Monday, February 27, 2006

Biofuel distributors see strong demand

Ethanol plants have attracted hundreds of investors, including Microsoft Corp.'s Bill Gates -- who sunk $84 million into West Coast producer Pacific Ethanol Inc. -- and venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, who is seeding BC International, which will make fuel from switchgrass. But just a handful of companies in the corn belt hold the keys to distributing the fuel, which will prove crucial to making ethanol available at pumps across the country.

The U.S. ethanol industry now has 95 plants nationwide. Analysts say by 2012 it will double in volume, from producing 4.3 billion to 7.5 billion gallons of biofuel. That growth will be aided by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which gives ethanol producers sizable subsidies, including a federal tax credit for small refiners.

Archer Daniels Midland Co. Chairman and CEO G. Allen Andreas told analysts Tuesday he expects producers will get another bump since ethanol companies' rising demand for American-grown corn will push corn prices higher. ADM, headquartered in Decatur, Ill., is one of the world's largest corn processors.

Bush Unveils Top-Secret Government Renewable Geothermal Energy Source

President Bush yesterday revealed a top-secret program which he has taken a personal interest in developing over the last three years. The program was the result of three years of combined private sector efforts in research with the Department of Energy and a little known program whose primary goal was to introduce the concepts of intelligent design and faith-based initiatives into modern science. The administration now claims to be on the threshold of a deal which would produce an unlimited and renewable geothermal energy source turning America's addiction to oil into a luxury that all Americans can afford. Bush yesterday toured the deep underground facility with its primary administrator Stan Redman. Mr. Redman, an entrepreneur and a deeply religious individual, was described by the administration as an example of the future American businessman/scientist. The president stated, "This is a fine example of what happens when individuals are allowed the tools of a free-market and privatization without the encumbrance of government oversight. When you add in the freedom of the individual to bring in their faith and religious practices into the workplace, well... that's how miracles occur."The president toured the facility for about 45 minutes with Mr. Redman. White House spokespersons stated that the president was said to be in awe of the sheer depth of the facility and the tunneling technology which allowed it to be possible. The visitors reportedly took approximately four hours to descend and the same amount of time to exit to the surface. Bush then reluctantly admitted to reporters that the deal for Mr. Redman's unlimited energy technology was incumbent upon the administration's following through with the sale of America's ports to Dubai. "I again say to Congress that I will simply be forced to veto any legislation that would halt or slow down this deal. There is simply too much to lose... the very soul of America is at stake here." , stated Mr. Bush.

Friday, February 24, 2006

NZ: Company Officially Opens Geothermal Plant

Tuaropaki Power Company Officially Opens Geothermal Plant Extension at Mokai

On Saturday 25 February 2006, the Tuaropaki Power Company held their official opening ceremony for the Mokai Geothermal Power Station extension. The 39 MW extension brings the total Mokai output up to 94 MW. This power station alone will generate almost 2% of New Zealand's total electricity requirements, and will be in the nation's top 15 stations in terms of annual output.

Tuaropaki Power Company will now be the 6th largest electricity generator in New Zealand. Geothermal power stations supply a reliable base load of generation that is independent of rainfall or wind.

The station is based around what is known as binary cycle technology. While geothermal steam does pass directly through a steam turbine, geothermal heat from steam and water is passed to a second "organic" working fluid that drives other turbines. Large banks of air-cooled heat exchangers are another feature of the station. The station was designed and built by Ormat of Israel and is similar to the Rotokawa station near Taupo, or to other designs internationally. The overall result is an efficient geothermal power station.

The station has a low profile sitting on farm land surrounded by low-lying hills. The station is not directly visible from main roads out of Taupo. The heat exchanger arrangements around the station mean that there is normally no direct release of geothermal steam at the surface. A small amount of carbon dioxide comes with the geothermal fluid and is vented above the cooling towers.

The carbon dioxide emissions are about one sixth of that of a gas-fired combined cycle power station of the same MW output. Geothermal water and condensate are reinjected into the Mokai reservoir. The station is normally quiet and is not expected to disturb either the local farm workers or farming operations.

Source: Company press release

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Nevada: World largest solar energy plant planned

A pair of companies have announced plans to build the largest solar energy project of its kind in the world in southern Nevada to sell electricity to the military.

Las Vegas-based Powered by Renewables Corp. and SunEdison LLC of Baltimore said Monday they plan to build an 18-megawatt photovoltaic plant by the end of the year in Clark County, with plans to double capacity and supply enough energy to power 36,000 homes.

"We're starting to show the world," said Tim Carlson, Powered by Renewables president. "Nevada in particular is really becoming a serious renewable energy state."

The facility could cost $115 million, and would be larger than a 10-megawatt photovoltaic system in Germany, currently the largest solar plant of its kind in the world, the companies said. The companies intend to sell power to a military installation in Clark County.

The solar panels would track the sun for greater efficiency, providing the most power on summer days when air conditioning causes electric power needs to peak, Carlson said.

