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    The government of India's Harayana state has decided to promote biomass power projects based on gasification in a move to help rural communities replace costly diesel and furnace oil. The news was announced during a meeting of the Haryana Renewable Energy Development Agency (HAREDA). Six pilot plants have demonstrated the efficiency and practicability of small-scale biomass gasification. Capital subsidies will now be made available to similar projects at the rate of Rs 2.5 lakh (€4400) per 100 KW for electrical applications and Rs 2 lakh (€3500) per 300 KW for thermal applications. New Kerala - November 1, 2007.

    A British development NGO, Oxfam, says the EU's biofuels policy could be "disastrous" for poor people if it means agro-industrial production models. However, it also recognizes that "biofuels may offer the potential to reduce poverty by increasing jobs and markets for small farmers, and by providing cheap renewable energy for local use". Oxfam - November 1, 2007.

    Massey University and Palmerston North City Council in New Zealand have found a way to increase the production of biogas to help drive the council's cogeneration engine to produce steam and electricity by co-digesting whey, an unwanted byproduct from milk processing, with sludge from a wastewater treatment plant. A full scale trial is under way at the Totara Road Treatment Plant to develop a cheap method of disposing of whey, increase gas production from the city's digesters and ultimately earn more carbon credits. Manawatu Standard - October 30, 2007.

    U.S. oil prices and Brent crude rocketed to all-time highs again on a record-low dollar, tensions in the Middle East and worries over energy supply shortages ahead of the northern hemisphere's winter. Now even wealthy countries like South Korea are warning that the record prices will damage economic growth. In the developing world, the situation is outright catastrophic. Korea Times - October 26, 2007.

    Ethablog's Henrique Oliveira, a young Brazilian biofuels business expert, is back online. From April to September 2007, he traveled around Brazil comparing the Brazilian and American biofuels markets. In August he was joined by Tom MacDonald, senior alcohol fuels specialist with the California Energy Commission. Henrique reports about his trip with a series of photo essays. EthaBlog - October 24, 2007.

    Italy's Enel is to invest around €400 mln in carbon capture and storage and is looking now for a suitable site to store CO2 underground. Enel's vision of coal's future is one in which coal is used to produce power, to produce ash and gypsum as a by-product for cement, hydrogen as a by-product of coal gasification and CO2 which is stored underground. Carbon capture and storage techniques can be applied to biomass and biofuels, resulting in carbon-negative energy. Reuters - October 22, 2007.

    Gate Petroleum Co. is planning to build a 55 million-gallon liquid biofuels terminal in Jacksonville, Florida. The terminal is expected to cost $90 million and will be the first in the state designed primarily for biofuels. It will receive and ship ethanol and biodiesel via rail, ship and truck and provide storage for Gate and for third parties. The biofuels terminal is set to open in 2010. Florida Times-Union - October 19, 2007.

    China Holdings Inc., through its controlled subsidiary China Power Inc., signed a development contract with the HeBei Province local government for the rights to develop and construct 50 MW of biomass renewable energy projects utilizing straw. The projects have a total expected annual power generating capacity of 400 million kWh and expected annual revenues of approximately US$33.3 million. Total investment in the projects is approximately US$77.2 million, 35 percent in cash and 65 percent from China-based bank loans with preferred interest rates with government policy protection for the biomass renewable energy projects. Full production is expected in about two years. China Holdings - October 18, 2007.

    Canadian Bionenergy Corporation, supplier of biodiesel in Canada, has announced an agreement with Renewable Energy Group, Inc. to partner in the construction of a biodiesel production facility near Edmonton, Alberta. The company broke ground yesterday on the construction of the facility with an expected capacity of 225 million litres (60 million gallons) per year of biodiesel. Together, the companies also intend to forge a strategic marketing alliance to better serve the North American marketplace by supplying biodiesel blends and industrial methyl esters. Canadian Bioenergy - October 17, 2007.

    Leading experts in organic solar cells say the field is being damaged by questionable reports about ever bigger efficiency claims, leading the community into an endless and dangerous tendency to outbid the last report. In reality these solar cells still show low efficiencies that will need to improve significantly before they become a success. To counter the hype, scientists call on the community to press for independent verification of claimed efficiencies. Biopact sees a similar trend in the field of biofuels from algae, in which press releases containing unrealistic yield projections and 'breakthroughs' are released almost monthly. Eurekalert - October 16, 2007.

