TheBioEnergySite asks: Is their surplus land for bioenergy? More and more discussions are taking place about the unintended consequences of mandated biofuel policies by governments worldwide which has affected food prices. . Increasing demand for bioenergy feedstock is generating land-use conflicts which are driving the food vs. fuel controversy. Some are proposing resolving those conflicts by segregating land for of food/animal feed and bioenergy producing areas. Food/feed would be grown on established agricultural land while dedicated energy crops would be grown on“surplus” land. A recent study questions whether such land exists. (See Bioenergy from “surplus” land: environmental and socio-economic implications.) Dr Dauber, the lead author of the study says: “We still have limited understanding of how much land is truly surplus and suitable for energy crop production because constraints arising from environmental and socio-economic implications of bioenergy development in those areas are often not accounted for in assessments of land availability.” The study suggests a thorough reassessment of land availability for bioenergy production by clarifying the terminology of “surplus” land and taking both constraints and options for efficient and sustainable bioenergy-land use into account. The study also makes recommendations for resolving conflicting land-use demands.

Waste & Recycling News says The world needs more waste-to-energy plants and gasification technology. “The great benefit of gasification technology is just how efficient it can be, with one plant burning tonnes and tonnes of rubbish every day to produce electrical output for us all to use.” In a related posts, REneweconomy writes about Energy from waste: A clean energy source that’s building steam and The Times of India has Turning Waste into Power.

smartplanet tells us why Sweden needs more trash. Sweden’s waste to energy program has been so successful it doesn’t have enough burnable trash for its waste-to-energy plants. It produces energy from 2 million tons of waste each year, heating 810,000 homes and providing electricity to 250,000 homes. Sweden has recently begun to import about eight hundred thousand tons of trash per year  from other countries (mainly Norway) to use in its electric power plants. Norway actually pays Sweden to take its waste and Sweden exports the toxic ashes of the waste byproduct back to Norway to be dumped in a landfill. See also Public Radio International Sweden imports waste from European neighbors to fuel waste-to-energy program and New York Daily News Sweden forced to import trash from Norway to create heat and electricity.

Pig manure is producing electricity in New South Wales, Australia says domain-b. Blantyre Farms has installed a biogas generator at a cost of $1 million to capture methane from the manure of its 22,000 pigs and turn it into electricity, which is then distributed to the national grid. This is the first piggery in Australia to install a commercial-scale system to generate power from methane. The farm has gone from paying out $15,000 a month for electricity and gas to earning $5,000 a month from the power it sells back to the grid.

NGV Global News reports sewage is powering 120 vehicles in Hamburg, Germany. The city’s water treatment plant, Hamburg Wasser, converts sewage sludge into biomethane which is used for transportation fuel. Surplus gas is injected into the national natural gas grid.

Bioenergy Insight tells us a biogas plant in Africa will provide 100% of Del Monte’s energy requirements. The food producer, distributor and marketer is developing a biogas plant at its pineapple farm in Thika, Kenya. The 5 MW of renewable electricity  and heat will be consumed on site helping to save Del Monte’s  heating and electricity costs. Any excess electricity will be sold to Kenya’s national grid.

TheBioenergySite notes the southeast US has huge bioenergy potential.  Dr Bill McCutchen, Executive Associate Director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, sees the potential for the southeast to become the ‘Saudi Arabia’ for production of new dedicated drought resistant energy crops such as algae and sorghum. He says: “What we are going to see is an emergence of cellulosic-based conversion facilities, and when this infrastructure is in place, we will see a new set of dedicated energy crops that will complement food and fiber crops.” The southeast comprises the geographic area from the Texas Gulf Coast to the eastern seaboard.

Biomass Magazine tells us about a new standards program for wood pellet producers in the US. American Wood Fibers, with pellet mills in Virginia and Ohio, Curran Renewable Energy, with a mill in New York, and Marth Wood Shavings & Supply, with two mills in Wisconsin, have entered into an agreement that will allow each mill to certify their product through a third-party verification system. The announcement is a first for the US industry. The three mills will officially participate in a testing protocol and standards verification process developed by the Pellet Fuels Institute (PFI) and the American Lumber Standard Committee (ALSC). Timber Products Inspection will perform the third-party testing and inspection services for each mill. After testing is verified, all participating mills will have the option of labeling each bag of pellets with a quality sticker developed by PFI to indicate which grade of fuel is in each bag, including premium, standard or utility. Increasing consumer confidence in fuel quality could help expand the use of wood pellet fuel in homes and businesses.

Land Energy opens 60,000-tonne wood pellet plant in Scotland reports BioEnergy News. The plant is located in Girvan in Ayrshire. It has a biomass-fired combined heat and power (CHP) system which will generate 2.3 MW of renewable power and 10 MW of heat. The facility has the capacity to manufacture 60,000 tonnes of wood pellets a year using locally-sourced timber from forests and sawmills within a 50-mile radius of the plant. This is enough to heat more than 15,000 households.

Biomass Magazine mentions that General Biofuels plans to construct a wood pellet plant in the US state of Georgia.. The Sandersville facility will manufacture industrial-grade wood pellets for sale to a major European electric utility under a long-term contract. Capacity will be approximately 440,000 tons per year with production scheduled for the first quarter of 2014. Renewable feedstock will come from Georgia timberlands and local lumber producers. Pellets from the plant will be loaded into railcars for transport by the Sandersville Railroad and Norfolk Southern Railway to the Port of Savannah for intermediate storage and trans-load to ocean-going ships.

The second largest landfill gas to energy plant in the US has opened in Orange County, California. Waste360 says the new facility the  Olinda Alpha Landfill in Brea has a generating capacity of 32.5 MW of electricity capacity which will be sold to the city of Anaheim.

Yall Politics reports a landfill near Houston, Texas is now producing enough electricity to power 900 homes in the area. The facility produces 16 kW of electricity that is fed into the Tennessee Valley Authority grid.

UK retailer Marks & Spencer will buy the total renewable energy output of an anaerobic digestion plant run by Shanks and Energen Biogas according to scrap-ex. The plant is in Glasgow, Scotland. M&S sends food waste to the 60,000 tonnes per year facility and will purchase approximately 19,000 MWh per year of electricity from it. This is enough to power 33 M&S Simply Food stores.

In From food waste to fuel we learn an anaerobic digester (AD) will be producing biogas for the national grid in the UK. itv reports food waster from a Waitrose store in Ipswich will go to an AD in Adnams near Southwold, to be turned into biogas for the national grid. The plant will produce enough fuel to heat 250 homes for a year.




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