Biomass the Oldest Renewable Biofuel – Developments

September 18, 2008

This clip from Wikipedia explains the comment in the title. Today when we talk biomass in the biofuel context we might think of switchgrass grown for ethanol, saw milling waste or soya beans for biodiesel production – but in fact the wood fire was the first example of a biomass fuel and is still a very important fuel in developing countries.

 

Biomass - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.jpg


from: WIKIPEDIA
(click image for full story online)

 

This defines biomass as

Biomass refers to living and recently dead biological material that can be used as fuel or for industrial production. Most commonly, biomass refers to plant matter grown to generate electricity or produce biofuel, but it also includes plant or animal matter used for production of fibers, chemicals or heat. Biomass may also include biodegradable wastes that can be burnt as fuel. It excludes organic material which has been transformed by geological processes into substances such as coal or petroleum.

Two recent stories illustrate what is happening in this area.

 

Biofuels brief_ Huge growth for UK biomass.jpg


from: Farmers Weekly Interactive
(click image for full story online)

 

This article considers biomass from recycled wood, processing co-products (palm kernel or distillers grains, for example), agricultural wastes (straw, chicken manure and so on) and energy crops.

It refers to announcements in recent months to develop more than 1,000MW of electricity generation from biomass. It also identifies increasing quantities of biomass being co-fired in large coal plants and used in industrial-sized operations. It expands on the activities of a number of companies.

 

Bioenergy pact between Europe and Africa.jpg


from: BIOPACT
(click image for full story online)

 

This is an amazing story of a €150 million project to produce enough electricity for 90,000 households, by burning chicken manure, that went online in the beginning of September.

The plant is owned and operated by utility company Delta, cooperative DET, ZLTO and Austrian Energy & Environment A.G. (a consortium including Siemens Nederland N.V.). It will use approximately 440,000 tons of chicken manure a year, roughly one third of the total amount produced in the Netherlands.

It is interesting that while producing electricity the project solves a number of problems from complaints by the UKto the smell produced when Holland spread manure on their fields, to the release of Methane and the high cost of alternate disposal.

The ash from the plant will be used in fertilisers. There are opportunities for the manure from the remainder of Holland’s chickens and from other countries of Europe.

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Biogas in Californian Dairies

September 16, 2008

This presentation on the potential of biogas production from dairy waste in California is interesting and presents some useful data.


Challenges to Biogas Production and Use on California s Dairy Farms – Get more Legal Forms

I am able to email you this document if you require, please click here and leave the embedded text in the subject line.


Now The Water Footprint!

August 28, 2008

We had the carbon footprint, but now its the water footprint that is threatening to constrain how we make food.

Water Footprints Make A Splash | Worldwatch Institute.jpg

from: Worldwatch
(click image for full story online)

 

The water footprint concept is introduced because of the overall shortage of water that is expected as a result of the growing population and the changes in eating habits.

Some of the interesting examples given in the article are:

it is estimated the 4,645 average liters of water that Britons consume daily leads the country to import 62 percent of its water sources

livestock production requires the most water resources in the food chain. One hamburger, for instance, needs 2,400 liters of water on average.


UK Produced Biodiesel – Writing on The Wall

July 19, 2008

I wrote this some weeks ago but failed to post it because of my travels!

Two announcements – the closure of processing in the UK by D2 oil and the opening of a “micro biodiesel facility” that will use waste oil and jatropha oil by De-Ord Fuel indicate the over optimism around Jatropha and the uncertainty in the market.

De-Ord launches jatropha, waste oil biodiesel plant in England.jpg

from: Biofuels Digest
(click image for full story online)

 

De-Ord’s micro plant, which will produce only 4.5 million litres a year will distribute biodiesel directly to bus and truck fleets. This, along with careful raw material sourcing will apparently allow it to be sustainable and possibly become a model for other European installations.

On the other hand D1 Oils has had to close and sell off plant as they are unable to compete with US imports using rapeseed as a feedstock. They will therefore be concentrating on their Jatropha operations, which have been part of their business approach since their establishment. The fact that inputs are required to optimise Jatropha production and that full scale production, which seemed to be pretty much in control 2 years ago,

D1 Oils - Breeding & planting programme.jpg

is only due in 2011 are the realities compared to the hype that abounds in many projects.