34-Megawatt Biomass Incinerator Proposed for Michigan's Upper Peninsula

-  by Andy Balaskovitz, November 10, 2014, Midwest Energy News

Developers from metro Detroit have plans to build a $100 million, 34 MW biomass plant in the central Upper Peninsula, about 20 miles south of an aging coal plant that is the ongoing focus of the region’s energy crisis.

The company building the plant, Marquette Green Energy LLC, says it would run on a combination of biomass and tire-derived fuels and a smaller amount of natural gas to start. The developers say it’s a step forward as the region scrambles to figure out how to avoid major rate increases in the short term and build new generation for the long term.

“I call it stealth development,” said Barry Bahrman, a partner in the project and a fifth-generation Upper Peninsula native. “It’s developed to a point now when we can let people know there’s part of an answer in place. … Local generation is what the U.P. needs.”

The project has received an air quality permit from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, which Bahrman said makes it the first tangible generation project to surface since the Presque Isle Power Plant closure started making headlines.

Beetles, Burns, and Biomass Energy | November issue of The Biomass Monitor

It's a bird...It's a plane...It’s the November issue of The Biomass Monitor, the nation’s #1 publication tracking the health and environmental impacts of biomass energy!

Inside this issue:

- Will National Forests Be Sacrificed to the Biomass Industry?

Is Biomass All It’s Cut Up to Be?

The Forest Service and Collaboratives Garden Our Forest

...and more!

Please share the November 2014 issue of The Biomass Monitor with your friends, colleagues, neighbors, media, and elected officials! 

Subscribe to monthly email issues!

 

 

Biomass Energy Drives Wood Shortage in Nova Scotia

-  Rachel Brighton, October 10, 2014, The Chronicle Herald

[More evidence of biomass energy competing for limited wood source. - JS]

Opening up long-term access to western Crown lands will relieve some of the pressure that has been building in the forestry sector this year.

This week the province announced that 16 sawmills and manufacturers had been granted 10-year allocations on the former Bowater lands and other Crown land west of Highway 101.

Many sawmills had been crying out for this Crown access since late 2012, when the province acquired the assets of the defunct Bowater Mersey Paper Co.,including its vast tracts of timberlands in the southwest of the province.

This spring the province granted temporary access to these lands to 12 sawmills and two other players in the forestry industry: Louisiana-Pacific Canada Ltd., which produces hardboard siding in Lunenburg County, and Northern Pulp Nova Scotia Corp.

Emera Energy, which operates a biomass plant in Brooklyn that produces electricity for Nova Scotia Power Inc., was also allowed to harvest on Crown land this year, under a separate agreement with the province.

The new allocations secure access for mostly the same group of mills that gained the spring licences, but with a few left out and a few more added. Northern Pulp’s access to western Crown land has also been assured for the next decade.

Alongside these allocations, the province has a separate Crown land agreement with Port Hawkesbury Paper LP.

As well, Nova Scotia Power has become a significant buyer of biomass, through independent contractors, to feed its power plant in Point Tupper.

The allocations conclude a year in which there has been acute price competition for firewood and low-grade hardwood, spiked by expanding demand for biomass at Nova Scotia Power’s Point Tupper plant and, as some sawmills and contractors maintain, by Northern Pulp’s acquisition of hardwood pulpwood.

There has also been a logjam in getting wood out of the forest into the market, caused in part by a major contraction in the number of forestry contractors and truckers.

Some households felt the force of these market factors this year, when the price for firewood shot up after last year’s heavy winter. Some firewood suppliers told me their customers were hoarding wood for fear of a shortage, making the problem worse.

Bioenergy Pipelines?

- August 14, 2014, Waste Management World

[The latest bad idea coming out of the polluting bioenergy industry. - JS]

A scientist at the University of Alberta, Canada is research to determine whether it’s effective to use pipelines to transport agricultural waste used in biofuels.

According to the university, Mahdi Vaezi, a PhD student in the Faculty of Engineering, is looking at agricultural wastes such as straw and corn stover which are used as feedstock for bio-based energy facilities.

Vaezi’s lab is claimed to be the only one in the world conducting this kind of research on biomass slurries.

The university explained that biomass material derived from food and non-food organisms has traditionally been transported by truck, at great expense. However, when done at a large scale, transporting biomass materials by slurry pipeline could help make the cost of biorefineries competitive.

Bioenergy Corporation to Cut and Burn Public Forests in Washington

- by Kate Prengaman, October 29, 2014 Yakima Herald-Republic

Scientists are searching for the fuels of the future in high-tech laboratories around the world, but last week one research team debuted its new technology at a wood-chipping plant tucked in the forest outside Cle Elum.

That's because their technology runs on wood chips.

Roasting the wood, which might be otherwise worthless, at high temperatures without oxygen, creates a bio-oil similar to petroleum and a flammable gas that can be captured to run the burners. It also produces bio-char, a charcoal-like material that has applications in agriculture as a soil additive and in water filtration.

The state Department of Natural Resources hosted this demonstration because it's seeking solutions to Eastern Washington's biggest forest health problem: dense forests in need of thinning to reduce wildfire and disease risks, which is expensive work.

