A new research study released by IHS Emerging Energy Research predicts that the European biomass market will grow by 30 GW between 2012 and 2035 representing 6% of the additional renewable energy capacity in the EU. Renewable Energy Focus says that biomass is an attractive option for electric utilities seeking a technology capable of coping with intermittency from wind while maintaining existing coal fired plants. Scarcity of native wood resources means the EU will have to depend on imported feedstock from the Americas. Biomass is not currently competitive with wholesale power prices which is why it currently relies on government support and financial incentives.. You can get the study here.

Frost & Sullivan have released a report about prospects for the North American Biomass Gasification and Pyrolysis Market. Rapid growth is expected for this market as governments at all levels look for low carbon technologies to produce electricity and transportation fuels. The study predicts that the size of this market will grow from $4.2 billion in 2010 to $7.3 billion by 2017. Taking advantage of mobile plants, this technology will enable remote markets who lack access to transmission lines.

smartplanet tells us about a biomass steam train that can travel at 130 mph (200 kilometers per hour). Sustainable Rail International and the University of Minnesota’s Environment Institute have partnered to build the world’s fastest biofuel-powered steam locomotive. The train will be powered by buring torrefied biomass, a carbon-neutral coal substitute. Presently torrefied wood pellets from North America are being exported to Europe to replace coal to generate electricity in large power plants.

businessGreen posts that two hospitals in Cambridge, England will save a £1m a year in energy costs by installing a combined heat and power plant that uses wood-chips and chemical waste. When operational in 2015, the plant will supply low carbon heating, hot water and electricity from burning biomass and thereby reduce grid electricity and gas consumption by more than 50%.

Mini pellet mills could soon be supplying the wood pellet market in Europe according to Biomass Power and Thermal.  UK firm PelHeat has created new mini pellet mills which can produce 250 to 2,000 kilograms of pellets per hour, cost roughly £4,895 ($7,670), and are designed for hospitals, schools, and other small-scale operations. The automated system reduces labour costs and makes the process more efficient. To date the mills have been successfully tested with wood and hemp as feedstocks.

The first biomass heat recovery power plant in the Canadian forestry industry is near completion at an integrated sawmill and pellet operation in central British Columbia. The Journal of Commerce says a 2 MW waste heat recovery and electrical generation system will capture lost heat from the flu stack of an existing biomass recovery system and turn it into a new source of electricity. The recovered heat will be converted into electricity for the pellet plant, which produces 190,000 tonnes of premium-grade wood pellets annually.

The first biofuel cooking facility has opened in Mozambique, Africa reports BioEnergy News. Located in Dondo province, the facility will produce 2 million litres per year of ethanol-based cooking fuel from surplus cassava supplied by local farmers. The cooking fuel will be sold with special cookstoves to provide a cleaner and safer solution than using dirty and expensive charcoal. (The price of charcoal has tripled in the past three years.)  Ethanol burns cleaner than charcoal which means houses and lungs stay cleaner, and deforestation is reduced. See also Triple Pundit Africa’s first sustainable biofuel plant opens in Mozambique.

Eco-Business reports that the International Energy Agency has laid out a plan for biofuels. The agency believes by 2050 biofuels could provide 27% of total transport fuel and replace diesel, kerosene and jet fuel. Most biofuels could be competitive with fossil fuels by 2030. The IEA is further of the view that producing biofuels from ellulosic ethanol from wood and grasses instead of edible plants will reduce the risk of competition between food and biofuel production.

The Philippine Information Agency reported that the country could get 20% of its diesel blend from biofuels by 2030. Currently the law requires that the country’s liquid fuel must contain 2% biofuel for diesel and 10% bio-ethanol. Coconut and sugarcane bagasse are seen as primary sources of biofuel for the country. However, one company is exploring the use of sorghum to produce ethanol according to BusinessWorld.

theenergycollective writes about Brazil’s first commercial cellulosic ethanol plant. A new 22 million gallons/year cellulosic ethanol plant is to be constructed in Alagoas using sugarcane bagasse and straw for initial feedstock. Construction is expected to start in July and start-up of operations is expected by the end of 2013.

Farm Industry News asks: Is the long ethanol boom in the US coming to a close?

The Korea Herald looks at sewage as the next energy source. Korean scientists have reported major progress in turning microbes in waste water into sources of electricity. Microbial fuel cells convert the chemical energy from organisms into electricity using bacterial metabolism as the catalyst. It is regarded as one of the most promising technologies for producing renewable energy as well as treating polluted waste water. The researchers acknowledge that their work is at a very early stage of development and it will take at least four to five years before we can actually use microbial fuels to generate energy.

This project is a classic example of how landfill waste is now a gold mine for those who own them and the companies that want access to them to transform atoms into useful energy. In Garbage Up for Grabs Power Engineering tells us about the bidding war underway to turn an Hawaiian landfill into electricity. 76 companies have made submissions to create a waste-to-energy project that would divert about 450 tons of garbage a day from the Central Maui Landfill and burn it to provide power for as many as 12,000 homes. This is enough garbage for a plant to generate 10 to 15 MW of electricity. Companies have responded from all over the world hoping to win the bid.

Speaking of landfills, OILPRICE discusses their energy potential in Making a Big Stink: Is That a Landfill or a Gold Mine?

Bexley, UK has a 66 MW waste-to-energy plant now operating reports Waste Management World. The facility, one of the largest in the UK, will process an average of 585,000 tonnes of non-recylable residual waste each year, generating 66 MW of electricity for the National Grid – enough to power around 100,000 homes. The majority of the waste that will be treated by the facility comes from four London boroughs – Wandsworth, Hammersmith and Fulham, Lambeth and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.







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