    The Colorado Wood Utilization and Marketing Program at Colorado State University received a $65,000 grant from the U.S. Forest Service to expand the use of woody biomass throughout Colorado. The purpose of the U.S. Department of Agriculture grant program is to provide financial assistance to state foresters to accelerate the adoption of woody biomass as an alternative energy source. Colorado State University - October 12, 2007.

    Indian company Naturol Bioenergy Limited announced that it will soon start production from its biodiesel facility at Kakinada, in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The facility has an annual production capacity of 100,000 tons of biodiesel and 10,000 tons of pharmaceutical grade glycerin. The primary feedstock is crude palm oil, but the facility was designed to accomodate a variety of vegetable oil feedstocks. Biofuel Review - October 11, 2007.

    Brazil's state energy company Petrobras says it will ship 9 million liters of ethanol to European clients next month in its first shipment via the northeastern port of Suape. Petrobras buys the biofuel from a pool of sugar cane processing plants in the state of Pernambuco, where the port is also located. Reuters - October 11, 2007.

    Dynamotive Energy Systems Corporation, a leader in biomass-to-biofuel technology, announces that it has completed a $10.5 million equity financing with Quercus Trust, an environmentally oriented fund, and several other private investors. Ardour Capital Inc. of New York served as financial advisor in the transaction. Business Wire - October 10, 2007.

    Cuban livestock farmers are buying distillers dried grains (DDG), the main byproduct of corn based ethanol, from biofuel producers in the U.S. During a trade mission of Iowan officials to Cuba, trade officials there said the communist state will double its purchases of the dried grains this year. DesMoines Register - October 9, 2007.

    Brasil Ecodiesel, the leading Brazilian biodiesel producer company, recorded an increase of 57.7% in sales in the third quarter of the current year, in comparison with the previous three months. Sales volume stood at 53,000 cubic metres from August until September, against 34,000 cubic metres of the biofuel between April and June. The company is also concluding negotiations to export between 1,000 to 2,000 tonnes of glycerine per month to the Asian market. ANBA - October 4, 2007.

    PolyOne Corporation, the US supplier of specialised polymer materials, has opened a new colour concentrates manufacturing plant in Kutno, Poland. Located in central Poland, the new plant will produce colour products in the first instance, although the company says the facility can be expanded to handle other products. In March, the Ohio-based firm launched a range of of liquid colourants for use in bioplastics in biodegradable applications. The concentrates are European food contact compliant and can be used in polylactic acid (PLA) or starch-based blends. Plastics & Rubber Weekly - October 2, 2007.

    A turbo-charged, spray-guided direct-injection engine running on pure ethanol (E100) can achieve very high specific output, and shows “significant potential for aggressive engine downsizing for a dedicated or dual-fuel solution”, according to engineers at Orbital Corporation. GreenCarCongress - October 2, 2007.

    UK-based NiTech Solutions receives £800,000 in private funding to commercialize a cost-saving industrial mixing system, dubbed the Continuous Oscillatory Baffled Reactor (COBR), which can lower costs by 50 per cent and reduce process time by as much as 90 per cent during the manufacture of a range of commodities including chemicals, drugs and biofuels. Scotsman - October 2, 2007.

    A group of Spanish investors is building a new bioethanol plant in the western region of Extremadura that should be producing fuel from maize in 2009. Alcoholes Biocarburantes de Extremadura (Albiex) has already started work on the site near Badajoz and expects to spend €42/$59 million on the plant in the next two years. It will produce 110 million litres a year of bioethanol and 87 million kg of grain byproduct that can be used for animal feed. Europapress - September 28, 2007.

    Portuguese fuel company Prio SA and UK based FCL Biofuels have joined forces to launch the Portuguese consumer biodiesel brand, PrioBio, in the UK. PrioBio is scheduled to be available in the UK from 1st November. By the end of this year (2007), says FCL Biofuel, the partnership’s two biodiesel refineries will have a total capacity of 200,000 tonnes which will is set to grow to 400,000 tonnes by the end of 2010. Biofuel Review - September 27, 2007.

