TG Daily refers to a new study that suggests that biofuels are as carbon intensive as gasoline. University of Leicester researchers studying greenhouse gas emissions from oil palm plantations found more than 50 percent more CO2 emissions than previously thought. The findings imply that, on average, biofuels in Europe will be as carbon intensive as gasoline. “These results show that biofuels causing any significant expansion of palm on tropical peat will actually increase emissions relative to petroleum fuels,” says Ross Morrison of the University of Leicester Department of Geography.

Greenpeace says burning trees for energy a bad idea according to CTV News. A report by the organization says government policies that encourage burning more trees to create energy threaten Canada’s forests and climate. Biomass energy is no longer limited to burning waste products such as sawdust and log chips but now includes the burning of whole trees, as well as branches and other debris that used to be left to help enrich forest soils. The report adds that burning wood, often in the form of fuel pellets, also increases climate-warming carbon dioxide emissions.

The Roanoke Times reports that waste will be generating electricity in Christiansburg, Virginia.  Christiansburg’s sewage treatment plant is getting new equipment to go online by year’s end to trap methane gas from the treatment process and burn it to generate electricity.  The electricity will be used to power the pumps that aerate giant troughs where bacteria are busy breaking down the town’s wastewater. The new generator should save Christiansburg taxpayers about $32,000 next year in electricity costs. The project also will cut the annual amount of greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide and methane released from the plant by about 287 metric tons and 71 metric tons, respectively.

Energy Business Review tells us that the small town of Villanova Mondovi, Italy (near Torino) is turning waste wood into energy. The plant is supplying thermal energy for a district heating network that includes an industrial area along with private and public buildings, including the local school.

From Industrial Fuels and Power we learn that Swedish pulp producer Södra Cell is using waste bark, branches and wood chops to produce electric power, district heating and biofuels.  Of the 550 GWh of energy produced, 300 GWh, is sold to power plants and industrial users, 150 GWh is district heating for the nearby town of Varberg and the balance is sold to the national power grid. Södra Värö now boasts one of the smallest carbon footprints in the pulp industry and has won worldwide recognition as “the world’s first fossil-free pulp mill.”

Northern Nevada Business Weekly says that the first trash-to-energy project is nearing  completion at a landfill near Sparks, Nevada. Waste Management will use methane gas produced by decomposing garbage inside the landfill to drive two electrical-generation units. The plant is expected to be operational by 2013 and will generate about 3.2 MW of electricity — enough to provide power to more than 1,900 homes in the region. NV Energy has contracted to buy the power produced by the landfill facility for the next 20 years.

A bio-fuel electricity plant has opened in Cumbria, England according to the BBC. Rotting grass and other organic material provided by local farms will provide the raw fuel source for the system near Silloth. The methane from the grass is put that through a modified diesel engine to generate electricity.The anaerobic digester is expected to generate 1.2 MW of electricity, enough to power over 2,000 homes.methane and put that through a modified diesel engine to generate electricity.

Sustainable Business reports that Oakland, California has approved a biodiesel plant that will use locally collected grease and oil waste as feedstock. The 20 million gallon per year biodiesel processing facility is capable of using multiple feedstocks including algae, Jatropha, Camelina and other non-food materials. The biodiesel will be sold to local fuel retailers, refineries, government agencies and transportation fleet operators. Local trucks, cars, trains, and ships can use biofuels to reduce pollution at the port.

Greenbang notes that an Alberta natural gas pipeline operator will transform waste heat into energy. Alliance Pipeline is installing equipment 200 km north of Edmonton to recover waste heat and transform it into 14 MW of electricity.


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