure. Commenting on the move by RES, Renewable Energy Association (REA) CEO Nina Skorupska says: 'The government

now must move swiftly to protect both existing and future investment, by giving a strong, clear and positive message that the UK is still open for business for biomass.' MacDougall concludes: '... as the UK's energy policy currently stands, we cannot make an investment case to take this project forward. This is a reminder to government that, without a consistent approach to energy policy, investors and developers will be deterred from delivering the billions of pounds needed to ensure the nation's energy infrastructure is able to keep the lights on and secure cost-effective electricity for British homes and businesses.' l

March/April 2014 • 5


biomass news

Fortum invests in Finnish CHP plant

Energy company Fortum has announced it will invest €40 million in a new combined heat and power (CHP) plant under development by its associated company Turun Seudun Energiantuotanto (TSE). The new plant, planned for Naantali in Finland, will cost a total €260 million and come online in the third quarter of 2017. It initially will be able to handle

a combination of biomass, recycled waste and coal, before eventually switching to fire 100% biomass. The biomass it will handle will consist mainly of woodchips sourced from within a 100-150km radius. Annual woodchip consumption will be gradually ramped up from 700,000m3 to 1.2 million m3. The CHP plant will replace the region’s existing 50-year-old coal-fired power plant. Ground is expected to break on the new facility by the end of this year. Upon completion in 2017, the CHP plant will generate 900GWh of electricity and 1,650GWh heat annually.

Its production capacity is 142MW of electricity and 244MW of heat. ‘By investing in a new power plant in Naantali, we are pursuing growth in energy-efficient combined heat and power production in line with our strategy,’ says the VP of Fortum’s heat division, Jouni Haikarainen. ‘The fact that the new power plant aims to utilise as much domestic biomass as possible also makes it an interesting project for us.’ The facility will be funded by shareholders and external financing. Fortum has a 49.5% interest in TSE. l

UK renewables plant gets green light after local dispute Manchester High Court has decided in favour of a controversial biomass plant, due to be built in Davyhulme, Greater Manchester, UK. The £70 million (€85.1 million) Barton Renewable Energy Plant will be built by Peel Holdings, reportedly 500m from the nearest

homes — a proposal that led local councils and residents to challenge the project. However, objections to the plant were rejected by the Environment Agency, who granted the plant a permit. A legal challenge by Trafford council to the plant was thrown out by a judge after the court found that communities secretary Eric Pickles followed correct procedures when he said last year

that the project should go ahead. Jon England, project manager at Peel Energy, says: ‘We are grateful to the court for considering the issues raised by Trafford Council. ‘We now intend to focus our attention on completing the work necessary for the plant to be built so it can start generating renewable electricity for the homes and businesses of Greater Manchester.’ l

Biomass co-firing trial completed at Amer power plant A consortium made up of clean technology company Topell Energy, three electricity companies — Essent, Nuon and GDF Suez — and the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) has completed a largescale co-firing test with biomass at the Amer power plant in the Netherlands. The test, conducted under the ‘Top consortium for Knowledge and Innovation Bio-based Economy (TKI BBE) initiative, has demonstrated the new technology can produce renewable energy from biomass-based pellets. During the trial, 2,300 tonnes of biomass pellets were

6 • March/April 2014

transported, handled, co-milled and co-fired to produce renewable power. Nikolaus Valerius, head of Essent’s power plants, explains the importance of the successful test: ‘Biomass is an important, cost-efficient and available pillar of the future renewable energy supply. We find it important to make use of this renewable energy source. Therefore, we tested the “torrefaction” technology at the Amer power plant, where we have been producing green electricity with sustainable biomass for over 10 years. In the test, we dried biomass and converted it into light, dry and energy-dense biopellets. The successful large-scale co-firing of the biopellets is an important step in our contribution to a renewable energy supply where green materials are most efficiently and sustainably used.’ Rob Voncken, CEO of Topell Energy,

adds: ‘The co-firing test took place in percentages ranging between 5 and 25% between 1 November and 30 December 2013 at the Amer plant. No adverse effects on milling and burning were detected in any of the tests. The trial therefore confirms that high quality biopellets can be produced and co-fired on a large commercial-scale. Together with its high energy content and density, this confirmation makes torrefied biomass a potential better alternative to conventional wood pellets to substitute fossil fuels.’ Following this trial, some of the parties involved in the TKI BBE programme are now discussing the next steps to mobilise larger quantities of torrefied pellets for the production of green electricity, in view of the requisites of the Dutch Energy Agreement which will come into force in 2015. l

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biomass news

Elevance awards EPC contract for Natchez biorefinery Specialty chemicals company Elevance Renewable Sciences has awarded the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for its second biorefinery located in Natchez, Mississippi to URS. Under the contract, URS’ scope of work involves converting Elevance’s existing biodiesel plant into a new biorefinery. The commercial-scale manufacturing facility in Natchez, due to open in 2016, will produce novel specialty chemicals, including multifunctional esters such as 9-decenoic methyl

Magna and Bio-on enter cooperation

A new collaboration between automotive supplier Magna and Italy-based intellectual property company Bio-on will see the two companies start R&D activities on the use of bio-plastics for the automotive industry. Bio-on has developed a new bio-plastic through the use of naturally occurring bacteria which feed off the by-products of sugar beets. During the fermentation process, the material is converted into a novel plastic (polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA)), which could provide alternatives to conventional plastics for the automotive industry. This bio-plastic is biodegradable in water and soil, environmentally friendly and does not rely on food as a natural resource. The joint venture will combine Magna’s automotive know-how with the chemical expertise of Bio-on to research how production of this natural polyester product can be elevated to an industrial, cost-effective scale. Additionally, the two companies will test and evaluate how Bioon’s bio-plastics will perform in different standard industry processes such as thermoforming. ‘Our material has already demonstrated potential in diverse industries and we now want to apply it to the automotive sector as well,’ says Marco Astorri, CEO and cofounder of Bio-on. ‘Through this partnership, Bio-on hopes to contribute significantly to meeting the global need for a greener future mobility, with lower environmental impact.’ President of Magna’s interiors division Albert Lidauer adds: ‘We are leveraging our manufacturing expertise to partner with Bio-on to deliver a potential gamechanging innovation to the industry.’ l

8 • March/April 2014

ester; a unique distribution of bio-based alpha and internal olefins including decene; and a premium mixture of oleochemicals. It will have a capacity of 280,000 tonnes. This project will be the second biorefinery based on Elevance’s proprietary metathesis technology. Commercial production is already underway at the company’s first biorefinery, a 180,000-tonne capacity joint venture with Indonesian company Wilmar International. The chemicals produced at these two biorefineries will be used in personal care products, detergents and cleaners, lubricants and additives, engineered polymers, and other specialty chemicals markets. l

Study: US pellets are helping to cut EU GHGs A new study by the University of Georgia has found that European power plants burning wood pellets imported from the southern US to generate electricity are emitting 50% less greenhouse gases than when traditional fossil fuels are used. European power utilities must meet a legal mandate by 2020 which requires at least 20% of all energy consumed in the European Union to come from renewable sources. Environmental Research Letters recently published findings by a researcher with UGA’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources which found that wood pellets are putting facilities on course to do this, which is good for both Europe and the US’ import and forestry industries. Puneet Dwivedi, an assistant professor of sustainability sciences

at the Warnell School, studied greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, which has a target of increasing the amount of energy consumed from renewable sources by 2020 to 15%. These renewable sources include energy products derived from woody feedstock, such as wood pellets. The study focused on greenhouse gases emitted from a power plant in Selby which recently announced plans to generate about 1,000MW of electricity using imported wood pellets. Dwivedi found that not only did electricity produced by wood pellets meet emissions standards but also as the power plant’s capacity rose, so did the greenhouse gas savings, meaning higher capacity plants would benefit from using wood pellets. Exports of wood pellets from the southern US are predicted to increase from 1.5 to 5.2 million tonnes between 2012 and 2015 as European mandates are implemented. l

Europe is on track to meet its 2020 renewables mandate

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biomass news

DoE offers $12mn for biomassbased carbon fibre technologies Up to $12 million (€8.8 million) in financial support is available from the Department of Energy (DoE) to advance the production of carbon fibre material from nonfood based renewable feedstocks such as agricultural residues and woody biomass. The DoE says carbon fibre derived from biomass could be cheaper to make and possess greater environmental benefits than traditional carbon fibre produced from natural gas or petroleum. The funding supports the DoE’s Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative, in which it is working to ensure US manufacturers remain competitive in the global marketplace. Carbon fibre is a strong, lightweight material that can replace steel and other heavier metals to lower the cost and improve performance of many technologies.es, carbon fibre can also improve other clean energy technologies including fuel-efficient vehicles and renewable energy systems. In addition to its uses in fuelefficient vehicles, carbon fibre can also improve other clean energy technologies including wind turbine blades, pressurised hydrogen storage vessels for fuel cells and insulation materials for energy efficient buildings. The DoE is supporting projects that identify and develop a cost-competitive technology pathway to produce carbon fibres from renewable biomass. l

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Ulster Bank supports phase two of Newry biomass project React Energy, an energy infrastructure developer and operator with a focus on the production of clean energy in the UK and Ireland, has received approval from Ulster Bank Ireland for the funding of the second phase of its joint venture biomass gasification project in Newry, Northern Ireland. Drawdown of funds will start once certain conditions are satisfied, including the finalising and signing of the various contracts required for the installation of phase two of the project and, if required, the investment of additional equity funding in the joint venture company. React has spent the last 12 months testing and optimising the performance of the 2MW first phase of the project. Approval from Ulster Bank means it will continue with the build out of the project to its full capacity of 4MW. Gerry Madden, CEO of React Energy, says: ‘We are pleased to be moving forward to phase two of the Newry biomass project, together with the support of our key funder Ulster Bank.’ l

ADM invests in Rennovia Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) has committed to a $25 million (€18.2 million) equity investment in Rennovia, a privately held company which develops catalysts and processes for the production of renewable feedstockbased chemical products. Speaking about the investment, ADM VP of renewable chemicals Kevin Moore says: ‘There is significant and growing demand for chemical products made from renewable feedstocks.

Describing ADM as a ‘leading producer of refined carbohydrates’ with a ‘focus on bio-based chemicals production’, Rennovia president and CEO Robert Wedinger says the deal will ‘scale-up and commercialise our bio-based chemical process technologies’. Rennovia targets production of existing high-value chemical products using scalable chemical catalytic process technologies at costs lower than existing petrochemical processes. The company’s first products are nylon intermediates adipic acid and hexamethylenediamine. ADM’s investment will be used for R&D programmes and continuing operations. l

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biomass news

Zilkha Biomass and Valmet collaborate Zilkha Biomass Energy, a provider of biomass solutions, and pulp and paper technology supplier Valmet have signed a five-year collaboration agreement in the field of steam exploded black pellets.

The purpose of the agreement is to bring steam exploded black pellets to the market for the production of renewable heat and power. The parties will work together to develop a joint global offering. According to Valmet’s Rickard Andersson, VP of biotechnology and environmental systems for the company’s pulp and paper business line: ‘The market for steam exploded black pellets is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years as the pressure to replace fossil fuels with sustainable, environmentally friendly alternatives is getting stronger. Combining Zilkha’s know-how in pellet production and distribution with Valmet’s project capabilities brings opportunities to develop and exploit a new emerging technology.’ Compared to traditional wood pellets, steam exploded black pellets are more durable and water resistant, and contain a higher energy content. The cost of shipping is less, and issues related to dust are minimised; black pellets can be handled in a similar manner to fossil coal. This reduces the need for expensive investments in logistics and plant rebuilds. l

News in brief Nepal eyed as location of biomass power plant

It has been reported that Chinese company

Guangzhou Devotion Thermal Technology plans to construct a biomass-fired power plant in Nepal. An estimated $50 million (€36.3 million) will be invested in the project, $15 million of which is the company’s own capital. Nepal has been selected as the location of the new biomass power plant due to its rich forestry resources and demand for power supply.

Philippines biomass plant to be ready by 2015

A P2 million (€33,000) biomass plant under development in the Filipino province of Isabela is likely to begin operations early next year, according to reports. Isabela Biomass is building the facility, which will generate 20MW of renewable energy from rice husks supplied by a group of local rice millers. Ground broke on the project last December. Once complete the plant will be able eligible to receive P6.63/kWh under the nation’s Feed-in Tariff scheme, which was approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission in July 2012.

Large-scale biomass plant opens in the Netherlands

Dutch utility firm Eneco has inaugurated its Bio Golden Raand

biomass power plant, located in Farmsum Delfzijl, the Netherlands. The facility, built by Areva, Ballast Nedam Industriebouw and Mesto Power, generates 49.9MW of renewable power from waste wood — enough to provide over 120,000 homes with electricity and reduce CO2 emissions by around 250,000 tonnes a year. The plant began operations in November last year. Bio Golden Raand is the largest biomass-fired power station in the Benelux region. AkzoNobel Industrial Chemicals is a major customer, taking half of the electricity generated.

Proposed CHP plant approved in Scotland

Forth Energy, a joint venture between Forth Ports and SSE, will begin construction of its proposed renewable combined heat and power (CHP) plant at the Port of Rosyth after it was granted consent from the Scottish government. The £325 million (€390 million) plant will use sustainably sourced wood from overseas to generate 120MW of electricity and 30MW of heat. The wood will arrive by barge and be discharged directly to the plant. Responding to the news, Stephanie Clark, policy manager at Scottish Renewables, says: ‘This consent is great news for the renewables industry in Scotland — and particularly for the growing renewable heat sector. Biomass can play an important role in Scotland’s energy mix and combined heat and power plants like Rosyth will help to meet our renewable energy targets as well as reducing carbon emissions.’ Steam exploded black pellets

10 • March/April 2014

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biomass news

Work begins on pyrolysis plant Empyro has broken ground on its pyrolysis oil production plant in the Netherlands. Once construction is complete, expected for the end of this year, production capacity at the plant will be gradually ramped up to more than 20 million litres of pyrolysis oil per year. This oil is enough to replace 12 million m3 of natural gas, the equivalent annual consumption of 8,000 households. Located at the AkzoNobel site in Hengelo, the project received €19 million in financial support from

various parties, including the European Commission’s FP7 programme, the Ministry of Economic Affairs via the Topsector Energie TKI-BBE programme, the province of Overijssel, the Energy Fund of Overijssel and a private investor from Enschede. The Dutch minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp congratulates Empyro with this project: ‘The construction of this pyrolysis plant shows what is possible if companies, knowledge centres and the public sector work together. This contributes to the development of renewable biofuels and a cleaner energy production,’ he says. Theo Rietkerk, representative of the province

of Overijssel, adds: ‘This investment of the Energy Fund Overijssel is the first in a series of investments I foresee in the coming years. It is fully in line with our innovation policy, employment generation, and the strengthening of our regional economy in Overijssel as well as the realisation of our target of 20% renewable energy in Overijssel in 2020.’ Empyro said in a statement that a total of 15 local suppliers are involved in the project, including Zeton, HoST and Stork Thermeq, which have been awarded construction contracts. In the pyrolysis process, biomass such as woodchips is mixed with hot sand

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and converted within two seconds into pyrolysis oil, char and gas. Empyro was founded by technology company BTG Bioliquids and renewables investment company Tree Power to demonstrate the technology on a commercial scale. The pyrolysis oil produced at the plant will be purchased by FrieslandCampina, which has signed a long term off-take agreement, for use in its production location in Borculo. Managing director of BTG BioLiquids Gerhard Muggen comments: ‘We see opportunities for supplying this technology to many biomass-rich countries around the world.’ l

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biogas news New biogas plants for Czech Republic

Two 999kW biogas plants have opened in the Czech Republic. The first plant, based in Velké Meziříčí and owned by Energoklastr CTT, handles corn silage, cattle slurry and manure and sugar beet pulp sourced from local farmers. The energy generated from these materials will soon be used to heat a number of local buildings, including a school and nearby business. BC Energy owns and operates the second biogas facility in Velká Bíteš,

Energoklastr CTT’s biogas plant in Velké Meziříčí

which will supply green energy produced from cow slurry and manure to the urban heating system. Germany-headquartered Envitec Biogas delivered both

plants, which were put into operation last December. Roel Slotman, head of sales at the board of management at Envitec Biogas, says: ‘The potential of the Czech

Republic for biogas continues to be large. However, the defined climate objectives for 2013 were attained and the government thus reduced its subsidies for renewable energy to zero.’ There are currently around 360 biogas plants in the Czech Republic with a rated electrical output of 258MW. So far in the nation, biogas is mainly used for electricity generation. The upgrading to biomethane and supply to the natural gas grid continues to be a future trend because there are no supply regulations. l

Two AD facilities to come online in UK Biogas plant engineering firm Weltec is to open two new UK-based biogas plants later this year, one in Londonderry, Northern Ireland and another in Leicester. The Londonderry project is a 500kW anaerobic digestion (AD) plant for industrial meat processing company Foyle Food Group. This plant, comprising a

3,000m3 stainless steel digester, will handle waste from the company’s abattoirs in the vicinity, including stomach contents and flotation fat. On site, Weltec has integrated a hygienisation unit, a 530m3 digestate storage unit and its MultiMix input system. In Leicester, a 500kW agricultural biogas plant will use a conventional mix of renewable raw materials. The operator, an agricultural contractor with its own cropping farm, mainly uses maize silage as substrate. l

The 500kW agricultural plant in Leicester handles mainly maize silage

Research funding win for AD centre The Wales Centre of Excellence for Anaerobic Digestion (the AD centre), part of the Sustainable Environment Research Centre based at the University of South Wales, has been awarded £889,000 (€1 million) by the Welsh government’s A4B project to deliver a ‘knowledge transfer’ centre focused on advanced anaerobic processes and biogas systems. 12 • March/April 2014

The AD centre has been delivering support to the AD industry since 2008. The grant includes provision for £640,000 of new analytical equipment and laboratory-based digestion systems to add to existing facilities. This will increase the centre’s capacity to collaborate with industries in the development and deployment of waste management and renewable energy projects based around the production and utilisation of biogas and digestates. Sandra Esteves, director of the AD centre, says: ‘For several years we have been working to interact with and support the emerging AD industry. The additional resources that we can now put in place will be utilised to further help companies address some complex technical challenges, and to develop new processes and products that, at the moment, do not exist.’ l

Bioenergy Insight


biogas news

MoU to bring energy-from-waste projects to Thailand AFC Energy, a UK-based industrial fuel cell power company, has signed a new cooperation agreement in Bangkok to accelerate the adoption of its fuel cell systems in proposed energy-from-waste (EfW) projects in Thailand.

of large-scale EfW projects in Thailand. In addition, they will investigate ways to assemble fuel cells in Thailand, reduce the timeline of fuel cells being integrated into waste plants and lobby the Thai government for fuel cell incentives. Waste2Tricity International is a majority owned subsidiary of Waste2Tricity, a UK-based developer of EfW projects in which AFC Energy owns 23% equity. Alter NRG, based in Canada, is a waste gasification technology company. Ian Williamson, CEO of AFC Energy, comments: ‘There is a considerable opportunity for large-scale waste-toenergy projects in Thailand as these will not only increase energy independence from renewable sources but will also alleviate pressure on landfills to deal with waste. Working together we can benefit from first mover advantage and open up this market and demonstrate a compelling investment case for such fuel cell-based power systems.’ l

The agreement, comprising a memorandum of understanding (MoU), was signed between AFC Energy, Waste2Tricity International (Thailand) and Alter NRG. The MoU builds on the commercialisation deal announced last October granting exclusive rights to Waste2Tricity International to use AFC Energy’s low-cost fuel cell systems to generate renewable power from hydrogen gasified from municipal solid waste. The two companies have now expanded their cooperation to advance a number

Tamar awards construction contract for UK biogas plant Tamar Energy, a biogas plant developer based in the UK, is progressing with its anaerobic digestion facility in Hertfordshire, which will convert food waste into electricity. Under a recently awarded £14.5 million (€17.6 million) contract, Imtech Water, Waste and Energy will build the new plant, designed to handle around 66,000 tonnes a year of leftover food. This into enough energy to generate 3MW of power for 6,000 homes. Tamar plans to establish a portfolio of 40 anaerobic digestion facilities over the next five years. l

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March/April 2014 • 13


biogas news

Arla Foods to slash emissions with bio-LNG fleet Arla Foods is set to become the UK’s first zero carbon dairy after opening a bio-based liquefied natural gas (bioLNG) filling station at its £150 million (€182 million) site in Aylesbury, UK. The bio-LNG will be used to fuel Arla’s fleet of trucks, with the first 10 dual-fuel vehicles to be put into operation in the coming weeks. Gasrec, a supplier of liquefied gas fuel to the transportation

Flying the flag for renewables: Arla Foods is converting its fleet of HGVs to run on bio-LNG

sector, installed the bioLNG filling station. The two companies have formed a strategic partnership to develop and implement a strategy to introduce low emission bio-LNG fuel for

Arla’s heavy goods vehicle fleet across European operations. As part of the contract, Gasrec will supply bio-LNG and provide refuelling station infrastructure at the dairy matched to the number

of trucks converted to use it. Arla has a UK logistics target in place to reduce its CO2 emissions by 25% by 2020 within the areas of production, transportation and packaging. l

Scotland’s first gas-to-grid AD plant receives financing Iona Capital, together with Scotia Gas Networks (SGN), has invested in Keithick Biogas for the development of a gasto-grid anaerobic digestion (AD) plant in Scotland.