    According to Tarja Halonen, the Finnish president, one third of the value of all of Finland's exports consists of environmentally friendly technologies. Finland has invested in climate and energy technologies, particularly in combined heat and power production from biomass, bioenergy and wind power, the president said at the UN secretary-general's high-level event on climate change. Newroom Finland - September 25, 2007.

    Spanish engineering and energy company Abengoa says it had suspended bioethanol production at the biggest of its three Spanish plants because it was unprofitable. It cited high grain prices and uncertainty about the national market for ethanol. Earlier this year, the plant, located in Salamanca, ceased production for similar reasons. To Biopact this is yet another indication that biofuel production in the EU/US does not make sense and must be relocated to the Global South, where the biofuel can be produced competitively and sustainably, without relying on food crops. Reuters - September 24, 2007.

    The Midlands Consortium, comprised of the universities of Birmingham, Loughborough and Nottingham, is chosen to host Britain's new Energy Technologies Institute, a £1 billion national organisation which will aim to develop cleaner energies. University of Nottingham - September 21, 2007.

    The EGGER group, one of the leading European manufacturers of chipboard, MDF and OSB boards has begun work on installing a 50MW biomass boiler for its production site in Rion. The new furnace will recycle 60,000 tonnes of offcuts to be used in the new combined heat and power (CHP) station as an ecological fuel. The facility will reduce consumption of natural gas by 75%. IHB Network - September 21, 2007.

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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Report: energy-saving and efficiency efforts could add more emissions

The UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) has unveiled a major new report on how 'Rebound Effects' can result in energy savings falling short of expectations, thereby threatening the success of climate policies.

UKERC's The Rebound Effect: an assessment of the evidence for economy-wide energy savings from improved energy efficiency [*.pdf], is the most thorough and in-depth review of rebound effects ever undertaken, reviewing over 500 papers and reports. It analyses the nature, operation and importance of rebound effects and provides a comprehensive review of the available evidence on this topic, together with closely related issues, such as the link between energy consumption and economic growth.

It recommends building 'headroom' into policy targets to allow for rebound effects, raising energy prices in line with energy efficiency improvements or imposing absolute caps on emissions.

An example of a rebound effect would be the driver who replaces a car with a fuel-efficient model, only to take advantage of its cheaper running costs to drive further and more often. Or a family that insulates their loft and puts the money saved on their heating bill towards an overseas holiday (schematic, click to enlarge). In economists' and peak oil circles, rebound effects are sometimes referred to as the 'Jevons Paradox', first formulated in the 19th century in the context of coal consumption.
Rebound effects have been neglected by both experts and policymakers - for example, they do not feature in the recent Stern and IPCC reports or in the Government's Energy White Paper. This is a mistake. If we do not make sufficient allowance for rebound effects, we will overestimate the contribution that energy efficiency can make to reducing carbon emissions. This is especially important given that the Climate Change Bill proposes legally binding commitments to meet carbon emissions reduction targets. We need to get the sums right. - Steve Sorrell, chief author, Senior Fellow at UKERC
The difficulty of developing policy to take rebound effects into account is exacerbated by disagreement over the significance of rebound effects. Some believe that they are insignificant, while others argue that energy efficiency measures lead to increased energy consumption - an outcome that has been termed 'backfire'.

The report argues that rebound effects vary widely between different technologies, sectors and income groups so that general statements about the size of such effects can be misleading:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::
Rebound effects are notoriously complex. Generally speaking we expect rebounds will be large in energy intensive sectors and smaller for households or small businesses. This is important, since energy efficiency policy usually targets these smaller users. - Steve Sorrell
Rebound effects can be both direct (e.g. driving further in a fuel-efficient car) and indirect (e.g. spending the money saved on heating on an overseas holiday). The evidence is that direct rebound effects are usually fairly small - less than 30% for households for example (table, click to enlarge). Much less is known about indirect effects. However the study suggests that in some cases, particularly where energy efficiency significantly decreases the cost of production of energy intensive goods, rebounds may be larger.

