Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Austrian motorists can choose a cellulosic biofuel

It looks like cellulosic biogas may be the first fuel to market made from cellulosic feedstocks. Grasses are digested in a fairly simple process that results in a biogas. The biogas can be upgraded so that it can directly replace natural gas. Cars can be converted to run on this upgraded biogas or natural gas. It looks like an idea that may rival cellulosic ethanol, especially when you consider that energy crops developed to maximize biomass could result in much increased yields over the grass being used in Austria. Also, many areas of the world already have a natural gas pipeline system for transporting and distribution. There would be no problem with tranporting biogas in these pipelines. -- Jeffrey Goettemoeller
Bioenergy pact between Europe and Africa:
Novemeber 24, 2007
"Austrian energy company Salzburg AG has opened its first biomethane gas station for cars in Eugendorf."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sequential Extraction could get more value from a bushel of corn

This story is about sequential extraction--a method of extracting valuable proteins and other useful substances from corn kernels in which the ethanol is extracted as a by-product of the extraction of these potentially more valuable substances. This makes a lot of economic and environmental sense if they can make it work. -- Jeff Goettemoeller
Sequential Extraction Process Could Provide Many High-Value Ethanol Co-Products: Iowa State Professor: "'You have to think like a protein company,' Johnson said. 'Ethanol becomes a co-product. Zein is more valuable on a per pound basis. Oil is more valuable on a per pound basis. The other food-grade protein fraction is more valuable. We envision that being used for food purposes for human consumption.'"

Lee Lynd and the Genesis of Cellulosic Ethanol

This is a fascinating story about the early development of cellulosic ethanol. -- Jeff Goettemoeller
Bates College From Mulch to Motor: "A senior thesis project launched Lee Lynd ’79 on a quest to turn common plant materials into inexpensive, sustainable ethanol."

Thursday, November 22, 2007

National Biomass Producers Association

This new membership organization focuses on production of biomass that will be increasingly in demand for many purposes. -- Jeffrey Goettemoeller
National Biomass Producers Association - Home Page: "NBPA is a grass-roots organization focused on independent or family owned farms."

10 Million Gallon/Year Commercial Cellulosic Ethanol Facility to be built in MN

This project is noteable because it is being built next to an exiting corn ethanol biorefinery that has been using cellulosic materials as process fuels (in place of the usual natural gas). This means they already have experience in sourcing and processing the material that will now be used as ethanol feedstock in the new facility. This should improve their chances for commercial success. -- Jeffrey Goettemoeller
SunOpta BioProcess Inc. Announces Plans to Develop a 10 Million Gallon Per Year Commercial Cellulosic Ethanol Facility - Business - RedOrbit:
Nov. 20, 2007
"The plant will be environmentally friendly and use locally contracted woodchips as the cellulose source, with residual lignin serving as fuel stock for an energy efficient gasification and co-generation system that will provide the required power for both the corn starch and cellulosic ethanol operations."

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Is ethanol driving up food prices?

One of the criticisms of ethanol is that it drives up corn prices, in turn driving up food prices -- the "food vs. fuel" debate. The implication is that ethanol is immoral because it causes people to go hungry. At the grand opening of an ethanol biorefinery in Shenendoah, Iowa Monte Shaw Addressed this issue. Shaw is the executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. He pointed out that corn farmers actually get very little of the money you pay for food items that had corn inputs. He gave a few current examples. The corn farmer, 
he said, gets 6.4 cents from an 8 oz chicken breast, 5.6 cents from a quarter 
pound hamburger, 13 cents from an 8 oz. pork chop, and 3.9 cents from a 
14 ounce box of corn flakes. So what does cause higher food prices these days? The rising cost of crude oil. This impacts the cost of transportation, processing, and packaging. Shaw pointed out one other factor -- record profits reported by some of the major food processing companies. They have been able to make a success of their business models despite higher input costs.
Shaw also addressed the complaint that ethanol production requires uses valuable water supplies. Fortunately, water use per unit of ethanol production has gone down over the years. Now, says Shaw, it takes a little less that 3 gallons of water for every gallon of ethanol. And in facilities such as the one at Shenandoah, municipal gray water is being used--water that would otherwise usually be wasted. Shaw then compared this to water 
requirements for other things. It takes 150 gallons of water, he said, to produce 1 copy of 
the Sunday paper. And 90 gallons of water per gallon of gasoline! Now that really puts the issue in perspective. 

New Iowa Ethanol Biorefinery Uses Gray Water

The new Green Plains Renewable Energy biorefinery at Shenandoah, Iowa held a grand opening on November 17, 2007. One the plant tour, I learned that they use gray water from the city of Shenandoah. Then some of the water leftover from the ethanol production process is used to water a golf course. The limited water supply available from the city water plant had threatened to stop plans for the ethanol facility until this solution was found. The ethanol biorefinery employs almost 40 people and provides a new market for area corn farmers. It also provides leftover distiller's grain for feeding livestock. A large crowd attended the grand opening, listening to speeches and taking the tour on a warm and beautiful November day. 

WLRM Celebrates Completion of Its Cellulosic Ethanol Breakthrough

This is the first I've heard of this waste managemnet company and their cellulosic ethanol process. It sounds promising if it works out. I'm assuming their first feedstocks would be materials currently going to landfills. -- Jeffrey Goettemoeller
Press Release - WLRM Celebrates Completion of Its Cellulosic Ethanol Breakthrough

Friday, November 16, 2007

POET to Power SD Ethanol With Wood Waste, Saving Up to 60% in Natural Gas

Much of the wood waste that will be used to produce steam for this ethanol biorefinery would otherwise go to landfills. This kind of efficiency will be increasingly important as cheap fossil fuels become more scarce. Waste could be usilized in this way at all ethanol biorefineries, not just those using new cellulosic technologies. -- Jeffrey Goettemoeller
POET to Power Chancellor, SD Ethanol Plant With Wood Waste to Produce Steam, Saving Up to 60% in Natural Gas:
Nov 15, 2007 -- Grainnet
"Waste wood from pallets, construction sites and area landfills will be the primary fuel source for the solid waste fuel boiler."

Thursday, November 08, 2007

LS9 moving ahead with biofuel replacement for diesel and gasoline

This new biofuel will be made from the same feedstocks as ethanol, but will act more like fossil fuels in how it burns, where it can be used, and ease of transportation through pipelines. -- Jeff Goettemoeller
Inside Bay Area - 'Designer biofuels' may replace gas
11-5-2007 -- by Julia Scott

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Researchers make ethanol from biodiesel byproduct

Biodiesel can be made from corn oil left over from ethanol production. Now researchers have developed a way to inexpensively produce ethanol from glycerine--a byproduct of biodiesel production in plentiful supply these days. With the implimentation of both processes, biofuel production will become more efficient, less reliant of fossil fuels, and less expensive overall. -- Jeffrey Goettemoeller
Biofuels News (Green Portal):
Nov 2, 2007 -- by Andiun Kirkbride McElroy