Waste Management World reports that Germany’s Cologne Cathedral is now illuminated at night from the city’s waste. The waste to energy plant in Cologne annually processes more than 700,000 tonnes of waste that is not suitable for recycling and generates about 440 million kWh of energy – electricity and steam. From this about 350 million kWh of electricity are supplied to the local RheinEnergie power grid. This is enough to supply a quarter of the citizens of Cologne with electricity from their waste.

In Nova Scotia, Canada sewage sludge, food waste and compost will be heating a hospital. The Halifax Herald says that an anaerobic digester is to be built at Northside General Hospital to turn 7000 tonnes of waste a year into methane gas to heat the North Sydney facility for the next 20 years. Currently the hospital buys a million litres of fuel oil every year for heat and hot water. the methane gas from the plant could replace all of the oil, in the process this would save the hospital $100,000 to $250,000 annually off its power bill.

An anaerobic digester (AD) in West Yorkshire, England will convert food waste and energy crops into electricity reports farminguk.  The 400 kW capacity plant will generate enough electricity to power 650 homes using 2000 tonnes of food waste annually. Anaerobic digestion works by breaking down organic matter – crops, animal slurries or food waste – into biogas, which is then combusted in a combined heat and power plant to produce electricity and heat. AD offers a method of not only producing clean electricity, but also helps divert food waste from landfill. The digestate produced as a by-product of the plant will be used on a farm as an alternative to artificial fertilisers.

A 40,000 tonne food waste treatment facility is under construction at the Bristol Sewage Treatment works in Avonmouth, England. WaterWorld tells us that the anaerobic digestion facility will service supermarkets, local authorities, food manufacturing organisations, hospitals universities, catering establishments and waste management companies.  The plant is expected to begin accepting food waste deliveries from autumn 2012. The facility will transform solid and liquid food waste into renewable energy and nutrient rich fertiliser. At full capacity the plant will be capable of supplying the energy needs for around 3,000 homes.

Engineering News says that BMW will use waste to power its Pretoria, South Africa plant. Methane gas, converted from unusable organic waste at a landfill site in Onderstepoort, will be piped 8 km to the plant. Depending on the quantity supplied, the gas will be used to either produce electricity through gas generators or supplement the use of natural gas in the production process. Initial indications are that there is enough green waste at the site to cater for about 40% of the plant’s gas requirements. Construction will start in 2012.  The project is similar to a landfill to gas program which provides BMW’s Spartanburg plant in South Carolina, in the US with half of its energy requirements.

South Wales Argus announces that Newport, Wales will have a biomass power plant up and running by 2014. The facility will burn up to 370,000 tonnes of wood chip, fruit-based biomass and energy crops a year, to supply 47 MW of electricity a year, powering 50,000 homes.

A San Francisco area idle biomass plant will be producing electricity and heat reports redding.com. A San Francisco Bay Area energy company and northern California timber firm are working to restart a biomass plant that’s been idle for nearly 10 years. The energy company will use waste wood from the timber company and provide it with steam for its dry kilns. The energy company will increase electricity capacity at the plant to 6.8 MW and Pacific Gas & Electric has agreed to buy the entire energy output, enough to power about 1,000 homes.  Over time the plant will be converted from wood waste to solar power.

We also came across a few more posts about the wood pellet industry. Wood pellets are in demand in Europe and Asia as a substitute for coal to produce electricity. The pellets look and act like coal but are low in carbon. Utilities mix them with coal to reduce their carbon emissions.

Bioenergy Insight says that Enviva is building a production factory in Courtland, Virginia that  will produce 454,000 tonnes of wood pellets a year. The majority of these pellets will be exported to electric utility companies in Europe through Enviva’s Port of Chesapeake deep-water port terminal outside of Norfolk. Upon completion of the Courtland facility, Enviva’s total annual production capacity of wood pellets will reach over 1.5 million tonnes, making it the largest pellet producer in the US. Enviva has recently started operations at a new 350,000 tonne per year plant in Ahoskie, North Carolina and is developing a second, 400,000-tonne facility in nearby Northampton County, Virginia.

RECHARGE informs us that a Scottish biocoal pellet firm has entered into an agreement with an American energy investment firm to produce torrefied wood pellets to replace coal. The wood pellets can be used in coal-fired power stations to reduce CO2 emissions. Microwave technology produces energy-dense pellets from organic matter. The plant aims to produce 100,000 tonnes of biocoal in 2012, eventually ramping-up production to one million tonnes a year.

Canadian-based wood pellet producer Biomass Secure Power has outlined its three-year growth planBioenergy Insight tells us the company currently has five wood pellet production plants under development, which will manufacture a total 3.5 million tonnes of wood pellets a year. The plants should come on stream over the 2012 to 2014 period.  The company intends to additional plants to reach an output target of 5 million tonnes per year by Q4 2015.  It has visions of the global market reaching 110 million tonnes by 2020, up from 16 million tonnes in 2010.



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