Waste from whisky production will be used to generate renewable energy

Glenfiddich to build biogas plant

Whisky producer Glenfiddich has received planning permission from local councillors to build an anaerobic digestion (AD) plant at its distillery in Dufftown, Scotland. The AD facility will turn waste products generated from the company’s distilling

14 • March/April 2014

process into biogas. This biogas will either be cleaned and injected into the national gas network, or converted into 3.5MW of electricity and sold to the national grid. The AD plant would also generate heat and steam, while waste materials left in the digester can be sold as animal feed and/or fertiliser. The plant will consist of a number of tanks, storage facilities and a CHP unit. l

The project, which will be the first of its kind in Scotland, is expected to commence operations later this year. The AD plant is being supplied by German company MT-Energie, while SGN will provide the gas upgrading plant and will oversee the connection of the plant to the local gas grid. Scotland-based provider of on-farm and energy-from-waste AD facilities, Biogas Power, will manage the plant. The new facility will process over 36,000 tonnes a year of whole crop rye, maize, sugar beet waste, raw silage and chicken litter sourced from local businesses. This will generate over 3 million m3 of biomethane for the local gas grid, in addition to a biofertiliser. l

Bioenergy Insight


biogas news

Food waste destined for bus fuel in Norway A biogas liquefaction plant has opened in Oslo, which will convert household food waste into biomethane for use as renewable fuel for the city’s buses. The facility, which was built by gas handling and liquefaction technology developer Wärtsilä and opened on 12 February, is operated by biowaste treatment company Cambi on behalf of Waste-to-Energy Agency (EGE) and the city of Oslo. EGE produces environmentally friendly energy from waste and is under the supervision of the City of Oslo’s Department of Environmental Affairs and Transport. When fully operable the plant will be able to treat 50,000 tonnes a year of food waste to produce around 14,000 Nm3 per day of biomethane. This is enough to fuel 135 buses. The new facility’s liquefaction plant design uses conventional components in a mixed refrigeration process. The technology is scalable upwards to a capacity of at least 60 tonnes daily. ‘This plant will mean that 135 Oslo region buses will be able to run on biogas. As a result, CO2 emissions will be reduced by some 10,000 tonnes a year and particle emissions will also be lowered. The air will be cleaner and noise levels will be reduced,’ says Jannicke Gerner Bjerkås, director of communications for EGE. ‘There is huge potential for the use of liquefied biogas from renewable energy sources as fuel for trucks and buses, and this project is an important step forward

Bioenergy Insight

in developing this market,’ adds Tore Lunde, MD of Wärtsilä Oil and Gas Systems. ‘This same technology can also be used in small liquefaction projects with other sources of gas as well.’ l

The biogas liquefaction plant in Oslo

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March/April 2014 • 15


biogas news

Contract awarded for construction of US biogas plant Constellation, a supplier of electricity and natural gas and a subsidiary of Exelon, is to design, build and operate a $130 million (€96 million) renewable energy plant in the US after signing an agreement with the City of Los Angeles. Under the agreement, the 27MW power plant will be located at LA Sanitation’s Hyperion treatment plant. Hyperion is among the 10 largest wastewater treatment facilities in the world. The facility will use digester gas, produced via

Hyperion’s sewage treatment process, as its primary fuel source. It will generate steam and electricity that will be used to operate the company’s treatment operations. ‘This facility will reduce emissions at the Hyperion plant and secure for our city a new energy source that is reliable, efficient and sustainable,’ says Traci Minamide, LA Sanitation’s COO. Constellation was awarded the contract following a bidding process. It and its subcontractors will develop, build and operate the co-generation facility for 10 years, with an option to expand the agreement for five additional years. Commercial operation of the Hyperion co-generation facility is expected by the end of 2016. l

Verbio receives funding for biomethane from straw project Virbio Energy, a biofuel producer, has received over €22 million in EU funding to demonstrate its technology for the production of biomethane from straw. The €22.3 million grant was awarded under the NER300 initiative, which provides funding for demonstration projects for technology related to renewable energy over a five year period. The Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe

(German Agency for Renewable Resources — FNR) will provide administrative support for this EU project. The project has been launched and it is intended that biomethane produced solely from straw will be fed-in at the Verbio plant in Schwedt, Germany later this year. Verbio CEO Claus Sauter says: ‘The funding is an incentive to increase the share of biomethane in the biofuel market. Biomethane is a real allrounder amongst the renewable sources of energy; it is easy to store and can

therefore be deployed at all times irrespective of its point of origin.’ Andreas Schutte, MD of the FNR, comments: ‘Theoretically, Germany could use up to 10 million tonnes of the straw produced each year for energy production without compromising soil fertility, and thus increase the proportion of energy sources represented by renewable energy. The processing of straw into biomethane provides an attractive solution in this regard and does not in any way compete with the production of foodstuffs or animal feed.’ l

Food waste AD plant opens A commercial food waste anaerobic digestion (AD) plant located in County Durham, UK, has started operations. The Emerald Biogas-operated £8 million (€9.6 million) facility has a capacity to process 50,000 tonnes a year of leftover food collected from businesses across the northeast of the country. It will generate enough energy to power 2,000 homes annually. At the plant launch, UK waste minister Dan Rogerson said: ‘Dealing with waste properly not only benefits the environment but will also help create jobs and build a stronger economy. Our £2 million grant has helped develop this plant which will treat food waste and recycle valuable nutrients back to the land.’

16 • March/April 2014

Emerald Biogas’ new AD facility in County Durham

Emerald Biogas director Adam Warren adds: ‘Food waste is a major concern for the northeast, where 800,000 tonnes is generated every year. Through this investment, we will contribute a continued source of renewable energy to local businesses, while also providing a sustainable solution for dealing with food waste which traditionally goes to landfill.’ The funding for the project was made

available through the Rural Development Programme for England, which is jointly funded by Defra and the European Union. HSCB’s Tyne Tees Commercial Centre also invested £3.6 million in the project. The bio-fertiliser derived from the waste treatment process is supplied to land owners within a 10-mile radius of the plant through Agricore, which delivers a range of agricultural services and products to the farming industry. l

Bioenergy Insight


biopellet news Pellet and biomass power plant planned for Korea Global Logix of South Korea is to invest $20 million (€14.6 million) in a new wood pellet production factory and 10,000MW biomass power plant in Siak, Riau province, according to reports. Global Logix and the Siak regional administration signed a memorandum of understanding for the processing of oil palm fruit bunches and kernel shells — an underutilised feedstock in the country. Under the agreement, Siak Pembangunan dan Energi, a company run by the administration, will provide this waste. The plant will process 60,000 tonnes of bunches and 20,000 tonnes of shells a month from nearby palm plantations to produce 10,000 tonnes of wood pellets. In addition, the biomass power plant will need 3 tonnes an hour of oil palm bunches. Construction could begin in April, with operations due to commence at the beginning of 2016. l

Global Logix’s new facilities will be located in South Korea

New Russian plant to export pellets to Europe Russia-based GS Group has announced it will build a new wood pellet plant. To be located in Pskov, the production facility will have an annual capacity of 90,000 tonnes when it comes online towards the end of this year. The investment necessary to bring the project to realisation is currently being reviewed. The new plant is the third phase of a largescale investment project by GS, set to last between 2012 and 2016. The total

Bioenergy Insight

investment is 3.18 billion rubles (€66.8 million). In 2012 the company began timber logging on a 70 hectare lot and opened a forest nursery with the capacity of 2 million seedlings a year. Last year it commenced construction of a wood processing factory, production capacity of which is set at 61,500m³ of timber per year. This plant will be put into operation at the end of 2014. Waste products from this operation, in addition to waste from timber logging activities, will be used as feedstock for the new pellet plant. GS says it plans to export all of the pellets to Europe where, unlike in Russia, they are widely used as the European pellet market continues to grow. l

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March/April 2014 • 17


biopellet news

RusForest opens Arkhangelsk pellet mill RusForest, a Swedish forestry company with operations in Russia, has put its wood pellet production facility at the site of its existing sawmill into operation. The construction of the pellet plant in Arkhangelsk is close to completion, with it now in the test-production phase. Full capacity is expected by the

end of March. As previously reported by Bioenergy Insight, RusForest engaged Hekotek, a mechanical engineering company, to build the plant. The pellet mill will have an annual capacity of up to 100,000 tonnes when it begins full-scale production. These pellets will be exported to Europe. Commenting on the project, which started up ahead of schedule, CEO Matti Lehtipuu says: ‘The pellet production launch accelerates our path to profitability and gives us solid

RusForest’s 100,000 t/y pellet plant has entered the test-production phase

ground to further develop our core Arkhangelsk assets, including reviewing options for the sawmill itself.’

The total cost of the plant was approximately €12 million, with 70% financed by local bank facilities. l

GTFF receives RSB recognition GreenWood Tree Farm Fund (GTFF) has become the world’s first short rotation forest plantation to earn certification under the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB). The RSB certification covers GTFF’s cultivation, management and harvesting of coppiced poplar trees,

used as biomass feedstock either to be pelletised for direct combustion in biomass electric plants or for the cellulosic ethanol industry. The company is also the first plantation to be jointly certified by both RSB and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Combined, these two certifications recognise GWR’s effort to maintain biodiversity, protect water resources, account for greenhouse gas emissions, treat workers fairly and

benefit the community. ‘Biomass from trees is an ideal solution for generating renewable fuels and chemicals while reducing reliance on fossil fuels,’ says Jeff Nuss, president and CEO of GreenWood Resources (GWR), which manages GTFF. ‘GWR’s high-yield, shortrotation tree farms need less fertiliser and less energy to produce than traditional row crops, and they produce greater energy output per unit of production.’

‘While biofuels for both transportation and energy production offer promise as an alternative to fossil fuels, production of its raw material can have a major impact on land, air, and water resources,’ comments Neil Mendenhall, manager of supply chain services at SCS Global Services, which audited the Oregonbased tree farm to RSB standards jointly with the annual renewal of GWR’s FSC certification. l

Two bioenergy companies merge for wood pellet JV Two Scandinavian companies are to merge and form a largescale wood pellet business, headquartered in Sweden. Nordic energy firm Lantmännen and Scandinavian bioenergy company Neova will combine their respective wood pellet businesses to create a

18 • March/April 2014

new company that will include Neova’s wood pellet business in Sweden and the corresponding Lantmännen Agroenergy buisnesses in Sweden and Latvia. The new company is expected to have an annual turnover of around SEK1 billion (€113 million) and 160 employees. It will continue to market its products under the same brands as before, namely Neova Pellets Agrol and Agroenergi.

The company will take the form of a joint venture with Lantmännen and Neova each having a 50% stake. The merger is expected to be completed in the first six months of this year following approval by the competition commissions concerned. Andreas Green, MD of Lantmännen Agroenergi, will head the merged company from its head office in Jönköping, Sweden. l

Bioenergy Insight


biopellet news

ReEnergy to supply renewable power to Fort Drum The US Army intends to award a long-term contract to ReEnergy Holdings, a biomass energy producer that generates energy from renewable materials. The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Energy, in coordination with the Army Energy Initiatives Task Force (EITF), issued a notice of intent to award to ReEnergy Holdings for the purchase of up to 28MW of electricity from its renewable energy biomass facility at Fort Drum. This deal will include a 20-year power purchase agreement and provide the installation with 100% energy security and sustainability. While the contract still awaits final approval from the army, the proposed deal is expected to help Fort Drum save on energy costs and make the plant energy independent and secure. ‘The Army’s plan to award ReEnergy a 20-year contract is great news for this energy company and for Fort Drum,’ says US senator Charles Schumer, ‘which will now have reliable access to clean, lowcost power for years to come.’ Schumer also noted in a statement that this is the army’s largest renewable energy project to date and the second EITF project to reach this milestone. In similar news, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Engineering and Support Center in Huntsville, Alabama, in conjunction with the EITF, has awarded 20 base contracts to companies in three of the four energy-related technologies that are part of the $7 billion (€5 billion) renewable and alternative energy power production Multiple Award Task Order Contract (MATOC). The 20 contracts are for biomass, as well as wind and solar, technologies.

Bioenergy Insight

ReEnergy Holdings’ biomass plant

Those biomass companies receiving contracts are Ameresco of Massachusetts and Wheelabrator Technologies in New Hampshire. The 21 new contracts bring the total number of contracts awarded to 79 in the four MATOC energy technologies. USACE previously awarded 58 contracts for biomass (13), solar (22), wind (17) and geothermal (6). ‘We are adding these additional companies to those already in the technology pools to ensure we have enough prequalified companies ready to submit proposals on task orders as they come up,’ says Robert Ruch, commander, Huntsville Center. ‘Huntsville Center is doing everything it can to ensure task orders for future projects will be awarded as quickly as possible.’ The second round of MATOC awards is in keeping with the original August 2012 Request for Proposal, which allowed for immediate awards to firms within the competitive range and additional awards to firms that qualified after further evaluation by the government. The qualified MATOC companies will be eligible to bid on future renewable energy task orders. As renewable energy opportunities at army installations are assessed and validated, Huntsville Center will issue a competitive task order Request for

Proposal to the pre-qualified MATOC companies for the specific technologies. The MATOC involved third party financed renewable energy acquisitions and involves no army or Department of Defense (DoD) capital, or military construction appropriation. The

army or DoD will purchase the power from contractors who own, operate and maintain the generating assets. The MATOC’s total estimated value of $7 billion capacity refers to the total dollar value of energy available for purchase under all power purchase agreement task orders for their entire term (up to 30 years). These contracts will support the army’s achievement of its congressionally mandated energy goal of 25% production of energy (1GW) from renewable sources by 2050, and improving installation energy security and sustainability. ‘Currently we are working projects and expect to deliver a task order in the next several months,’ Amanda Simpson, executive director of the EITF, explains. l

March/April 2014 • 19


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xx Bioenergy

technology news

High temperature filter elements for use in biomass gasification Porvair Filtration has expanded its range of high temperature filters with the introduction of metallic filter elements optimised for biomass gasification.

High temperature filtration in the biomass gasification process is a demanding application. The efficiency of the thermochemical conversion process and the subsequent emission control are important areas in the development of sustainable technology. Both are highly important for biomass combustion and gasification plant design, operation and economy. Biomass gasification processes are characterised by the use of increasingly higher temperatures and a contaminant that, in some ways, is more challenging due to its inherent cohesivity and adhesivity making it more difficult to be removed as a filter cake during in situ cleaning.

Proprietary metallic filter material developments by Porvair have permitted these higher temperature duties to be considered and changes to the Pulsejet design now enable biomass gasification filter cakes to be removed more effectively thus ensuring continuous on-service performance. Biomass gasification involves incomplete combustion of biomass resulting in the production of combustible gases consisting of carbon monoxide, hydrogen and traces of methane. This mixture is called producer gas. Producer gas can be used to run internal combustion engines (both compression and spark ignition), and can be used as a substitute for furnace oil in direct heat applications. It can also be used to produce, in an economically viable way, methanol — a chemical which is useful both as fuel for heat engines as well as chemical feedstock for industries. Since any biomass material can undergo gasification, this process is more attractive than ethanol production or biogas where only selected biomass materials

Porvair Sinterflo metal elements for gasification filter modules

can produce the fuel. The clean-up of biomass gasification processes by the filtration of particulate using separation techniques ensures the cost of ownership to the production companies is minimised, the availability of clean producer gas is ensured and the impact to the environment is minimised.

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March/April 2014 • 21


technology news

Rayco launches new stump cutter Rayco, a manufacturer of biomass size reduction machinery, has released a selfpropelled stump cutter for high production stump removal. The new T260, with an overall width of 93” and weighing 22,500lbs, is simple to transport from one job to another. A 260 hp Cummins QSB6.7 turbo diesel powers the T260, which travels on a heavy duty steel track undercarriage with two-speed final drives. It utilises a 40” diameter by 3” thick cutter wheel with 36 Monster Tooth cutter tools to power its way through stumps. Cutting dimensions allow for 108” cutting width, 40” cutting depth and 59” cutting height without repositioning. The cab tilts for easy access to critical hydraulic components. The operator cabin is fully sealed and climate controlled with an LCD control panel, joystick controls and a suspension seat. l

Rayco’s T260 stump cutter

AET receives fourth order for its biomass boiler Biolacq Energies, a subsidiary of Cofely Services, has placed an order for a 54MW biomass boiler with Aalborg Energie Technik (AET). The biomass-fired cogeneration plant will have an output of 12MW electricity and 38MW thermal energy and supply steam to Sobegi at the Induslacq Industrial Park in France. The use of wood energy will prevent the release of 86,000 tonnes of CO2 a year in the next 20 years. The biomass boiler will be equipped with the AET fuel feeding and dosing system, as well as the AET combustion system featuring a spreader stoker and bio-grate. The plant is expected to be completed and commissioned next year. AET has previously delivered a 55MW boiler to Cofely for the Grand-Couronne plant, commissioned in 2011. It has also received three other orders for its biomass boilers from subsidiaries of Cofely. A 50MW boiler is presently being installed at Vielle-Saint-Girons, which will produce 17MW of electricity and supply steam to DRT, a developer of resin and turpentine extracted from pine resin. Another AET boiler is under construction in the French city of Orleans. This 37MW cogeneration plant will produce 8MW of electricity and 25MW of heat for the district heating network, supplying heat and hot water to 15,000 homes. l

22 • March/April 2014

New process produces chemicals from biomass New Oil has revealed continuous flow results using its hydrothermal process.

A continuous flow test bed was used to evaluate the hydrothermal process and to determine the types of chemicals that can be produced under continuous flow conditions. The results from a two year study demonstrated that commercially valuable chemicals can be produced from the process using sugars, starches and agricultural products such as beets, hay, sugarcane and corn stover. The chemicals produced, in order of highest yield to lowest yield, are hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), acetol (hydroxyacetone), 3-methyl1,2-cyclopentenedione, acetone, acetaldehyde, trimethylamine and acetic acid. Beets and sugars also produced furfural. The company’s patented process uses catalysts and high water temperatures to dissolve the biomass and produce the chemical products. The ability to

produce higher value chemicals, as compared to lower value fuels, enhances the commercial viability of the process. Several of these chemicals can be marketed directly as green, renewable consumer products or modified for that market. These include acetone, acetol and HMF, which also have industrial markets. Acetaldehyde, acetic acid and trimethylamine have existing markets as industrial chemicals while 3-methyl-1,2cyclopentenedione can be used to make aviation fuel, octane enhancers for petrol or it can be used in the plastics industry. The process was found to have high yields with over 50% of the biomass being converted to useful products. The process uses materials, equipment and techniques already applied in the petrochemicals industry which will help when scaling up to commercial production levels. New Oil says it is currently looking for partners to help with the commercialisation of the process. l

Bioenergy Insight


technology news

Chesterfield Biogas to build biomethane-to-grid project in UK Chesterfield Biogas, a provider of turnkey solutions to biogasto-biomethane upgrading projects, has received a new order for its biogas upgraders. The Sheffield-based company is to supply gas-scrubbing water-wash upgraders and ancillary equipment to a site in the UK. When commissioned in late 2014, the facility will be the largest biogas-to-grid project so far announced or operating in the UK. At the site, raw biogas — derived from anaerobic digestion — will be converted into biomethane suitable for injection into the natural gas grid. The model being supplied is the Totara+, the largest in Chesterfield’s Greenlane range. The company says the upgrading units will be coupled in parallel to optimise an output of up to 5,000m3 per hour of 98% pure biomethane.

Greenlane Totara biogas upgraders operational at a site in northern Germany

Included in the service elements of the contract are a three-year warranty, a guarantee of 98% system availability and a monthly site visit by one of Chesterfield’s engineers. The Greenlane water-wash process requires no heat or chemicals. In August 2013 Chesterfield announced two other orders for upgraders in the same model range.

Versalis and Elevance partner for biochemicals production Versalis, the chemical subsidiary of Eni, and Elevance Renewable Sciences, a producer of specialty chemicals from natural oils, have signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a strategic partnership to jointly develop and scale a new metathesis technology to produce biochemicals from vegetable oils. Under the new partnership, the two companies will jointly develop and scale new catalysts, leveraging the progress of this technology

Bioenergy Insight

that Elevance has already made. The partners will also assess the design and construction of an ethylene metathesis-based production that will utilise renewable oils at the Versalis Porto Marghera site. The biochemicals produced will be sold for use in different applications such as personal care, detergents and cleaners, bio-lubricants and oilfield chemicals. Versalis will contribute its experience in catalysis process development and engineering design scaleup, while Elevance will bring proprietary know-how regarding metathesis and associated engineering with the use of vegetable oils in producing specialty chemicals for premium applications. l

The Widnes site of ReFood UK will handle commercial food waste and the FLI Energy project in Suffolk will use energy crops and vegetable wastes. Chesterfield Biogas is a member company of Pressure Technologies and the sole manufacturer and installer in the UK and Ireland of the range of Greelane systems. l

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March/April 2014 • 23


technology news

Protecting vertical conveyor belts from damage Conveyor Component has designed a new belt alignment control system that can prevent damage and downtime caused by conveyor belt misalignment. The Model VA system is designed for use on bucket elevators and ensures belts are tracking correctly. Typically installed in pairs on each side of the conveyor belt near the head pulley and/or the tail pulley, these controls consist of a conveyor roller with sealed bearings, four bar linkage and a double pole/ double throw microswitch. The roller detects any belt run-off and will trigger the first pole of the microswitch

The Model VA from Conveyor Component

to sound a warning alarm, illuminate an indicator light, or stop the conveyor

completely when the vertical belt strays beyond 10° from horizontal. The second pole

is triggered when the belt strays 25° from horizontal and can be wired to stop the conveyor motor. To eliminate false signals the controls should be mounted around 1” away from the belt. For high speed conveyors a breakaway mount is recommended. In the event of a run-off, the control unit performs its job of shutting down the conveyor and the breakaway mount allows the control itself to get out of the way of damage. The Model VA general purpose microswitch enclosure is UL listed and CSA certified, rated NEMA Type 4, for weatherproof and dust-tight environments. The company’s Model VA-X is its explosion-proof model suitable for use in hazardous environments. l

Komptech launches new efficient shredder Komptech, a systems supplier for the mechanical treatment of biomass, has added a new shredder to its recently launched ‘Green Efficiency’ line of products. The Crambo Direct has a mechanical drive with automatic load-dependent gear shifting that combines the functionality of a hydraulic drive with the efficiency of a mechanical system. The addition of this mechanical drive results in a 50% higher torque when operating at the highest drum speed while using up to 30% less fuel than conventional diesel-hydraulic shredders. The new system is powered by a Caterpillar Level 3b or 4 diesel engine with exhaust scrubbing. The engine compartment has also been designed, and now offers simple service and maintenance access. Noise and emission levels are reduced with special insulation. In the shredding chamber, two 2.8m counter-rotating toothed drums provide active feed, shredding a range of

24 • March/April 2014

The new Crambo direct has a lower fuel consumption

woody materials down to a set particle size. The degree of shredding can be adjusted flexibly, either by changing the screen basket or by altering the screen basket cartridge. The new addition of the Bio-Basket XL allows operators

to extract more fuel product out of green cuttings, while reducing their own fuel consumption in the process. Komtech’s Green Efficiency line features new technologies with higher energy efficiency. l

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technology news

Second UK biomass steam turbine awarded to Alstom Power generation company Alstom has signed a contract with Danish power plant company Burmeister and Wain Scandinavian Contractor (BWSC) to design and supply a 45MW Geared Reaction steam turbine (GRT) for the Brigg renewable energy plant in the UK. The Brigg power station, which is expected to be operational from early 2016, will be commissioned primarily fuelled using locally sourced straw but will also burn wood. It is expected to produce enough energy to supply around 70,000 homes with power and will result in the displacement of around 300,000 tonnes of CO2 every year. This is the second contract signed between the two companies for a

A computer-generated image of Alstom’s industrial steam turbine GRT

UK GRT in a biomass power station, following an agreement last year on the 15.8MW wood-fuelled Lisahally scheme in Northern Ireland. A GRT is pre-assembled in an Alstom facility before shipment and requires a simple foundation to which the steam turbine generator package is

anchored, as a result saving money during installation and commissioning. The GRT generates flexible power, covering renewable and traditional fuel types in addition to industrial applications for process steam. It features a flexible modular concept and a plug-and-play package to reduce installation time. l

Drax awards biomass contract to Clyde Bergemann UK-based Clyde Bergemann Doncaster (CBD) has won a biomass ash segregation system contract with Drax Power. The Drax power station, the UK’s largest power plant and responsible for meeting around 7-8% of the nation’s electricity needs, is being transformed from a coal-fired facility to a predominantly biomass-fuelled renewable power generator. When this project is complete, Drax is set to become one of the largest renewable power plants in Europe. Last year one of its generating units was fully converted to burn solely biomass — the first of three that Drax plans to convert. As part of the requirements for this conversion, the fly ash produced when burning biomass needs to be handled differently due to its distinct characteristics and chemistry. Drax also wanted to separate the biomass ash from the coal ash for commercial reasons. Clyde Bergemann turnkey solution proposed the installation of a new, separate biomass ash storage silo in the vicinity of the current storage bunkers to receive and store ash from existing pneumatic ash systems. The solution is able to cater for the range of material characteristics expected while retaining the accuracy required when monitoring the material discharged. The new ash segregation system utilises a dry dustless unloading facility to transfer materials from the silo to tankers while also retaining the capability to discharge onto the overland conveyor system Drax currently uses to transfer material to its current disposal area. l

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IFH INTHERM 2014 in Nuremberg 08.04. – 11.04.2014

Hall 4, Stand 4.225

March/April 2014 • 25


green page Sustainability from the ground up Coffee culture is present in cities all over the world; you’re never too far away from somewhere to grab a quick caffeine boost on a weary Monday morning. But could waste from the ubiquitous drink also provide a valuable kick to renewable energy supplies as a biofuel feedstock? One London-based company thinks so. Bio-bean was established by former architecture student Arthur Kay after studying closed loop waste-to-energy systems at a coffee shop and discovering the oil content in those little brown beans, not to mention the wastage — 200,000 tonnes of coffee grounds per year in London alone. While Bio-bean’s technology is not entirely original, it is

innovative. ‘Imagine you have a pile of coffee grounds,’ Kay told The Guardian newspaper recently. ‘You dry them, then we have the patent for the bit in the middle that allows us to extract oil from it. It’s a biochemical process, a solvent that you evaporate through what’s called “hexane extraction”. By weight it is about 15-20% oil. The remaining 80-85% is then turned into biomass pellets used to be burned in boilers.’ This solvent is 99.9% recyclable, meaning it can be re-used again and again. Unlike cooking oil, which has to go through costly filtering processes, coffee is a pure waste stream. As well as this, Bio-bean’s initial tests have found coffee pellets to produce 150% more energy than wood due to their higher calorie content and Kay believes both the pellets and biodiesel can be produced at 10% below market trading price. Since forming Bio-bean, the green entrepreneur

Brown is the new green, you heard it here first

has teamed up with business partner Benjamin Harriman and the company has attracted over £100,000 (€119,890) in grants and funding. The company is currently looking at a six to eight month timeframe to set up its first large-scale waste processing site in Edmonton, North London, capable of processing

30,000 tonnes a year. Focusing on the waste streams of large-scale coffee producing factories in or around London, Bio-bean is thinking big and has plans to end the year powering London’s buildings and transport. With coffee shops springing up in the capital on a daily basis, we’re buzzing with anticipation. l

Waste not, want not A beef processing plant in Queensland, Australia is certainly taking a literal approach to the old saying with its latest endeavour. The facility expects to slash its AUD$1.7 million (€1.1 million) annual gas bill in half from late 2015 — by turning cattle excrement and other waste into energy. The Oakey Abattoir, in Darling Downs, recently began building a new multi-

26 • March/April 2014

million dollar waste-to-energy plant that will extract biogas from the facility’s own wastewater streams, reducing manufacturing costs and the company’s carbon footprint. Between 1,000 and 1,300 cattle could go through the plant on a single shift (yes, you did read that right). About 500 of these would come off the company’s own feedlot. The project is designed to collect around 6,000m3 of methane each day, saving approximately 50,000 gigajoules of bought natural gas pumped through Oakey’s boilers every year. The system, which uses covered, high-rate anaerobic lagoon (COHRAL) technology, will substitute natural gas

purchases for the processor’s own captured and processed biogas, ultimately keeping the Oakey Abattoir a sustainable Australian manufacturer for years to come. Pat Gleeson, the abattoir’s GM, was quoted as saying the cost of the project, estimated to be around AUD$5 million, would be repaid in five years. With 75% of the processor’s beef bound for export, the firm’s biggest markets are in Japan, Korea, Europe and North America. Oakey Abattoir, owned by Nippon Meat Packers Australia, says the process is expected to ‘greatly’ reduce odour emissions from the plant, though due to the nature of its feedstock we’re still not sure we’d like to be living too close by… l

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incident report Bioenergy A summary of the recent major explosions, fires and leaks in the bioenergy industry Date

Location

Company

Incident information

05/03/14

East Providence, Rhode Island, US

Inferno Wood Pellet

Fines totalling $43,400 (€31,300), in addition to 11 serious citations, have been issued by OSHA following a fire at the Inferno Wood Pellet factory last August. The dust explosion and resulting fire destroyed part of the plant and injured one worker. Following an investigation, OSHA found that staff were exposed to fire hazards due to inadequate or a lack of preventative protective measures in the wood pellet processing system and its equipment.

