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    At the 148th Meeting of the OPEC Conference, the oil exporting cartel decided to leave its production level unchanged, sending crude prices spiralling to new records (above $104). OPEC "observed that the market is well-supplied, with current commercial oil stocks standing above their five-year average. The Conference further noted, with concern, that the current price environment does not reflect market fundamentals, as crude oil prices are being strongly influenced by the weakness in the US dollar, rising inflation and significant flow of funds into the commodities market." OPEC - March 5, 2008.

    Kyushu University (Japan) is establishing what it says will be the world’s first graduate program in hydrogen energy technologies. The new master’s program for hydrogen engineering is to be offered at the university’s new Ito campus in Fukuoka Prefecture. Lectures will cover such topics as hydrogen energy and developing the fuel cells needed to convert hydrogen into heat or electricity. Of all the renewable pathways to produce hydrogen, bio-hydrogen based on the gasification of biomass is by far both the most efficient, cost-effective and cleanest. Fuel Cell Works - March 3, 2008.

    An entrepreneur in Ivory Coast has developed a project to establish a network of Miscanthus giganteus farms aimed at producing biomass for use in power generation. In a first phase, the goal is to grow the crop on 200 hectares, after which expansion will start. The project is in an advanced stage, but the entrepreneur still seeks partners and investors. The plantation is to be located in an agro-ecological zone qualified as highly suitable for the grass species. Contact us - March 3, 2008.

    A 7.1MW biomass power plant to be built on the Haiwaiian island of Kaua‘i has received approval from the local Planning Commission. The plant, owned and operated by Green Energy Hawaii, will use albizia trees, a hardy species that grows in poor soil on rainfall alone. The renewable power plant will meet 10 percent of the island's energy needs. Kauai World - February 27, 2008.

    Tasmania's first specialty biodiesel plant has been approved, to start operating as early as July. The Macquarie Oil Company will spend half a million dollars on a specially designed facility in Cressy, in Tasmania's Northern Midlands. The plant will produce more than five million litres of fuel each year for the transport and marine industries. A unique blend of feed stock, including poppy seed, is expected to make it more viable than most operations. ABC Rural - February 25, 2008.

    The 16th European Biomass Conference & Exhibition - From Research to Industry and Markets - will be held from 2nd to 6th June 2008, at the Convention and Exhibition Centre of FeriaValencia, Spain. Early bird fee registration ends 18th April 2008. European Biomass Conference & Exhibition - February 22, 2008.

    'Obesity Facts' – a new multidisciplinary journal for research and therapy published by Karger – was launched today as the official journal of the European Association for the Study of Obesity. The journal publishes articles covering all aspects of obesity, in particular epidemiology, etiology and pathogenesis, treatment, and the prevention of adiposity. As obesity is related to many disease processes, the journal is also dedicated to all topics pertaining to comorbidity and covers psychological and sociocultural aspects as well as influences of nutrition and exercise on body weight. Obesity is one of the world's most pressing health issues, expected to affect 700 million people by 2015. AlphaGalileo - February 21, 2008.

    A bioethanol plant with a capacity of 150 thousand tons per annum is to be constructed in Kuybishev, in the Novosibirsk region. Construction is to begin in 2009 with investments into the project estimated at €200 million. A 'wet' method of production will be used to make, in addition to bioethanol, gluten, fodder yeast and carbon dioxide for industrial use. The complex was developed by the Solev consulting company. FIS: Siberia - February 19, 2008.

    Sarnia-Lambton lands a $15million federal grant for biofuel innovation at the Western Ontario Research and Development Park. The funds come on top of a $10 million provincial grant. The "Bioindustrial Innovation Centre" project competed successfully against 110 other proposals for new research money. London Free Press - February 18, 2008.