Policy implications
The report formulates several implications on climate policy and recommendations which must allow policy makers to take rebound effects into account:

1. The potential contribution of energy efficiency policies needs to be reappraised.

  • Energy efficiency may be encouraged through policies that raise energy prices, such as carbon taxes, or through non-price policies such as building regulations. Both should continue to play an important role in energy and climate policy. However, many official and independent appraisals of such policies have undoubtedly overstated the contribution of non-price policies to reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions.
  • It would be wrong to assume that, in the absence of evidence, rebound effects are so small that they can be disregarded. Under some circumstances (e.g. energy efficient technologies that significantly improve the productivity of energy intensive industries) economy-wide rebound effects may exceed 50% and could potentially increase energy consumption in the long-term. In other circumstances (e.g. energy efficiency improvements in consumer electronic goods) economy-wide rebound effects are likely to be smaller. But in no circumstances are they likely to be zero.
  • Taking rebound effects into account will reduce the apparent effectiveness of energy efficiency policies. However, many energy efficiency opportunities are highly costeffective and will remain so even when rebound effects are allowed for. Provided market and organisational failures can be overcome, the encouragement of these opportunities should increase real income and contribute to economic growth. They may not, however, reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions by as much as previously assumed.

2. Rebound effects should be taken into account when developing and targeting energy efficiency policy

  • Rebound effects vary widely between different technologies, sectors and income groups. While these differences cannot be quantified with much confidence, there should be scope for including estimated effects within policy appraisals and using these estimates to target policies more effectively. Where rebound effects are expected to be large, there may be a greater need for policies that increase energy prices.
  • ‘Win-win’ opportunities that reduce capital and labour costs as well as energy costs may be associated with large rebound effects. Hence, the implications of encouraging these opportunities need to be clearly understood and quantified. It may make more sense to focus policy on ‘dedicated’ energy efficient technologies, leaving the realisation of wider benefits to the market

3. Rebound effects may be mitigated through carbon/energy pricing – whether implemented through taxation or an emissions trading scheme

  • Carbon/energy pricing can reduce direct and indirect rebound effects by ensuring that the cost of energy services remains relatively constant while energy efficiency improves. Carbon/energy pricing needs to increase over time at a rate sufficient to accommodate both income growth and rebound effects, simply to prevent carbon emissions from increasing. It needs to increase more rapidly if emissions are to be reduced.
  • Carbon/energy pricing may be insufficient on its own, since it will not overcome the numerous barriers to the innovation and diffusion of low carbon technologies and could have adverse impacts on income distribution and competitiveness. Similarly, policies to address market barriers may be insufficient, since rebound effects could offset much of the energy savings. A policy mix is required. To avoid energy efficiency gains from undermining the benefits to climate policy, the report's authors recommend building 'headroom' into policy targets to allow for rebound effects, raising energy prices in line with energy efficiency improvements or imposing absolute caps on emissions.

The report from UKERC is the most thorough and in-depth review of rebound effects ever undertaken, reviewing over 500 papers and reports. It analyses the nature, operation and importance of rebound effects and provides a comprehensive review of the available evidence on this topic, together with closely related issues, such as the link between energy consumption and economic growth.

The UKERC research was led by the Sussex Energy Group (University of Sussex), with contributions from the Surrey Energy Economics Centre (University of Surrey), the Department of Economics at the University of Strathclyde, and the Centre for Energy Policy and Technology at Imperial College.

The UK Energy Research Centre's mission is to be the UK's pre-eminent centre of research, and source of authoritative information and leadership, on sustainable energy systems. The Centre takes a whole systems approach to energy research, incorporating economics, engineering and the physical, environmental and social sciences while developing and maintaining the means to enable cohesive research in energy. UKERC is funded by the UK Research Councils.

UKERC: The Rebound Effect: an assessment of the evidence for economy-wide energy savings from improved energy efficiency [*.pdf] - October 2007

UKERC: The Rebound Effect: presentation [*.pdf] - November 1, 2007.

UKERC: 'Rebound Effects' Threaten Success of UK Climate Policy - November 1, 2007.