23/02/14

Cass County, Texas, US

International Paper

A woodchip pile caught fire at International Paper’s site in Cass County at around 5.30pm. No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

18/02/14

Louisa County, Virginia, US

Chips

A large fire broke out at the Chips wood processing plant, which manufactures wood pellets. Nearby fire departments were called to tackle the blaze, which is thought to have originated inside a storage silo.

14/02/14

Shakopee, Minnesota, US

Koda Energy

Koda Energy has reopened its biomass plant after the existing facility was demolished last year following a silo fire. The new plant features an updated design to enhance safety and reduce emissions. After the fire, which occurred last April, Koda established a relationship with Barr Engineering for a facility safety assessment. This assessment presented three options for reopening. These were that the plant could be rebuilt using the same vertical silo storage system, the system could be modified, or the facility could be reopened following a complete redesign. Koda opted for a $7 million (€5 million) horizontal system inside a two-story unloading and storage building connected to the existing fuel processing facility. This new design is said to offer improved safety, a 20% reduction of particulate emissions and increased reliability.

spark detection & Fire protection solutions

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www.firefly.se

March/April 2014 • 27


Bioenergy regulations While new European 2030 energy targets have been proposed, where are the binding targets for specific Member States, and why has the Commission omitted a transport-focused mandate?

EC proposes new energy targets for 2030

T

he European Commission (EC) has proposed new energy targets for 2030, which include a reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40% below 1990 levels and an EU-wide binding target for renewable energy of at least 27%. ‘The 2030 framework sets a high level of ambition for action against climate change, but it also recognises that this needs to be achieved at least cost,’ comments energy commissioner Günther Oettinger. These new 2030 targets build upon previously established 2020 targets for GHG emissions reduction which, according to the Commission, the EU is ‘on track’ to meet. These include a 20% reduction in GHGs, a 20% share of renewable energy and 20% improvements in energy efficiency. As of 2012 the EC reports that GHG emissions have been slashed by 18% relative to emissions in 1990. This figure is expected to fall further, by 24% by 2020 and 32% by 2030. The contribution of renewable-based energy rose to 13% in 2012 and this should reach 21% and 24% in 2020 and 2030, respectively. The Commission also reported that, at the end of 2012, the EU had installed around 44%

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of the world’s renewable electricity (excluding hydro). EC president José Manuel Barroso says: ‘It is in the EU’s interest to build an economy that is less dependent on imported energy through increased efficiency and greater reliance on domestically produced clean energy. An ambitious 40% greenhouse reduction target for 2030 is the most cost-effective milestone in our path towards a low-carbon economy. And the renewables target of at least 27% is an important signal: to give stability to investors and support our security of supply.’ Transport While the EC acknowledges that ‘renewable energy must continue to play a fundamental role in the transition towards a more competitive, secure and sustainable energy system’, it does not think it ‘appropriate to establish new targets for renewable energy or the greenhouse gas intensity of fuels used in the transport sector or any other sub-sector after 2020’. In its paper, A policy framework for climate and energy in the period from 2020 to 2030, the Commission said: ‘The assessment of how to minimise indirect landuse change emissions made

clear that first generation biofuels have a limited role in decarbonising the transport sector. The EN 7 EN Commission has already indicated, for example, that food-based biofuels should not receive public support after 2020. A range of alternative renewable fuels and a mix of targeted policy measures building on the Transport White Paper are needed to address the challenges of the transport sector in a 2030 perspective and beyond.’ More support for renewables However, the Renewable Energy Association (REA) has expressed its ‘disappointment with the lack of ambition for renewable energy’ in the proposed 2030 energy and climate change framework, which ‘sets a binding renewable energy target for the EU as a whole, but with no specific targets for member states…our initial impression is that an EU-wide renewables target, without binding targets for specific member states, will only give very limited impetus for expanding renewables in the UK’. Nina Skorupska, CEO of the REA, says: ‘New binding targets for member states would accelerate the cost reduction potential that is unique to

renewables. Renewable generators are smaller and more numerous than fossil and nuclear generators, so the combination of greater competition and mass production leads to major cost reductions. Many renewables will be cheaper than nuclear well before 2030, and will be cost-competitive with fossil fuels — and no longer require subsidy — sooner with binding targets than without.’ Commenting on treatment of renewable transportation fuels in the proposal, the REA believes that the lack of new targets for renewable energy or GHG intensity ‘removes any direct incentive to decarbonise transport. Expanding renewable electricity will help electric vehicles contribute to decarbonisation, but sustainable biofuels offer more cost-effective emissions savings in the shorter-term. The UK is one of a number of countries having to urgently replace ageing power capacity to meet current electricity demand, let alone the significant increase in capacity required for a wide rollout of electric vehicles’. 2030 framework The European Union has outlined the key elements of the 2030 policy framework set out by the Commission:

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regulations Bioenergy 1. A binding greenhouse gas reduction target The target of a 40% emissions reduction below the 1990 level would be met through domestic measures alone. The annual reduction in the ‘cap’ on emissions from EU ETS sectors would be increased from 1.74% now to 2.2% after 2020. Emissions from sectors outside the EU ETS would need to be cut by 30% below the 2005 level, an effort that would be shared between all member states. 2. An EU-wide binding renewable energy target Renewable energy will play a key role in the transition towards a sustainable energy system. The EU-wide binding target for renewable energy of at least 27% in 2030 comes with benefits relating to energy trade balances, reliance on indigenous energy sources, jobs and growth. An

EU-level target for renewable energy is necessary to drive continued investment in the sector. Attainment of the EU renewables target would be ensured by the new governance system based on national energy plans. 3. Energy efficiency Improved energy efficiency will contribute to all objectives of EU energy policy. The role of energy efficiency in the 2030 framework will be further considered in a review of the Energy Efficiency Directive, due to be concluded later this year. The Commission will consider the potential need for amendments to the directive once the review has been completed. Member States’ national energy plans will also have to cover energy efficiency. 4. Reform of EU ETS The Commission proposes to

establish a market stability reserve at the beginning of the next ETS trading period in 2021. This would both address the surplus of emission allowances that has built up in recent years and improve the system’s resilience to major shocks by automatically adjusting the supply of allowances to be auctioned. Under the recently proposed legislation, the reserve would operate according to predefined rules which would leave no discretion to the Commission or member states in its implementation. 5. Competitive, affordable and secure energy The Commission proposes a set of key indicators to assess progress over time and to provide a factual base for potential policy response. These indicators relate to, for example, energy price differentials with major trading

partners, supply diversification and reliance on indigenous energy sources, as well as the interconnection capacity between member states. 6. New governance system The 2030 framework proposes a new governance framework based on national plans for competitive, secure and sustainable energy. Based on upcoming guidance by the Commission, these plans will be prepared by the member states under a common approach, which will enhance coherence, EU coordination and surveillance. The European Council will now review the framework in March. The framework builds on the existing ‘climate and energy package’ of targets for 2020 as well as the Commission’s 2050 roadmaps for energy and for a competitive lowcarbon economy. l

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March/April 2014 • 29


Bioenergy regulations Contrary to a letter sent to industry late last year, the government has failed to deliver on its promise to address FIT degression, which is affecting on-farm biogas plants

UK government U-turn on biogas FIT review

T

he UK’s Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) will not review the degression of the Feedin Tariff (FIT) for smallscale anaerobic digestion (AD) projects this year. The announcement, which was made on 19 February, has not been well received by the sector. In November last year, industry received a letter from energy minister Greg Barker stating: ‘I am very keen to ensure that the small-scale AD sector is not unfairly disadvantaged and that genuine small-scale AD projects are economically viable. While the legislative timetable does not allow us to take action before the January degression announcement, I have asked my officials to consult on measures, including a tariff review, in January. This will have the aim of closing the current loopholes and providing a long-term, stable investment framework for small-scale AD, as well as the sector as a whole.’ The Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA), the Renewable Energy Association (REA) and industry colleagues have urged for the UK government to review current tariffs because a ‘steep’ decrease in the FITs, caused by ‘preliminary

30 • March/April 2014

accreditations’, is negatively impacting small- and midscale biogas plants (below 500kW), including farmbased projects, making them uneconomic. REA head of policy Paul Thompson said: ‘This is a bitter disappointment.

and this decision appears contrary to the government’s stated support for small-scale AD, on farms in particular. ‘Small-scale AD has a range of environmental benefits on top of generating electricity, including encouraging better manure management on

‘The window to save small AD is getting smaller but is not yet closed, as there are a number of plants already in construction’ Charlotte Morton, ADBA CEO

We have worked hard with industry colleagues and DECC officials on proposals to fix the FIT for small- and midscale AD, so it is extremely frustrating that this has not been done. Small-scale AD will be hit the hardest. Much of this takes place on farms, turning farm wastes and residues into selfsupplied green energy and fertiliser, strengthening rural businesses, creating jobs and reducing emissions.’ Thompson’s thoughts are echoed by ADBA CEO Charlotte Morton, who added: ‘It is deeply disappointing that DECC has not been able to follow through on its commitment to “consult on measures, including a tariff review, in January [2014]”,

farms and reducing the use of artificial fertilisers. A range of UK businesses are also in the process of developing technology and expertise which will be lost without the early-stage support which the current FIT level provides. ‘The highest tariff degressions were designed to deal with “runaway” deployment, but are hitting smaller-scale AD despite just five sub 250kW plants coming online in 2013. This clearly goes against the spirit and intention of the policy. ‘The window to save small AD is getting smaller but is not yet closed, as there are a number of plants already in construction. If ministers are serious about keeping small-scale AD alive,

realising sustainable rural growth and delivering the recommendations of the Ecosystem Markets Task Force and the Agri-Tech Strategy, they will recognise that a stable FIT regime is central to the industry’s growth.’ In his letter, addressed to the REA’s CEO, Nina Skorupska, Barker said the government has a ‘strong commitment to the generation of energy from waste through AD’ and acknowledged that the FITs schedule ‘is an important financial incentive for enabling the AD sector in the UK to flourish’. He continued: ‘Robust cost control mechanisms are absolutely essential, especially in the current fiscal environment. However, the current degression arrangements are resulting in some unintended consequences: larger plants are contributing to the small-scale AD degression trigger, meaning degression is likely to come sooner than expected. Due to these unique circumstances, action may be needed to avoid the risk of damage to the genuine small-scale AD sector, which is yet to reach its full potential. It is essential that we maintain a robust and stable FITs scheme, so any potential amendments will require careful work to avoid unintended consequences.’ l

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Bioenergy regulations The Environmental Agency’s recently published Biomethane Quality Protocol is a ‘vital regulatory affirmation’ for the UK’s biomethane sector

Biomethane Quality Protocol published

T

he UK’s Environment Agency published its Quality Protocol (QP) for biomethane in January. The QP sets out ‘end of waste’ criteria for the production and consumption of biomethane generated from degrading organic waste materials either at a landfill site or in an anaerobic digestion (AD) plant. To comply with this QP, biomethane can only be used under two designated applications. These are: • As a fuel or raw material supplied for injection into the national gas grid, which is of a quality acceptable to the grid, meeting the requirements of a Network Entry Agreement and the Gas Safety (Management) Regulations 1996. The gas grid includes the national and local gas transmissions systems, and local gas distribution networks. • For use in natural gasdesigned appliances, without the need for waste regulatory controls. These include compression and spark ignition engines, gas turbines, fuel cells, and heating appliances. The use of biomethane

32 • March/April 2014

as a fuel in suitably designed appliances covers its use in vehicles. If these criteria are met, the biomethane is likely to be considered as having been fully recovered and ceases to be waste. However, producers, processors and users are not obliged to comply with the QP; if they do not, the material will normally be considered to be waste and waste management control will then apply to its storage, handling, transport and application. ‘Biomethane-to-grid is an embryonic sector in the UK at present, with only a handful of trial projects in operation,’ explains the Environmental Agency’s environment and business manager Roger Hoare. ‘This is largely due to cost and regulatory barriers that exist, one of which is the waste status of biogas from landfill and AD. This QP provides a route to overcoming this barrier.’ The Environment Agency believes the new biomethane protocol could see biomethane replace 1% of the nation’s domestic annual natural gas demand, reduce CO2 emissions and slash reliance on imported gas.

The QP, which was established under the European Pathway to Zero Waste partnership, with support from WRAP, industry representatives and funding from LIFE+, is now applicable in England and Wales. Its four main purposes are: 1. To clarify the point at which waste management controls are no longer required 2. To provide users with confidence that the biomethane they use conforms to an approved product standard and, if specified, a customer specification 3. To provide users with confidence that the material is suitable for use in the designated applications 4. To protect human health and the environment. Policy manager of the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA) Matt Hindle said: ‘Biomethane has huge potential as a form of renewable energy which can decarbonise hard-to-reach areas such as industrial processes, heating and road transport. The Quality Protocol will help developers and operators by giving greater certainty

around waste controls.’ The launch of the QP for biomethane has also been well received by the Renewable Energy Association (REA), whose head of biogas David Collins commented: ‘We welcome the Biomethane Protocol as a vital regulatory affirmation of the quality and safety of biomethane as the green equivalent of natural gas.’ Ciaran Burns, certification manager for REAL, the subsidiary of REA, said in a statement: ‘The publication of the Biomethane QP confirms once and for all that biomethane from AD can be treated as a resource rather than waste, eliminating the need for costly waste handling controls. It will set a benchmark for developers of new biomethane technologies to aim for and will help increase the value of green gas as an alternative to fossil fuels for vehicle fleets, industrial processes and domestic and business users of the gas grid.’ The QP can be downloaded from the Green Gas Certification Scheme (GGSC) website. The GGCS is run by REAL. l

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regulations Bioenergy President Obama signs the Farm Bill, describing it as a ‘multitasking Swiss army knife’

Farm Bill signed into US law

U

S President Barack Obama has signed into law the bipartisan 2014 Farm Bill (formerly known as the Agriculture Act of 2014) after it was approved by the US senate on 4 February. Congress passes the Farm Bill every five to seven years, which sets a number of national policies. The last bill was passed in 2008 and expired in 2012. The bill was signed into law at on 7 February. It reduces the deficit while strengthening priorities that help grow the agricultural economy. For example, the bill expands bioenergy production, supporting non-food based advanced biomass energy production such as woody biomass power and cellulosic ethanol. The Farm Bill’s energy title provides mandatory funding for a number of programmes, including: • Rural Energy for America Programme (REAP): Provides resources to business owners to help finance the installation of renewable energy systems or upgrade existing systems, including those utilising biomass. Mandatory funding of $50 million (€36 million) a year has been designated. • Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels: Provides direct payments to advanced biofuel producers, including those manufacturing pellets. Mandatory funding of $15 million per year has been assigned. • Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP): Provides financial assistance to owners and operators

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of agricultural and nonindustrial private forest land who wish to establish, produce and deliver biomass feedstocks. This programme was allotted $25 million in mandatory funds annually. • Community Wood Energy Program (CWEP): Provides grants for communities to supply public buildings with energy from sustainablyharvested wood from the local area. At the signing of the bill, which took place at Michigan State University (MSU), Obama said: ‘Despite its name, the Farm Bill is not just about helping farmers. Secretary Vilsack calls it a jobs bill, an innovation bill, an infrastructure bill, a research bill, a conservation bill. It’s like a Swiss Army knife and it multitasks. ‘The Farm Bill includes things like crop insurance,’ he went on, ‘so that when a disaster like the record drought that we’re seeing across much of the west hits our farmers, they don’t lose everything they’ve worked so hard to build. It also supports businesses working to develop cutting-edge biofuels. That has the potential to create jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.’ Obama acknowledged MSU’s ongoing work, noting he just toured a facility where the university is working with local businesses to produce renewable fuels. The signing also saw the launch of a new ‘Made in Rural America’ initiative, ‘to help more rural businesses expand and hire and sell more products stamped “Made in the USA” to the rest of the world,’ Obama said.

On 4 February, after Congress passed the Farm Bill but prior to it being signed into law, the Biomass Thermal Energy Council (BTEC) and the Pellet Fuels Institute (PFI) issued a statement saying they ‘applauded’ a Farm Bill with such a ‘strong energy title’. ‘Biomass thermal energy is a growing segment of our nation’s energy portfolio, providing a clean, reliable and efficient alternative to fossil fuels,’ said Jennifer Hedrick, executive director of the PFI. ‘The mandatory funding provided by Congress signifies its commitment to this industry and that it is listening

to industry advocates on how best to facilitate its growth.’ According to Joseph Seymour, BTEC executive director: ‘The Farm Bill’s energy title is one of the few tools available to providing parity for biomass heating fuels and technologies outside of comprehensive tax reform. We look forward to working with the USDA [US Department of Agriculture] to ensure these programmes are implemented efficiently and that they recognise the role of sustainable biomass in supporting our nation’s farmers, forest owners and rural communities.’ l

March/April 2014 • 33


Bioenergy regulations

March marks the first anniversary of the EU Timber Regulation coming into effect. This EU-wide law aims to tackle unlawful deforestation by preventing illegally logged timber and timber products being sold in the EU

What does the EU Timber Regulation mean for the biomass industry?

I

n the past year, most focus in the biomass industry has been on sustainability criteria — whether and how they will be implemented. Meanwhile the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) rules, which require woody biomass to be legally sourced, have been in place for a year. Interest in sustainability criteria has been so great that these rules, which require biomass businesses to collect information from their supply chains and undergo government inspections, have not had the attention they deserve. EU timber laws affect biomass for energy

The EUTR applies to companies sourcing, supplying and burning woody biomass for the EU market. It affects a defined list of timber and timber products harvested in the EU or beyond, including a number of bioenergy feedstocks.1 EU Commission guidance is clear that the law also applies to byproducts of sawmilling, such as residues and sawdust used for bioenergy.2 Even if the final product is not a wood product but, for example heat or electricity, the EUTR applies if feedstocks like woodchips are brought to or produced in the EU before

34 • March/April 2014

generating energy. The same applies if a company imports woodchips to power its own business rather than to sell it to customers. This is because the EUTR is concerned with the placing of timber on the EU market, which includes supply of timber products for own use, as long as it is within the course of a commercial activity. Protection

The EUTR’s main obligations rest on the entity that first places wood (as pellets or otherwise) on the EU market (defined as ‘operator’). However, there are also record-keeping requirements for those further down the supply chain (‘traders’). Companies in the biomass sector must assess their role under the EUTR and act accordingly. Compliance is monitored by designated authorities in each EU member state (‘competent authorities’). Research carried out by ClientEarth, a European environmental law organisation, shows competent authorities across the EU are busy identifying operators on their territory and carrying out risk-based checks to establish whether sufficient measures are in place to ensure compliance. But what are they looking out for?

