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    The Royal Society of Chemistry has announced it will launch a new journal in summer 2008, Energy & Environmental Science, which will distinctly address both energy and environmental issues. In recognition of the importance of research in this subject, and the need for knowledge transfer between scientists throughout the world, from launch the RSC will make issues of Energy & Environmental Science available free of charge to readers via its website, for the first 18 months of publication. This journal will highlight the important role that the chemical sciences have in solving the energy problems we are facing today. It will link all aspects of energy and the environment by publishing research relating to energy conversion and storage, alternative fuel technologies, and environmental science. AlphaGalileo - December 10, 2007.

    Dutch researcher Bas Bougie has developed a laser system to investigate soot development in diesel engines. Small soot particles are not retained by a soot filter but are, however, more harmful than larger soot particles. Therefore, soot development needs to be tackled at the source. Laser Induced Incandescence is a technique that reveals exactly where soot is generated and can be used by project partners to develop cleaner diesel engines. Terry Meyer, an Iowa State University assistant professor of mechanical engineering, is using similar laser technology to develop advanced sensors capable of screening the combustion behavior and soot characteristics specifically of biofuels. Eurekalert - December 7, 2007.

    Lithuania's first dedicated biofuel terminal has started operating in Klaipeda port. At the end of November 2007, the stevedoring company Vakaru krova (VK) started activities to manage transshipments. The infrastructure of the biodiesel complex allows for storage of up to 4000 cubic meters of products. During the first year, the terminal plans to transship about 70.000 tonnes of methyl ether, after that the capacities of the terminal would be increased. Investments to the project totaled €2.3 million. Agrimarket - December 5, 2007.

    New Holland supports the use of B100 biodiesel in all equipment with New Holland-manufactured diesel engines, including electronic injection engines with common rail technology. Overall, nearly 80 percent of the tractor and equipment manufacturer's New Holland-branded products with diesel engines are now available to operate on B100 biodiesel. Tractor and equipment maker John Deere meanwhile clarified its position for customers that want to use biodiesel blends up to B20. Grainnet - December 5, 2007.

    According to Wetlands International, an NGO, the Kyoto Protocol as it currently stands does not take into account possible emissions from palm oil grown on a particular type of land found in Indonesia and Malaysia, namely peatlands. Mongabay - December 5, 2007.

    Malaysia's oil & gas giant Petronas considers entering the biofuels sector. Zamri Jusoh, senior manager of Petronas' petroleum development management unit told reporters "of course our focus is on oil and gas, but I think as we move into the future we cannot ignore the importance of biofuels." AFP - December 5, 2007.

    In just four months, the use of biodiesel in the transport sector has substantially improved air quality in Metro Manila, data from the Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) showed. A blend of one percent coco-biodiesel is mandated by the Biofuels Act of 2007 which took effect last May. By 2009, it would be increased to two percent. Philippine Star - December 4, 2007.

    Kazakhstan will next year adopt laws to regulate its fledgling biofuel industry and plans to construct at least two more plants in the next 18 months to produce environmentally friendly fuel from crops, industry officials said. According to Akylbek Kurishbayev, vice-minister for agriculture, he Central Asian country has the potential to produce 300,000 tons a year of biodiesel and export half. Kazakhstan could also produce up to 1 billion liters of bioethanol, he said. "The potential is huge. If we use this potential wisely, we can become one of the world's top five producers of biofuels," Beisen Donenov, executive director of the Kazakhstan Biofuels Association, said on the sidelines of a grains forum. Reuters - November 30, 2007.

    SRI Consulting released a report on chemicals from biomass. The analysis highlights six major contributing sources of green and renewable chemicals: increasing production of biofuels will yield increasing amounts of biofuels by-products; partial decomposition of certain biomass fractions can yield organic chemicals or feedstocks for the manufacture of various chemicals; forestry has been and will continue to be a source of pine chemicals; evolving fermentation technology and new substrates will also produce an increasing number of chemicals. Chemical Online - November 27, 2007.

    German industrial conglomerate MAN AG plans to expand into renewable energies such as biofuels and solar power. Chief Executive Hakan Samuelsson said services unit Ferrostaal would lead the expansion. Reuters - November 24, 2007.

    Analysts think Vancouver-based Ballard Power Systems, which pumped hundreds of millions and decades of research into developing hydrogen fuel cells for cars, is going to sell its automotive division. Experts describe the development as "the death of the hydrogen highway". The problems with H2 fuel cell cars are manifold: hydrogen is a mere energy carrier and its production requires a primary energy input; production is expensive, as would be storage and distribution; finally, scaling fuel cells and storage tanks down to fit in cars remains a huge challenge. Meanwhile, critics have said that the primary energy for hydrogen can better be used for electricity and electric vehicles. On a well-to-wheel basis, the cleanest and most efficient way to produce hydrogen is via biomass, so the news is a set-back for the biohydrogen community. But then again, biomass can be used more efficiently as electricity for battery cars. Canada.com - November 21, 2007.

    South Korea plans to invest 20 billion won (€14.8/$21.8 million) by 2010 on securing technologies to develop synthetic fuels from biomass, coal and natural gas, as well as biobutanol. 29 private companies, research institutes and universities will join this first stage of the "next-generation clean energy development project" led by South Korea's Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy. Korea Times - November 19, 2007.

    OPEC leaders began a summit today with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez issuing a chilling warning that crude prices could double to US$200 from their already-record level if the United States attacked Iran or Venezuela. He urged assembled leaders from the OPEC, meeting for only the third time in the cartel's 47-year history, to club together for geopolitical reasons. But the cartel is split between an 'anti-US' block including Venezuela, Iran, and soon to return ex-member Ecuador, and a 'neutral' group comprising most Gulf States. France24 - November 17, 2007.

