From the Charlotte Observer we learn the global Waste-to-Energy market is expected to grow from its current size of $6.2 billion to $29.2 billion by 2022. Presently there are about 800 industrial-scale waste-to-energy plants in more than three dozen countries around the world, and likely thousands of smaller systems at individual sites such as dairy and hog farms.
Navigant Research says: “With many countries facing dramatic population growth, rapid urbanization, rising levels of affluence and resource scarcity, waste-to-energy is re-establishing itself as an attractive technology option to promote low carbon growth in the crowded renewable energy landscape. China is already in the midst of scaling up capacity, and growth there is expected to shift the center of the WTE universe away from Europe to Asia Pacific.”
SBWire says anaerobic digestion is expected to show strong growth in the US. New technology is making this renewable energy source more efficient and cost competitive in areas where the feedstock is readily available. Anaerobic digestion is a process in which microorganisms break down organic material in the absence of oxygen, creating biogas (biomethane, biodiesel, compressed natural gas), which is then refined to create renewable natural gas. The biogas is then sold as a transportation fuel or used to create heat to generate electricity. Common sources of feedstock include human and animal waste (hogs, dairy cattle) as well as food waste and other organic materials.
Business Analysis of Anaerobic Digestion in the USA Market conditions are looking increasingly favourable for the growth of the anaerobic digestion industry in the US…The feasibility of anaerobic digestion projects varies state-to-state, however advances in technological application and favourable legislative developments are driving investment interest in the space.
According to the EPA, as of September 2012, there are 197 anaerobic digestion systems operating at commercial livestock farms in the US. The dairy industry alone could product 2,647 digesters for installation on large dairies in the US. These digesters can be economically viable if they combine the feedstock of manure with food waste in a 30% to 70% combination… Anaerobic Digestion technology looks to be the next big thing in the United States clean energy market.
GreenBiz tells how US department chain Kroger turns food waste into an energy source for its warehouses. An anaerobic digester at the company’s distribution center in Compton, California is combining food waste with wastewater from a creamery to generate 20% of the electric power required to run the distribution center.
A dairy farm in the Canadian province of British Columbia is using an anaerobic digester to convert cow manure into electricity. Quest informs us a small herd of 50 cows at the Bakerview EcoDairy farm near Abbotsford is producing a third of the electricity needed to operate the farm. As well as reducing the emission of methane gas (a powerful greenhouse gas) into the atmosphere, the process eliminates nearly all cow manure odors.
BIOMASS Magazine reports that LAN Colombia, member of the LATAM Airlines Group, recently carried out the first flight in Colombia using second generation biofuel. An Airbus A320 flew between the Colombian cities of Bogota and Cali using biofuel made from the camelina plant. The fuel was comprised of a mixture of 33% biofuel and 67% Jet A1. LAN pioneered this type of flight in South America when it flew between the Chilean cities of Santiago and Concepcion on March 7, 2012.
A landfill gas-to-energy plant has opened in the Canadian province of Ontario we find at Solid Waste & Recycling. The rural village of Moose Creek, near Ottawa, has a new 4.2 MW facility that can generate enough green electricity to power 4,000 homes.
The BioEnergySite suggests UK farmers may be sitting on a biomethane goldmine. A new study reveals that medium to large farms in the UK could make millions of pounds from producing renewable methane for the natural gas industry. The study concludes: “An entry-level anaerobic digestion (AD) plant would be looking to earn in the region of £24-million over 20 years and farms that developed larger plants could earn exponentially more than that…Given the right conditions, it wouldn’t be difficult to double or even triple that amount.” Dairy and poultry farmers, pig farms and producers of energy crops such as maize, grass, rye and energy beet have the potential develop this energy resource.
The Crop Site mentions a major biomethane to natural gas grid plant is under construction in the UK. F.L.I. Energy is building the 12 MW facility in Beccles, England. The anaerobic digestion plant will produce approximately 2,000m3/hour of raw biogas which will be converted into biomethane for the natural gas grid. This is enough to supply heat to 7000 local homes. Locally produced crops will provide the organic material to produce the biogas. Some believe biomethane could produce as much as 10% of the UK’s natural gas.