Authorities want to be sure that biomass businesses comply with the two core requirements of the EUTR. Firstly, operators are prohibited from placing wood products (like pellets) made from illegally logged timber on the market. To achieve this, and as the second obligation, operators must carry out due diligence to assess the risk that the wood they use was harvested illegally. Authorities will look into how a company (one putting woodchips on the EU market, for example) carries out due diligence and if it meets EUTR requirements to: 1. Access information about the timber its product was made from (as a minimum the species, country and, in some cases, the region or concession of origin and quantity of timber, as well as name and address of supplier and buyer, plus information on the legality of the timber or product) 2. Assess and evaluate the risk that the products it places on the EU market are from timber that was logged illegally 3. Mitigate the risk of putting illegally sourced products on the EU market. Companies with vertically integrated sourcing of feedstocks or even operating their own concessions or sawmills should not face any

major difficulties accessing the information needed for risk assessment. Where supply chains are more complex, companies must work with their suppliers to ensure the relevant information is passed up the chain. Mixed timber products and the EUTR

Mixing feedstocks from different species of timber and different geographical sources could pose a compliance challenge for biomass operators. The EUTR requires that operators obtain access to information for all woody biomass used in the mix, including each species, location of harvest and compliance of each component with relevant laws in the country of origin.3 If, for example, the species of timber used in the mix varies, the operator should be able to provide a list of each species that may have been used and collect the corresponding information for each species. It is not necessary to indicate the percentage of each species used in the final product. Companies could face significant delays if, during a check, a competent authority is concerned that they have placed illegal timber on the market or failed to exercise due diligence. The relevant products may also be seized. If violations are confirmed,

Bioenergy Insight


regulations Bioenergy the competent authority may permanently confiscate the products and even order them to be destroyed. Law-breakers may also face fines or even imprisonment, though exact penalties for non-compliance differ between member states. Even companies further down the supply chain which trade biomass from legally harvested sources can be fined if they do not keep sufficient records on their suppliers and customers. The records must enable authorities to trace the timber, so traders must keep these records up to date and make them available for inspection for at least five years. When does the EUTR not apply? Not all woody biomass is affected by the EUTR. Companies will not have to exercise due diligence

for feedstocks made from wood that has previously been placed on the EU market by another company. For example, woodchips made from forest residues previously bought from a forest owner within the EU would be exempt, as the sale of the residues is the first placing on the market. Additionally, biomass made from timber that has completed its lifecycle and would otherwise be disposed of as waste is exempt from the EUTR. For example, making wood pellets from timber recovered from demolition of buildings or other waste wood would not require due diligence to be exercised as to the legality of the wood used in the pellets. On the other hand, other legal requirements may be relevant, for instance if the wood waste has been

treated with chemicals for its previous use(s). Get ready Companies operating or supplying biomass plants must carefully assess whether the EUTR affects them. If they find that it applies to their business or parts of their commercial activities, they must determine what their role under the EUTR is, i.e. that of an operator or a trader, and comply with the corresponding requirements. The first 12 months under the new law may have been light on enforcement activity, but authorities are moving on from the implementation phase.4 Compliance is being checked, so to avoid sanctions or reputational damage, companies should make sure they have appropriate measures in place. l

References:

1 Woodchips, sawdust and scrap, ‘whether or not agglomerated in logs, briquettes, pellets or similar form’, class 4401 of Combine Nomenclature, as listed in the Annex of the EU Timber Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 995/2010) http://eur-lex.europa. eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=O J:L:2010:295:0023:0034:EN:PDF 2 Cf. EU Commission Guidance Document for the EU Timber Regulation, Sect. 5b, p. 13 http://ec.europa.eu/ environment/forests/pdf/Final%20 Guidance%20document.pdf 3 EU Commission Guidance Sect. 8, p. 18; for applicable legislation in country of harvest to be complied with see EUTR Art. 2 (h) 4 See for example on the UK: ‘The trade has had time to bed in the EUTR, the NMO to understand the trade. Having risk mapped the sector, it will move from implementation phase to focus on areas of the business most likely to source illegal material, or in danger of doing so inadvertently.’ http://www.ttjonline.com/opinion/ eutr-enforcer-goes-to-phase-ii/

For more information:

This article was written by ClientEarth lawyers Elisa Grabbe and Catherine Weller, www.clientearth.org

Visit us at IBCE Booth #801 www.processbarron.com | 205-663-5330 Bioenergy Insight mar2014.indd 1

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2/27/2014 4:17:13 PM

March/April 2014 • 35


Bioenergy profile Avant Energy talks bad weather, stringent targets and the advantages of biogas over other renewable energies

Reaching targets

S

ome of the most aggressive renewable energy standards in the US can be seen in Minnesota. In 2012 the state began producing 12% of its total energy from renewable sources. This percentage will rise to 16% by 2016 and again to 20% by 2020. By 2025 a quarter of all energy will be derived from ‘green’ renewable materials. The Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (MMPA) is committed to local sustainable energy production and already operates the Oak Glen Wind Farm. At the end of last year the Agency, along with its management company Avant Energy, expanded its portfolio with the opening of a new biogas plant in the city of Le Sueur — Hometown BioEnergy. These green energy projects, which allow MMPA to generate reliable electricity for homes and

businesses during the day when electricity demand is at its peak, help it comply with Minnesota’s renewable energy standard. In addition, the agency buys renewable power on the open market. Talking to Bioenergy Insight about why MMPA decided to enter the biogas market, Kelsey Dillon, VP of BioPower at Avant Energy, says: ‘The biggest challenge with wind is its unpredictability. Sometimes it blows and sometimes it doesn’t and that makes it somewhat unreliable. Also, it tends to blow more at night when prices are lower, so the economic value of wind is not as high as an on-peak resource like biogas. We wanted to have a balance of both intermittent and schedulable renewable resources.’ With a lack of subsidy structures in place, it is important for the MMPA to be able to produce power when

prices are higher. In order to do so, 27,000m3 of gas storage is utilised on site. Dillon says: ‘In Minnesota, prices are quite a bit higher during the daytime hours than during the evening. Gas storage means we can produce during the onpeak period only and don’t have to generate during the night time. We have an objective to be a sustainable and efficient utility and now, with the renewable requirements, we have a responsibility to make sure we are meeting these targets in a cost-effective way. We have a balanced portfolio of renewable resources that we developed for the Agency.’ Mission complete Ground broke on the 8MW biogas plant in December 2012 and construction took around one year. Biomass loading began last October

and operations commenced in December 2013. ‘We are still ramping up production but we are producing electricity and increasing the feedstock loading each day,’ Dillon explains. The feedstock flexible plant can handle a variety of materials including food processing and livestock wastes, all of which is sourced from within a 50-60 mile radius. This is secured through a combination of long- and short-term contracts. ‘One of the reasons we chose this location for the plant is the good amount of nearby food processing factories,’ Dillon reveals. ‘There are quite a few sweetcorn canning facilities and vegetable processors in Minnesota and in the region, and our plant is able to benefit from the by-products of these operations. Around one third of our feedstock is under a 20-year contract. The rest is either supplied under shorter-term agreements or is delivered to the site when it becomes available.’ Feedstock flexibility

Hometown BioEnergy

36 • March/April 2014

Biogas facilities have been a staple of renewable energy supply in Europe for over 20 years. With much experience in delivering multi-feedstock anaerobic digestion plants to the European market, Danish company Xergi was chosen to provide the plant and process design. ‘The relationship with Xergi started about three years ago,’ says Dillon. ‘We were exploring lots of different technologies and settled on Xergi because they have a great deal of experience in

Bioenergy Insight


profile Bioenergy mixed feedstock processes. We worked closely together on the preliminary design of the facility and also procured some of its existing technology, including the plant’s control system.’ The feedstock handled by the biogas plant arrives via truck, either by the waste producer itself or an alternative hauler. The facility’s receiving haul, which features both solid and liquid tipping pits and tanks which prepare the feedstock prior to digestion, is completely enclosed. Dillon says odour control at the facility was a key area of focus for the company. ‘Odour control was a really important element of this facility,’ she explains,

‘especially because there aren’t many facilities around that people can go and visit and become familiar with. We therefore made a concerted effort to manage odours

In addition to the generation of biogas used to produce electricity which is delivered directly to Le Sueur, the Hometown BioEnergy facility creates two high

By 2025 a quarter of all Minnesota’s energy will be derived from ‘green’ renewable materials and we invested in some proven odour management techniques. The building is completely enclosed so there is no exterior handling of waste, either coming in or going out. The entire building is under a negative pressure and process air is routed to a biofilter for treatment.’

value by-products: liquid fertiliser which is sold to local farmers, and solid fuel which is burned off-site in biomassand coal-fired boilers. Rising to the challenge The fast delivery of this facility was not without its

challenges and an aggressive construction schedule, coupled with long, harsh winters, proved testing for all involved. ‘We started construction in the middle of winter and last year there was still snow on the ground in May,’ Dillon recalls. ‘This and the short timeframe for delivery of the plant were our biggest challenges but we worked weekends and long hours. We also had good management and construction strategies in place so it could be completed in the one year timeframe.’ The expiration of the 1603 cash grant programme, which the Hometown BioEnergy project had already qualified for, was another incentive for construction to be finished on time. l

Bioenergy Insight magazine brings you a new weekly newsletter focusing exclusively on bioenergy. Updates will cover new pellet, biogas and biopower plants, new types of biomass, production technologies and the latest industry regulations.

Free weekly bioenergy news! For advertising queries contact: anisha@bioenergy-news.com • +44 (0) 203 551 5752 To submit company news please email keeley@bioenergy-news.com

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March/April 2014 • 37


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plant update Bioenergy

Renewable plant update: US Zilkha Biomass Fuels

Location Alternative fuel Capacity Construction / expansion / acquisition Completion date Investment

Selma, Alabama Black pellets 275,000 t/y Conversion of a shuttered facility (Dixie Pellets), which Zilkha acquired back in 2010 Due to come online this year It closed $18.8 million (€13.5 million) in financing in August last year

Green Gas Americas

Location Alternative fuel Capacity Feedstock Construction / expansion / acquisition Completion date Comment

CleanWorld Location Alternative fuel Capacity Feedstock Construction / expansion / acquisition Project start date

Davis, California Biogas for renewable power 1MW 20,000 t/y of food, green and agricultural waste Construction September 2013

Ameresco Location Alternative fuel Capacity Feedstock Construction / expansion / acquisition Completion date Comment

Johnson Canyon Landfill, California Renewable power 1.4MW Biogas from landfill Construction September 2013 The city of Palo Alto will buy the electricity under a 20-year power purchase agreement

EDF Renewable Energy Location Alternative fuel Capacity Feedstock Construction / expansion / acquisition Completion date Comment

LaSalle, Colorado Renewable power 20MW Biogas produced from organic feedstock and cow manure EDF acquired the Heartland biogas plant, which is currently under construction and due to come online this year September 2013 The biogas will be supplied to Sacramento Municipal Utility District through a 20-year power purchase agreement

Plainfield Renewable Energy (Leidos Holdings) Location Connecticut Alternative fuel Renewable power Capacity 37.5MW Feedstock Biomass Construction / expansion / Leidos Holdings acquired the Plainfield acquisition Renewable Energy project from Enova Energy Group after it failed to finish building the plant Completion date December 2013 Investment $225 million (€162 million) Comment Connecticut Light & Power will purchase 80% of the power under a 15-year off-take agreement

Bioenergy Insight

Charlotte County, Florida Renewable power 2.8MW Biogas produced from landfill Green Gas Americas acquired the landfill gas-to-energy project from Lime Energy November 2013 Orlando Utilities Commission buys the electricity through a long-term power purchase agreement

Augusta Renewable Energy Location Georgia Alternative fuel Biogas Capacity Spent coffee grounds Construction / expansion / Construction acquisition Designer / builder Eisenmann (EPC) Project start date November 2013 (announced) Investment $20 million (€14.4 million)

Hu Honua Bioenergy Location Alternative fuel Capacity Feedstock Construction / expansion / acquisition

Project start date Comment

Pepeekeo, Hawaii Renewable power 21.5MW Biomass such a eucalyptus Construction/refurbishment of an existing plant that was built in 1972 and used to consume sugarcane bagasse The project was proposed in 2013 A 20-year power purchase agreement was agreed in January with Hawaii Electric Light

Camco Clean Energy Location Alternative fuel Capacity Feedstock Construction / expansion / acquisition Completion date Investment Comment

Hansen, Idaho Renewable electricity 2.1MW Biogas produced from cattle manure sourced from Bettencourt Dairies Camco Clean Energy acquired Cargill’s biogas plant January 2014 $2.9 million (€2 million) The renewable electricity is sold to Idaho Power after a 10-year power purchase agreement was established in 2010. The plant, which cost $8.5 million to build, began operating in August 2008

March/April 2014 • 39


Bioenergy plant update Waste No Energy (Rakr Farms) Location Indiana Alternative fuel Renewable power Capacity 8.2 million kW Feedstock Biogas produced from 26 tonnes per day of manure and 125 tonnes per day of waste food Construction / expansion / Construction acquisition Designer / builder C.G. Schmidt (general contractor) and US Biogas (design engineering) Completion date December 2013 Comment Northern Indiana Public Service Company will acquire the electricity

Fiberight Location Alternative fuel Feedstock Construction / expansion / acquisition Project start date Completion date

Investment

Marion City, Iowa Renewable power Solid waste materials (100-400 tonnes a day) Construction August 2013 (approval granted) Under the agreement, the biogas plant must be up and running by January 2015 $30 million (€21.6 million)

German Pellets Location Urania, Louisiana Alternative fuel Wood pellets Capacity 1 million t/y Construction / expansion / Construction acquisition Project start date April 2013

CommonWealth Resource Management Location Alternative fuel Capacity Construction / expansion / acquisition Project start date Comment

Dartmouth, Massachusetts Renewable power Biogas produced from the Crapo Hill landfill site Construction March 2014 (announced) A pilot-scale plant will first be built. If this is successful the two companies will expand it

Avant Energy and the Minnesota Municipal Power Agency Location Le Sueur, Minnesota Alternative fuel Renewable power Capacity 8MW Feedstock Biogas produced from manure and corn silage Construction / expansion / Construction acquisition Project start date 2012 Completion date End of 2013

Eco Power Generation Hazard Location Alternative fuel Capacity Feedstock Construction / expansion / acquisition Completion date Comment

Hazard, Kentucky Renewable power 58.8MW Biomass including wood waste such as timber Construction 2015 The renewable plant has received the necessary permits and approvals. Utility company Kentucky Power Co. will acquire the green electricity under a 20year power purchase agreement that was signed last October

Cool Planet Location Alternative fuel Capacity

Feedstock Construction / expansion / acquisition Completion date

40 • March/April 2014

Port of Alexandria, Louisiana Biochar and renewable fuels 10 million gallons a year of high octane renewable petrol blendstocks Woody biomass Construction Q2 2014

SaniGreen Bioenergy Location Alternative fuel Capacity Feedstock

South Saint Paul, Minnesota Renewable power 1.1MW Biogas produced from 150,000 tonnes a year of solid and liquid waste Construction / expansion / Construction acquisition Project start date 2013 Completion date March 2015 Investment $30 million (€21.6 million) BlueFire Renewables Location Fulton, Mississippi Alternative fuel Wood pellets Capacity 400,000 t/y Feedstock Biomass Construction / expansion / Construction acquisition Project start date 2013 (announced) Comment The wood pellet plant will be integrated with BlueFire Renewables’ existing 9 mgy ethanol plant. The wood pellets will be exported to Europe

Bioenergy Insight


plant update Bioenergy Enviva

Green Circle Bioenergy Location Alternative fuel Capacity Construction / expansion / acquisition Project start date Completion date Investment

George County, Mississippi Wood pellets 500,000 t/y Construction June 2013 (announced) 2015 $115 million (€83 million)

Gulf Coast Renewable Energy Location Alternative fuel Capacity

George County, Mississippi Wood pellets 150,000 t/y with hopes to double this by 2017 Construction / expansion / Construction acquisition Project start date 2012 Completion date 2013 Murphy-Brown and Roeslein Alternative Energy Location Alternative fuel Capacity

Missouri Renewable power Biogas from animal waste collected at Murphy-Brown’s farms Construction / expansion / Construction acquisition Designer / builder Veolia Water Solutions and Technologies will supply the anaerobic digestion technology Project start date Q4 2013 (announced) Investment $100 million (€72 million)

Location Alternative fuel Construction / expansion / acquisition Completion date Investment

Port of Wilmington, North Carolina Wood pellets Construction January 2015 $35 million (€25 million)

EM Biogas Location Texas Alternative fuel Biogas Capacity 7.5 million t/y of digestate Construction / expansion / EM Biogas announced last year acquisition it will sell its Huckaby Ridge anaerobic digestion plant Investment The $26 million (€18.7 million) Novec and Novi Energy Location Halifax County, Virginia Alternative fuel Renewable power Capacity 50MW Feedstock Woodchips Construction / expansion / Construction acquisition Designer / builder Fagen Completion date November 2013 Comment $180 million (€130 million). Funding for the project is a combination of a $90 million loan from the USDA, equity funds, and state and federal grants

Burgess Biopower Location Berlin, New Hampshire Alternative fuel Renewable power Capacity 75MW Feedstock 750,000 t/y of woody biomass Construction / expansion / Construction acquisition Designer / builder Cate Street Capital Project start date 2011 Completion date December 2013 Investment $275 million (€198 million)

Nippon Paper Industries Location Alternative fuel Capacity Construction / expansion / acquisition Completion date Investment Comment

Port Angeles, Washington Renewable heat and power Biomass such as forest wood waste Construction November 2013 $85 million (€61 million) The plant is located at the site of Nippon’s existing mill

Blue Sphere and Biogas Nord Location North Carolina Alternative fuel Renewable power Capacity 5.2MW Feedstock Biogas Construction / expansion / Construction acquisition Completion date Q3 2014 Investment $18 million (€13 million) JC-Biomethane Location Alternative fuel Capacity Construction / expansion / acquisition Completion date Investment

Bioenergy Insight

We Energies Location Alternative fuel Capacity Feedstock Construction / expansion / acquisition Completion date

Rothschild, Wisconsin Renewable power 50MW Biomass such as wood waste and sawdust Construction November 2013

Junction City, Oregon Renewable power Biogas produced from food waste Construction October 2013 $16 million (€11.5 million)

*This list contains major plant projects in the US, including the information available at the time of printing. If you would like to update or list any additional plants in future issues please email keeley@bioenergy-news.com

March/April 2014 • 41


Bioenergy wood pellets in the US Wood pellets have proven to be beneficial for the environment, the forest and the economy

Biomass brings many benefits

F

or decades we have been seeking alternatives to fossil fuels due to the negative effects of coal and petroleum on the environment, but have been faced with concerns about cost, capacity and reliability. Biomass in the form of wood pellets is the answer to this problem. Wood pellets from the US are sustainably sourced and are carbon beneficial when compared to fossil fuels, and can provide consistent baseload power to meet consumer demand. Additionally, the wood pellet industry is contributing to the overall forest products industry, increasing exports in the southeast of the US and creating jobs.

fewer of these elements and toxins into the atmosphere. The time and capital intensiveness of wind and solar energy projects means biomass is currently the only viable renewable energy source that can provide stable, consistent base-load renewable power to Europe. Wood pellets are a complementary energy source that can be rapidly

The environment

deployed to fill gaps in supply, quickly adjusted to meet daily fluctuations in energy demand and easily used to balance the grid alongside other intermittent renewable energy sources.

Wood pellets deliver real carbon savings when compared to fossil fuels. The UK Environment Agency has found that switching from coal to wood pellets can reduce carbon emissions by 74-90%. Replacing coal with wood pellets has been shown to reduce emissions of not only carbon dioxide, but also sulphur and nitrogen oxides. In addition, wood pellets are lower in chlorine, nitrogen, arsenic, lead and mercury. Using wood pellets in the place of coal releases much

42 • March/April 2014

By creating a new market for these waste products, which may otherwise be left in the forest to rot, the wood pellet industry has created further financial incentives for forest owners to keep their forests well maintained. This results in healthier forests and less risk for fire or disease. Additionally, the wood pellet industry has boosted the forest sector as a

It is expected that by 2020, Europe’s demand for wood pellets will be well over 25 million tonnes

The forest The US is a world leader in forest sustainability. Foresters and wood pellet producers work together to maximise the benefits to US forests while ensuring that emissions remain low during sourcing, production and transport. This results in a product that is not only carbon beneficial and good for the environment, but is also an affordable and reliable source of renewable energy. Wood pellets are sourced from low-grade fibre, including thinnings (pulpwood), residues and tree parts unusable by other forest products industries or for which no current market exists.

whole, which provides further incentive for land owners to keep their forests for generations to come, rather than convert them to commercial or agriculture use. Due to a thriving forest products industry, the net volume of trees per acre has increased in all regions of the US for the last 50 years and forest carbon sequestration in the US has increased 31% since 1990. Using sustainably managed forests for products such as sawlogs, pulp and paper and now biomass actually creates more forests — and healthier forests — across the US. The same best management practices that have been used by the forest products industry for decades to maintain the abundance of forests in the US have been adopted by the wood pellet industry as well. In addition, the forest is governed by a multitude of federal, state and local laws that reduce environmental impacts, protect wildlife

and ensure growing forests for centuries to come. The economy In 2012, almost 4.5 million tonnes of pellets were exported to Europe, with 30% going to the UK. Of the 4.5 million tonnes exported, the US provided 35% of this supply. It is expected that by 2020, Europe’s demand for wood pellets will be well over 25 million tonnes. This is helping international trade relations between the US and Europe and boosting exports in the former’s southeast and the Gulf of Mexico. For example, just in the Commonwealth of Virginia alone, wood pellet exports grew from $4 million (€2.9 million) in 2011 to $35 million in 2012. Wood pellet manufacturers in the southeastern US often build and develop in rural areas where there has been a recent decline in traditional wood-using facilities. These plants help revitalise the economy and create jobs in these localities. Additionally, these manufacturing sites spur the development of other infrastructure needs, such as roads, natural gas lines and port facilities. Forestry is the largest industry in most southeastern US states. Privately owned forests generate more than 2.8 million jobs and contribute $119 billion to the nation’s GDP. Wood pellets are providing a boost to this vital industry, increasing exports and inciting economic development in rural communities that need it most. l For more information:

This article was written by the US Industrial Pellet Association, www.theusipa.org

Bioenergy Insight


bio-ccus Bioenergy An end-of-pipe dream or are prospects for bio-CCUS nearby and real? A look at the future role of bio-CCUS, where near-term prospects may lie and what the most important challenges are moving forwards

Short- and long-term prospects

C

arbon capture use and storage (CCUS1) often has the connotation of being an end-ofpipe technology associated with sectors that convert fossil energy on a large scale. The technology has a large potential and allows the transition to a low carbon world at lower cost than without, according to work by, for example, the International Energy Agency (IEA) and Global Energy Assessment (GEA). At current pace of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, applying carbon capture storage to fossil fuel plants alone may not be sufficient to meet the 2°C target. To keep within the carbon budget, CCUS most likely needs to be implemented at bio-based facilities which then have the potential to deliver net negative greenhouse gas emissions. The concept CCUS is often associated with fossil energy conversion, but can also be combined with use of biomass — bio-CCUS. The concept works as follows. Biomass absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere during growth. CO2 that is released during the conversion of biomass into fuels, electricity and/or heat can be captured and stored. Thus a part of the CO2 does not return to the atmosphere, resulting in a net removal2 of CO2 from the atmosphere. This combination has some promising prospects: • With respect to emission reduction, it allows more efficient use of biomass resources. The amount of CO2 avoided per tonne of

Bioenergy Insight

Figure 1: EU GHG limits as stated in the RED and an example of the potential role of CCUS lowering the GHG balance of bioethanol production substantially

converted biomass increases when applying bio-CCUS. • It allows mitigating and offsetting greenhouse gas emissions from diffuse sources that have limited mitigation options in the short- and mid-term. For example, bio-CCUS applied to biofuel production allows attaining low or even net negative emissions in the transport sector. • Negative emissions allow for offsetting emissions from the past, making it also possible to conceivably reduce the effect of overshooting CO2 emission targets in the shorter-term. • As the capture of biogenic carbon dioxide improves the carbon balance of bioenergy and biofuels, it can also add monetary value, for example as a result of provisions in the EU Renewable Energy Directive (RED) and the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD). Bio-CCUS can be applied in various sectors, including: biomass (co-) firing power plants, liquid and gaseous biofuel production via fermentation, anaerobic digestion or gasification, pulp and paper production,

biorefineries and eventually energy intensive industries (e.g. cement, iron and steel). The role Many scenarios that limit global warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels demonstrate there is an important role for bio-CCUS. Typically a large role is foreseen in future scenarios for biofuel production in combination with CCUS for the transport sector and electricity production with power plants that (co-) fire biomass on a large scale. This is exemplified by the large amount of scenarios in the GEA that finish with net negative CO2 emissions by the end of this century. For reference, the annual global energy-related emissions amounted to 32 gigatonnes (Gt) in 2012. In a strong reduction scenario, this amount needs to be curved within one or two decades and is then to be turned into negative figures well before the end of this century. Is that possible? The global technical potential to capture and store CO2 from bio-CCUS in 2050 is estimated at around 10Gt

CO2. Put into perspective, the global annual production of crude oil expressed in mass equals is about 4Gt of oil. This is therefore a challenging task. Furthermore, bio-CCUS needs to develop at a pace to meet this daunting task. The amount of negative emissions needed in several GEA pathways comes close to the technical potential which requires large efforts to demonstrate and deploy bioCCUS technologies, building capacity in supply chains (work force/equipment/ education) and ensure the large biomass potential that is needed meets carefully developed and monitored sustainability criteria. The technology and the supply chains — the CCUS part combined with the biomass part — must be demonstrated at scale as soon as possible to allow large-scale deployment. Getting started Early opportunities arise when low capture cost can be combined with considerable volumes of CO2. The purity and total volume of the CO2 stream or flue gas is very important for the cost of CO2 capture.

