Biofuels Company Granted $4M from DOE after Hosting Obama at Fundraiser

Green company granted $4M from DOE after financier hosts Obama at DSCC fundraiser

- by Lachlan Markay, September 20, 2013. Source: The Washington Free Beacon

[Read "Cellulosic Ethanol: A Bio-Fool's Errand" to learn more about the biofuels company LanzaTech.]

The Department of Energy recently awarded a multi-million dollar contract to a green energy company financed by a major Democratic Party fundraiser and supporter of President Obama.

The $4,000,000 award for biofuel company LanzaTech came just months after one of its chief financiers and public advocates hosted the president at his Portola Valley home for a $32,400-a-head fundraiser for the Democratic Party.

The fundraiser took place in June. DOE announced the award for New Zealand-based LanzaTech, designed to support a gas fermentation system developed by the company, on Thursday.

DOE also awardedLanzaTech a grant worth more than $2.2 million in 2011 to develop biomass fuels.

(September 2013) ANTI-BIOMASS CAMPAIGN CALL RECORDING & NOTES: “A Pediatrician's Perspective on Air Pollution and Children"

Anti-Biomass Incineration Campaign - National Conference Call Notes

Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 3pm EST

Topic: “A Pediatrician's Perspective on Air Pollution and Children" - We discuss the human health impacts of biomass incineration and other forms of industrial air pollution, with a focus on our nation's most vulnerable population: our children.

Guest speaker: Dr. Norma Kreilein, MD, Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics 


A Pediatrician's Perspective on Air Pollution and Children - September 2013


Facilitator: Josh Schlossberg (Energy Justice Network, VT)

Biomass Industry Fans Flames of Wildfire Hysteria [The Biomass Monitor]

Biomass Industry Fans Flames of Wildfire Hysteria 

- by Josh Schlossberg, The Biomass Monitor

California’s Rim fire, expected to be fully “contained” by October after igniting in Yosemite National Park on August 17, will ultimately benefit the forests it has passed through. While media accounts sensationalize such large wildfires as “catastrophic” and “disastrous,” science demonstrates that, to the contrary, fire is a vital component of western forest ecosystems.

Journalists mischaracterize the ecological function of wildfire as “devastation” or refer to forests that have experienced fire as a “barren wasteland,” exploiting emotions to sell newspapers. Yet media is only an accomplice to one of the masterminds ultimately responsible for fanning the flames of wildfire hysteria: the biomass energy industry.

Wildland-Urban Fire—A Different Approach [The Biomass Monitor]

Wildland-Urban Fire--A Different Approach

- by Jack D. Cohen, Rocky Mountain Research Station, U.S. Forest Service

Wildland-urban fire occurs when a fire burning in wildland vegetation fuels gets close enough with its flames and/or firebrands (lofted burning embers) to potentially create ignitions of the residential fuels (Butler 1974). Residential fire destruction is the principal problem during wildland-urban fires, but homes that do not ignite do not burn. Recognizing the potential for wildland-urban home ignitions and preventing home ignitions is the principal challenge.

Understanding how homes ignite during wildland-urban fires provides the basis for appropriately assessing the potential for home ignition and thereby effectively mitigating wildland-urban fire ignitions. Fires do not spread by flowing over the landscape and high intensity fires do not engulf objects, as do avalanches and tsunamis. All fires spread by meeting the requirements for combustion—that is, a sufficiency of fuel, heat, and oxygen. In the context of severe wildland-urban fires, oxygen is not a limiting factor so this type of fire spreads according to a sufficiency of fuel and heat. Homes are the fuel and the heat comes from the flames and/or firebrands of the surrounding fires. Recent research indicates that the potential for home ignitions during wildfires including those of high intensity principally depends on a home’s fuel characteristics and the heat sources within 100-200 feet adjacent to a home (Cohen 1995; Cohen 2000; Cohen and Butler 1998). This relatively limited area that determines home ignition potential can be called the home ignition zone.

Wind Drives All Large Blazes [The Biomass Monitor]

Wind Drives All Large Blazes 

- by George Wuerthner

As large fires have spread across the West in recent decades, we hear increasing demands to reduce fuels—typically through logging. But logging won’t reduce the large fires we are experiencing because fuels do not drive large fires.