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Japan's KIT develops nanoparticle catalysts for direct ethanol fuel cells

Scientists at the Kyushu Institute of Technology (KIT) propose using ethanol as a direct fuel in next-generation fuel cells. This would have multiple advantages over fuels more commonly associated with efficient fuels cells, like hydrogen or methanol. Hydrogen is problematic because its production is rather inefficient and will probably rely on the use of fossil fuels; the gas also requires a new storage and distribution infrastructure and is plagued by its low volumetric energy density. For its part, methanol has a considerably lower energy density (15.6MJ/liter) than ethanol (24MJ/liter) and is extremely toxic.

Ethanol powered fuel cells up to now have had a number of drawbacks including low catalytic performance, poor fuel cell efficiency, and a decrease in open voltage due to ethanol crossover when the ethanol concentration was increased to boost efficiency. The KIT research group, led by professor Shuzi Hayase of the Graduate School of Life Science and Systems Engineering, is therefor proposing the use of a direct ethanol fuel cell (DEFC) with new catalysts. It joins the increased interest in DEFCs: recently, a German consortium which includes Europe's largest science organisation, the Fraunhofer Institute, launched a similar program to mass introduce DEFCs (previous post), whereas scientists from the Indiana University-Purdue University are collaborating with the U.S. military on similar fuel cells (more here).

The KIT researchers have found a way to boost the fuel cell performance while operating at room temperature by using oxidized nanoparticles as the anode catalyst in combination with a composite catalyst used for the cathode. This arrangement curbs the decrease in the open voltage caused by ethanol crossover, and makes it possible to use a highly concentrated ethanol solution. The findings were reported in Chemistry Letters, the journal of the Chemical Society of Japan.

The addition of TiO2, SnO2, and SiO2 nanoparticles into an anode electrode in direct ethanol fuel cells, results in an increase in the short circuit current (Jsc) from 2.8 to 4.4–9.0 mA cm−2:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

The researchers mixed the nanoparticles and the carbon-supported PtRu (PtRu/C) merely at the ratio of 1:1. The PtRu content decreased to a half of the original electrode but Jsc increased after the nanoparticle addition. The results were explained by the increase in the fuel diffusion and the catalyst activity. These effects of the nanoparticle addition were not observed for direct methanol fuel cells.

The new catalyst and improved efficiency of the DEFC allows the KIT researchers to suggest that the development of a commercially feasible low-load fuel cell that uses widely available ethanol is near. First applications will be to use the DEFC as a device to power cell phones, laptops and other electronic devices.

Video courtesy: Diginfo.tv.

Namsin Park, Takeyuki Shiraishi, Kazuyoshi Kamisugi and Shuzi Hayase, "Effect of Nanoparticle Addition into Anode Electrodes for Direct Ethanol Fuel Cells", Chemistry Letters, Vol. 36 (2007) , No. 7 p.922., doi:10.1246/cl.2007.922 / JOI JST.JSTAGE/cl/2007.922

Biopact: German consortium to push for mass adoption of ethanol fuel cells - August 05, 2007

Biopact: U.S. scientist and army working on direct ethanol fuel cells - October 15, 2006

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Scientists look at needs to develop sweet potato sector

Next year is the 'International Year of the Potato'. Sweet potatoes, often misunderstood, underrated and disliked by local populations as a marginal food, are receiving new attention as a life-saving crop in developing countries. Scientists conducted a survey to understand why the sweet potato remains a relatively marginal crop, despite its large potential. The results offer an interesting insight into the reasons as to why agriculture in many developing countries is so unproductive. If poor countries were to apply modern farming techniques to produce food, an enormous potential land base for the production of bioenergy becomes available. Improved food production implies greater climate saving biomass potential.

Rich in carbohydrates, the crop is already being used for the production of ethanol and bioplastics. Several African countries have an 'industrial' sweet potato program in place. China considers it to be a non-food crop and has therefor included it in its range of crops suitable for the production of industrial products, including biofuels (more here).