March/April 2014 • 43


Bioenergy bio-ccus Economics of scale also apply to the transport and storage infrastructure. The costs of transporting CO2 from small sources can be very high due to high upfront investments. Some of the early opportunities for CCUS can be found in the biofuel production sector. Relative low capture cost can be reached there or there are processes that already integrate the removal of CO2. Biogas upgrading is a good example of the latter. The typical relative small size of biogas plants is, however, not a very good starting point for large-scale CCUS. Only in the case where an existing CO2 infrastructure exists or where clustering of facilities is possible can the economics be favourable.

More attractive in this respect is to connect to the production of ethanol. During the production of ethanol a relative pure stream of CO2 is released as a by-product. For every tonne of ethanol produced, almost one tonne of CO2 is also generated, which is often emitted into the atmosphere. This is a big destruction of value, both from an economic and environmental point of view. The relative pure stream of CO2 has a value as it can be upgraded with relative ease and sold as feedstock for industrial or agricultural purposes. Capture and upgrading costs are well below market prices for CO2, rendering a potential additional margin of millions of euros per

year for ethanol producers. At the same time, provisions in the EU RED give value to the overall CO2 performance of biofuels, by means of a threshold of emission reductions that has to be met and that becomes stricter towards 20203. As bio-CCUS improves the CO2 performance, it can help a biofuel to meet the threshold (figure 1). Another interesting piece of legislation is the EU FQD, which even appreciates every additional saving above the threshold4,5. Bio-CCUS thus could be an invaluable means for ethanol producers improving both their GHG performance and competitive position. The exact value per tonne of CO2 depends on many factors, not in the least on

Assessing the business case of using CO2 from ethanol production

ecofys has developed a quick scan tool for CCUS infrastructure development (CONNECT), which is linked to a geographic costing tool and can be used in the assessment of a business case for applying CCUS to (individual) ethanol production locations. Within this business case scan, it assesses: 1. Value and costs of CO2 capture and use (or storage) 2. Improvement of GHG balance when applying CCUS. Steps in business case scan: • Estimate the CO2 demand in the direct vicinity of

the ethanol production location, for example greenhouses, industry (food and beverages) and specialty chemicals • Estimate GHG performance of production location with and without CCUS • Estimate the value of CO2 for customers in area under study • Estimate cost of CO2 capture plus transport infrastructure with CONNECT tool • Calculate potential margin attainable for ethanol producer. Examples of the quick scan model applied in the

Netherlands are can be seen in figure 2. The basic properties of the ethanol production location and scan of the vicinity allow the assessment of cost and value of capturing CO2. The CONNECT part of the tool directly provides insight in the cost of developing a CO2 infrastructure in the vicinity of the ethanol production location. As part of an interactive session with stakeholders, it is possible to immediately draw lessons on optimally routing and sharing CO2 infrastructure with other production units.

Figure 2: Indicative results of the quick scan. The chart of the left shows the costs and potential margin when applying CCUS to a bioethanol plant with a production capacity of almost 500 million litres per year (380 ktonne of CO2). On the right is the development of a CO2 infrastructure with the CONNECT tool determining cost and giving direct access to geographic relevant information in the vicinity, such as CO2 sources, CO2 sinks, land-use, built environment and existing infrastructure

44 • March/April 2014

the exact implementation of the latter directive, which is expected in the next few years. The CO2 utilisation from ethanol production could be a stepping stone to accelerate CCUS infrastructures further as it typically has low capture and upgrading costs combined with reasonable CO2 volumes (i.e. hundreds ktonne of CO2). A good example is the Rotterdam harbour in the Netherlands, where a (bio-) CCUS network is already in operation. CO2 captured from Abengoa’s bioethanol production facility is transported to greenhouses nearby where it is then used for enhanced crop production. Another example is Archer Daniel Midland’s (ADM) ethanol production facility in the US state of Illinois, where 0.3 tonne of CO2 per year is currently captured and stored. This will expand to one tonne per year from 2014 onwards. Bio-CCUS is thus already at a place where it delivers its promise with real projects. Main challenges and next steps For early (CO2 use) opportunities, there is a potential business case with the FQD, RED and the market for CO2 as resources as main economic drivers. The challenges there lie in the identification of geographical hotspots where existing infrastructures to supply biomass, transport CO2 and its use are present or can be initiated with a group of stakeholders. Smaller biomass facilities together could form a cluster of interest for CCUS deployment. Matching and sharing of infrastructures (and risks) seems to be the key to success there. The identification of such hotspots and the most effective bio-CCUS options for the short- to medium-term could be a valuable next step. Without a strong and sustained economic incentive companies will not be able to justify the large investments

Bioenergy Insight


bio-ccus Bioenergy needed to develop CCUS at a large scale. An important economic driver for CCUS should be the CO2 allowance price. The current EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) price of about €5 per tonne of CO2 is, however, too low to form an adequate incentive for CCUS projects. Moreover, CO2 stored from biomass will not be accounted for in the ETS and therefore does not ‘create’ sellable allowances. In other words, there is no economic value attached to negative emissions. There is therefore the need for negative emissions from bio-CCUS to be acknowledged in carbon accounting mechanisms. To reach the large potential mentioned earlier, advanced and large-scale conversion facilities are most likely needed in the longer-term. The (lack of) maturity of the technology is a barrier here. For instance, R&D is still needed to improve

advanced biofuel technologies that potentially outperform conventional biofuel production routes regarding GHG reductions, land use requirements and competition for land, food, fibre and water. It would be beneficial if CO2 recovery and use or storage is directly taken into account in R&D activities to deliver market ready bio-CCUS technology as early as possible. Uncertainty in the (regular) supply of sustainable biomass and the availability and certainty of CO2 storage capacity are also considered significant challenges. The secure supply of low cost and sustainable biomass is essential for all bio-CCUS technologies. Sustainability is the main topic in all policy debates around bioenergy and biofuels. All in all, the near- and long-term prospects for ‘bio’ and ‘CCUS’ joining forces seems favourable. But the

important role of bio-CCUS is currently inadequately addressed in energy and climate policy debates. Fulfilling these expectations requires that stakeholders (industries and governments) combine their efforts and that policy actions pave the way for a committed incentive for sustainable bio-CCUS. A dedicated roadmap for bio-CCUS on regional scale including the confirmation of potentials, identification of promising clustering possibilities and clear incentivising policies and actions will be a good starting point. l For more information:

This article was written by Joris Koornneef, Chris Hendriks and Carlo Hamelinck of Ecofys, www.ecofys.com

References:

1 The term CCUS is used to acknowledge that captured CO2 can be stored in the deep underground — i.e. CCS — or can be utilised in

different applications. An example is enhanced crop production and its use as feedstock in the chemical industry. 2 Whether a net negative greenhouse balance can be achieved will vary case-by-case and strongly depends on the combination of biomass conversion and CO2 capture technology, and emissions in the value chain. 3The greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels must be at least 35% lower than from the fossil fuel they replace. From 2017 this increases to 50% and from 2018 the saving must be at least 60% for new installations. 4 The FQD requires a GHG emission reduction over the complete transport fuel portfolio, in which biofuels are projected to play a major role. Better performing biofuels will enable to meet the FQD targets faster. 5 Carbon capture use and storage includes emission savings from carbon capture and replacement, and emission savings from carbon capture and geological storage. ‘Emission savings from carbon capture and replacement, eccr, shall be limited to emissions avoided through the capture of CO2 of which the carbon originates from biomass and which is used to replace fossil-derived CO2 used in commercial products and services.’ Source : http://eur-lex. europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?u ri=OJ:L:2009:140:0088:0113:EN:PDF

Port of partnerships

biofuels meets

Europe’s largest gasoline port Bioenergy Insight

Welcome to the port of Amsterdam. Where biofuels meets Europe’s largest gasoline port. Here biofuels transhipment takes place from all over the world thanks to its extensive experience and expertise in oil and gasoline. The existing tank storage companies provide biofuels customers port facilities, such as jetties, tanks, storage, transhipment and blending. Furthermore, the port of Amsterdam has a unique logistical location within the world’s largest international energy hub ARA (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp). Situated in Europe’s largest delta the port of Amsterdam offers a dynamic international hub and excellent hinterland connections. Want to know more about the port of Amsterdam where all kinds of biofuels meet the world’s largest gasoline port? Go to www.portofamsterdam.nl or contact our Commercial Division, Cluster Energy directly via lex.de.ridder@portofamsterdam.nl.

March/April 2014 • 45


Bioenergy plant construction A look at how Drax is progressing with the conversion of half of its generating units from coal to biomass

Helping Drax keep the lights on in a low carbon future

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rax Power Station in North Yorkshire, UK is responsible for typically supplying 7-8% of the UK’s electricity. In July 2012, Drax confirmed plans to convert three of its six generating units from coal to sustainable biomass, setting it up to become the UK’s largest single renewable electricity generator. The move followed the government’s review of support for renewable technologies under the Renewables Obligation (RO), which recognised the strategic role that biomass can play in the energy mix, in particular through the conversion of existing coal-fired power stations to burn biomass. Drax appointed Shepherd Group to carry out this project, with responsibility for the construction of biomass storage and handling facilities, as well as the infrastructure works to transport high volumes of biomass materials across site. Shepherd Group’s power and infrastructure team worked to identify technically viable solutions to make the internationally unprecedented ambition a reality. Design Working alongside Drax, Shepherd brought together three of its operating companies — Shepherd Construction, technical service provider Shepherd Engineering Services (SES) and bulk handling company Portasilo — and formed ‘Team Drax’. As Jason Shipstone, Engineering Manager at Drax

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explains: ‘This project is highly complex. It’s not simply a matter of swapping one fuel for another and selecting the right partners for the job was critical. Together we are overcoming the engineering and construction challenges that are part and parcel of a project of this size.’ This collaboration, combined with the process of researching and evaluating the best available technology from across the world, saw the development of a design for the plant to enable Drax’s ambitious vision. Technical challenges A major consideration for the project team from the

One of four biomass storage domes at Drax

generated from biomass pellets, so Shepherd utilised clear spanning thin-shell concrete dome structures to remove dust traps and ledges. Vibrating floor technology was

‘The Drax biomass conversion project is highly complex. It’s not simply a matter of swapping one fuel for another’ Jason Shipstone, engineering manager, Drax

outset was providing safe and commercially viable facilities which would address the specific challenges associated with the handling and storage of biomass pellets. A further challenge was the scale of storage required and the high throughput levels which needed to be achieved. Shepherd’s solution to create this UK-first was the construction of four biomass storage domes, each with 450,000m³ of biomass storage space. Technical solutions were required to eliminate fire risks surrounding dust

also implemented to prevent product degradation while simultaneously ensuring 100% reclaim of the biomass pellets. Fuel is reclaimed via a twin conveyor system which transports the fuel from the storage facility to the boiler distribution system, where the biomass is processed and delivered to the boilers. This required the incorporation of 28 conveyor systems with a combined length of 4km, capable of transporting 2,800 tonnes of biomass per hour, reaching day silos at heights of up to 68m.

A total 5,680m of new rail track has also been laid (rising to approximately 6,000m including track repair work) to allow the sustainable conversion of the plant, the operation of Drax’s specialist network of biomass trains and delivery of construction items. Another essential consideration for Shepherd was to deliver this project while the plant remained operational, and to ensure the health and safety of everyone on site in the potentially hazardous environment. To do this, forward planning was essential and the utilisation of off-site construction methods and the latest Shepherd BIM modelling software enabled the team to reduce on-site labour time, manufacturing space, material wastage and health and safety risks. Shepherd engaged the SES PRISM off-site manufacturing facility, where a total of 8,000 man hours were spent. Additionally, 22 switch rooms, 697 integrated services modules and 28 service risers were constructed at

Bioenergy Insight


plant construction Bioenergy the facility. A further 1.7km of pipework and 13km of electrical containment were fitted onto modules at PRISM, as well as 2,286 prefabricated brackets being assembled there. The project incorporates a range of world-leading health and safety features, from fixed vacuum cleaning systems which ensure control of dust across the site, to more than one mile of dust conveying pipework. Additionally, to date the Shepherd team has carried out the training and induction of 5,241 staff on the project. As of December 2013, a total of 3,441,333 man hours had been worked on-site with an accident frequency rate of just 0.14 The results The new biomass facilities

Twenty eight conveyor systems have been installed, stretching 4km

were officially opened last December by the Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey. By the end of 2013 the first generating unit, which has been successfully running on sustainable biomass since April 2013, was

fully supported by the new, bespoke facilities including one of the four domes. Drax plans to have three units converted to sustainable biomass in 2016. Each converted generating unit will provide enough renewable

electricity to meet the equivalent needs of over one million homes. Once all three of the units are running on biomass fuel, Drax’s emissions will be reduced by around 10 million tonnes a year on today’s levels. Mark Perkins, CEO of Shepherd Group Built Environment Division concludes: ‘Drax shows what can be achieved by British industry, not only in terms of its visionary strategy, but in the ability of UK expertise in the built environment sector to turn that vision into a worldclass point of reference for exemplar and ground-breaking design and engineering. This is the sort of project that, in the long term, really makes a difference to the lives of people in the UK and indirectly, in years to come, many further afield also.’ l

Your Single-Source System Provider We offer complete systems for grinding and/or drying a wide variety of biomass materials including wood chips, algae, switchgrass, & kenaf. nt Biomass Handling Equipment ms Complete Engineered Systems Primary Hogs Secondary Hammer Mills Apron Pan Feeders Mass Loading Feeders Disc Screens Screw Conveyors Pneumatic Conveying Silos 2701 North Broadway, St. Louis, Missouri 63102 USA Phone: (314) 621-3348 Fax: (314) 436-2639 Email: sales@williamscrusher.com

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www.williamscrusher.com March/April 2014 • 47


Bioenergy energy crops A look at different energy crops available for the production of renewables and why a diverse feedstock portfolio could prove advantageous

Optimising the biomass supply chain

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ellulose is the most abundant organic compound on earth. Today both industrialscale and commercial ready processes have been demonstrated, which liberate and purify cellulose and other bio-based sugars from a range of agricultural and woody biomass. These bio-based industrial sugars can be used to produce renewable fuels, chemicals, plastics, alcohols, solvents, materials, polymers, fibres — in fact, anything that can be produced from a barrel of petroleum can also be produced from biomass. Every acre of a sustainably produced energy crop can be viewed as an oil well that never goes dry. And because it is renewable, it offers essentially a limitless source of energy. The key is unlocking the sugars contained in the biomass feedstocks cost effectively, sustainably and at industrial scale. While that is true for the downstream conversion segment of the value chain, it is equally, if not more, important for the upstream supply of biomass feedstocks. What biomass feedstocks are best suited to meet the demands of this growing industry? For many, the logical conclusion is high yielding energy crops. Higher yield is better than lower yield, especially when it comes to supplying bulky, biological, degradable material for downstream processing. However, after working for the last six years to develop comprehensive, integrated,

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sustainable biomass feedstock supply chain solutions for largescale energy crop systems, Dr. Kelly Tiller, founder of US-based Genera Energy, a commercial biomass feedstock supply solutions company, argues that more is not always better when it comes to energy crop yields. While improving crop genetics and agronomics to increase yield are important and necessary steps as the industry matures, yield alone is the wrong question for the industry to be asking. There is no such thing as

and supply chain solution for every bioconversion project. There are right and wrong ways to produce and manage energy crops. Even beyond selecting the most advantageous and economical energy crop portfolio and management system, there is still a missing link. While energy crops grow in fields, downstream conversion processes like biorefineries do not actually need energy crops; they need uniform, industrial biomass feedstocks. Spanning the gap between

Mechanically planting miscanthus

‘best’ when it comes to energy crops and biomass feedstocks. All biomass is not created equal, but it all has value. The key is to match the location and processing requirements for a particular bioconversion project to the specific characteristics and economics of biomass feedstocks to find the feedstock portfolio and supply chain solution that works best for that specific use. There is in fact a ‘best’ design of a biomass portfolio

energy crops grown on farm fields and uniform, industrial biomass feedstocks delivered to a biorefinery is an intricate set of integrated supply chain elements, all of which can significantly affect the cost, risk and quality of biomass supply. Analysing and balancing all of these multidimensional factors in the design and execution of an optimised biomass supply chain solution is complex. To do so reliably

and economically requires expertise and demonstrated commercial experience with a diverse portfolio of energy crops, production management systems and supply chain management systems. As the demand for biomass production is at an alltime high and projected to continue its upward trajectory, many landowners, farmers, stakeholder organisations and downstream bio-conversion customers are curious about the benefits and downsides of some of the most popular biomass crops such as switchgrass, miscanthus and sorghum, among many others. At this time, there are a handful of commercialscale cellulosic biorefineries scheduled to come online within the next 18 months. When operational, these facilities alone will need a combined 1.2 million tonnes of biomass annually to meet the demand. Of the three specific crops mentioned above, all are well-suited to a variety of US growing conditions and soils to help meet that demand. All can be grown as an energy crop that can be converted into cellulosic biofuels and other energy products. All three have been grown for many years, either in the US or other countries. However there are distinct advantages and disadvantages to each, and distinct suitability differences for various downstream uses. Switchgrass Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is likely the most studied

Bioenergy Insight


energy crops Bioenergy biomass crop in the US and is one that Genera has had success with as a sustainable and economical feedstock. A perennial grass that is normally harvested once a year during the dormant season, switchgrass can be grown on lower productivity or underutilised agricultural land that is not generally used to produce food crops. When managed as an energy crop, switchgrass is allowed to go dormant and stems dry on the stalk, allowing the nutrients to move down the plant to the roots for use during the next growing season, significantly reducing the use of fertilisers and equipment. Switchgrass is also the only native crop of the three and, once established, can be harvested for 15 years or more without replanting or seeing a decline in yield. Some switchgrass stands are still productive after 20 years. Once established, switchgrass does not require chemical weed control. Stands can grow to 9ft tall or more depending on a variety of factors. Switchgrass has an extensive root system, contributing to its drought resistance and also its value in erosion control. As a clumping grass with fine filament-like roots, it is has also been used to improve soil structure, provide wildlife habitat and provide

Compared to other energy crops, switchgrass has a relatively low initial establishment cost, similar to that of hay or a forage crop. However, all perennials are economically challenging to establish as the upfront costs are recovered over an extended period of time as the crop matures and harvests occur. Once established, switchgrass requires minimal maintenance or pest control. Switchgrass can be harvested with a standard baler or forage harvester and comes out of the field with a very low moisture content. Ultimately, switchgrass tends to be a low-risk perennial feedstock. Using estimates of 75 gallons of ethanol per tonne of switchgrass and 8 dry tonnes of biomass per acre, switchgrass can annually produce over 600 gallons of cellulosic ethanol per acre. Miscanthus Miscanthus (Miscanthus spp.) is a tropical, perennial grass native to southeast Asia. Like switchgrass, miscanthus is harvested once a year, in the fall after a killing frost. New growth appears from the rhizomes in early spring. Miscanthus is more costly to establish compared to switchgrass as it is planted with root stock called rhizomes and

Biomass sorghum field

good soil nutrient benefits. It has successfully been used for cattle forage in either baled or grazed operations.

Bioenergy Insight

not seeds. Planting miscanthus by rhizomes requires tillage and planting is labourintensive. Recently, more

Biomass sorghum being harvested

automated planters are being developed that may reduce establishment costs. Like switchgrass, farmers will need to monitor newly planted fields for weeds and pests as they grow to maturity (over two to three years). Once mature, miscanthus has been shown to be pest resistant and requires little to no weed control. Once thought to be invasive, the miscanthus varieties used for bioenergy are sterile, meaning they produce no seed and do not exhibit invasive tendencies. The plant is dense and can grow to a height of 10-12ft. It can continue to produce a yearly crop for 15 to 20 years. Recent trials suggest that miscanthus can produce higher yields of biomass than switchgrass, however the upfront costs may make this crop less attractive to many farmers. Biologists are working to develop miscanthus varieties from seeds, which may renew interest in miscanthus as costs decline and scalability increases. Overall, miscanthus requires a higher investment to get started, but has the possibility of higher yields than switchgrass. Similar to switchgrass, miscanthus requires little maintenance, can be grown across the US and harvested using conventional baling or forage equipment during the winter dormant season. It is estimated that miscanthus can generate

75 gallons of ethanol per tonne and 10 to 12 tonnes of biomass per acre, meaning it can produce up to 900 gallons of ethanol per acre. Biomass sorghum Biomass sorghum (Sorghum Bicolor) is an annual crop that is similar to corn in appearance but is bred to not produce grain or seed. Other varieties of sorghum, such as milo and sweet sorghum, have been used worldwide for grain, forage and even syrup. Only in the last decade has sorghum for biomass been developed and grown. Biomass sorghum is being used as an energy crop and offers many benefits, making it a popular new choice as an addition to existing perennial bioenergy crops. The fact that it is an annual crop that can produce high yields of biomass in as little as 90 to 100 days makes it an attractive part of a rotating biomass cropping system. Biomass sorghum offers the opportunity to grow biomass for energy on land that may not be suitable or available for perennial crops. Landowners who do not want to obligate land for a long production time (a decade or more) may be interested in biomass sorghum production. Generally these hybrids are planted in mid to late spring, depending on the location, and can be harvested during the growing season or after

March/April 2014 • 49


Bioenergy energy crops the first killing frost. Because this variety typically does not flower, it can continue to produce stalks and leaves adding to the biomass yield. Biomass sorghum can be somewhat drought tolerant, but typically not as much as the perennial crops. Biomass sorghum may need weed control to increase yield and pest control for potential insect problems. Biomass sorghum does need to be fertilized at significantly higher rates than the perennial crops, approaching levels similar to traditional row crops, depending on the condition of the soil and location. A rapid grower, biomass sorghum can grow to 16ft high during its short season, making it possible to harvest several times, if desired. Depending on climatic conditions, sorghum can be left to dry in the field or harvested sooner. One of sorghum’s disadvantages is its high moisture content; it is susceptible to

content that makes baling and storing rather difficult. To address this concern, storage of high moisture crops via ensiling is being investigated and looks promising in addressing this issue. Compared to the perennial crops, annual crop production risks are higher due to a lack of tolerance for drought and the potential pests. It is estimated that biomass sorghum can generate 75 gallons of ethanol per tonne and 10 dry tonnes of biomass per acre. The crop can annually produce over 750 gallons of ethanol per acre. An optimised portfolio While it is true that each biomass type has advantages and disadvantages based on agronomic systems, regional adaptations and other factors, each biomass type has significant value to the biomass-based economy. Genera Energy works with its

Aerial shot of switchgrass harvesting

moisture problems during harvesting and storage. Overall, biomass sorghum is an easy to plant annual crop, grows in just 90 to 120 days and reaches yields in excess of 10 dry tonnes per acre. Its annual production costs are high compared to perennials like switchgrass and miscanthus, but it does offer landowners rotational flexibility on an annual basis. Sorghum can be harvested in several ways, but usually by a forage harvester, as it has a high moisture

