Australian Aviation reports on the first biofuel flight by Qantas. Last week a A330 flight from Sydney to Adelaide used a 50:50 blend of conventional jet fuel and biofuel derived from cooking oil. Meanwhile, in Come fry with us the Ottawa Citizen reviews the increasing experimentation with cooking oil and other biofuels by the world’s airlines.

The Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal tells us that some think converting biomass to energy is not good for the environment. Fully supporting biomass only a few years ago, environmentalists in the US state of Washington now claim that microscopic nanoparticulates created by incinerating wood waste are a health hazard and that all biomass operations should be shut down until the issue is fully investigated. This is disheartening news in parts of the state which has been suffering economic stagnation for many years and looked upon biomass, a renewable energy source, as a way of injecting new growth into the economy. And the opposition is not just in the US. It is alive and well in the UK as well. The Courier let us know that environmentalists are planning a Scottish Parliament demonstration against plans to build large-scale biomass plants in Dundee and Fife. Their concern is that biomass projects will burn up the country’s forests, seen as “vital carbon sinks in the fight against climate change.”  Protestors are also carried this message to the European Biomass to Power conference in London this week. See Energy Live News Protesters target biomass conference and Press TV UK activists to picket EU biomass conference in London and the UK Guardian EU carbon target threatened by biomass ‘insanity’and Summit County Citizens Voice Report: Large-scale forest biomass energy not sustainable.

Meanwhile the UK Furniture Industry Research Association is asking the UK government to promote the burning of waste wood rather than trees to create energy according to letsrecycle.  The Association is concerned that the biomass sector and the companies involved are driving up the price of wood for furniture making and this is being accelerated by government subsidies that favour biomass. The furniture lobby wants wood to have priority for furniture manufacturing over energy. The industry is not opposed to small-scale biomass plants that only burn waste wood.

The Green Car Congress reveals that biomass-to-liquids fuels could be competitive at current price levels given sufficient economies of scale. A study by the Stevens Institute of Technology suggests that liquid fuels such as diesel produced from crop residue could be economically competitive with petroleum-derived fuels at current price levels, given a sufficiently large production scale. They also found that the cost of biomass is the largest single contributor to the final price of biomass-derived fuel and becomes more so as plant capacity increases.  This suggests a need to improve methods of biomass gathering and delivery. The study, published in the journal Energy and Fuels, can be found here.

Brazil’s biofuel potential is discussed by The Market Oracle. Industry experts see biofuels accounting for up to 25% of global energy consumption by 2050. Brazil has a good opportunity to be a major supplier of this bioenergy as it is already the second-largest market in the world for bioethanol. Brazilian sugar cane-derived ethanol is 8–10 times more energy efficient than fossil fuels and has a lower carbon content. Brazil is also a prime candidate for growing exactly the type of energy crop to produce biomass pellets from miscanthus to feed European coal-fired plants. However, substantial investment will be needed for this to happen. Miscanthus grows best in a tropical zone within eight degrees north or south of the equator, exactly where Brazil is located. Also it has a key advantage in that it delivers two crops annually, whereas it takes four to five years for timber-based products to mature. Miscanthus is unique in that it only needs to be planted once. After it is cut, it grows again and again. saving on replanting costs.

UPI Energy Resources reports that the US state of Hawaii will have a biorefinery. The plant in Kapolei, 14 miles from Honolulu, will convert biomass –  including components of Hawaiian crops, such as macadamia nuts and sugarcane — into a liquid fuel that can be upgraded and processed to make fuel used for transportation (gasoline and jet fuel) and industrial boilers. Hawaii’s goal is to have 70% renewable energy by 2030.

A 49 MW biomass plant has been approved for the Port of Immingham in the UK reports Cogeneration & On-site Power Production. The facility, located at the UK’s busiest port, will use imported wood pellets to create electricity for 90,000 homes. The biomass plant should be up and running by 2015 with an operational life-span of 25 years.

SteelGuru tells us that Dong Energy will convert three fossil fuel plants in Denmark to wood by 2015. Denmark’s state controlled utility, plans to invest about $800 million to convert three of its coal and gas-fired power stations to generate heat and electricity from wood pellets. The Danish plants will have a capacity of about 1 GW. The country already gets 70% of its renewable energy use from biomass such as straw, wood and waste. Lower taxes on biomass than coal and gas power generation encouraged Dong Energy to convert the plants. The biggest hurdle for the conversions is sourcing biomass. Dong currently sources most of its biomass from the Baltic countries, Poland and Russia and may begin buying materials from other areas including North America.

Michigan State University will convert farm and dining hall waste to energy for its campus buildings reports the Daily Press. The university will use an anaerobic digester to convert the waste into electricity for campus buildings. Michigan State generates about 21,000 tons of manure and 1,500 tons of food waste annually. Once complete, this system will be the largest on a college campus in the United States.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says that the US state of Wisconsin is allocating three-quarters of its renewable energy budget to biomass and biogas projects.

The city of Manila in the Philippines will see its trash turned to power according to the Manila Standard Today. Pacifictech Philippines will introduce a technology to turn household waste into energy pellets which can be used to generate electricity. “The energy pellets burn like coal and have the same if not more of the burning properties of coal.” Manila’s garbage is estimated at 6,000 tons a day. Arrangements are now being made for the financing and construction of the first waste-to-energy plant in Manila, a facility that will handle around 2000 tons a day.

The Sacramento Bee reports that a landfill gas to energy plant has opened in the US state of Nevada. Waste Management opened the plant at its Lockwood Landfill which uses methane gas from the landfill to generate electricity for 1800 homes. When organic materials, like food and yard waste, decompose, they create a gas comprised of about 55% methane. Collection wells placed over the landfill site collect this gas and then pipe it to the power plant, where it is used as a fuel to run two generators.





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