News | October 2013

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Dong Energy Receives Crane For Biomass

Denmark’s Dong Energy has taken another important step in its biomass conversion program with an investment of DKK 70 million in a new crane able to move 800 tonnes of wood pellets an hour at its Avedøre Power Station.

The 160 m long ship Biglift arrived at the harbor at Dong’s Avedøre Power Station and on the deck stood the fully assembled crane weighing 360 tonnes, which was lifted onto the quay. 

“It’s able to move approximately 800 tonnes of wood pellets an hour, so we increase our capacity in terms of transport of wood pellets from the ships to our storage facilities significantly,” says Niels Christian Kjær, Power Station Manager at the Avedøre Power Station.

“The lifting operation went really well and now we need to connect the crane to the existing conveyor belt for wood pellets. We expect it to be ready for use in the middle of October, so we’ll benefit from the new capacity in the heating season to come,” says Frank Nabe Nielsen, Project Manager from Dong Energy. “The special feature of this crane is that it works as a sort of vacuum cleaner. We place a big pipe into the hold of the ships, and the wood pellets are transported to the quay conveyor via screw conveyors. It’s much more efficient and less dusty than a conventional grab bucket.”

The investment is an important step in Dong’s Energy’s conversion from coal to sustainable wood chips and wood pellets. Earlier this year, Dong Energy and the heating companies VEKS and CTR signed a new heating agreement for unit 2 at Avedøre Power Station running until 2027. The agreement entails an extension of unit 2 so that in the future it can operate 100% on wood pellets. Included in the extension is also increased capacity to transport wood pellets from the harbor to the storage facilities at Avedøre Power Station.

Dong Energy reports that by 2050, the entire Danish energy supply must have been converted to green energy sources, such as wind energy, solar energy and sustainable biomass, and the target of the Danish government is that Denmark as a country will emit 40% less CO2 to the atmosphere in 2020 compared to 1990.

Dong Energy’s target is that in 2020, 50% of the production from its Danish power stations will be based on biomass, and once they have completed the conversions of their power stations, they will have reduced their CO2 emission from the Danish power stations by almost 70% compared to 2006. Dong also emphasizes that it uses only wood chips and pellets from areas of enforced sustainable forestry. It receives a large amount of its raw ma­terials from the Baltic region and the Southeastern U.S.

Former Dixie Pellets Mill Has New Life

Zilkha Biomass Energy is renovating a closed wood pellet facility in Selma, Ala. in a project that will create 175 jobs. The company is moving in to the former Dixie Pellets plant, which it bought out of bankruptcy in 2010.

It will become the world’s first full-scale plant to produce Zilkha Black Pellets, which are an environmentally sustainable and low carbon fuel that can be transported and burned by coal plants using their existing equipment.

The facility itself is expected to have 55 jobs, with another 120 jobs in the trucking and forestry industries in the community. During construction, about 380 jobs are expected.

U.S. Bank, Stonehenge Capital Co. and AMCREF Community Capital are providing $5.3 million in financing for the project through federal and Alabama state New Markets Tax Credits, a program that encourages the investment of private capital in designated low-income communities.

Selma is the county seat of Dallas County, which has the third-highest unemployment rate in Alabama.

Construction is under way, and the plant is expected to begin operations in 2014.

“We’re excited to open the world’s first full-scale Zilkha Black Pellet plant in Alabama,” Jack Holmes, CEO for Houston-based Zilkha Biomass Energy, said in a statement. “ The plant will produce 275,000 tons of our Black Pellets per year, which can generate enough clean, renewable electricity to supply 50,000 homes per year.”

ReEnergy Purchases C&D Facility

ReEnergy Holdings LLC, an Albany, NY-based renewable energy company, has acquired a construction and demolition material processing facility in Lewiston, Me. from KTI Bio-Fuels Inc. KTI was a wholly owned subsidiary of Casella Waste Systems, based in Rutland, Vt.

