From TriplePundit we find the US city of New York is going to use food and human waste to power homes. The city intends to reduce the amount of food waste sent to landfills by mixing it with sludge and make it into biogas.. The biogas will be converted into renewable natural gas to heat 5200 residential homes as well as for commercial use.

A farm in the US state of Utah is producing electricity from pig manure according to The Pig Site. The Circle 4 hog farm just outside Milford, Utah is sending the electricity to the state power grid for use by some 3000 residential homes and commercial customers. Each year the farm raises and markets 1.2 million hogs. Its two methane anaerobic digesters generate 3.2 MW of electricity.

The Telegraph writes about The Great Biofuels Scandal. In commenting on a recent decision by the European Union to postpone its decision to put a cap on the use of  biofuels as a renewable energy source, the author describes Europe’s biofuels policy as a mistake: It is economically and socially inefficient, causes 30 million to go hungry, creates air pollution, and costs European taxpayers billions of pounds annually in subsidies.

The biofuel story is a perfect example of good intentions leading to terrible outcomes.. But the dream has become a nightmare, as environmentalists turn against it. Even Al Gore claims biofuels are a “mistake”. Studies show that as land is dedicated to energy crops, land for food is simply taken from other areas – often forests – leading to substantial CO2 emissions. And processing biofuels emits CO2, drastically reducing benefits…A full 92 per cent of the carbon dioxide “saved” is just emitted elsewhere…But most importantly, in moral terms, is the fact that using land to grow fuel rather than food is an abomination in a world where almost a billion people still go hungry. It is estimated that European biofuels now take up enough land to feed 100 million people, and the United States’s programme takes up even more.

See also European Voice, Biofuel Reform On Ice and The Irish Times, European biofuels policy is feeding cars but starving people in developing world.

AGRILAND writes about grass as a potential biofuel. European researchers suggest grass crops could be grown and harvested on marginal lands, away from areas suitable for food crops and thus avoid the negative effects associated with current EU biofuels policy. (See the item immediately above.) These areas can be soils that can be in bad physical condition or prone to flooding, extreme drought or which suffer from salt stress.

Grasses native to Europe such as tall fescue, cock’s foot (also known as orchard grass) and canary reed grass are being tested to see how various cultivars grow in less than ideal conditions…The project will also test Miscanthus under various challenging conditions (Miscanthus is not native to Europe.)

siliconindia notes a new firm in the US state of California is using jatropha seeds to make biofuel. SGB is growing hybrid strains of  the inedible, drought-resistant plant to produce high-quality oil that can be refined into low-carbon jet fuel or diesel. The company says it can produce biofuel in quantities that are competitive with petroleum priced at $99 a barrel. The firm has deals to plant 250,000 acres of jatropha in Brazil, India and other countries expected to eventually produce about 70 million gallons of fuel a year.

Green Car Reports ponders whether biofuels are better suited as an aviation power source.

General Motors will be using landfill gas to power its automobile assembly plants in the US cities of Fort Wayne, Indiana and Orion, Michigan.  The landfill gas will be converted to 14 MW of electricity and will save the company a combined $10 million in energy costs each year at these facilities. Landfill gas will account for 54% of Orion’s energy usage and 40% of Fort Wayne’s energy usage.




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