In Biomass Won’t Solve Climate Change Either Forbes reveals that biomass and biofuels are now seen as non-green energy sources by environmentalists. They are concerned that moving to these energy sources in a large way could negatively impact food prices and impact biodiversity and the sustainability of eco-systems world-wide.

Reuters reports that Brazil’s fledgling sugarcane-to-electricity plans are being slowed by the ramp up of wind power in that country. It turns out that sugarcane-based electricity generation can’t compete with lower cost wind and natural gas generated electricity. The world’s No. 1 sugar producer produces 140 million tonnes a year of bagasse from crushed cane, some of which is burnt in high-efficiency boilers to crank generators and produce power. The sugarcane industry estimates bagasse could generate 15.3 GW of electricity by 2020, roughly the entire annual needs of Ecuador and about a fifth of its own — but only if it is competitive with alternative energy sources. The industry blames its inability to compete for access to the national grid on tax breaks given to wind and gas producers and the high cost of equipment needed to convert bagasse to electricity. It is not clear at this time if the government intends to assist the sugarcane industry overcome these hurdles.

German airliner Lufthansa and Neste Oil are satisfied with their aviation biofuel trial says Global Technology Forum.  The companies tested Neste Oil’s NExBTL renewable aviation fuel on a total of 1,187 flights between Frankfurt and Hamburg last year and one intercontinental flight between Frankfurt and Washington, DC this year. Factors such as fuel quality, aircraft performance and fuel storability were studied during the flights. The key conclusion of the extensive tests carried out during the trial is that the aircraft and their engines performed excellently. Using NExBTL fuel resulted in 1% lower fuel consumption compared with regular fossil jet fuel, due to the higher energy content of renewable aviation fuel. Neste Oil’s renewable aviation fuel is based on the use of a wide range of vegetable oil and waste-based raw materials, such as waste animal fat from the food industry. Read more about it here.

We learn from the UK Guardian that the US military is flying its drones on biofuels. Tests are taking place using a 50-50 mix of biofuel and regular jet fuel. The US Navy has set a goal to deliver billions of gallons of biofuel that must be price-competitive and have lower carbon emissions than oil.

BiofuelsDigest has an interesting piece telling us how biofuels is moving from the Dark Ages to the Renaissance. The article summarizes the comments from a range of industry representatives attending the recent World Biofuels Markets.

Power Engineering tells us how mountains of waste in Nigeria can solve that country’s electricity shortages. Still on the African continent, allAfrica informs us how Tanzania is converting rubbish into cooking fuel.

Port Strategy likes the beauty of biomass, and specifically renewable wood pellets, but warns us of its dangers and costs to seaports. As European power generators look to biomass as a vital ‘green’ ingredient, for mixing with coal or burning on its own, many ports see potential big business on the horizon. With different chemical properties than coal ports storing biomass need to have safety precautions to avoid fires and explosions. Storage requirements are also different from coal. Wood pellets must be kept dry, because if moisture levels get too high, they can disintegrate or the moisture will speed up the biological activity within the pellets which could lead to combustion. The article also discusses the cost differences between coal and wood pellets and the need for large investments in special transportation and storage facilities to accommodate the latter.

Buckinghamshire county in England is turning used cooking oil into electricity says 4-traders.  Since 2009 some 28,000 litres of used cooking oil has been collected from residents and Living Fuels recycles the collected oil into bio-liquid, which is used to generate  electricity and heat for the National Grid.

stuff reports that people in Nelson and Motueka, New Zealand got to see the benefits of a household biodigester which uses household waste for cooking, or in this case, heating tea.

A county in the US state of Wisconsin will be creating natural gas to fuel vehicles from its local landfill says The Cap Times.

Bahrain will be turning household waste into electricity we are informed by STEELGURU.  Plans are underway to build a waste to energy gasification plant which will take  390,000 tonnes of household waste annually and convert it into 32 MW of electricity for the national grid.

Wood chips and old shredded tires have replaced coal at an electric power plant in the US state of South Carolina. Opened this month, the plant  burns the waste material to make steam, which in turn generates enough power to run 30% of  the plant’s operations. The wood chips and tires come from businesses within 50 miles of the plant.

The German energy company E.ON has been given the approval to construct a 150 MW biomass power plant in Bristol, England reports Energy Efficiency News. The project, which could provide power to 160,000 homes, will be fueled primarily with imported virgin wood, energy crops and local waste wood. However, some question if the project will go ahead. Bristol 24-7 says that E-ON is having second thoughts in light of UK government proposals to cut back on subsidies to the biomass sector.

 

 

 

 

 

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