The facility has accepted and processed non-hazardous construction and demolition waste in Lewiston for more than two decades. Through the use of mechanical and manual sorting processes, facility employees recover material that can be used as fuel at biomass-to-energy facilities. ReEnergy anticipates utilizing its in-house processing experience and technology to recover additional wood from the processing streams, reducing landfilled volumes and increasing wood fuel production.

The KTI facility will increase ReEnergy’s presence in the construction and demolition (C&D) processing and recycling market in New England, and will enhance its ability to convert a significant percentage of the recovered wood into high-quality fuel that will be used to generate renewable energy.

The KTI facility will complement the company’s existing operations, which include nine renewable energy generation facilities in Maine, New York, Connecticut and North Carolina, and three construction and demolition material processing facilities that service the eastern New England/Boston metropolitan area marketplace.

ReEnergy already has a significant presence in Maine through its ownership of four biomass-to-energy facilities in Maine: ReEnergy Stratton (48 MW); ReEnergy Livermore Falls (39 MW); ReEnergy Fort Fairfield (37 MW) and ReEnergy Ashland (39 MW).

INEOS Bio Produces Cellulosic Ethanol

INEOS Bio announced that its Indian River BioEnergy Center near Vero Beach, Fla. is producing cellulosic ethanol at commercial scale. This is the first commercial-scale production in the world using INEOS Bio’s gasification and fermentation technology for conversion of biomass waste into bioethanol and renewable power.

“We are delighted with the progress made by our team at Vero Beach,” says Peter Williams, CEO of INEOS Bio and Chairman of INEOS New Planet BioEnergy. “They have successfully addressed the challenges of moving a new technology to large production scale for the very first time. Consequently, we are now pleased to announce that we are producing commercial quantities of bioethanol from vegetative and wood waste, and at the same time exporting power to the local community—a world first. We expect to spend the remainder of 2013 putting the plant through its paces, and demonstrating full nameplate capacity.”

Williams said what they’ve observed thus far validates the technical and economic viability of the technology, and they remain convinced that the ability to divert waste materials from communities by converting them into competitively ­priced renewable fuel and power offers an excellent value proposition.

The BioEnergy Center is a joint venture between INEOS Bio and New Planet Energy. The facility has already converted several types of waste biomass material into bioethanol, including vegetative and yard waste, and citrus, oak, pine and pallet wood waste. It will have an annual output of 8 million gallons (24kta) of cellulosic ethanol and 6 MW (gross) of renewable power. The Center is also permitted to utilize municipal solid waste (MSW), quantities of which will be used for bioethanol production at the Center during 2014.  

The biofuels produced in Florida will anchor the new production of cellulosic ethanol under the U.S. Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). INEOS Bio is working with other companies and cities globally to use this technology as a new direction for waste disposal and the production of advanced biofuels and renewable power.

The Center cost more than $130 million and created more than 400 construction, engineering and manufacturing jobs during its development. The project sourced more than 90% of the equipment from U.S. manufacturers. The Center has 65 full-time employees and provides $4 million annually in payroll to the local community.

National Bioenergy Day Is October 17

Biomass Power Assn. is planning the first ever National Bioenergy Day for October 17, 2013. It will be an opportunity for elected officials, media and other stakeholders to visit their local facilities to witness the process by which wood and other organic materials generate energy.

National Bioenergy Day will include activities in Washington, DC that will tie the local events together across the country to harness the power and combined strength of the industry. BPA will be providing educational materials and assistance with outreach.

25x'25 Alliance Sends Heads-Up To EPA

The 25x’25 Alliance has joined some 80 biomass, forestry, agriculture, conservation and bioenergy groups in a letter to EPA stating that any provisions associated with biomass the agency may develop as it completes its Tailoring Rule for biogenic carbon emissions must fully capture the long-term carbon benefits of biomass energy.

“EPA regulations must ensure that the full potential of sustainable and clean bioenergy solutions be realized,” says Ernie Shea, 25x’25 project coordinator.