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clients to develop optimised feedstock portfolios. In most cases, those portfolios will encompass multiple feedstocks to feed an individual facility. Using more than one type of feedstock, where applicable, offers advantages. First, it reduces overall feedstock risk. Diversifying feedstock supply means projects are less susceptible to pests and climatic impacts on an individual crop. Many feedstocks respond differently to each type of

stress, so utilising multiple feedstocks minimises the impact of such stresses. A diverse feedstock portfolio can also offer significant economic advantages. For example, when utilising switchgrass for biomass production, harvesting typically occurs in winter, from November through February. If a project relies only on switchgrass, that means that for the other eight months of the year, material must be stored to supply the conversion facility. Storing biomass and maintaining the quality of the material can be a significant cost in the inventory operation. By simply adding a different crop like biomass sorghum, a project can reduce costs. Sorghum is typically harvested in September and October. In a supply system with both feedstocks, only six months of stored inventory is required, reducing the requirement for stored material and lowering feedstock cost. There are multiple other feedstocks — both energy crops and crop residues — which would be suitable for any biomass portfolio. The future for all of these looks promising. In the coming years there will be more advances in the genetics of the biomass feedstock hybrids available, genetics that will exhibit increased yields, disease and pest resistance, herbicide resistance, and higher conversion efficiencies with certain downstream bioconversion processes. We have expanded the skill and knowledge base around energy crops over the last six years, making gains in economic and environmental sustainability. These innovations will continue. Reduced feedstock costs and risks will only accelerate the development of the biomass-based economy in the US and beyond. A provider of biomass supply chain solutions for the biofuels, biopower,

and bioproduct industries, Genera has the capabilities to develop a successful biomass supply chain, from landowner recruitment to crop production, harvesting, logistics and quality control, which balances cost, risk and sustainability, at an industrial scale. Integration of the entire supply chain is key to reducing cost, improving efficiencies and ensuring a quality product. In many projects, a key mistake occurs in making an assumption that farmers will simply ‘show up’ with the right material. Many of the farmers and landowners, while very skilled, will require guidance on producing various energy crops and on proper harvesting techniques of these new crops. Some of the land that may be best suited for purpose grown energy crops may not be actively managed in production agriculture today. Quality control for biomass feedstocks begins prior to harvest in the field. Once biomass is harvested, if the internal moisture is not in the optimal range, there are few opportunities to improve quality and plenty of opportunities to devalue the feedstock. Project feedstock costs and risks increase significantly if the biomass production system is not carefully managed due to quality issues and inefficient equipment utilisation. The Energy Grange and Supply Assure systems from Genera remove these risks and make the supply chain an efficient part of the operation. Additionally, the company has experience in biomass material handling, grinding, milling and conveyances. Its Bin-Spec system allows for the optimisation of the milling process to make size reduction cost-effective and energy efficient. l For more information:

This article was written by Dr. Kelly Tiller, Genera Energy founder, www.generaenergy.com

Bioenergy Insight


xxxxxx Bioenergy

This demonstrates how much spillage you get with a Siwertell ship unloader. www.siwertell.com Siwertell is a Cargotec brand Bioenergy Insight

March/April 2014 • 53


Bioenergy grinding A growing woodchip market saw one wood processing company invest in additional biomass handling equipment

Chipping away at increasing biofuel demand

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he forest products industry is an important one in the US state of Ohio and in 2012 the logging, lumber and timber products market contributed over $15 million (€11 million) to its economy. Cashing in on this growing sector, trucking and wood processing company Weisgarber Trucking, established in 1939, has expanded its business operations and today woodchips account for 50% of the business. In 1972 the company established a wood processing division and built a new plant near Apple Creek to produce landscape mulch before diversifying into land clearing in 2009. Today it owns 10 semi-trailer trucks, three large loaders and various wood processing support tools. ‘It used to be that mulch was clearly our predominant product, but we’ve moved more towards biochips in recent years because the market is good right now. Mulch is still good and a stable product, but it’s been evolving in the last couple of years,’ explains Tommy Weisgarber of Weisgarber Trucking. ‘We’ve been able to adapt because of the new equipment we’ve added that helps process wood more efficiently and productively.’ A worthwhile investment A key piece of machinery used in Weisgarber’s wood processing and land clearing divisions is the Vermer HG6000 horizontal grinder, an investment which, according to the company,

52 • March/April 2014

Vermeer’s WC2300 whole tree chipper

has made it possible to meet the increasing demands for bioenergy more efficiently. Weisgarber has recently purchased a fuel chip attachment that takes the grinding tips off and replaces them with cutter knives. It has two size setups for different sized chips for the biomass market. This enables the machine to be dual purpose to produce chips or mulch. ‘The three customers we produce biofuel chips for each have different chip size specifications,’ explains Weisgarber. ‘We’ve found the drum attachment produces an end product to the desired specs more efficiently. We process and stockpile inventory of each size at one time, then adjust the size setting for the next customer. In addition to producing a more consistent size chip, the drum also creates less fines than the traditional grinding process. Fines create fluctuations in burn temperature, so our biofuel customers prefer chips with minimal fines present.’ Most of the mulch produced by Weisgarber originates as tree bark secured from nearby sawmills. Logs are debarked

before being sawed to produce board lumber. Any excess inventory of biofuel chips are also sold to a local mulch supplier, then coloured and sold to nurseries for use in landscaping applications. ‘Our mulch supplier takes about 40 loads a day,’ Weisgarber says. ‘They’ll take pretty much everything we can produce, which keeps our business consistent and diversified.’ Keeping up with demand With demand for woodchips on the increase and orders for landscape mulch steady and consistent, the company was in need of another implement. Weisgarber explains: ‘We discussed the new WC2300 whole tree chipper from Vermeer because it was designed for the biofuel market. This machine is

capable of producing either 1.6cm or 1cm chips, which is ideal for our customers. We needed another machine to keep pace with the increasing biofuel volume demands of our customers.’ He continues: ‘Our grinder was getting so much work; there were times in the past when we’d have 30 or 40 loads stockpiled and ready to be processed, but with only one grinder the stockpiles just had to wait. Now, with the whole tree chipper and the grinder, if our woods crew is working and the weather is decent, we can be chipping. We can produce more than 764.6m3 of biofuel woodchips every day, in addition to the mulch we process. With the WC2300 chipper now we can get loads out every day instead of having to wait on the grinder’s availability. Having both machines allows us to have more steady income.’ l For more information:

This article was written by Randy Happel of Two Rivers Marketing, on behalf of Vermeer, www2. vermeer.com/vermeer/EM/en/N/

The WC2300 can produce different sized woodchips

Bioenergy Insight


conveyors Bioenergy A look at the true cost of chain conveyors and how ‘bolt and go’ chains keep running costs down

Moving en masse

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hain conveyors are an essential part of many bulk handling systems, where they are used to convey bulk materials such as pellets and grains. Many of these conveyors use drop forged chains with flights as a means of conveying the material being handled. This ‘en masse’ conveying system is very popular as it is a simple yet efficient method of moving material. When it comes to purchasing a chain conveyor, it is easy to look just at the one-time purchasing cost and the quality of the components. The problem with conveyors is that they are exposed to a lot of wear and tear, and even the best chains can fail after a certain period of time. But this can be many years depending on the conveyor use and maintenance. A large part of the lifetime cost of an en masse chain conveyor is maintenance: the cost of replacement chains and links, the cost of the labour and finally the cost of the downtime. For every chain conveyors user, it is of vital importance to have the conveyor running at full capacity for as long as the equipment can allow it. Maintenance and repairs can cost a lot of money and time, usually requiring the services of a team of engineers and considerable amount of resources. A cause for concern In en masse conveying, the flight height can be as low as 12.5% of the material being transported in the chain

Bioenergy Insight

conveyor. The material is fed into the conveyor from the top and falls through the moving chain to the

The Bolt ‘N’ Go with nylon flights eliminates the need for welded flights

bottom of the box. Because the particles interlock, the material moves as a single stream at the same speed as the chain. This efficient conveying process allows nearly the entire conveyor cross section to move as bulk. Traditionally, the flights are made of steel and welded onto the links. The links with flights are then assembled in many different arrangements using pins and circlips, headed pins and circlips or headed pins with collars and roll pins. The whole assembly is robust, however issues such as general wear, operational errors and material build up can cause maintenance shut down. In the case of a minor incident — such as broken flights — the chain does not require changing but it is still necessary to order new chain

links with welded flights, or grind the sides of the failing links and weld new flights onsite. In both cases, a lot of resources and time are needed to complete the maintenance procedure. And new links with welded flights is only the first step of the maintenance process; the chain needs to be slackened, the circlips broken in order to take out the links where the flights have failed, new links with welded flights put in, and finally the chain must be tensioned again before the conveyor is operational or the whole chain removed from the conveyor. One of the other major causes for concern with this traditional assembly is the fact that the circlips can sometimes come loose due to poor installation, not only causing the chain

to collapse and again stopping the conveyor, but also contaminating the product that was being conveyed and risking pollution and obstructions in the plant process. Engineers have been working to suppress and minimise the different problems encountered within a chain conveyor with solutions such as more frequent maintenance checks and metal detectors. Although this has helped to reduce the number of unexpected breakdowns, it has not removed the need for conveyor shut downs when the chains or flights need replacing. Minimising maintenance Engineers at 4B, a provider of solutions to the bulk material handling industry, have

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Bioenergy conveyors developed a simple solution that minimises conveyor maintenance downtime and overcomes many problems encountered when using drag chain conveyors. 4B’s Bolt ‘N’ Go is a new flight assembly system that eliminates the need for welded flights and pins and circlips assemblies which are costly and time consuming in terms of manufacturing. The new system includes: • A set of nylon flights that can be cut to accurate lengths depending on the desired overall width. These flights are strong, wear resistant and lightweight, reducing the amount of power required to drive the chain • A hollow pin made of alloy steel (the same material

as the link) and case hardened to C57-C62. This pin, which is strong and can be supplied in stainless steel for applications in a corrosive environment, will take the load in the assembly • Bolts, nuts and washers are used to hold the flights onto the link and assemble the links together. Lock nuts are used to secure the whole system • The bolt does not take the load or is in contact with the pin, it merely holds and secures the flights • The system uses 4B drop forged chain links that have lugs on the sides onto which the flights are fastened, giving the assembly extra stability. These features help save time

and money when conducting maintenance work. The Bolt ‘n’ Go system does not require the tension to be taken out of the chain, or the chain out of the conveyor before changing the flights; the old flights can be taken out and new ones fitted while the chain is still tensioned inside the conveyor. Since a shorter amount of time is required to assemble the nylon flights rather than welding steel flights onto links, all the flights can be delivered quickly thus eliminating the need to stock a lot of spare parts. 4B’s Bolt ‘n’ Go chain links are made of heat treated alloy steel case hardened to Rockwell C57-C62 with a ductile core hardness of Rockwell C40. This heat treatment technique and

Russia

material provides for a chain link with a resilient ductile core for shock resistance and a hard exterior surface for wear and corrosion resistance. This results in reduced downtime and maintenance with an increase in the working life for the chain conveyor. The Bolt ‘n’ Go system has been installed at a number of facilities for a range of applications, including woodchips and agricultural. These products have been used in conveyors of various length, angles and high capacity applications. l

For more information:

Contact 4B Braime Elevator Components, www.go4b.com

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54 • March/April 2014

Language: english

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conveyors Bioenergy Controlling excessive dust during the conveying of biomass will help keep problems to a minimum

Falling hard

T

he scale of thermal output from biomass plants is a direct correlation to the efficiency of the processes supporting combustion and the mass of fuel that can be stored and consumed. In this respect, the relatively low bulk densities commonly associated with biomass fuels (~600-800kg/ m3 for wood pellets or woodchips as low as 180kg/ m3) dictates that fuel buffering typically occupies a substantial ‘footprint’ in many installations. The need to move such large volumes effectively to and within the process is important to the plant in the context of representing both a choke point but also a process step that may change the bulk properties of the material (most notably an issue with pelletised materials). Problems within handling systems may range from high wear rates for the hardware to excessive dust generation in the case of pellets. An early warning of these types of problems can be obtained from characterisation of the pellet types. Reading the signs An increase in particle fracture behaviour throughout a conveyed mass of pellets will be most evident as a rise in dust levels. The addition of dust will generate from the angular ends and new faces created by pellet breakage following high energy impacts, i.e. free fall heights or direct wall contacts within pneumatic transfer systems. The accumulation of high dust content with a

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mass of pellets can bring about changes in the flow behaviour of the material. An increased likelihood for flow stoppages can develop as the bulk characteristics shift from a free-flowing clean pellet form to one that exhibits high fines content. Such changes in bulk

procurement of feedstock. The 8% (mass) sub 3.35mm content that the plant may have been designed for can easily reach 40% in some pellet deliveries. The main issue with pelletsised materials conveyed and handled in very large quantities is that

The physical quality of the pellet will always be secondary to economic considerations characteristics can also result in masses of material reluctant to release towards the storage vessel outlet when systems are drained, or which release unpredictably and cause a surge of dustladen material into the discharger mechanism. Allowing for changes The sourcing of pellet stock will always be driven by price, and in this respect the physical quality of the pellet will always be secondary to economic considerations and, provided the pellet can evidence a calorific value within acceptable limits, will be accepted to market. This can present a major challenge to many plant and equipment designers — both of whom will (likely) be working to a nominal pellet specification. Samples may even be supplied for examination, but it is quite likely that such samples will not be representative of what the plant or equipment will encounter once the process is fully commissioned and the commercial buyers have become involved in the

the ‘nominal’ 8% will most definitely not remain evenly distributed through the mass once storage and handling operations have taken place. Invariable fines/dust will be mobile through the voids between the larger particles and will tend to concentrate in different regions of the stored material. The more breakage that occurs during conveying, the greater the opportunity for segregation and flow problems to develop. Key to minimising pellet breakage in conveying systems is the need to operate such that the air velocity is kept as low as possible. In concert with minimising the conveying velocity is the need to maintain a high density of pellets in the pipeline. Controlling the air velocity will reduce breakage through lower impact energies at changes in direction for the pipeline. Increasing the concentration of pellets in the pipeline will provide a degree of particle on particle ‘cushioning’ where wall contacts take place. The determination and employment of optimal

conditions in pipelines will not stop particle breakage, but it will be kept to a minimum. A final effect of excessive dust generation through breakage or as present in received stock is that it is possible to overload filtration systems. Again, it is likely the filter area and bag house design will have been based on data obtained from a specification. Due to feedstock changes, the more dusty nature of new pellet supplies can overwhelm filtration systems that are suddenly required to deal with substantially different filtration rates. This can create a further unforeseen knock-on effect for the plant, since the existing filter usually lacks sufficient over design to cope with such changes. In conclusion, pneumatic conveying has been focused on in this article, not because it is an inherently wrong technology to use, but because it is a technology that is seldom optimised to best advantage — with the result that particle breakage levels and dust generation can be excessive in some instances. Dust levels should be monitored in incoming deliveries and scope should exist to turn away or reprocess poor quality material (possibly by screening — but obviously, this represents a whole new process route). Excess dust is in bulk deliveries of pelletised material is not a nuisance — it can be a hazard and expensive to counteract. l For more information:

This article was written by Richard Farnish, consultant engineer at The Wolfson Centre for Bulk Solids Handling Technology, www.bulksolids.com

March/April 2014 • 55


Bioenergy biomass drying With a range of biomass drying equipment available, which one is best suited to your process?

Choosing the right dryer

T

he subject of biomass drying technology is a vast one and encompasses a large array of processes and technology, from drying very wet materials such as sludge to solid materials with the majority of the moisture trapped in the cell structure. Wood contains water in three ways: water contained in the cell lumen and cell cavities; water vapour present in air in the cell lumen and cell cavities; and bound water as part of the cell wall materials. Water can be removed from wood fairly easily up to the point where wood reaches its fibre saturation point (FSP). The FSP is the point at which the moisture content, where the cell wall is completely saturated with bound water but no liquid water, is present in the cell lumina. Typically the FSP is around 30% moisture content on a wet basis and it becomes increasingly hard to dry the wood past this point. Drying of wood is typically done by evaporating the moisture from the surface; the wood dries from the outside into the centre and therefore the outside of the wood must be drier than the interior to be able to remove the moisture. The moisture will move from an area of higher moisture to an area of lower moisture until the wood reaches an equilibrium moisture content where that of the wood is the same throughout. Wood dries up to 15 times faster along the grain than across the grain. The industrial process The key to biomass drying is understanding the material being dried and what the

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end-product will be. Quality control of wood pellets for the industrial and domestic markets is very important and there are standards in place which control using the particle size distribution, pellet durability and the moisture content. Delivering out of specification pellets as a minimum will cost money due to the potential for rejection of the load; it could

each press and reduces downtime and wear on the press components. To attain this critical consistency in the pellet press feed material moisture content and particulate size, the drying equipment and surrounding material processing equipment design needs to be developed as a whole. The dryer supplier will provide the feed material

As previously noted, wood dries along the grain up to 15 times faster than it does across the grain. The thinner the piece of wood, the faster it will dry. For example, a woodchip measuring 20mm thick (grain end) by 40mm square will take longer for the centre to dry compared to a flake that is 6mm (or thinner) by 40mm square. The real science is to

A Dieffenbacher rotary drum dryer system for wood flakes, measuring 7m in diameter and 35m long. It can handle 63,000kg/hr on a bone dry basis

cost a lot more if those pellets start to thermally decompose in storage or on a ship heading across the Atlantic. During pellet production, the moisture level in the milled and dried material is critical to producing a high quality, durable product. Ensuring the moisture levels are consistent, along with uniform particulate size, means the pellet press operation can be optimised. This allows for maximum production from

characteristics for optimal drying. If the dryer is fed with the optimal material size, then the wood material exiting the dryer can be controlled to a moisture content of +/-1% of the set point or better. The greater the variance in material feed size, the higher the variance in moisture content of material. This variance can easily go to +/-5% of the set point of the dryer. The important thing about drying wood is how thick it is across the grain.

develop a process package to be able to keep the power consumption low on the ‘green sizing’ to enable the dryer to operate at maximum efficiency and also maximise the more efficient dry sizing of material. Surprisingly, there is flexibility in the initial moisture content of the feed material to the dryer. A well designed system can readily cope with a range of incoming moisture levels, since a dryer system is designed on the

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biomass drying Bioenergy basis of how much water it can remove and how much material can be fed through it. Feeding a very wet material into the dryer will lower the throughput of solid material. Feeding drier material will increase the throughput of a dryer but only until it reaches the maximum design rate for solid material flow. Another important point to make is that the change in moisture levels cannot be too rapid. Moving from a 45% incoming moisture material to a 55% moisture content material in several minutes can negatively affect the variation in the dried material control point, until the system stabilises and returns to a steady state. Drying equipment There are various technologies available for biomass drying, including: • Conveyor dryers • Direct fired single pass rotary dryers • Indirect heated rotary dryers using thermal oil or steam as a heat source. At a small scale (less than 100,000 tonnes a year) conveyor dryers can offer advantages, as can indirect heated rotary dryers. However they become less user friendly as the units get larger and the complexity and size of these units increase. The economics of largescale industrial drying of biomass (greater than 150,000 dry tonnes per year) tend to favour direct fired rotary drum dryers. The current top end capacity of a single dryer is 500,000 tonnes a year on a dry basis. At such a large scale, these dryer units can reach 7m in diameter and 37m in length. The heat source for a large direct fired unit can be local wood waste (i.e. bark removed from the logs or dusts generated in the process), gasfired systems or a combination of both. The key is to be able to have a steady reliable controllable heat source.

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Flow diagram of a wood flake drying system

The flue gas from the direct fired heater is tempered to a temperature of approximately 450°C using a recirculating flue gas stream. Recirculation of the flue gas allows control of the dryer inlet temperature, minimises the oxygen levels in the gas stream and provides a large volume of gas to help move the wood flakes through the dryer. Any surface moisture and some of the moisture in the cell lumina flashes off quickly, cooling the gas stream rapidly in the first section of the dryer drum. After that the temperature slowly decreases along the dryer drum. The aim is to get the dryer exit temperature as low as possible without any condensation forming, and the wood flakes to be at an equilibrium moisture content which meets the requirements of the process. A well designed rotary drum dryer will be mechanically stable at elevated temperatures, heavy enough to retain a thermal mass to help stabilise the dryer temperature though the length of the dryer, use internals designed to mix and turn over the material so all sides are allowed to contact the hot gas flow and avoid stratification of the gas flow in the dryer, i.e. avoid excessively hot gas streams inside the dryer

which could potentially cause a fire. The gas velocities in the dryer must be capable of continuously moving the material through the dryer to avoid material build-up which could become excessively dry and pose a fire risk. After the material is dried it needs to be separated from the flue gas stream. This can be done using drop out boxes and cyclones. The dried material is sent for further processing and the gas stream is returned to the inlet of the dryer for reheating. A proportion of this (the same amount that is being provided by the direct fired heater) is bled off and sent through an air quality control system such as a wet electrostatic precipitator or thermal oxidiser. Other considerations Equipment manufacturers are being constantly pushed to reduce the capital cost of the equipment on a plant, of which the dryer system is a significant expense. Nevertheless, reducing the size, and thus the cost, of the dryer can lead to significant operational issues. For example, trying to dry material that has 55% moisture content in a dryer that was designed to dry 45% moisture content material means a

reduced material throughput and lower production. This article has assumed the feed material to the dryer is a ‘green’ material — a material taken from recently harvested trees with a moisture content between 45 and 55%, depending on how long it has been stored. Dry shavings, typically obtained when processing kiln dried lumber, are different. This material is usually obtained with a moisture content at around 15% and below the FSP, however it can be wetter than this due to the different methods of cutting and planning, and where it is stored. It can also be a challenging material to make pellets from as the particulate sizes of shavings is not always ideal. Each dryer system, then, needs to be designed to meet the specifics of each project and the process in which it is to be used. Putting the effort in at the start of the process to identify the correct specification of the material that will be both processed and produced will save time and money, not only in the engineering and construction phases, but during the operating life of plant. l For more information:

This article was written by Rob MacKrell, technical sales manager at Dieffenbacher USA, www.dieffenbacher.com

March/April 2014 • 57


Bioenergy biomass drying How biomass drying technology is evolving to handle a common feedstock found in the majority of US-manufactured wood pellets — Southern Yellow Pine

Home and dry

I

n recent years there has been a boom in the construction of large capacity wood pellet plants in North America, supplying this renewable fuel to European power utilities. Many of these pellet production plants use Southern Yellow Pine as the raw material. Challenges with Southern Yellow Pine

A number of the larger plants in the southeast of the US process a large amount of Southern Yellow Pine. From a drying perspective, this feedstock is no different from any other species: it takes the same amount of energy and time to dry as most other woods. The challenge occurs after handling in the dryer drum. This species of wood is particularly rich in volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are more beneficial if they are contained within the wood as they contribute to the end energy value of the pellet. Typically, the lower the inlet temperature when drying, the less VOCs are driven from the wood. However, maintaining low temperatures must be compensated for with a larger sized dryer and this, therefore, becomes a balance of capital cost versus performance. Nevertheless, a large amount of VOCs always escape from Southern Yellow Pine regardless of the temperature applied. VOCs comprise of mainly hydrocarbons and it is these shorter chain hydrocarbons (pinenes and turpenes) which tend to escape from the wood under all circumstances. Interestingly, the piney smell associated with pine, even at room temperature, is technically VOCs being emitted from the wood.

58 • March/April 2014

TSI’s drying technology is installed at the 550,000 tpy German Pellets plant (top) and Georgia Biomass’ 750,000 tpy facility (bottom)

VOCs impact the drying system in two ways: 1. In the US VOCs are regulated and this means, for a pellet plant that processes more than 180,000 tonnes a year of Southern Yellow Pine pellets, they are probably going to have to install extra equipment to mitigate

the VOCs, namely either a bio-filter or a Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer (RTO). RTOs, although necessary, can be unpopular because they are an added capital and operating cost. Since they burn natural gas they are also a carbon penalty on the plant.

