eenews writes about new developments with turning human waste into energy. Estimates show that if all biosolids in the United States were converted into biomass energy, they would produce 7 million to 7.6 million MW of power. By way of comparison, the current installed capacity of wind power in the United States is around 43,000 MW. By recycling the waste as electricity or converting it to biodiesel fuel, rather than putting it in a landfill, converting sewage into energy also reduces the emissions of methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas. The global warming effect of methane produced by decaying landfills is about 20 times more powerful than that of carbon dioxide. The waste conversion process avoids these emissions by capturing the gas and turning it into useful energy.

OILPRICE tells us that soaring fossil fuel prices in Central Asia are leading to an increased use of animal manure for heating homes and cooking.

We learn from the Environmental Leader that chicken-manure will be powering a prison in the US state of Maryland. A biomass project at the Eastern Correctional Institute will have an anaerobic digester that will generate electricity out of a mixture of crops and chicken manure. The state will buy the power at an agreed rate for the next 20 years. The plant will use 5,500 tons of chicken and other poultry manure a year, to provide about one-third of the electricity needed to operate the prison complex.

Residents of Sussex, England are using used cooking oil to power the national electric grid says the Sussex Express. The residents take their used oil to collection banks which have been installed at 14 household waste recycling sites. Each tank holds 1,250 litres of used cooking oil, which is enough to power the average UK home for a year.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution tells us that the city of Smyrna, Georgia will soon be using used cooking oil from local restaurants to power its fleet of city vehicles. The trucks will be running on a fuel mix that includes biodiesel made from the cooking oil. Biodiesel can be used interchangeably with petroleum-based diesel with little or no modifications to vehicles. The city projects biodiesel will reduce the fleet’s consumption of fossil fuel diesel by 25% and save the city about $25,000 a year.

Materials Handling World tells about a new plant in Le Sueur, Minnesota that will produce biogas from agricultural waste. It will produce the biogas from agricultural and food processing wastes such as sweet corn silage, potato waste and chicken manure. The biogas will be used to produce electricity for the city while a nutrient rich liquid fertilizer by-product will be sold to local farmers. Undigested biomass will be dried to create solid  fuel, which will be burned off site in biomass and coal-fired boilers. Construction will begin in 2012.  See also here.

A hog farm in Yadkinville, North Carolina is turning hog waste into electricity says the San Francisco Chronicle. A new waste-processing system – essentially a small power plant – installed on the 154-acre farm uses bacteria to digest the waste from over 8000 hogs and burns methane to produce electricity. It also converts toxic ammonia into forms of nitrogen that can be used as fertilizer. The 65-kilowatt turbine generates enough electricity to power the system – and five of the nine hog barns, where giant fans hum day and night.

The Detroit Free Press writes about how 9 Michigan landfills are producing electricity. The are among the 141 landfill methane gas projects Waste Management has in the US. Unlike wind power, which fluctuates randomly, landfill gas is generated 24 hours a day at a steady rate, as trash decomposes and creates methane, making its reliability 95%.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency, as of April, there were more than 550 landfill gas projects in 46 states generating about 1.7 GW of electricity each year, similar to the amount generated by two large coal-fired plants and enough to power 1.7 million homes.

Hydro-Québec has launched a program to buy 150 MW of power generated by forest biomass cogeneration plants reports the Montreal Gazette. The price for the power, in 2012 dollars, will be 10.6 cents per kilowatt-hour. The power will start appearing on the provincial grid in 2012.

A biomass plant in the US state of South Carolina is about to commence operation in early 2012 according to The Augusta Chronicle. Located on the Savannah River, the plant will convert 322,000 tons of fuel per year – about 50 truckloads per day of wood chips and shredded tires – into about 20 megawatts of electricity. The fuel sources will include chipped forest products to be procured from within a 50-mile radius of the facility. An aging, coal-fired power plant will be retired as the biomass project reaches full operations.

The Central Wisconsin Hub says that a biomass plant is under construction in Rothschild. To be completed by 2013, the plant will generate steam for a papermaker and electricity for the local electrical utility which is required to have 8% renewable energy by 2015. The new plant will burn about 500,000 tons of biomass — the tops and limbs of trees.

MyrtleBeachOnline reveals that a woodburning plant will be built near Harleyville, South Carolina. The biomass plant will burn 280,000 tons of logging debris per year to provide 15 MW of power when it commences operation in 2015. The site says there are now at least 28 wood biomass plants now operating in South Carolina, with seven more proposed.

The UK energy minister approved a wood waste-burning biomass plant in Yorkshire, England says letsrecyle. The plant will burn 360,000 tonnes of waste wood a year and produce 53 MW of electricity. Waste wood will be delivered to the site via a local canal and it will then be processed into wood pellets at a facility already in operation at the site before being used in the biomass plant. The plant is expected to be ready to operate by 2015.







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