The tailoring rule sets the requirements for certain stationary sources to obtain a Clean Air Act permit for their carbon emissions. The rule would for the first time regulate carbon emissions from bioenergy production the same as fossil fuel emissions. The rule “tailored” its program by limiting those facilities required to obtain a permit to power plants, refineries and other large industrial plants, while exempting smaller sources like farms, restaurants, schools and other facilities.

EPA delayed its implementation of the rule for biogenic carbon emissions for three years, until 2014, for further study. A recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated EPA’s 2011 delay, putting pressure on the agency to act now. The ruling has created uncertainty for biomass and forest products facilities that have begun operations, construction or major modifications since the agency first delayed implementing the rule two years ago.

“As EPA develops its rules, we recommend that provisions associated with biomass should be simple, practical, science-based, and fully capture the long-term carbon benefits of biomass energy,” the groups told EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

“Regulations based on complex modeling, arbitrary assumptions, and a burdensome verification process will discourage biomass utilization as a renewable energy source and threaten the continued use of this important renewable resource.”

The groups urge the agency to recognize the significant and growing body of scientific findings concluding that carbon emissions from biomass do not introduce new carbon into the existing natural carbon cycle, noting that more wood is grown than harvested in the U.S. each year.

RES Power Station Gains Approval

Leading British renewable energy company RES applauded the Government’s decision to grant development consent for its North Blyth Biomass Power Station, located at Battleship Wharf in North­umber­land’s Blyth Estuary. Once operational the 100 MW power station will be able to generate low carbon electricity to power the equivalent of more than 170,000 UK households every year using sustainably sourc­ed wood-based fuel.

The North Blyth Biomass Power Station is RES’ first biomass development, and joins an extensive and growing portfolio of onshore and offshore wind as well as solar energy projects that have been developed by the independent renewable energy generator.

RES Project Manager Chris Lawson states, “We are delighted by the Government’s decision to grant permission for North Blyth Power Station, which we believe will play an important part in the strong and growing renewable energy industry in South East Northumberland. It is also a welcome confirmation of the Government’s support for sustainable, low carbon energy projects which will make a significant contribution towards meeting the UK’s legally binding 2020 renewable energy targets.”

The North Blyth Biomass Power Station has been subject to extensive scrutiny and consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, from local councils, business and environmental and statutory bodies through to national government. RES has also engaged extensively with the local communities around the project over the last four years. 

RES anticipates that construction will start in 2014 and will last for two and a half years.

Chemtex Progresses On Ethanol Facility

Chemtex International, Inc. of Wilmington, NC and Murphy Brown LLC of Warsaw, NC signed a long-term agreement for the supply of purpose grown energy crops and residues to be used as cellulosic feedstock in Project Alpha, Chemtex’s cellulosic ethanol facility planned for Clinton, NC.

The agreement covers a number of feedstocks to be grown on approximately 6,000 acres of land owned or controlled by Murphy Brown. The proposed crops will be grown on acreage that is not typically used for grain production and will represent the backbone of the supply chain for the planned Chemtex biorefinery. Final execution of the agreement is contingent upon achieving financial closure for the project. Construction is expected to begin late this year, and the facility should come online in fourth quarter 2015.

Although the agreement represents a substantial portion of the feedstock required to operate the facility, additional acreage will be contracted in the coming months.

In mid-August Chemtex International was soliciting pricing for the de­livery of hardwood fuel chips. Pre­ferred terms included a five-year commitment for up to 200,000 wet tons annually to be delivered between the months of January and May, with a price indexed to Diesel Fuel as reported by EIA Lower Atlantic PADD delivery zone.

Project Alpha will produce 20 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol annually using Beta Renewables’ PROESA technology. It is expected to create 65 direct and at least 250 indirect jobs excluding those relating to the construction of the plant.

Murphy-Brown LLC is the livestock production subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, Inc. and has hog production facilities in 12 states producing 16.5 million market hogs annually.

 Chemtex is a global engineering and technology company wholly-owned by Italy’s Gruppo Mossi & Ghisolfi. Chemtex International Inc. is headquartered in Wilmington.

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