autobloggreen tells us the history of biofuels goes back 300 years. Biofuels come from the same fermentation and distilling process that produces alcohol. Around the 1700s, people began processing corn husks, oily plants (such as peanuts) and crop waste into a fuel that could be burned in stoves, lamps and then was an ingredient in moonshine. Samuel Morey was credited with running his prototype engine on alcohol in 1826.
New research from the European Commission reveals some crop-based biofuels are twice as polluting as conventional fossil fuels. Climate Spectator finds that using biodiesel made from crops such as rapeseed as transport fuel does the climate more harm than good.
The study confirmed previous findings that fuels made from cereals and sugar crops have much lower carbon emissions than those from vegetable oils such as rapeseed oil, palm oil from Malaysia or soyoil from the Americas. Emissions from one litre of biodiesel made from imported soyoil are equivalent to burning up to two litres of diesel from fossil fuel, its data analysis found.
Gas2 reports human waste is powering Spanish vehicles. Spanish firm All-gas is using human waste to create biofuel at a pilot facility in Chiclana de la Frontera in southwest Spain. The plant uses human waste water to produce algae-based biofuel. Wastewater and carbon dioxide produce algae biomass, which is then transformed into a gas. by 2015, the facility will potentially produce enough fuel to power 200 cars or 10 city garbage trucks for a year.
Valero Energy Corp. has completed construction of a plant that soon will produce renewable diesel fuel from animal fat. fuel fix says at full production the plant in the US state of Louisiana will produce 9,300 barrels a day of renewable diesel from animal fat, cooking oil, and corn oil. The plant will use a three-stage process to turn these fats into fuel using hydrogen and catalysts.
Climate Spectator notes a major biorefinery has opened in Hull, England. One of Europe’s largest biorefineries, it will be capable of meeting up to a third of Britain’s bioethanol demand. The plant is designed to convert 1.1 million tonnes of animal feed wheat each year into 420 million litres of bioethanol and 500,000 tonnes of protein-rich animal feed for the UK market. Biorefining breaks down the starch in wheat into sugars, which are then fermented into alcohol through a process similar to that used in a whisky distillery. The bioethanol can be blended with petrol for use as a transportation fuel.
A dairy farm in the US state of Wisconsin will use cow manure to produce energy. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the waste from 8000 cows will be processed through an anaerobic digester to produce electricity that will be sold to the electric power grid through an arrangement with Alliant Energy Corp. The digester is expected to generate 1.4 MW or enough to power about 1,200 homes. See also Waste360, Bioferm, University Break Ground on Wisconsin Waste-to-Energy Project.
Animals at the Toronto zoo will generate electricity says the Canadian Press. An energy plant project to be built in 2014 will turn zoo animal manure into electricity for the province of Ontario’s electric power grid after a 50-day “digestion” process. The facility will convert 3,000 tonnes of manure as well as 14,000 tonnes of grocery store waste into electricity, heat and fertilizer. After almost two months in a biodigester, the end result is a fertilizer product and a combination of methane and carbon dioxide gas. The gases are then burned to produce electricity. Under a 20-year contract with the Ontario Power Authority, Ontario’s power grid will receive the equivalent energy to what 250 homes consume every year.
renewable energy focus notifies us that a biomass energy plant has started operating in Scotland. Located in Rothes, Speyside, the facility uses by-products from nearby malt whisky distilleries to produce renewable energy and liquid animal feed product (pot ale syrup). The 8.32 MW plant will generate enough electricity to power 9,000 homes. The syrup will be sold to the animal feed market.
The Middle East kingdom of Dubai has its first landfill to electricity project we learn from the Khaleej Times. The electricity produced by the methane gas from the landfill is being used to power the plant’s entire operations. The 1 MW of electricity runs the high-efficiency gas conversion and flare equipment installed at the plant, site offices, and lighting at the landfill spread over an area of about 3.5 square kilometres. Within the year the site is expected to produce 15 MW with the surplus going to the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority’s network.
Waste Management World adds that the US state of Oklahoma has its first landfill to gas project. The Tulsa facility currently generates 3.2 MW of electricity, but according to the company it plans to eventually generate close to 4.8 MW. Until the plant was built, the methane gas from the landfill was flared off. Electricity generated by the facility is sold to Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority, which supplies power to small Oklahoma communities.