According to the International Potato Center, more than 95 percent of the global sweetpotato crop is grown in developing countries, where it is the fifth most important food crop. Despite its name, the sweetpotato is not related to the potato. Potatoes are tubers (referring to their thickened stems) and members of the Solanaceae family, which also includes tomatoes, red peppers, and eggplant. Sweetpotatoes are classified as "storage roots" and belong to the morning-glory family.

Sweetpotato has received relative little attention from crop improvement research. To bring attention to the issue, results of a survey were published by the American Society for Horticultural Science in which researchers asked 36 scientists from 21 developing countries to solicit opinions on key constraints affecting the productivity of small sweetpotato producers.

Keith Fuglie, of the Resources and Rural Economics Division at the United States Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service, led the study. He found consistent key constraints in all major sweetpotato producing areas.

Survey respondents indicated that the priority needs in developing countries were:
  1. control of viruses
  2. small-enterprise development for sweetpotato processing
  3. improvement in availability and quality of sweetpotato planting material
  4. improved cultivars exhibiting high and stable yield potential
Some differences emerged, however, in priority needs of the two major centers of sweetpotato production - Sub-Saharan Africa and China. In the People's Republic, the crop is primarily used as an animal feed, whereas in Africa, it is a major food crop.

Additional priorities for Sub-Saharan Africa included (1) improved control of the sweetpotato weevil and (2) cultivars with high beta carotene content to address Vitamin A deficiency. For China, priorities included: (1) conservation and characterization of genetic resources, (2) prebreeding, (3) cultivars with high starch yield, and (4) new product development, including biofuels and bioplastics:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

According to Fuglie, the different sets of priorities reflect differences in the role of sweetpotato in the rural economy and also different capacities of the agricultural research system in these regions of the world.
These findings could help agricultural scientists working for national and international institutions establish their priorities for sweet potato crop improvement research. Focusing research on the key productivity constraints facing sweetpotato farmers in a particular country or region will increase the likelihood of farmer adoption and potential impact of the technology resulting from that research. - Keith Fuglie, lead researcher, Resources and Rural Economics Division, ARS
Principal beneficiaries of the research study will be small-scale sweet potato farmers in developing countries. Fuglie hopes that emerging technologies based on research will be available for sweetpotato farmers within 5 to 10 years.

Scientists believe that sweetpotatoes were domesticated more than 5,000 years ago and reportedly introduced into China in the late 16th century. Because of its hardy nature and broad adaptability, sweetpotato spread through Asia, Africa, and Latin America during the 17th and 18th centuries. It is now grown in more developing countries than any other root crop.

Sweetpotato has a long history as a lifesaving crop. When typhoons demolished thousands of rice fields, Japanese farmers turned to sweetpotato to sustain their country. Sweetpotato kept millions from starvation in famine-plagued China in the early 1960s, and in Uganda, where a virus ravaged cassava crops in the 1990s, the hardy hero came to the rescue, nourishing millions in rural communities.

Rich in carbohydrates and vitamin A, sweetpotatoes are nutrition superstars. Uses range from consumption of fresh roots or leaves to processing into animal feed, starch, flour, candy and alcohol. Because of its versatility and adaptability, sweetpotato ranks as the world's seventh most important food crop (following wheat, rice, maize, potato, barley, and cassava). Globally, more than 133 million tons of the underrated, vitamin-packed root are produced each year.

Keith O. Fuglie, "Priorities for Sweetpotato Research in Developing Countries: Results of a Survey", HortScience 42: 1046-1311 (2007)

Biopact: Sweet potatoes and the carbohydrate economy - January 07, 2007

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NRG and Powerspan announce large-scale demonstration of carbon capture and sequestration

NRG Energy, Inc. and Powerspan Corp. have announced a memorandum of understanding to demonstrate at commercial scale one of the most promising technologies for carbon dioxide (CO2) capture from conventional coal-fueled, electric power plants - Powerspan's ECO2 technology. The post-combustion, regenerative process uses an ammonia-based solution to capture CO2 from the flue gas of a power plant and release it in a form that is ready for safe transportation and permanent geological storage.

Biopact tracks developments in CCS because the technique can be applied to bioenergy systems, in which case they would yield carbon-negative energy and fuels (earlier post).