2. The VOCs can condense as a sticky tar-like substance in the ductwork after the cyclones. This causes a fire hazard and can require frequent shut-down to clean. With regards to the first point, it is possible however to have the VOCs act as the fuel in the RTO in lieu of

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biomass drying Bioenergy the gas. TSI, a Washington, US-based supplier of drying technologies for the biomass industry, is carrying out ongoing research in order to optimise this phenomenon, and has also developed a system of double ducting that provides a heated outer jacket to the vulnerable ducts. This keeps the inner skin of the ducts above the dew point of the VOCs, preventing buildup. Single pass versus triple pass TSI has developed a Single Pass Recycle (SPR) dryer which works to protect wood from overheating, thus retaining maximum energy in the wood. These dryers are fired by reciprocating grate furnaces and incorporate wet electrostatic precipitators and RTOs for the emission control systems. SPR dryers are typically a rotary drum. Rotary drum dryers come in two basic types: triple pass and single pass. The triple pass technology was the industry favourite until 10 to 12 years ago and is still occasionally promoted in smaller projects. Both types of dryer are horizontally mounted drums that are directly connected to a heat energy source (burner) at the front end and with an exhaust system (usually cyclones) on the back end. Wet chips enter the front of the drum via an airlock and exit the system, as dry chips, via the cyclones. Hot gas and chips are pulled through the drum by an induced draft fan, usually positioned in the ductwork after the cyclones. It is the mixing of hot gas and wet chips in the drum that creates the drying process. The triple pass drum essentially has two concentric inner tubes. Material travels along the first inner tube, turns and travels back up the second tube and finally turns again and back between the outside of the second tube and the inner shell of the drum. This is what gave the

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system its name of triple pass. By comparison, a single pass comprises the drum with a series of internal flights. The material always travels in one progressive direction through the drum, hence single pass. Single pass drums tend to have a longer residence time than triple pass and can therefore be used with recycled gas. This means a portion of the exhaust gas from the dryer system can be recycled to the front of the dryer drum and reintroduced. This is used to moderate and control the inlet temperature of the dryer (a function performed by fresh air in a triple pass). Compared to fresh air, recycled gas has a much higher humidity and a lower oxygen level, advantages of which include: • The system is less prone to catch fire and better able to cope with upset furnace conditions such as sparking • Improved ability of the gas to carry heat energy • It retards the drying action, limiting flash drying and allowing the gas to get more energy into the middle of the woodchip (heat permeates the woodchip and moisture can be wicked out without flash drying the surface which would only create an insulation barrier to the inner part of the chip). This style of drying takes a little longer to complete compared to just blasting the woodchip with hot dry air (as in a triple pass). However, with a residence time in the single pass drum of up to 20 minutes, there is plenty of time to reach target moisture.

showering and separating action is preferable to the alternative, which is trying to drive heat energy into a pile of woodchips. Here, the outer woodchips in a pile protect the inner chips from absorbing heat. As a consequence of this action the primary drying force in a TSI dryer is convection — the most efficient and effective form of heat transfer. There is some secondary conduction heating derived from woodchips sliding across the metal flights and the inner shell of the drum but this is really a secondary action, and a less efficient form of heat transfer. TSI says its system is efficient in terms of Btu/lb of water evaporated and moisture control, enabling a total moisture variation of less than 1% to be maintained. Close moisture control is important for subsequent process stability in pellet mills. Size matters TSI drums have a mechanical construction to provide a high strength to weight ratio. The drum skin is plate steel formed into the basic drum shape and is reinforced by steel channels welded to the outside. This creates an engineered vessel that is stronger than drums with a thicker plate drum and no reinforcing channels. The drum rotates on large steel tracks. TSI originated the (now commonly used) design of inboard tracks. This means the tracks are not positioned

at the ends of the drum but are moved inboard by several feet. In engineering terms this creates a balanced beam (the portions outside the tracks counterbalance the central span) thus minimising stress in the structure. TSI uses oversize tracks and trunnions (wheels that the tracks run on) based on a calculated stress factor many times less than the design strength of the metallurgy. This is important as poorly designed tracks and trunnions can lead to premature wear, spalling and cracking which can result in costly repairs or replacements. The newest and largest pellet plants use very large dryers. Simply put, the larger the dryer the greater the capacity and one large dryer is less expensive than two smaller dryers. TSI has installed biomass drying equipment at some of the largest wood pellet production plants in the US, including Georgia Biomass (750,000 tonnes a year) and German Pellets (550,000 tonnes a year). The twin dryers at both of these facilities are 20ft diameter units. The company is continuing to bid to build some of the largest wood pellet plants in North America and around the world and, with each plant, the technology evolves a little further. l

For more information:

This article was written by Andrew Johnson, VP of TSI, www.tsi-inc.net

Single pass technology The design of the internal flights of SPR dryers varies between different suppliers. A key feature of TSI’s flighting system is that it constantly showers the woodchips. This separates the individual chips and gives them maximum opportunity to absorb heat energy from the gas. This

TSI has installed dryers at some of the largest pellet plants in the US

March/April 2014 • 59


Bioenergy corn oil Technological advancements are creating opportunities for biofuels producers to harness more distillers corn oil and reduce our dependence on imported fossil fuels

The Holy Grail for biodiesel?

W

ith constant turmoil in the Middle East, environmental concerns about fracking, the lack of innovation in first generation corn ethanol and a dim long-term outlook on cellulosic ethanol, there is often thoughts expressed that biodiesel could be the Holy Grail of transportation fuels throughout the world. While public perception of biodiesel is still evolving, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other regulatory bodies have embraced biodiesel. This is becoming more and more evident as states such as California offer significant motivation for producers to certify their feedstock value chain to ensure they have the lowest possible carbon intensity. This has led to significant interest in oil and fats outside the traditional soyabean oil used by close to 50% of biodiesel producers. This has led to a boom in industries tied to waste oil collection and clean-up of previously unusable fats and oils. This interest has spilled over to an increased desire to develop ways to use more distillers corn oil (DCO) produced at ethanol plants. DCO is inedible for humans and is mostly used in animal feed throughout the upper Midwest. There has been significant interest in DCO from biodiesel producers, yet there are constituents in DCO

60 • March/April 2014

that make it difficult for many production facilities to utilise in their existing process. Many of the existing biodiesel plants in the US were built on the premise that soyabean oil would be the main feedstock and as such have limited capacity on the front end of their plant to pre-process other feedstocks. Some of the larger facilities either

had capacity built-in from the beginning or were retrofitted in the last five years to handle a wide range of feedstocks, including corn oil and other lower quality oil and fats. What makes DCO considered a lower quality feedstock is its distinguishable red colour, its relatively high levels of free fatty acids (FFAs) and waxes. These are mainly a result of

the ethanol production process and, since it would require an overhaul of the entire method of making ethanol, there is a low likelihood that these issues will find resolution without additional processing. With almost 95% of ethanol production coming from dry-grind plants, the oil goes for a ride through the entire process and is extracted at the tail end of the process. This is significantly different from the method used to make food grade corn oil, which is extracted with the germ at the beginning of the process before it has an opportunity to degrade into lower quality oil. The typical ethanol production facility consists of three main areas: fermentation, distillation and dewatering. Fermentation: Prior to fermentation, the corn is ground to a fairly fine size. At

Bioenergy Insight


corn oil Bioenergy this point, water and enzymes are added to start breaking down the corn to expose as much starch as possible from the kernel. This process involves large hammermills which grind the corn down to 0.1” before adding water to start it along the fermentation process. While blending the water in with the ground corn, Alpha Amylase is added to start breaking down the larger sugars into fermentable sugar. After the water is added, it is often subjected to a direct injection of steam through a jet cooker. This raises the temperature up to around 93.33°C and subjects it to shear force to break down the particles even further. Then the corn is fermented for up to 60 hours at a temperature of 35°C. Distillation: After fermentation, the entire stream of product goes through the initial stages of the distillation process. This pulls all of the alcohol and some of the water out for further distilling. This is a high temperature process that occurs under vacuum. After the alcohol is removed, the remaining water and solids move into a dewatering step. Dewatering: This is a twostage process for an ethanol plant. Large horizontal decanting centrifuges are used to remove as many solids as possible then send the remaining water to an evaporation stage. The evaporation stage is again a high temperature process, most commonly operated under a vacuum, designed to take a 5% solids stream up to 30-32% solids. The product produced during this step is commonly referred to as syrup. Mid-way through this syrup process the oil is extracted via high speed centrifugation. FFAs All of these steps cause the hydrolysis process that breaks off parts of the triglyceride into FFAs. These FFAs can

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cause issues with many biodiesel processes and limit the number of plants which can use DCO. There are methods for removing the FFAs, yet these typically have significant yield loss (approaching 1.5% for every 1% removed). The plants that can handle the higher FFA products will have a significant investment in their pre-processing equipment with FFA stripping, acid esterification or glycerolysis. New technology is just hitting the market to significantly decrease the yield loss for FFA removal. This cutting edge technology should remove many barriers that biodiesel producers face. By pre-processing DCO, the opportunity to eliminate

of waxes into the DCO. Another way to remove the waxes is to go through a winterisation process. This is very common for cottonseed oil and, while a welldocumented process, takes significant time to process, increasing production costs and adding complexity to a biodiesel producer’s process. Low Carbon Fuel Standards The California Air Resources Board is the main regulatory agency responsible for implementing the Low Carbon Fuel Standards (LCFS) for California. This LCFS implements a credit programme for generating the lowest carbon fuel possible. The board has instituted a

While there are some concerns about the potential to count the carbon savings of DCO twice, there are large incentives to use it for biodiesel sold into California 90% of the yield loss means a better feedstock at a price that allows biodiesel producers to maintain their margins. Waxes Waxes in corn oil are somewhat of a misnomer. While there are waxes in DCO, there are also other unknown constituents that get lumped into the ‘waxes’ category. All of these cause significant issues for filtering the finished biodiesel. While this can be negated through distillation of the finished product, it is an expensive step that many plants do not have the ability to implement. As ethanol plants find ways to extract more oil from their process, there are additional waxes pulled with the oil. Since DCO is not discounted based on the amount of waxes in the oil, there is little the industry will do to reduce the inclusion

carbon intensity rating for biodiesel produced from varying feedstocks. DCO has the lowest of any rating. While there is some concern about the way it accounts for the carbon savings and the potential to count it twice (once for the ethanol produced and once for the biodiesel made from DCO), the fact is that currently there are very large incentives to use DCO for biodiesel sold into California. With the carbon credits fluctuating between $0.40 and $0.80 (€0.30-0.60) per gallon, this is a huge benefit to producers that are able to utilise this feedstock. Summary Ethanol producers are set to significantly increase the amount of oil they extract from their process. A lot of work has been carried out on additional chemical

treatments and mechanical methods to increase yields from 0.7lbs per bushel up to 1.2lbs/bushel. This increase could lead to a deflated feedstock price due to the increased product on the market. This will be a huge benefit for those plants that can process DCO and now that technology is entering the market to pre-process corn oil, other plants will soon be able to utilise this feedstock. This will enable plants that were designed to only operate on soyabean oil to capitalise on the carbon benefits of corn oil. In the next nine months a significant amount of this pre-processed oil will hit the market. This product will also eliminate the headache many producers have of distributed corn oil production. By enabling them to source a significant amount of their product from one source, the production plant can get back to the business of making the best fuel possible instead of calling 30 ethanol plants to find product to purchase. DCO may not be the Holy Grail of biodiesel production, but if the hurdles can be overcome, then it could be part of an important portfolio of feedstocks that reduce our dependency on foreign oil and help lower our carbon footprint. While many have touted that the biofuels industry mimics much of the folly seen in the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the industry is finally maturing into a force that is impacting the world. There is not a Holy Grail of biofuels, but together we will change the future of transportation through our relentless crusade to find a better way to fuel the future. l

For more information:

This article was written by Nicholas Sikes, operations manager at FEC Solutions, www.fecsolutions.com

March/April 2014 • 61


Bioenergy xxxx

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corn oil Bioenergy Ethanol producers can today realise 15% more corn oil with the use of a novel enzyme

Releasing more

O

ver the past few years, distiller’s corn oil (DCO) has become an important and valuable coproduct for ethanol producers. Currently, approximately 70% of operating ethanol plants separate DCO, and that number is continuing to grow. There are a variety of mechanical separation systems and emulsion breaking additives available on the market today, but current technologies are limited to recovering oil that is readily available in free or emulsified form. Oil yield In a corn kernel, lipids, or oil, are stored in oil bodies called oleosomes that are located within the germ. The oleosome is shaped like a sphere where the outer shell is made of proteins called oleosin and caleosin. Underneath the shell is another monolayer composed of phospholipids that work with the protein layer to stabilise the oleosome structure. This stable structure surrounds an inner triacylglycerol matrix that comprises 80% of the corn lipids. Under typical fermentation conditions, almost two thirds of the oil encapsulated in undisturbed oleosomes passes through the system,

With Olexa, released oil floats to the top and results in more free oil

ultimately leaving the ethanol plant in the form of dried distillers grains (DDGs). Olexa is the first enzyme product on the market to significantly increase DCO yields. Developed by biotech company Novozymes, Olexa accomplishes this by liberating more free oil within the liquefaction mash. This mash can be recovered by ethanol producers. The addition of this enzyme means the protease is able to hydrolyse the protein shell of the oleosome, disrupting the structure and releasing oil into the surrounding environment for recovery separation at the oil centrifuges. Novozymes scientists demonstrated this mechanism in the laboratory using purified oleosomes. Suspended in water with constant mixing, the purified oleosomes have a

milk-like consistency. However, once Olexa is added, the oleosomes begin to destabilise and rupture. When the mixture is allowed to settle, the protein fraction will float to the surface of the water as the corn oil seeps into the surrounding environment. Finally, the oil will coalesce on top as free oil that is available for separation. In addition to disrupting oil bodies, Olexa hydrolyses corn proteins into dipeptides

and small peptide chains. These components serve as a preferred nitrogen source for yeast over urea and ammonia, and ensure the yeast are healthier and less stressed throughout fermentation, as evidenced by improved yeast viability and reduced glycerol. In fermentation with Olexa, the percentage of viable yeast cells is higher at early fermentation times when glucose concentration is high and the yeast may be under osmotic stress. Healthier yeast also produces less glycerol throughout fermentation, shifting a carbon pool back to ethanol production, resulting in lower glycerol concentrations at the end of fermentation. l

For more information:

This article was written by Amanda Moser, associate scientist at Novozymes, www. bioenergy.novozymes.com/en/ Olexa/Pages/default.aspx

Olexa releases bound oil in oleosomes

Case study In 2013, a US ethanol plant wanted to maximise its ethanol and oil output without harming its DDGs crude fat specification, so as to avoid any penalties from its DDGs purchasers, and contacted Novozymes to help it achieve this. Following a consultation, the use of Olexa was advised,

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along with the products the plant was currently using: Avantec and Spirizyme Ultra. Olexa was trialled for a month and its progress monitored. Early on in the trial, oil production (lbs oil/bu corn) increased significantly, so the Novozymes scientists requested DDGs crude fat data to determine the

impact of this oil increase on the DDGs fat content. The plant used disk stack centrifuges to extract oil and was able to increase oil output while maintaining the syrup feed into the centrifuge. This demonstrated Olexa’s ability to increase the amount of free oil available for recovery

by the ethanol plant. Oil production levelled out at a steady 15% increase over the baseline, and the crude fat content did not drop below the plant’s 7% specification. Additionally, the plant was able to reduce its urea addition by 44%, while ethanol production increased by 1.6%.

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Bioenergy agitation

Alpental’s Blue Mountain biogas plant

Alpental Energy Partners is turning hog manure into renewable energy at its Blue Mountain plant in Utah

Mixing business with business by Brian Orchard

T

here are over 2,200 sites producing biogas in the US, according to the American Biogas Council (ABC), with 191 on farms, around 1,500 anaerobic digesters at wastewater treatment plants and 576 landfill gas projects. The potential for growth is huge and the ABC has counted almost 12,000 sites ripe for development, including 8,200 dairy and hog farms. By comparison, there are over 10,000 operating digesters in Europe. Since these figures were published in 2012, the ABC can add another plant to its list. The Blue Mountain biogas power generation plant in Beaver County, Utah came on stream in November last year. Developed and operated by Alpental Energy Partners, the $17 million (€12.5 million) plant is designed to generate electricity from methane gas provided by the anaerobic digestion of swine manure. Construction work started in early 2012 and the first power generation took place at the end of November.

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Alpental owns and operates alternative energy power plants, and the two types it favours are biogas and waste recovery. For the development of the Blue Mountain plant, Alpental brought together parties who could evaluate the potential of using hog manure to generate electricity on a commercial basis, and design and build a state-of-the-art facility. The hog farms in Utah’s Beaver County are operated by Murphy Brown, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods — the largest producer of hogs in the US. The 10 farms on the 1,000 acre Blue Mountain site produce around one million hogs a year, so there is a constant stream of manure available for biogas production. Until ground broke on the Blue Mountain plant, all manure was transferred by the farming operation to settlements tanks, where it evaporated and released harmful methane gas into the atmosphere. The biogas plant now exploits the commercial potential of the methane by using it to drive two power generators and also helps to reduce the

volume of methane going into the environment thereby reducing the unpleasant odour. Blue Mountain Comprising waste treatment and anaerobic digesters, a gas scrubber and power generation hall, the Blue Mountain biogas plant has the capacity to generate 3.2MW from two Caterpillar 3520 1.6MW engines. This is enough electricity to power approximately 3,000 homes. According to Brady Olson, VP of Alpental Energy Partners, the company expects to produce 25 million kWh a year by operating on a 24/7 basis. In order to build the plant, Alpental had to ensure the liquid manure neither contaminated the groundwater supply nor had an adverse impact on the air quality. ‘What is good about this type of biogas project is that it has true measurable impact on air quality,’ Olson says. ‘This is because methane is about 21 times more harmful to the atmosphere than CO², so essentially the methane destroyed by this

plant is the equivalent to 100,000 tonnes of CO² each year. In addition, the odour in the area should improve over time as the amount of gas being released into the atmosphere is reduced.’ The design and construction of the plant involved Alpental bringing in a local general contractor, Aqua Engineering, which specialises in the design of wastewater and effluent treatment facilities, and local equipment supplier W-Cubed. The production of methane gas as a fuel source is heavily dependent on proven sewage handling and anaerobic technologies, therefore Aqua Engineering was appointed to the project. From manure to gas The Blue Mountain biogas plant operates by taking diluted manure from the ‘finishing’ barns into an influent basin. From there it is transferred to a heat exchanger facility and then into two in-ground digesters. The resulting methane gas is vented into a scrubber tower where impurities are

Bioenergy Insight


agitation Bioenergy removed, then into two gas compressors where the gas is dried and pressure boosted to feed the two engines. The efficient operation of the biogas plant is dependent on a constant supply of hog manure from the 50 finishing barns. At any one time there can be as many as 220,000 hogs at Blue Mountain and in the event of manure being in short supply, there is always

homogenous state before it enters the central influent lagoon. On a typical day, the influent lagoon receives some 750,000 gallons of slurry. ‘The purpose of the 1 million gallon influent basin is to provide operational flexibility to the process,’ explains Olson. ‘The process of draining the barns is a manual one and it is necessary to feed the digesters with a constant flow of slurry

KSB Amarex KRT vertical submersible effluent pump

the adjacent Sky Line farm containing up to 280,000 hogs. The manure is mixed with water to reduce solids to between 2.5 and 5%. This slurry is pulled from pits adjacent to the barns and transferred to the collection stations at the biogas processing facility via a series of pump lift stations. Each collection station is equipped with Amamix 2223/24UDG mixers and Amarex KRT vertical submersible effluent pumps, supplied by pump and valve manufacturer KSB. The Amarex KRT is an energy-efficient solution suited to a range of pumping jobs in industrial wastewater engineering. The Amamix submersible self-cleaning mixers are used throughout the wastewater and effluent treatment industries and can be installed in virtually any application. The backswept impellers generate maximum thrust at minimum power consumption and units can operate at up to 1,700 rpm. These mixers are activated prior to the pumps being switched on in order to keep the slurry in a

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that has a regular homogenous consistency. It means the pits can be pulled when it is convenient to the operators.’ The influent basin contains a single 25 hp KSB Amaprop hybrid submersible agitator with self-cleaning propeller that serves the purpose of inducing a suitable flow throughout the entire basin. This prevents a build-up of solids below the two Amarex submersible pumps which transfer the liquid to the digester lagoons. The agitator is mounted on a guide mast located on the bridge extending above the surface of the lagoon and it can be turned through 180 degrees in order to optimise mixing. Obtaining maximum gas yield depends on precise and comprehensive agitation of the manure substrate. The Amaprop agitator prevents floating blankets on the surface of the substrate thereby shifting the chemical balance towards the substrate. The low speed, large diameter propeller moves the same amount of substrate at a lower

flow velocity, so flow losses are reduced and the mixing process is gentle on the bacteria. Applications such as this influent basin are suited to the hybrid Amaprop (1m diameter) which provides the effectiveness of a low speed agitator with the flexibility of a higher speed mixer. In this specific application Alpental’s engineers have reduced mixer speeds in order to optimise the temperature (reduce heat loss to the atmosphere from rapid substrate turnover) of the liquid as temperature is of high importance to actual anaerobic digestion process. For the digestion process to be truly effective, the influent needs to be at a constant temperature of 36.9°C. Prior to entry into the in-ground digesters, the liquid passes through three heat exchangers to raise the temperature. The 30ft deep in-ground digesters are sunk into the ground and lined with concrete at the bottom and with a 60ml HDPE liner on the sides. Each digester has a capacity of 11 million gallons for a total of 22 million gallons. In order to maintain the temperature at 36.9°C, both digesters are insulated by a floating cover. A recycling system is located in the heat exchanger hall which maintains the temperature in each digester. This recycling system pulls waste out of the digesters to be combined with the slurry coming into the heat exchangers from the influent basin. The Blue Mountain biogas plant has been designed to optimise the methane gas produced and the heat created by the two generator sets. The heat reclaimed off the engines is used to heat the slurry as it comes into the plant as well as make up for heat loss in the digesters themselves. Mixing is an essential component of the 24 day digestion process and each lagoon contains four large blade (2.5m diameter) Amaprop K42-2500/65ZEG mixers rated at 8 hp. Positioned

at the corners of the digester basins, the mixers are set at two different elevations, with two at 10ft off the bottom and two at 20ft off the bottom, all pointing in different directions to create a circular pattern and to stimulate digestion. Jared Wray, product manager of submerged propeller devices, KSB, says: ‘At only 8 hp each, our large blade gear drive Amaprop 2500 mixers save significant power in the large digesters. Originally the mixers were small high speed mixers of 40 hp each. This solution was attractive to both Aqua Engineering and Alpental because any saved power means more power which can be returned to the grid by the process itself.’ The methane gas produced is continuously drawn from the digesters and passed through a scrubber tower to remove hydrogen sulphide using bacteria. From there, it passes through into the primary gas compression skid and passed either directly into the secondary gas compression skid or the flare stack. The secondary gas compression skid measures how much gas needs to go into the two generators sets or it can divert it to a standby boiler. Should one of the generators be taken out of service for any reason the standby boiler will burn the gas to produce the heat that may be required for the heat exchangers. Tracking and measuring the quantity of methane gas produced and destroyed for carbon credits is an essential process for the profitably of the Blue Mountain biogas power generation plant. The whole plant has been designed to optimise the methane gas content of the influent, minimise water usage and evaporate the digested waste in order to reduce the impact on the environment. In order to achieve this, Alpental has brought together technology that has resulted in a plant that is both energy efficient and environmentally acceptable. l

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Bioenergy preview With the International Biomass Conference & Expo due to take place in Orlando, Florida on 24-26 March, here is a selection of some of this year’s exhibitors

Get your network on AFS Energy Systems is a design-build engineering and manufacturing company focused on solid fuel/biomass combustion, dust collection, fuel storage and material transfer systems. All systems are manufactured at the company’s production facility in Lemoyne, Pennsylvania. Installation, startup, service and client training are provided by its AFS Field Services group. AFS engineers work to determine how the best technology can be applied to meet specific client requirements. They provide estimates, proposals and assistance in obtaining EPA and state permitting. Engineering, design and detailing are performed in-house to ensure complete quality control. AFS is present during every detail of the project, from budgeting and planning through design and scheduling to installation, training and startup. It provides fielddriven innovations and the latest computer assisted technology that delivers projects to a cost-effective, successful completion.

