ESI-AFRICA writes about methane from waste electricity. “Scientists from Stanford and Pennsylvania State universities have discovered a process to convert electricity into methane, the main constituent of natural gas, using microbes. The fuel is carbon neutral and can use the excess electricity from renewable sources.” The electricity comes from clean energy sources like wind and solar that would otherwise be wasted. Wind farms and solar photovoltaic power plants often produce more electricity than can be used or stored. In the lab the microbes were producing methane at an 80% efficiency rate. The next step is to make this process commercially viable.

lacanadaflintridgepatch asks: Should Our Trash Become Energy? The post is a response to a call by Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to develop the area’s garbage into renewable biofuels and reduce waste.

newstrackindia tells us that a new thermoelectric material is the best at converting heat waste to electricity.

Most Biofuels Are Not ‘Green’ according to Green Building Elements. New research finds that many biofuels based on agricultural products help to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, but lead to other environmental pollution, such as too much acid in the soil and polluted (over-fertilised) lakes and rivers. Only a few biofuels have an overall better ecobalance than petrol/gasoline, especially biogas from residues and waste materials. However, the environmental impacts are very much dependent on the individual method of manufacture and the technology. Biofuels from deforested areas usually emit more greenhouse gases than fossil fuels. This also applies to indirect land usage changes if existing agricultural land is used for the first time for biofuel production and, as a consequence, forested areas have to be cleared in order to maintain the existing foodstuff or animal feed production. See also swissinfo Biofuels rarely better than petrol.

The Christian Science Monitor informs us that the European Union is limiting the use of biofuels in its energy policy. The EU is going to limit crop-based biofuels to only 5% of transport fuel used in the 27 countries making up the Union. The purpose is to reduce the use of food crops (corn, grain etc.) and instead move to “advanced biofuels” made from marginal plants and food waste (e.g corn stalks). The Monitor says: “Despite this hope, industry analysts are adamant that Europe’s biofuel sector will take a hit that it cannot recover from, predicting near-immediate closures of biofuel plants throughout the EU that will lead to thousands of lost jobs. With the industry itself heavily invested in meeting the current energy target dictated by previous EU policy — 10 percent biofuel as transport fuel by the year 2020 — the potential economic impact is severe.” The policy change must be approved by individual nations and the European Parliament before it can be implemented as law. This process is expected to take up to two years to complete. See also Energy Efficiency News EU signals U-turn in biofuels policy and Consumer Energy Report Industry in Peril as EU Limits Use of Food-Based Biofuels.

There will be a disconnect between biofuel demand and EU and US energy policies reports DOMESTIC FUEL. A new study, Global Biofuels Outlook to 2025, from Hart Energy finds a contradiction between US and EU biofuel mandates and actual market demand. Both first generation biofuels, as well as advanced biofuels along with ethyl tertiary butyl ether (ETBE) are included in the analysis. In the US, the motor vehicle market will not be able to absorb the ethanol mandated under the Renewable Fuels Standard while in Europe, the new regulations for biofuel production (see above) will not produce sufficient biofuels to meet vehicle demand.

The Toronto Sun tells us Canada will launch the first ever 100% biojet-fuelled flight. The world’s first flight powered entirely by biojet fuel made from 100% oilseed will take off next month from Ottawa.  A Falcon 20 twin engine jet will be used to test the biojet fuel for engine performance and emissions. More than 40 farmers in western Canada were contracted to grow over 6,000 acres of the oilseed crop that was used to create the bio jet fuel.

BusinessGreen notes British Airways (BA) is building a waste to jet biofuels plant in the UK. The London facility, to be completed by 2015, would provide 2% of the airline’s fuel needs.  If successful, the airline intends to build more plants in the UK.  The post does not say what waste will be used.