To date, CO2 capture demonstrations on coal-fueled power plants have been conducted only at pilot scale, or one to five megawatts (MW) of electricity. This CCS demonstration, which will be conducted at NRG's WA Parish plant near Sugar Land, Texas, on flue gas equal in quantity to that from a 125 MW unit, is expected to capture and sequester about one million tons of CO2 annually - ranking it among the world's largest CCS projects and potentially the first to achieve commercial scale capture and sequestration from an existing coal-fueled power plant.

Once captured, the CO2 is expected to be used in enhanced oilfield recovery operations in the Houston area. Powerspan's ECO2 demonstration facility will be designed to capture 90 percent of incoming CO2 and is expected to be operational in 2012.

The ECO2 process (schematic, click to enlarge) is a post-combustion CO2 capture process for conventional power plants that is differentiated from other approaches by its simpler capital equipment design and significantly lower energy consumption. The technology is suitable for retrofit to the existing coal-fueled, electric generating fleet as well as for new coal-fueled plants. The regenerative process is readily integrated with Powerspan's patented Electro-Catalytic Oxidation, or ECO(R), process for multi-pollutant control of sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), mercury, and fine particulate matter from power plants:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Under a cooperative research and development agreement announced in May 2004, Powerspan is collaborating with the U.S. Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory on the development of the CO2 removal process for coal-fueled power plants. The CO2 capture takes place after the NOx, SO2, mercury and fine particulate matter are captured. Once the CO2 is captured, the ammonia-based solution is regenerated to release CO2 and ammonia. The ammonia is recovered and sent back to the scrubbing process, and the CO2 is in a form that is ready for geological storage. Ammonia is not consumed in the scrubbing process, and no separate by-product is created. The process can be applied to both existing and new coal-fueled power plants and is particularly advantageous for sites where ammonia-based scrubbing of power plant emissions is employed.

Under the memorandum of understanding, NRG and Powerspan will design, construct, and operate a 125-MW CO2 capture facility at the WA Parish Plant and supply the captured CO2 for safe transportation and permanent geological storage in order to demonstrate the technical, economic, and environmental performance of a large-scale CCS system that potentially could be deployed on existing coal-fueled generating facilities globally. NRG will work with government and non-government entities to provide additional funding for the project.
As our country's leaders move to consider climate change legislation, they should be confident that the power sector is already acting in anticipation of government action in order to support the rapid transition to a low-carbon economy. The successful deployment of 'clean coal' technology like ECO2 is absolutely essential to our common goals of reliable and affordable electricity, enhanced energy security and substantially reduced greenhouse gas emissions. - David Crane, President and CEO, NRG Energy, Inc.
NRG is actively implementing a repowering program to bring an additional 10,000 MW of power to America using diverse fuel sources and technologies including no- and low-carbon generation technologies such as a commercial scale gasified coal (IGCC) plant in New York, two new nuclear units in Texas and wind power in Texas and California.
Large-scale, integrated CCS demonstrations provide commercial validation of the critical enabling technologies needed to reduce CO2 emissions significantly while maintaining coal-fueled power plants as a vital component of our nation's electricity supply. We are grateful to be working with an industry-leading company like NRG in the commercial demonstration of our ECO2 technology and look forward to its broader application to reduce the impact of coal-fueled power plants on climate change. - Powerspan's CEO, Frank Alix.
NRG Energy, Inc. owns and operates a diverse portfolio of power- generating facilities, primarily in Texas and the Northeast, South Central and West regions of the United States and also in Australia, Germany and Brazil. NRG is a member of USCAP, a diverse group of business and environmental organizations calling for mandatory legislation to achieve significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. NRG is also a founding member of "3C--Combat Climate Change," a global initiative with 42 business leaders calling on the global business community to take a leadership role in designing the road map to a low carbon society.

Powerspan Corp., a clean-energy technology company based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is engaged in the development and commercialization of proprietary multi-pollutant control technology for the electric power industry.

Biopact: Carbon-negative bioenergy is here: GreatPoint Energy to build biomass gasification pilot plant with carbon capture and storage - October 25, 2007

Biopact: Carbon-negative bioenergy recognized as Norwegian CO2 actors join forces to develop carbon capture technologies - October 24, 2007

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