B.I.D.’s bulk material handling equipment installed at a renewable power plant in Berlin, New Hampshire

l Visit AFS Energy Systems at booth 1022 Avant Energy is an energy consulting firm with 30 years of experience in the energy industry, developing and delivering energy projects and services that create value for its clients. The biogas project Hometown BioEnergy in Le Sueur, Minnesota is managed by Avant Energy on behalf of the Minnesota Municipal Power Agency. It uses food processing

AFS provides systems for biomass combustion, dust collection and material transfer

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and livestock wastes in an anaerobic digester to produce 8MW of on-peak power. In addition to producing biogas, which is used to generate electricity, the plant also produces two by-products: solid fuel and liquid fertiliser. The solid fuel is sold and used off-site in biomass and coal-fired boilers, while the liquid fertiliser is sold to local farmers for land application. Ground broke on the Hometown BioEnergy plant in December 2012 and it became operational at the end of last year. During the project, Avant managed the permitting, financing, engineering and construction.

It managed to deliver on the aggressive 12-month construction schedule, despite Minnesota’s harsh winter weather conditions. l Visit Avant Energy at booth 1026 B.I.D. Bulk Material Handling Systems has been involved in the custom design, supply and manufacture of dry bulk material handling systems since 1981. Its in-house design, detailing and fabrication capabilities and its pre-assembled modular construction ensures proper installation, reduced site labour costs, lower totalcost-of-installation and lower

Avant Energy’s Hometown BioEnergy biogas plant

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preview Bioenergy

EBM’s Gentle Roll screen for wood pellets

Bruks Rockwood manufactures systems for the handling of wood pellets and biomass

total-cost-of-ownership. B.I.D. works with clients and EPCM firms in the power generation (woody biomass, coal, petcoke) sector, as well as in other industries such as pulp and paper, ports, power mining, cement and steel. The company’s offerings include: • Engineering and manufacture of a range of conveyors, including belt, shuttle,

A grate system from Detroit Stoker

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triple, drag chain and screw • Galleries and trusses • Structural and miscellaneous steel • Live-bottom reclaim hoppers (chain, screw, stoker) • Bins and chutes • Complete material handling systems and solutions. l Visit B.I.D. Bulk Material Handling Systems at booth 308 Bruks Rockwood, headquartered in Georgia, US, is a manufacturer of bulk material handling systems for the energy, port terminal, paper and minerals industries, specialising in design, installation and maintenance. It offers a range of product lines for handling bulk materials, including receiving, processing, storage, reclaim and delivery. Bruks Rockwood’s standard equipment supply for bulk handling is truck unloading equipment, stacker/ reclaimer technology and shiploaders, however it also custom designs machinery to suit a variety of other applications. Some of the company’s most recent projects include the installation of efficient bulk material systems for the handling of wood pellets and biomass.

Careful attention must be paid to each design for processing a variety of goods with differing material characteristics, such as viscosity, delicacy, combustibility and dusting. The company’s designs help manufacturers move their materials more efficiently with automated systems that reduce labour and equipment costs, reduce product waste/ loss, improve the quality of the delivered material and reduce ongoing maintenance costs in harsh environments. Bruks Rockwood is a division of Bruks Group, headquartered in Sweden, and part of the JCE group of companies. l Visit Bruks Rockwood at booth 501 Detroit Stoker Company (DSC) is a designer and supplier of grate systems and related combustion equipment for heating, industrial processing and electric power generation around the world. It provides products and services to address the utilisation of a range of renewable energy fuel sources. Founded over 115 years ago, DSC pioneered the development of the first mechanical grate system specifically designed for difficult fuels. Over the years the company has advanced its technologies from the air cooled, traveling grate system to the water-cooled, vibrating type grate systems that allow for more diverse fuels, ranging from hogged wood and bark to sunflower seeds and lignin-based fuels. For 2013-2014, bearing

in mind the ever evolving emissions regulations and supply of low-cost natural oil and gas deposits, DSC is designing, manufacturing, installing or commissioning systems capable of totalling over 2,540 tonnes/hour of steam (~560MWe). DSC offers the design, build and installation of natural gas and oil burning systems. Its burner systems range in size from 15-200 MMBtu/ hr and have been applied in direct conversions and co-firing applications. l Visit Detroit Stoker Company at booth 601 EBM Manufacturing is a supplier of screening and separation technology. Its Gentle Roll is a nonvibrating screener used to remove fines from wood pellets. The rotary drum design allows for pellet conditioning where the burrs from the pellet ends are removed during screening. This prevents the burrs from falling off during product handling creating fines. The low maintenance costs make it a suitable screener for large and small operations. l Visit EBM Manufacturing at booth 303 Gicon Engineering North America (GENA) was founded in June 2010 as an independent venture within the Gicon Group. The company was formed to provide biogas design and consulting services for a new client base in the US and Canada, in addition to the design of high solids anaerobic digestion (HSAD)

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Bioenergy preview plants, using the Gicon Process, for its partner in North America, Harvest Power. GENA combines the knowledge and assets of Gicon Bioenergie with the expertise of the Gicon Group to ensure delivery of services that are timely and professional. The company’s engineers are experienced in a range of biogas technologies, having designed or commissioned over 60 biogas plants utilising both HSAD and wet fermentation technologies. This means customers are receiving feedstock- and location-adapted technologies which will provide them with cost-effective designs and maximum biogas generation. The first Gicon Process biogas plant in North America was designed by GENA for Harvest Power and is now in operation near Vancouver, British Columbia. The plant processes approximately 40,000 tonnes of residential/ commercial food waste a year, converting it into around 1MW of renewable electricity to be fed into the grid. Services provided by the GENA team include: concept and project development including feasibility studies; planning, construction, supervision and commissioning; plant delivery and construction with EPC partners for both HSAD and wet fermentation; turnkey delivery of pilot-scale or mobile biogas research facilities; and operational support/optimisation and engineering services for existing plants (both Gicon-

designed and otherwise). l Visit Gicon at booth 922 Green Diesel & Electric is an authorised representative for Proton Power, a company involved in the field of renewable energy. Proton Power is able to produce cost-effective clean energy through its deployment of fast pyrolysis technology; producing electricity for around $0.13 (€0.09) per kWh, and biofuels for around $2/ gallon allows for high return on investments and low paybacks. With 11 patents granted or applied for, Proton Power is close to producing drop-in biofuels and hydrogen rich syngas. l Visit Green & Electric at booth 918 Hurst Boiler has introduced a line of integrated boiler control systems for boiler room monitoring and communications. The new control systems feature graphic visualiation and information collection to facilitate the simple operational management of boilers and supporting peripherals. Each integrated control system provides PLC control, variable frequency drives and HMI interfaces devices. Integration is necessary for efficient operation and shared duty load. Hurst’s full line of processor-based smart controls is compatible with all Hurst designs, including alternative fuel models. Precise control of fuel and combustion air can result in

Harvest Power’s Vancouver-based biogas plant from GENA

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Hurst’s range of integrated boiler control systems

high efficiencies. Its intelligent control system allows these savings to be harnessed while increasing overall boiler plant productivity. Steam and hot water operations can be monitored from an on-site-touchscreen, internet or through a (SCADA) building automation system. The Hurst Boilermaster system means all boilers and equipment can be brought to a single collective monitoring point. l Visit Hurst Boiler at booth 611 Jiangsu Yongli Machinery is a China-based manufacturer of machinery equipment, specialising in pellet mills, hammermills, mixers, drum dryers, wood chippers and packing machinery. The company’s R&D team and scientific management system enables it to supply convenient turnkey projects to its clients. Its equipment is easy to install and features flexible operation, stable performance and low operational performance, all of which have enabled it to deliver over 300 turnkey projects. To date, Jiangsu Yongli has sold its machines to over 20 countries including Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Slovenia, France, Italy, Tunisia, New Zealand,

Australia, Colombia, Brazil, Uruguay, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. l Visit Jiangsu Yongli Machinery at booth 600 Laidig Systems provides customised solutions for the storage and reclamation of hard-to-handle bulk materials, designing, fabricating and installing systems that address challenges associated with material handling. The company’s applications are suitable for materials with poor flow characteristics and other special handling requirements, as well as for processes involving large storage volumes, high output rates, first-in-first-out inventory control, 24/7 operation and hazardous environments. Laidig has helped in the handling of a large variety of materials, providing solutions throughout the world, including Asia, Latin America and Europe. Most recently, a growing number of applications have been based at biomass conversion facilities for woodchips, bark and other biomass residues, and at power plants for biomass cogeneration materials. It provides turnkey solutions, including design, fabrication, construction, installation, training and services. Laidig reclaimers are engineered as

Bioenergy Insight


preview Bioenergy

Laidig’s bulk handling solutions have been installed at a number of biomass facilities

integral components with the storage structure — typically either steel or concrete silos, domes or, in some cases, open piles. Peripheral equipment, such as conveyors, magnets, screens, truck dumps and metering bins are provided and integrated into a unified control system. Laidig’s corporate headquarters, located in Mishawaka, Indiana, include 130,000 square feet of manufacturing and office space on a 10 acre campus. l Visit Laidig Systems at booth 311 LinguaLinx expands global reach and new business opportunities for biomass companies by rendering communications into over 150 languages. Its services include translation and localisation of documents, websites, hardware, software and applications, as well as multilingual graphic design, editing, layout and typesetting. The company also offers on-site and telephone interpreting, voiceover and subtitling. Technical translation services are used by a variety of industries, including biomass and wood processing. All work is performed by human translators who specialise in current terminology, technology, regulations and business trends of the industry. These linguists include business

Bioenergy Insight

executives, corporate trainers, human resource professionals, copywriters, financial experts, educators, bilingual attorneys, engineers, scientists, doctors, scholars and members of the diplomatic community. All these linguists are able to translate specialised documents in areas that match their respective skills. Projects involve manuals, instructions, safety information, posters, charts, packaging, brochures, flyers, advertising/marketing materials, legal documents, eLearning modules, human resource materials and policies, website content, catalogues, presentations, newsletters and correspondence. The on-time delivery rate for projects is over 99% and efforts to maintain cost

efficiency reduce translation expenses by leveraging previously translated text. Work capacity is significant and includes recent completion of a 2.4 million word project in 20 business days. LinguaLinx has provided translation and interpretation services to over 1,000 clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to state and local government agencies, technology companies, marketing communications and advertising agencies. l Visit LinguaLinx at booth 326 Miron Construction, headquartered in Neenah, Wisconsin, provides preconstruction, construction management, design-build, industrial and general construction services. It also has regional offices located in the states of Wisconsin, Iowa, Virginia and Minnesota. Miron was recently ranked as the largest Wisconsinbased contractor performing work in the Midwest by ENR Midwest. A private company completing work throughout the US, Miron is also listed 118th among all general contractors in the nation by Engineering News Record (based on revenue figures for 2012) and posted 2013 revenue of $685 million (€498 million). l Visit Miron Construction at booth 627

ProcessBarron supplies its equipment to a variety of industries, including biomass

ProcessBarron designs, manufactures, installs, maintains and repairs air, gas, solid fuel and ash handling equipment for a variety of heavy industrial applications. Since its founding, ProcessBarron’s offerings have grown from fans to ‘integrated solutions’ that include all components related to the movement of air, gas, or materials to and from boilers, kilns, and furnaces. It offers a range of products and services to customers around the world in a number of industries, including wood products and pulp and paper. The company’s product lines include, but are not limited to, air handling equipment with appurtenances such as ductwork, dampers, dust collectors and expansion joints; ash handling equipment such as fly ash drag and screw conveyors, submerged bottom ash drag chain conveyors, fly ash conditioning and truck loading systems and fly ash storage silos; and fuel handling systems such as biomass conveying systems, fuel storage and metering bins, circular and traveling screw reclaimers. ProcessBarron offers turnkey services on boiler and kiln auxiliary equipment including boiler fuel feed systems, energy efficient upgrades, and boiler and kiln draft system improvements. l Visit ProcessBarron at booth 801 Process and Storage Solutions (PASS) was founded in 2006 and since then has helped hundreds of customers around the world with process and plant feasibility studies, foundation and structural design, plant layout and equipment specifications, equipment procurement, and site supervision and startup. The company has developed a number of wood pellet and biomass plants, and has helps many more improve the performance of their facilities. In addition, PASS is active in air permitting

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Bioenergy preview

PASS has developed many wood pellet and biomass plants

processes, supporting customer funding efforts, developing customer off-take contracts and meeting with local government agencies. PASS’s customers range from small family-owned businesses, to large international corporations. l Visit Process and Storage Solutions at booth 217 Rawlings Manufacturing developed the original rotary wood hog in 1977. Since then the family-owned company has manufactured and marketed several series’ of product lines. Its wood waste recovery machines come in stationary, portable and skid mounted systems, with both vertical and horizontal models available. Rawlings’ wood hogs come in different shapes and sizes, from standalone vertical hogs for pellet and power plants, The Super Hi-Inertia from Rawlings

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sawmills, and pulp paper facilities, to complete custom horizontal hog systems that can process material of any length such a logs, forest debris and urban waste. The patented Super HiInertia Hog is designed to run 24/7, 365 days a year. The rotor is equipped with a high mass moment of inertia while maintaining low operating costs per tonne of material processed. Despite low RPMs, this hog provides the crushing and shearing power needed to handle tough applications such as green waste, cypress, redwood, cedar, poplar and range of other stringy and fibrous materials. l Visit Rawlings Manufacturing at booth 618 Tramco has been involved in the design, application, engineering and manufacturing of chain conveyors, enclosed belt conveyors, specially designed conveyors and conveyor conversions for over 40 years. Founded in Witchita, Kansas, the company manufactures bulk material handling equipment primarily for the grain and oilseed processing industry. Tramco has also expanded

into the European market with a manufacturing facility that supplies the EU with European spec equipment. Tramco has delivered its technology to a number of projects in the wood pellet industry. For example, at the Georgia Biomass plant, conveying equipment is an integral part of wood fibre handling, wood pellet and reject material systems. Drag style ‘G’ conveyors along with Tramco bucket elevators handle the material once it enters the pellet plant travelling to and from hammer and pellet mills and then to storage. With German Pellets, timely delivery is required and around the clock performance is the challenge. Tramco’s robust equipment has met this with its wood pellet handling equipment, including the drag style ‘G’ models, its Jet Belt conveyors and bucket elevators. l Visit Tramco at booths 616 and 717 Vermeer offers customers industrial-scale equipment suitable for use in the environmental and agricultural sectors, among others. Headquartered in the US state of Iowa, Vermeer, along with affiliated companies and independent dealer locations around the world, works with customers in more than 60 countries. Vermeer’s customers

are supported by reliable, localised customer service and support provided by independent dealers. This support has been part of Vermeer’s culture for over 60 years. l Visit Vermeer at booth 207 Vibrafloor is a supplier of the only patented surface fixed, modular vibratory bulk reclaiming system in the world. It is designed to empty 100% of cohesive and free flowing bulk materials such as woodchips, pellets, sawdust and agri-products from large-scale silos. The system works by creating a wave in the flexible surface metal plate of each module, instigated by a low power centripetal vibrating motor. This undermines and collapses the leading edge of cohesive and free flowing material through a low pressure zone, creating a progressive avalanche of the stored material. The collapsed material is swept away by the wave action, constantly undermining any obstruction or bridged material held in the store. The Vibrafloor system operates automatically and thus requires no routine maintenance while achieving high reclaim rates. The system does not transfer any significant vibration or stress to the structure, avoiding the necessity for costly silo reinforcement. The system

Equipment from Vermeer

Bioenergy Insight


preview Bioenergy that traditional biodiesel plants are unable to handle. l Visit Viesel Fuel at booth 111 Wolf Material Handling Systems has been providing biomass and biofuels handling solutions to the power generation, resource recovery and paper industries for over 35 years. The company has provided its fuel yard solution to a number of large-scale

Vibrafloor’s bulk reclaiming system

also has no major wearing or rotating parts, consumes a small amount of energy during operation and does not degrade the product or generate dust clouds. The company has worked on a number of projects, including an array of bulk storage vessels from large concrete domes and traditional silos to railway cars, ships and barges. Vibrafloor has been selected as the preferred bulk reclaim option by numerous clients, consultants and contractors involved with the current development of many bioenergy-based power station and portside projects which are in the planning and construction phase. l Visit Vibrafloor at booth 1003 Viesel Fuel converted its biofuel refinery into a novel biodiesel production facility in mid-2013, which has a production capacity of 11 million gallons a year. The company’s process uses an enzyme catalysed reaction, developed in collaboration with Tactical Fabrications and Novozymes of Denmark, followed by a resin system for crude biodiesel refining. Viesel’s biodiesel plant is the only facility in the world using a combination of enzymes and resins to produce biodiesel. The refinery complies with all ASTM International D6751 standards and specifications, and the company soon expects to be approved as

Bioenergy Insight

Viesel Fuel’s 11 mgy biodiesel plant utilises both enzymes and resins

a BQ9000 Producer in the National Biodiesel Board’s quality assurance programme. Viesel’s fuel has also obtained approvals from the Environmental Protection Agency, both as an approved biomass-based diesel under the Renewable Fuel Standard and as a fuel additive under the Clean Air Act. Viesel’s enzymatic process requires less energy compared to traditional biodiesel production, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions at a higher rate. In addition, a plant using this process can be built at a lower capital cost than a traditional biodiesel plant. Additionally, the retrofitting of an existing biodiesel plant can also be realised economically. The enzyme and resin technology produces glycerin with fewer contaminants, resulting in a high value co-product. The enzyme process allows for the use of a variety of inexpensive high free fatty acid feedstocks

projects in the US, including the Nacogdoches generating facility in Texas and the new 100MW Gainesville Renewable Energy Center in Florida, where Wolf was tasked with supplying every component in the wood yard, from when the biomass arrives at the facility to the metered delivery of fuel to the boiler house. As a complete solution provider for the GREC

system, Wolf designed and manufactured a sampler system at the scale house and over a half mile of conveyors incorporating: • One fixed stacker • Two wood hog chain feeders • Two underpile reclaimers with the associated chute work • A dust collection system. The system also included three Airoflex drive-over truck dumpers, inbound and outbound scales, RFID (radio frequency identification) fuel tracking system, and dual hog and screen systems. At the heart of the project is Wolf’s radial stacker/ reclaimer. The largest to be installed to date, the system is capable of automatically building a 4 million cubic foot pile at a rate of 600 tonnes per hour, while simultaneously reclaiming at a rate of 200 tonnes per hour. Wolf’s first stacker/ reclaimer, designed and built in 1989 for Delano Energy, was capable of building a 450,000 cubic foot pile at 186 tonnes an hour while reclaiming at 45 tonnes per hour. l Visit Wolf Material handling Systems at booth 223.

A fuel yard solution from Wolf

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Bioenergy event review Some highlights from the 4th Central European Biomass Conference in Austria

Expanding knowledge

T

he 4th Central European Biomass Conference (CEBC) took place from 15-18 January 2014 in Graz, Austria. In 2011 this biennial event, which is organised by the Austrian Biomass Association, the Styrian Chamber for Agriculture and Forestry and Bioenergy 2020+, in cooperation with Messe Graz, welcomed nearly 1,100 participants from 33 countries. From 2010 to 2020, the total final energy consumption of biomass in the EU is expected to increase by 63% to 2,200PJ. That makes the absolute growth of bioenergy higher than for all other renewable energy sources put together. The 4th CEBC provided an overview of political, economic and technological developments in the field of energetic biomass use in Europe. At the opening of the event, environment minster Andrä

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Rupprechter said: ‘I have a clear vision. I am fighting for a livable Austria with clean air and clean water. This vision also includes a clean and safe supply of energy and renewable energy is the future. Thanks to the natural situation we have the best conditions to manage the energy transition — we are full of energy to master this challenge. ‘Austria is one of the leaders in Europe concerning renewable energy. Wood contributes significantly to this with a share of 13% of total energy consumption.’ As part of the 4th CEBC, the 1st Central European Pellet Day was organised to provide participants with an overview of the current state of pellet production and pellet utilisation in eastern Europe. A presentation of how the most important central European markets for wood pellets — Germany, Austria and Italy — are doing at the moment was

given, while special attention was also paid to the demands on quality and ENplus certification, which constitute decisive market-entry requirements for central and eastern European producers. The session was chaired by Christian Rakos, president of the European Pellet Council and GM of proPellets Austria. Along with Pellet Day, day one of the conference was also celebrating Biogas Day, where discussions were held about the usage of different substrates for biogas fermentation and applications. The focus was particularly on the potential of new raw materials and residues. A plenary session about Europe’s energy policies kicked off proceedings on day two, where Dr Horst Jauschnegg, president of the Austrian Biomass Association (ABA), highlighted the fact that the EU debate on forestry and bioenergy has been influenced by the obligation to use wood raw material in a certain order of priority according to the cascade principle (wood should be used in a certain order of priority). While this principle is not legally binding, he said more efforts should

be made to increase wood mobilisation in Europe. ‘This should be a priority for the sector taking into account the forest resources of Europe are continuously growing as around 60% of the annual increment is being harvested. Mobilisation of more wood in Europe would be beneficial for increasing renewable energy production,’ Jauschnegg shared. ‘ABA consider that the EU institutions should support positive actions at EU and national level that will improve infrastructure, promote active forest management and enhance research and technological development in the field of forest production, mobilisation and harvesting technologies and wood utilisation.’ The afternoon saw the launch of three parallel sessions focused on heat from biomass and ash utilisation, while a further 12 parallel sessions ran throughout the third and final day. Attendees had the chance to expand their knowledge on a range of subject areas, such as electricity from biomass, biogas, energy plants, fuel logistics, the potential of biomass, biorefineries and biofuels. l

Bioenergy Insight


events & advert index Bioenergy Bioenergy events Event

Venue Date

Bioenergy Commodity Trading

Mon

BioGas World

Tue

1Biomass Fuel & Power 2 Congress

Copenhagen, Denmark

Wed

Thu

Berlin, Germany

3

4 Moscow, Russia

Fri

5

1-2 April 2014

Sat

6 April 2014 8-9

Victam Asia 2014

Bangkok, Thailand

8-10April

Argus European Biomass Trading 2014

London, UK

9- 10 April 2014

China Bioenergy & Biomass Utilization Summit

Shanghai, China

23-25 April 2014

European Algae Biomass

Seville, Spain

6-7 May 2014

AEBIOM Euruopean Bioenergy Conference

Brussels, Belgium

12-14 May 2014

on Industrial 811th Annual World Congress 9 10Biotechnology Philadelphia 11

12

12-15 13 May 2014

World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology

Pennsylvania, US

12-15 May 2014

Biomass & Bioenergy Fair and AveSui Animal Recycling

Santa Catarina, Brazil

13-15 May 2014

World Waste to Energy

London, UK

21-22 May 2014

Expoforest

São Paulo, Brazil

21-23 May 2014

World Bioenergy 2014

Jönköping, Sweden

3-5 June 2014

Renewable Energy World Expo Europe 15 16 Conference & 17

Cologne, 18 Germany

Powergen Europe

Cologne, Germany

3-5 June 2014

22nd European Biomass Conference & Expo

Hamburg, Germany

23-26 June 2014

UK AD & Biogas

Birmingham, UK

2-3 July 2014

2014 Pellet Fuels Institute Annual Conference

Orlando, Florida, US

27-29 July 2014

Nordic Biogas Conference

Reykjavik, Iceland

27-29 August 2014

22

Bioenergy From Forest 23

24

Helsinki, 25 Finland

19

Sun

1-3 April 2014

3-5 20June 2014

7

14

21

15-18 27 September 201428

26

The Renewables Event

Birmingham, UK

16-17 September 2014

Biofuels International Conference 2014

Ghent, Belgium

24- 25 September 2014

Conference of the European Biogas Association 2014

Alkmaar region, the Netherlands

30 September 2014 - 2 October 2014

Nextgen

Stoneleigh Park, UK

8-9 October 2014

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March/April 2014 • 73


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Bioenergy Insight March/April 2014