    The article "Biofuels: What a Biopact between North and South could achieve" published in the scientific journal Energy Policy (Volume 35, Issue 7, 1 July 2007, Pages 3550-3570) ranks number 1 in the 'Top 25 hottest articles'. The article was written by professor John A. Mathews, Macquarie University (Sydney, Autralia), and presents a case for a win-win bioenergy relationship between the industrialised and the developing world. Mathews holds the Chair of Strategic Management at the university, and is a leading expert in the analysis of the evolution and emergence of disruptive technologies and their global strategic management. ScienceDirect - November 16, 2007.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Xcel Energy awards $23 million to 22 renewable energy projects - focus on biomass and solar

Minneapolis based Xcel Energy announces that twenty-two proposed renewable energy projects featuring biomass, biofuel, wind, hydroelectric and solar technologies have been selected to receive nearly $23 million from its Renewable Development Fund.

An advisory board with representation from Xcel Energy, environmental groups, Xcel Energy customers and the Prairie Island Indian Community recommended to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission that $8,223,922 be awarded to projects for energy production and $14,397,817 for research and development.

According to Mike Bull, assistant commissioner of renewable development and advanced technologies, Minnesota Department of Commerce, and Renewable Development Fund advisory board member, this round of grants appropriately focuses on the goal of making biomass and solar resources more cost-effectively available for Xcel Energy customers

Nearly 100 renewable energy proposals were reviewed during the current funding cycle. In previous cycles, more than $52 million has been awarded for renewable energy research and renewable energy production. Currently, more than 23 megawatts of renewable energy are under development from fund initiatives.

The following bioenergy production and R&D projects receive funding:
  • American Crystal Sugar Co., a coopertive based in Moorhead, Minn., to design, develop and construct a 3-megawatt electricity cogeneration plant utilizing methane, which currently is produced as a result of sugar beet processing. The cogeneration facility will be integrated with the company’s current biogas collection system, $2 million.
  • University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, N.D., to test and develop a novel biotechnology additive to convert biomass into biogas, $970,558.
  • University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, to evaluate and address economic and technical issues related to biomass integrated gasification combined cycle technology in electricity generation at ethanol-producing plants, $819,159.
  • Coaltec Energy USA Inc., Carterville, Ill., to prove the feasibility of biomass gasification (using turkey manure and agricultural waste) in a commercial turkey farm setting to generate electricity and heat, $1 million.
  • University of Minnesota, Morris, Minn., to provide biomass fuel stock suppliers with accurate guidelines for management of biomass harvesting and maintenance of soil quality, $979,082.
  • University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, to develop an efficient system for the production, pre-processing and delivery of biomass feedstock for energy production that minimizes feedstock cost for energy facilities, while maximizing landowner income and the environmental benefits of biomass production, $992,989.
  • Community Power Corp., Littleton, Colo., to adapt current proven modular biopower technology to produce and demonstrate a biomass/natural gas hybrid (dual fuel) power generation system. The system will integrate with on-site electrical and thermal loads to deliver electricity and heat, $999,926.
  • University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, N.D., to demonstrate the performance of a mobile integrated indirect wet biomass liquefaction system gasifier at one-fourth commercial scale, $999,065.
  • Minnesota Valley Alfalfa Producers, Raymond, Minn., to research the application of a new energy-efficient technology to process a variety of biomass feedstock to expand the resource options for biomass energy production, $1 million.
  • Bepex International LLC, Minneapolis, to examine, evaluate and reduce the capital and operating costs of utilizing a thermo-chemical biomass pretreatment regime, called “torrefaction.” Biomass used will be corn stover with the resulting product densified into briquettes for electricity generation, $924,671.
  • University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, N.D., to develop an economical biomass power system by combining previous bench scale work in thermally integrated gasification systems with developmental work on a low-Btu gas turbine, $999,728.
  • SarTec Corp., Anoka, Minn., to use solar energy, photosynthesis and rapid growth algae to capture carbon dioxide from flue gas and produce lipids that can be transformed into the renewable biodiesel fuel, $350,000.
Other projects funded include research and development of thin film solar, battery storage, geothermal technologies and a wind resource simulator:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Money for the Renewable Development Fund, which was created in 1999, comes from Xcel Energy customers. Each year the company transfers $16 million to the fund in accordance with state statute. Owners of energy production projects sell the energy to Xcel Energy or use the energy themselves. All selected projects are subject to final approval by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.

The Renewable Development Fund provides research support for marketable advancement of innovative renewable energy and environmental technologies that will benefit Minnesota customers as well as promote renewable energy within the region, nationally, and worldwide, said Bill Grant, associate executive director, Izaak Walton League, and Renewable Development Fund advisory board member.

Xcel Energy is an integrated electricity and natural gas energy company, offering a comprehensive portfolio of energy-related products and services to 3.3 million electricity customers and 1.8 million natural gas customers. The company has regulated operations in 8 Western and Midwestern states, and revenue of more than $9 billion annually. It owns more than 34,500 miles of natural gas pipelines.

Xcel Energy: Xcel Energy announces renewable energy project selections - December 5, 2007.

Xcel Energy: Renewable Development Fund.


Dakota Lifestyle: Beyond the Weather said...

We in North Dakota are very excited about the grants to UND. Many of us believe renewable energy is an important part of our economic future as well as our environmental health.

1:45 AM  

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