According to the Teesdale Mercury, a plant in Newton Aycliffe will be the first large-scale commercial anaerobic digestion plant in north east England. The AD will ferment food scraps and farming waste to produce biogas which will be used to generate electricity. Initially it will process 50,000 tonnes of food waste from the region to generate renewable energy and heat, producing 1.56 MW of electricity when fully operational – enough to power 2,000 homes each year. It is hoped the plant will be able to double its capacity to 100,000 tonnes of food each year.
Franklyn Yates Engineering notes UK waste management firm Biffa has opened an anaerobic digestion plant with a 120,000 tonnes-a-year capacity facility at Cannock in England. The plant will convert commercial and industrial food and organic waste from retail food chains like Sainsbury’s, Mcdonalds, Greggs and Asda into electricity for the National Grid. Once it is fully up-and-running, the AD facility is expected to produce 6 MW of renewable energy.
Food scraps and farm waste will also be used to produce electricity in the US state of Oregon. The Register-Guard tells us the Green Lane Energy biogas facility will be completed by the end of October. The plant will compost organic waste such as food scraps, straw, manure and other materials to generate methane gas that will be collected and burned to power a turbine and produce electricity. The turbine will create 1.95 MW of electricity per hour — enough to power 1,500 average homes. The power will be sold to Portland Gas & Electric for use in the Willamette Valley where Oregon’s vineyards are located. Currently there are an estimated 300 biogas plants in the US.
Solid Waste & Recycling says a landfill gas-to-energy generating plant will provide electricity to homes and businesses in the US state of Michigan. The 3.2 MW of electricity s being sold to the Michigan Public Power Agency.
The BioEnergySite wonders if anaerobic digestion could be causing more problems than it solves. In the UK the Tenant Farmers Association has raised concerns over the rapid expansion in the number of anaerobic digestion (AD) plants using agricultural crops as feedstocks. The association argues that using land solely to produce food for biogas is driving up agricultural land rents.
TFA National Vice Chairman Stephen Wyrill said: “It is a major concern that a significant number of existing and proposed AD plants have identified maize and/or grass silage as appropriate feedstocks. Whilst the TFA understands the rationale for using slurry combined with other waste products such as green waste and food waste, it does not see the justification for using land specifically to grow crops as feedstocks for AD plants.
“Not only does this appear to undermine the perceived carbon reduction benefits of AD, it also adds significantly to the burden on the agricultural industry given the strong competition that already exists for access to agricultural land. In areas with significant AD capacity we have seen land rents reach unsustainable levels as competition for land to grow maize for AD plants has intensified. Farmers looking for land to grow feed for livestock are left having either to look further afield at significantly higher cost, or go without access to sufficient ground for their production needs causing them to have to buy in feed again at very high prices.”
IHB forecasts European wood pellet consumption is expected to triple by 2020. The European Union is the world’s largest wood pellets market, with a consumption of about 14.3 million tonnes of pellets in 2012. However, pushed by the EU mandates and Member State incentives, the demand for pellets is expected to expand further to about 17 million tonnes in 2014. Consumption forecasts for 2020 range from 35 million metric tonnes for Western Europe to 50 – 80 million metric tonnes for the total EU. However, such predictions are dependent on a range of market and policy factors. Germany and Sweden are the largest pellets producers in the EU. However, they are not expected to be able to meet future demand and imports from North America, Russia and the Baltic region are expected to fill this void.
Manufacturing Business Technology tells us Cool Planet Energy Systems plans to construct three plants in the US state of Louisiana to convert wood waste and forest byproducts into gasoline. Construction at the Port of Alexandria is expected to begin in January, with the plant expected to be open in late 2014. The other two Louisiana plants are expected to be operating in 2016. The company’s technology takes biomass — including wood waste, or parts of trees that have normally been discarded — and converts it to gasoline that can be dropped straight into motor vehicles without additional refining, as well as jet fuel and biochar. Biochar is an agricultural product with several applications, including improving soil quality and improving energy generation of wood pellets. Cool Planet is the fourth biomass project announced in Central Louisiana in the past two years, all using wood products in some way to create fuel that emits less CO2 than fossil fuels.