ecogeek says that there are now some 600 landfill sites in the US producing energy from methane gas – electricity, heat and even pipeline-quality natural gas and compressed and liquified natural gas for vehicle fuel. In Methane Moves From Landfill To Fuel Tank KQED discusses the energy future of landfills and explains the process that converts methane into biogas which can be used to generate electricity or made into compressed natural gas to power vehicles. Triple Pundit continues the theme of how landfills can provide electricity.

R-squared presents the pros and cons of using biomass to produce energy. (video presentation)  Some of the topics discussed are: Can biomass replace oil? Is biomass energy sustainable? What are the risks of using biomass?

Wired explores plasma gasification and how it turns garbage into energy. “This intense, sustained energy becomes so hot that it transforms materials into their constituent atomic elements. The reactions take place at more than 2,700 degrees, which means this isn’t incineration—this is emission-free molecular deconstruction.”

The low price of natural gas is squeezing out biomass in the energy generating business says Troy Media. Prices for woody biomass in the U.S., whether sawmill byproducts, forest residues or urban wood waste are declining as biomass finds it hard to compete with natural gas.  This declining price trend has reduced the interest by both commercial and residential energy consumers in switching to more expensive green energy. As we have noted elsewhere, wind in North America  is also finding it hard to compete with gas. Prices for forest biomass, mill biomass and urban wood have all declined between 5 and 10% in the past few months. Bioenergy Insight also covers this development here.

The Canadian province of Manitoba is giving financial incentives to coal users to switch to biomass to produce energy reports Canadian Biomass. The multi-year program will be financed by a new emissions tax on coal that came into effect on January 1st. Applicants may include farms, communities, rural business and industrial users. Bioenergy Insight says the biomass can be produced from agricultural residues in the province like straw, oat hulls and flax shives.

smartplanet tells us that waste is going to power garbage trucks in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. The city is converting its diesel-powered waste-collection trucks to run on compressed natural gas (CNG). The gas will be produced at a new waste-to-biofuels production facility that converts decomposed organic waste into biofuel, in this case CNG.

Colby College in the US state of Maine has a new biomass plant we learn from the Colby campus newspaper. The facility burns forestry byproducts, including wood chips, bark and treetops, which would otherwise have been left on the forest floor. The plant replaces about 1 million gallons of heating oil with about 22 thousand tons of locally sourced wood annually. The boilers produce steam used for heat, hot water, cooking, and cogeneration of electricity. They will replace 90% of the 1.1 million gallons of heating oil used by Colby College each year. Colby uses a gasification combustion system, resulting in cleaner emissions and low pollutants. The college estimates that it will save about $1.5 million annually on its heating costs. See also the Kennebec Journal Turning wood into a steam into savings.

UK telecom and satellite company BSkyB will be getting 40% of its power from biomass says Environmental Leader. The company’s new main studio campus in London will be powered by a wood chip-fueled combined heat and power project.  The facility will use 32 tons of wood chips a day when at full capacity to generate power, hot water and chilled water, and some of its ash byproducts will be sold as fertilizer. The wood chips will come from companies within a 25 mile radius of the studios. The company has targets of cutting its greenhouse gas emissions by 25% and improving its energy efficiency by 20% by 2020.

Bioenergy Insight talks about Sharp’s Brewery in Cornwall, England that will convert its waste water into energy. The company is installing an anaerobic digestion system which includes an upflow anaerobic sludge blanket which will convert the brewery’s waste liquid into heat and electricity.  The process turns the excess liquid into biogas which generates the heating and power system at the site. The system is expected to be in operation by April.

Cattlegate Farm in Hertfordshire, England will be building an anaerobic digestion plant and compost facility reports Bioenergy Insight. The plant will turn 25,000 tonnes of food waste into electricity, enough to power 1,200 homes. Through this process, two byproducts will be generated – fertiliser and heat. The fertiliser will be used to grow crops on the farm and the heat generated will be pumped into the district heating system for the school, warden controlled houses and potentially the tennis club, football club and bowls club.

Power Engineering informs us of a biomass gasification plant in the US state of Wisconsin. The 5 MW waste-to-energy power plant will convert municipal solid waste into electricity using a pyrolysis gasification process. When the project is completed, it will sell the electricity to Wisconsin Public Service. Completion is scheduled for the end of 2012.



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