Transport & Logistic News reveals Australian algae biofuel technology will power Lufthansa aircraft. Algae.Tec Limited has signed a collaboration agreement for the construction of a large-scale algae to aviation biofuels production facility with German airline conglomerate Lufthansa. Lufthansa has committed to a long-term purchase agreement of at least 50% of the “green” crude oil which can be converted into kerosene for aviation and conventional diesel oil and ethanol. YouTube has a video showing how the algae to crude oil technology works. Also see Observations of Algae’s Renaissance (Sept. 10/12) in BIOMASS Magazine.

Vancouver 24 says future planes could fly on sawdust and straw.

Canada to build its first organics biofuel facility we learn from Biofuels Digest. The plant, in Surrey, British Columbia, is scheduled to open in 2015. The project will process landfill waste into natural gas. It will use organic and yard waste as its input. See also CBC Canada’s largest organics biofuel facility planned for Surrey.

OILPRICE writes about The Growing Popularity of Biofuels in Southeast Asia. The current biofuel penetration rate in Southeast Asia is about 1.8% of total automotive fuels market. This is forecast to grow to 3.3% by 2017 for a market worth about $4.3 billion. Automotive biofuels are  sourced from plant-based oils and sugars, animal fats and other natural occurring sources. Many Asian countries view biofuels as a way to boost their agricultural sector and decrease their dependence on crude oil. The two challenges facing the biofuel sector in the region are competition from the food industry and government subsidies for petroleum-based fuels. Thailand has the most mature biofuel market in the region. A report by Frost & Sullivan looks at the biofuels markets in this country as well as Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam. The latter is looking at producing biofuels from catfish oil and ethanol from cassava. You can access the Frost & Sullivan study here.

The BBC says whiskey is going to power cars. Scotland’s Tullibardine distillery in Perthshire plans to use bacteria to feed on the “leftovers” from the whiskey making process to in turn produce butanol which can be used to fuel motor vehicles. Currently the leftovers from the whiskey distilling process are used for fertiliser and cattle feed. The right bacteria can feed on those by-products to produce butanol – a direct replacement for vehicle fuel. See also smartplanet Whiskey: a solution to the world’s energy demands?

Italian oil company ENI is converting an oil refinery in Venice to a production plant for biofuels reports Reuters. Refurbishment will start in the second quarter of next year with biofuel production beginning in early 2014.

Pakistan is initiating projects to produce electricity from agri-waste writes The Nation. According to this source, two energy projects of 12 MW each have been approved which will use waste from agriculture and biomass. It is estimated Pakistan could generate 3 GW of electricity from agricultural waste and municipal waste.

mtairynews says a new landfill waste to electricity project is under construction in Mount Airy, North Carolina. The methane from the landfill will power a 1.6 MW generator that can provide electricity to 11,000 homes in the area.

the daily pioneer says that biogas is the future of energy in India. “Urban India generates 1,880,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste  per day, and this is expected to increase by one  to 1.5 per cent every year. The waste includes both non biodegradable and biodegradable waste.” The waste has the potential to be converted into much needed electricity and biogas throughout the country, helping  to solve both the landfill problems and the energy shortages.

Discovery reveals that the Swiss find waste makes good biofuel. A recent study by Empa, a research institute in Switzerland, found that the cleanest biofuels are those made in Switzerland – methane from wood chips and methane from sludge. An important reason for this finding is that waste that makes methane doesn’t require clearing a forest. Nor does it need to be transported far or fertilized.

Sustainable Business posts Native Americans Enter $3 Billion Biofuels Deal. The Council of Energy Resource Tribes, a group of 57 Native American tribes, have signed a long-term development agreement for up to $3 billion in biofuels and bioenergy projects across tribal lands in California. These projects will unfold over the next 10-15 years. The agreement includes using native land to grow biofuel feedstocks, building biofuel refineries to produce jet fuel, and building waste to energy plants.

lets recycle discusses a new anaerobic digester in Dorset in the UK. The plant will process up to 15,000 tonnes of organic waste, such as food waste, and 6,000 tonnes of pig slurry every year. The electricity and gas created by the process will be used by a neighbouring feed mill. As the mill will also use solar energy, it will be the first feed mill in the UK to be powered completely by renewable energy.






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