Clean Energy


Clean Energy Fuels — a developer of natural gas refueling infrastructure in the US – is now selling methane-based CNG (compressed natural gas) in the state of California. Green Car Reports says the methane is captured from sources like landfills, farms, and wastewater treatment plants. Like natural gas, methane is significantly cheaper than gasoline or diesel.  Clean Energy hopes to sell 15 million gallons of this green transportation fuel-in the state this year. Customers include large trucking fleets owned by AT&T, Mattel, Williams-Sonoma, and Hertz. See also The New York Times, Fuel From Landfill Methane Goes on Sale.

Compressed natural gas (CNG) is being produced from organic waste in the US. Next-Gen Transportation says work has begun on an anaerobic digestion facility in San Francisco that will convert organic waste into compressed natural gas (CNG) and compost. The CNG will power the trucks of a local waste collection company. The facility will convert 11,200 tons per year of food and green waste into 100,000+ diesel or gasoline equivalent of CNG annually. The plant will open in mid-2014.  Meanwhile, The Detroit Free Press tells us Riverview, a suburb of Detroit is using its landfill to produce CNG. The facility turns methane gas — which is created by the landfill as waste decomposes and that otherwise would be burned off — into a form of clean, compressed natural gas that can power cars, trucks and buses.  Riverview is converting its entire fleet of city vehicles to run on CNG in an effort to cut annual fuel costs. Another landfill in the state of Wisconsin is producing up to 250 gallons of gasoline equivalent (GGE) per day for the local government’s fleet of vehicles. The bio-CNG costs $1.25 per gallon vs. $3.00 or more for gasoline in the area.

Waste Management is building a facility that will create pipeline-ready natural gas from a landfill in the US state of Illinois. NGV Global News reports the renewable natural gas (biomethane) will be injected into local pipelines for withdrawal at other locations, including some Waste Management facilities. Waste Management will use it to fuel its truck fleets and other equipment that run on compressed natural gas. The company expects it to begin delivering gas to the pipelines in late summer 2014.

From Ethanol Producer Magazine we learn research firm RNCOS has published a white paper on the global biofuel market. The study finds global biofuel production in 2012 grew at the fastest rate in the Asia Pacific region of the world, where production increased by 17.6%. In terms of total production volume, the America’s were highest with almost 45 million tons of production. The researchers estimate the US produced 27.36 million tons of biofuel in 2012, or 45% of global output. As for ethanol production, the US produced 90% of global production with rest being made in the Asia Pacific and Europe. You can access the white paper here.

The Israeli city of Tel Aviv is converting its trash into biofuel according to Green Prophet. The Middle East’s largest Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) plant will treat 1,500 tons of waste from the Tel Aviv metropolitan area every day (including wood, plastic, textiles, cardboard and paper) and convert it into fuel that is similar to natural gas. The fuel will then be used to generate electricity, including providing electric power for a nearby cement company.

Environment News Service announces that the world’s first commercial-scale refinery to produce bioethanol from agricultural residues and energy crops has opened in northern Italy. Located near Crescentino, the facility will provide 75 million liters of bioethanol annually for the European market. the plant uses wheat straw, rice straw and arundo donax – a high-yielding energy crop grown on marginal land – to produce cellulosic ethanol, using enzymes to convert the plant material into fuel. In addition, lignin, a polymer extracted from biomass during the ethanol production process, provides fuel for an attached electric power plant, which generates enough electricity to meet the facility’s energy needs. Any excess electricity will be sold to the local grid.

The Kansas City Business Journal writes about turning manure and organic waste into natural gas. An anaerobic digestion facility is under construction in the US state of Colorado that will convert organic waste into 10 million gallons of natural gas as well as make fertilizer products. The waste will include cow manure and other agricultural waste from the surrounding Colorado countryside along with restaurant grease and spoiled food collected from the Denver area. The plant is expected to open in early 2014. The natural gas will be sold to California’s Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

OILPRICE tells us Brazil has a biofuel supply glut. Brazilian demand for biodiesel for 2013 is around 3 billion liters. However, government incentives have created a   production capacity of 7 billion liters per year. To address this oversupply, the government is planning on increasing the amount of biodiesel to be blended with regular from a current 5% to 7% in 2014 and up to 10% by 2020. With a large soybean crop expected in the next year, new blend rate requirements of 7% for January would mean using an additional 9 million tons of soybeans. The increased blending requirements would be a boon to state owned oil company Petrobras.

The increase mandate would benefit state-run oil company Petrobras, which is deep in debt and forced to import diesel fuel to make up for shortfalls in domestic refining—and sell it at a loss. For the first six months of 2013, Brazil consumes 38 billion liters of diesel, 7 billion liters of which were imported. Analysts estimate that an increase in the biodiesel mandate to 7% for next year could save Petrobras $900 million annually just by lowering fuel imports.





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