You can have tons of fuel per acre as occurs in Oregon’s Coast Range or the Olympic Mountains of Washington, and have virtually no fires because they are too wet to burn. On the other hand, we have seen some huge acreage charred on overgrazed grasslands that have little more than stubble to burn if there is a major drought and wind.

What makes the difference is not the available fuel, but the climatic/weather conditions. Logging forests does not change the climate/weather.

The Ecological Importance of California’s Rim Fire [The Biomass Monitor]

The Ecological Importance of California’s Rim Fire 

- by Chad Hanson, John Muir Project 

Photo: Doug Bevington

Since the Rim fire began in the central Sierra Nevada on August 17, there has been a steady stream of fearful, hyperbolic, and misinformed reporting in much of the media. The fire, which is currently 188,000 acres in size and covers portions of the Stanislaus National Forest and the northwestern corner of Yosemite National Park, has been consistently described as “catastrophic”, “destructive”, and “devastating.” One story featured a quote from a local man who said he expected “nothing to be left”. However, if we can, for a moment, set aside the fear, the panic, and the decades of misunderstanding about wildland fires in our forests, it turns out that the facts differ dramatically from the popular misconceptions. The Rim fire is a good thing for the health of the forest ecosystem. It is not devastation, or loss. It is ecological restoration.

Health Component Missing from Biomass Air Quality Study [The Biomass Monitor]

Health Component Missing from Biomass Air Quality Study

- by Diana Somerville

We will soon be making history here on the Olympic Peninsula, or becoming guinea pigs. Thanks to public pressure and legislative support, a two-year study of a unique aspect of our air quality may begin next month. The Olympic Region Clean Air Agency (ORCAA), working with University of Washington atmospheric scientists, will look at changes downwind from biomass cogeneration plants adjacent to the existing paper mills in Port Angeles and Port Townsend. These plants will generate electricity by burning smaller trees and forestry waste with construction and demolition debris often added to the mix.

USDA to Expand Taxpayer Handouts to Biomass Industry

USDA Announces Initiative to Expand U.S. Wood-to-Energy Efforts

- by Sue Retka Schill, September 13, 2013. Source: Biomass Magazine 

The USDA announced a partnership agreement to expand wood energy use, which will help improve the safety and health of U.S. forests. The new partnerships include USDA, the Alliance for Green Heat, the Biomass Power Association, the Biomass Thermal Energy Council and the Pellet Fuels Institute. Ag secretary Tom Vilsack also announced more than $1.1 million in grants to five organizations to form state-wide teams that will stimulate development of wood energy projects in Idaho, California, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Alaska.

"Today's announcements will help us find innovative ways to use leftover wood to create renewable energy and support good jobs in rural America," Vilsack said. "Wood to Energy efforts are a part of our 'all of the above' energy strategy. Appropriately scaled wood energy facilities also support our efforts to remove hazardous fuels and reduce the risks of catastrophic wildfires."

Biomass Developer Eyes Louisiana for Three New Biofuel Refineries

Biomass Developer Eyes Louisiana for Three New Biofuel Refineries

August 27, 2013, Source: BioEnergy News

Cool Planet Energy Systems, a producer of petrol from non-food biomass, is to build three biomass-to-biofuel production plants in the US state of Louisiana for an investment of $168 million (€125.9 million).

Two sites – one in Alexandria and another in Natchitoches – have already been determined. The location for the third plant is still to be decided.

Cool Planet will break ground on the Port of Alexandria project at the beginning of 2014 before operations begin at the end of the year. Construction on the second biorefinery at the Port of Natchitoches is slated to begin by mid-2015, with a completion date of 2016. The third plant will enter service towards the end of 2016.

Waste-to-Energy Incinerator License Revoked in Scotland

Waste-to-Energy Incinerator License Revoked in Scotland 

- August 27, 2013. Source: BBC News

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) is revoking the operating licence of an energy-from-waste plant on the outskirts of Dumfries.

The notice was issued to Scotgen (Dumfries) Ltd on Friday and comes into effect on 23 September.

The £20m plant was the site of a major blaze last month tackled by more than 30 firefighters.


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