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    Mongabay, a leading resource for news and perspectives on environmental and conservation issues related to the tropics, has launched Tropical Conservation Science - a new, open access academic e-journal. It will cover a wide variety of scientific and social studies on tropical ecosystems, their biodiversity and the threats posed to them. Tropical Conservation Science - March 8, 2008.

    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.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Nexterra receives order for biomass gasification system at Oak Ridge National Laboratory - reduces 30,000t GHGs, saves $8.7m per year

Nexterra Energy Corp. announced today that it has received an order from Johnson Controls Inc. for the multi-million dollar biomass gasification system at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The ORNL recently chose biomass as the renewable energy source to power its campuses (previous post).

The Nexterra biomass gasification system is the cornerstone of an $89 million contract for Johnson Controls to undertake a wide range of building management and energy conservation measures at ORNL. The ORNL campus is home to the U.S. Department of Energy’s largest science and energy laboratory as well as the DOE’s Bioenergy Science Center.

The Nexterra system will replace ORNL’s existing natural gas steam plant by converting locally sourced woody biomass into clean burning syngas. The syngas will produce 60,000 lbs/hr of saturated steam to displace 75 MMBtu/hr of fossil fuel traditionally used to heat the campus. Once operational, the system will reduce campus fossil fuel consumption by 80 per cent.

Nexterra is supplying the complete gasification system from fuel handling and storage through to the exhaust stack. Engineering design is underway and the system will be delivered in late 2009.

The core of Nexterra’s technology is a fixed-bed, updraft gasifier (schematic, click to enlarge). Fuel, sized to 3 inches or less, is bottom-fed into the centre of the dome-shaped, refractory lined gasifier. Combustion air, steam and/or oxygen are introduced into the base of the fuel pile. Partial oxidation, pyrolysis and gasification occur at 1500 — 1800 °F, and the fuel is converted into “syngas” and non-combustible ash. The ash migrates to the base of the gasifier and is removed intermittently through an automated in-floor ash grate. The clean syngas can then be directed through energy recovery equipment or fired directly into boilers, dryers and kilns to produce useable heat, hot water, steam and/or electricity.

The Johnson Controls contract for ORNL was among the first awarded under the Department of Energy’s Transformational Energy Action Management (TEAM) Initiative. TEAM aims to reduce energy waste and greenhouse gases at DOE facilities nationwide by 30 per cent and have those facilities acquire at least 7.5 per cent of all energy from renewable sources by 2010.

The entire Johnson Controls-ORNL project will save ORNL an estimated $8.7 million annually and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than 30,000 tons per year:
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The Nexterra biomass gasification system will contribute about two thirds of the GHG emissions reductions, or the equivalent of taking 5,000 cars off the road each year.
ORNL is the flagship energy research institution in the country and we are very pleased to partner with Nexterra to deliver another state-of-the-art biomass gasification system. Nexterra has consistently demonstrated that its technology is a new standard for converting biomass into energy that is clean, reliable, versatile and ideally suited to institutional and urban environments. - Don Albinger, Vice President of Renewable Solutions at Johnson Controls
Jonathan Rhone, President and CEO of Nexterra, said the ORNL installation represents a tremendous opportunity to showcase the benefits of biomass gasification:
Nexterra’s biomass gasification system will not only assist ORNL to meet its cost and GHG reduction targets, but will also help raise the profile of biomass gasification and what it offers in terms of increased energy security, lower costs and improved air quality.
The Oak Ridge National Laboratory is a multi-program science and technology laboratory managed for the U.S. Department of Energy by UT-Battelle, LLC. Scientists and engineers at ORNL conduct basic and applied research and development to create scientific knowledge and technological solutions that strengthen the nation's leadership in key areas of science; increase the availability of clean, abundant energy; restore and protect the environment; and contribute to national security. With 4,200 staff, 3,000 guest researchers, 20 user facilities, and a budget of approximately $1.2 billion, ORNL supports the Department of Energy's mission through six major scientific competencies in energy, neutron science, high-performance computing, complex biological systems, materials research, and national security.

Nexterra Energy is a leading developer and supplier of advanced gasification systems that enable customers to self-generate clean, low cost heat and/or power using waste fuels "inside-the-fence" at institutional and industrial facilities. Nexterra gasification systems provide a unique combination of attributes including design simplicity, reliability, versatility, low emissions, low cost and full automation to provide customers with a superior value proposition compared to conventional solutions. Nexterra is a private company based in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Nexterra's projects include biomass gasification projects that deliver power and heat for wood processing plants, a cogeneration plant at the University of South Carolina, a gasification system that delivers heat and hot water for a green residential development in Virginia, and a power generation system based on wood waste for multiple 10 MW plants servicing up to 15 communities in British Columbia's Interior.

Biopact: ORNL chooses biomass to power its campuses - August 12, 2008


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