    An organisation that has established a large Pongamia pinnata plantation on barren land owned by small & marginal farmers in Andhra Pradesh, India is looking for a biogas and CHP consultant to help research the use of de-oiled cake for the production of biogas. The organisation plans to set up a biogas plant of 20,000 cubic meter capacity and wants to use it for power generation. Contact us - February 15, 2008.

    The Andersons, Inc. and Marathon Oil Corporation today jointly announced ethanol production has begun at their 110-million gallon ethanol plant located in Greenville, Ohio. Along with the 110 million gallons of ethanol, the plant annually will produce 350,000 tons of distillers dried grains, an animal feed ingredient. Marathon Oil - February 14, 2008.

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Thermal Energy opens DRY-REX test facility to study drying of biomass; receives first contract

Thermal Energy today announced that it has established a DRY-REX test facility to handle funded research projects on drying different sources of biomass for use as biofuels. The laboratory in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada, is under the supervision of the Thermal Energy's Chief Scientist Dr. Raymond Belanger.

It test facility already received its first contract from an Italian firm to conduct drying tests on grape pressings and orange pressings. This is one of several requests from potential customers in Europe's bioenergy sector seeking to determine the viability of the DRY-REX(TM) low temperature biomass dryer at their sites.
With all fossil fuels increasing in price at the same time as demand grows for eco-friendly alternatives, more and more manufacturers and producers are realizing their waste has the potential to become valuable biofuels. Our new lab provides a cost-effective way for them to determine the viability of converting their biomass for this use or for as a secondary commercial product. - Tim Angus, President and CEO of Thermal Energy
The new lab also acts as a catalyst for selling DRY-REX technology to help customers achieve their goals. The low operating temperatures of the DRY-REX technology minimize the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) generated from biomass and the risk of fires and explosions which can occur with high temperature systems. Where high temperature systems require burning of fossil fuels, DRY-REX can safely and easily utilize the waste heat generated from a variety of industrial and commercial processes.

The DRY-REX technology (schematic, click to enlarge) thermally treats wet biomass for bioenergy, with the following results:
  • Increased biomass dryness to 65% or higher;
  • Increase heating value of biomass;
  • Reduced boiler combustion air requirements;
  • Improved boiler combustion efficiency by 20% or more;
  • Increased biomass combustion rates by up to 30%;
  • Reduced or eliminated supplementary non-renewable fossil fuel combustion;
  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions
The technology is also capable of treating organic waste in the form of sludge, with the following potential results:
  • Converts waste such as sludge into valuable, high-yield biofuels,
  • Replaces or displaces costly fossil fuels (oil, gas, etc) with dried residuals;
  • Eliminates environmental impact of landfilling waste;
  • Eliminates related environmental costs: transportation; landfill remediation, opening, closing & maintenance costs; long term environmental liabilities.
  • Eliminates landfill emissions.
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Thermal Energy has received a number of inquiries from across North America and Europe for a variety of drying needs. These include drying waste streams such as wood fuel, industrial and municipal sewage sludge, food and beverage waste, and other materials for use as biofuels and solid biomass.

Thermal Energy has also received inquiries from ethanol producers looking to dry their distillers grain. Distillers grain is often used as feed for livestock. On average, for every bushel of corn used for ethanol, producers get 11 litres of ethanol and 7 kilograms of distillers grains.

The lab is equipped with a gravimetric moisture analyzer to determine the concentration of moisture and solids before and after testing. It will also be equipped with a calorimetric "bomb" - a device for measuring the calorific or heating values of dried waste products to determine their financial value as a fuel source.

Thermal Energy International Inc. is a technology company providing custom energy and emission reduction, and bioenergy solutions. Headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, TEI is a designer, design build developer, fabricator, owner, operator and supplier of proprietary and patented energy conservation, renewable energy and environmental technology solutions. Thermal Energy is a fully accredited professional engineering firm, and offers advanced process and applications engineering services. The company is a member of the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX).

Thermal Energy: Thermal Energy Opens DRY-REX™ Test Facility - March 06, 2008.


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