"When we are talking with landowners about how to improve their forest's health, (it) involves removing small trees and oftentimes that material doesn't have much of an economic value," said Chuck Hersey, a DNR forest health specialist who organized the event with a Utah-based company that developed the technology.

"This technology is one potential pathway for dealing with small, low-grade trees," Hersey said. "It's basically turning woody biomass into more dense, renewable energy products that have a higher value than just wood products."

October/November issue of Energy Justice Now | Where the Climate March Tripped Up

Take a deep breath and prepare yourself for the October / November issue of Energy Justice Now, a forum for the dirty energy resistance.

Inside this issue:

- Fossil Fuel Divestment: How to Evolve the Campaign

-  Are Carbon Taxes Another False Solution?

-  Biomass Energy: Another Kind of Climate Change Denial

...and more!

Please share the October / November 2014 issue of The Biomass Monitor with your friends, colleagues, neighbors, media, and elected officials! 

Subscribe to monthly email issues of Energy Justice Now!

 

 

 

UMaine to Study "Trashanol" Effect in Maine

- by Grady Trimble,  October 24, 2014, WLBZ

A team of University of Maine researchers are gearing up to study the possibility of bringing new technology called "Trashanol" to Maine.

"Trashanol" is a waste-to-energy technology developed by Maryland-based company Fiberight. Basically, it is a process that converts household waste into fuel.

The technology is sparking interest in Eastern Maine, because pretty soon, nearly 200 towns in the region will face substantially higher costs to dispose of their trash at the PERC plant in Orrington. The long term contracts for those towns is up in 2018, and they are all expecting PERC will drastically increase their fees.

Those towns, which are represented by the Municipal Review Committee, or MRC, hired UMaine researchers to explore "Trashanol" as an alternative. While the deal hasn't been finalized yet, MRC will spend $20,000 for the research. Dr. Hemant Pendse with UMaine's Forest Biodproducts Research Institute will lead it.

Lockheed Martin Inks Agreement with Waste-of-Energy Firm

- by Eric Reinhardt, October 13, 2014, Business Journal News Network

OWEGO, N.Y. — Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT) has signed a manufacturing agreement with Concord Blue Energy, Inc. to provide all manufacturing support for the firm’s reformertechnology.

That technology converts waste to energy using advanced conversion technology.

Lockheed Martin is now the “exclusive manufacturing provider” of the Concord Blue reformer, Lockheed said in a news release distributed on Friday.

Concord Blue specializes in transforming nearly any form of waste into a variety of clean, renewable fuels and energy.

Concord Blue USA, Inc. is headquartered in Los Angeles. The firm also operates international offices in India, Germany, and Dubai.

Lockheed Martin and Concord Blue Energy, Inc. in 2013 reached an agreement to offer an advanced waste-conversion system to address waste disposal, energy security, and climate-control issues.

Advanced waste conversion is an “emerging” technology that uses gasification processes to convert waste products to electricity, heat, and synthetic fuels, according to the Lockheed news release.

It addresses the current burden on landfills, conventional incineration, and fossil fuels, along with the desire for green-baseload energy, Lockheed said.

Concord Blue’s waste-to-energy process employs a patented technology called steam thermolysis to convert waste material using heat transfer instead of incineration, “efficiently” producing syngas without combustion.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin Corp. is a security and aerospace company that employs about 113,000 people globally. The firm focuses on the research, design, development, manufacture, integration, and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products, and services.

The corporation generated net sales of $45.4 billion in 2013.

Biomass Investigative Review Will Begin Soon in Gainesville, FL

- October 16, 2014, WCJB

It's official - an investigative review into decisions made between GRU and GREC officials will soon begin.

City officials voted to approve the contract to begin the review that will question decisions made relating to the biomass plant.

The city will be shelling out close to $190,000 for the review. Additional costs will need to be approved by city officials. Navigant is expected to conduct interviews and go through memos, emails and other documents between GRU and GREC officials between October 2007 and November 2013. At the end of the months-long process, the firm will be expected to make recommendations to improve similar processes in the future.

"We've had some decisions that quite frankly were questionable in the past, that while i don't think necessarily there's anything that we can do about them, we've asked somebody to come look at it," City Commissioner Todd Chase explained.

City officials expect the entire review to be completed in February of next year.

$91 Million Taxpayer Dollars to Fund Louisiana Biofuel Plant

- Cole Avery, October 3, 2014, The Times-Picayune

Tom Vilsack, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, announced a $91 million loan guarantee from the federal government to help build a biomass fuel plant in Louisiana.

Vilsack traveled to Baton Rouge on Friday to make the announcement. He said the plant could have a "profound impact" on agriculture in America.

The plant is being built by Cool Energy in Alexandria. It under construction and is expected to be complete in 2015 with production to begin in 2016. The plant will produce an expected 150-175 direct or indirect jobs.

"This is going to provide a new market opportunity for pine chips and other renewable forest material, which will help the forestry industry in the state," Vilsack said. "This biochar soil nutrient they're able to produce is really remarkable opportunity for us not only to learn from your experience but to take this and extend the notion of biochar."

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