Power Engineering International discusses the question of whether biomass for energy is really green (carbon neutral). “It is increasingly clear that the diverse forms of biomass come with different life-cycle carbon emissions and varying green credentials. Initial national policies were based on the assumption that biomass energy is carbon neutral… (C)loser study of the net greenhouse gas benefits of burning biomass shows that a more complex model of carbon accounting is required. This should include factors relating to the type, source and treatment of the biomass, modelling of forest growth, transport of the biomass and timing of emissions and sequestration.”  In a related post, allAfrica reports that biomass use is causing rapid deforstration in the African country of Tanzania.

Automation World tells us Finland is opening the world’s largest biomass gasification plant. The 140 MW facility in the city of Vassa is a modified coal-fired electricity generation plant. Nearly half of the coal used by the plant can be replaced with gasified biomass. The plant will create biogas from wood – mainly from forest residue – to generate electricity and heat for residents of Vaasa.

From The Australian we learn a combined academic/industry study concludes that aviation biofuels are not competitive with fossil fuels. For example, the cheapest of these fuels, sugarcane, would only be competitive if the price of oil was at $US 300 per barrel or three times its present price. This increased to $US 374 for oil-producing seeds from the pongamia tree and $US 1343 with microalgae. Technological improvements could lower these prices significantly but not to present crude oil prices: eg. to $US 168 for sugarcane, $US 255 for pongamia seeds and $US 385 for algae. The study was part of the Queensland Sustainable Aviation Fuel Initiative by Queensland University, James Cook University, Boeing, Virgin Australia, Mackay Sugar and IOR Energy.

China Eastern Airline has completed a successful biofuel flight according to RENEWABLE ENERGY MAGAZINE. The A320 aircraft completed an 85-minute test flight last week using a palm oil-based biofuel and landed at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport. After the flight the pilot reported the aircraft produced a level of thrust that “was no different from traditional fuels.”

In the US state of Colorado a new biodiesel plant will run on used cooking oil says DOMESTIC FUEL. The 11.5 million gallon refinery will be located in the city of Boulder. The biodiesel will be made from grease collected from local restaurants and used to power the city’s fleet or motor vehicles.

Waste vegetables and fat will be producing electricity in the UK. Energy Live News says the 32 MW plant at Shoreham Port on the south coast of England will generate electricity to meet the average needs of 18,000 homes a year. The plant is expected to become fully operational in early 2015.

Also in England, oil and fat accumulating under the streets of London, UK will be producing electricity. the energy collective informs us a power station at Beckton in east London will use this material to generate 130 GWh of electricity per year. The material or “fatbergs” are created by cooking oil and grease t”hat cools and congeals down in the sewers. “You have to wonder how many fatbergs are living under the streets of other cities. Will others follow London’s lead?”

US food retailer Kroger is using food waste to power its California distribution center. The facility in Compton, California converts food into energy to help power the 65,000 square operation. An anaerobic conversion system is able to process 55,000 tons of organic food waste a year and turn it into electricity and meets 20% of the operations annual requirements. See also Cincinnati, Kroger could roll out food waste-to-energy system around U.S.

the energy collective tells us how the garbage to energy business is booming in Europe. In Europe these days waste is just another commodity used as an input into the production of electricity and heat. The post looks at operations in Northern Europe.

A biogas plant will be producing natural gas in Jeppo, Finland according to BIOMASS Magazine. As early as autumn 2013, the 1.8 MW plant will produce biomethane refined to natural gas quality, which is suitable for the growing network of Finnish natural gas refueling stations. The biomethane will be produced from the processing of wastewater, grass, straw, fox and mink excrements from a nearby fur farm, and manure from three local pig farms. The plant will also produce high quality fertilizer for the farmers of the region.

A power plant in Klaipeda, Lithuania is the first waste to energy combined heat and power plant in the Baltic region. The new plant has a generation capacity of 20 MW electricity and 50 MW heat, delivering about 140 GWh of electricity and 400 GWh of heat annually. Significantly, this amount of heat covers almost 40% of Klaipeda’s district annual heating demand by businesses and residences. The electricity is delivered to the Lithuanian electricity grid. The facility uses municipal and industrial waste and biomass as fuel and can incinerate 230, 000 tons of waste and biomass per year. The dual-purpose plant is built with flue-gas condensers that allows for the recovery of 15 MW more heat during peak demand times. You can watch a video here.








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