Construction is scheduled to start in July with some power being produced by the end of the year and the remainder by mid-2007, Carlson said.

Monday, February 06, 2006

UK renewable energy hits turbulence

A minor victory for opponents of wind farms and supporters of nuclear energy will be provided this week by new data showing that the UK has slipped from the world’s most attractive country to develop renewable energy to the fourth in a year.

The claim is contained in Ernst & Young’s quarterly report for Winter 2005, published on Monday. The decline suggests the concerted campaign waged by the anti-wind farm lobby is succeeding and that support for nuclear is growing.

The report will also say that the UK government is moving ever further from its goal of achieving 10% renewables generation by 2010. Only 450MW of wind power was installed in 2005, far short of the number required to meet the 2010 target.

The report is expected to blame difficulties in getting planning permission on key new power lines for holding up development of wind farms across the UK.

BP, Indian green group to produce biofuel

Oil major BP and a leading Indian energy think tank will launch a $9.4 million biofuel production project, the two said on Thursday.

BP and Tata Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) will undertake the 10-year project in Andhra Pradesh, they said in a statement. They gave no timeframe for the launch.

During the project period, 8,000 hectares (19,770 acres) of wasteland will be cultivated with Jatropha Curcas, a non-edible oil-bearing crop, with the aim of producing 9 million litres (1.9 million gallons) of biodiesel per annum, they said. Credit: Reuters

Ohio: $100,000 in grants for builders marketing solar energy systems

The Ohio Department of Development will award $100,000 in grants funded through the Energy Loan Fund for the installation of solar energy systems on model homes and newly built homes in the same development.

ODOD is soliciting proposals from licensed builders and developers to build solar demonstration model homes, to market solar homes and to encourage homebuyers who choose eligible solar options to also apply for incentives.

Projects must be in the service areas of AEP, Cinergy, Dayton Power and Light and First Energy to be eligible, as the Energy Loan Fund is provided through a small rider on their electric bills.

Vermont State supports geothermal project

The state of Vermont strongly supports the geothermal project at the Veterans Home. The governor is funding — and will continue to fund — the needed money to construct the geo-thermal heating project. He has already made a deep commitment to making overall improvements at the facility and to the operations.

The project plan outlines three phases for this undertaking. Each requires state funding and a federal match. The initial part of first phase was to replace aged boilers, to ensure that there were no failures in the heating system. Over the next year we will be spending over $1.3 million in federal dollars, matching $750,000 in state funds already spent, to complete this first phase. Source: Statement by R. TASHA WALLIS (Commissioner, Buildings and General Services

Waterloo North Hydro and NextEnergy create innovative geothermal venture

New joint venture makes geothermal energy more accessible

Jan. 27, 2006 - Waterloo North Hydro and NextEnergy today announced the launch of Lifetime Energy, a joint venture and unique program designed to make geothermal energy solutions accessible to anyone in the Waterloo North Hydro service area. Geothermal has long been recognized as a renewable and clean alternative to conventional energy sources. Unlike fossil fuels which are piped in from a distant source, geothermal efficiently taps into latent energy stored underground on the home or business site. Waterloo North Hydro and NextEnergy started their discussions over a year ago after realizing a common interest in energy conservation and the inherent benefits of increased use of geothermal energy solutions.

"Waterloo North Hydro, like all local electricity distribution utilities in Ontario, is committed to a conservation culture," said Rene Gatien, president and CEO of Waterloo North Hydro. "As an environmentally friendly energy source, geothermal is an excellent alternative for heating, cooling and hot water needs and, with Lifetime Energy, we can make it affordable for all our customers." Lifetime Energy offers local customers the ability to buy geothermal systems with a convenient monthly bill.

For customers on oil and propane, a significant savings in energy use and fuel cost will be realized immediately - as much as 70% off their current payments. NextEnergy, Lifetime Energy partner and a world-renowned pioneer in geothermal energy, sees the new venture with Waterloo North Hydro as a perfect example of two companies combining efforts to reach mutual objectives. "It is truly a winning strategy for everyone involved, said Randal Palach, president of NextEnergy. "Together with Waterloo North Hydro we can reach more households frustrated by high energy costs and offer those customers not just lower energy bills but a proven, cleaner, and more cost-effective solution. "Ultimately, the biggest winners are the consumer and the environment."

Friday, February 03, 2006

EU set to drive up biofuel production

Although on the increase, biofuel production in the EU is “not moving quickly enough,” Brussels will warn national capitals next week.

EU agriculture chief, Mariann Fischer Boel will tell member states that an EU target of 5.75 per cent biofuel content in fuels by 2010 will not be met unless tough new action is taken.

“Efforts so far…have been admirable, but insufficient,” said Fischer Boel, writing in the latest issue of Parliament Magazine, published on Monday.

“While things are moving in the right direction, they are not moving quickly enough.”

Fischer Boel will unveil a new EU biofuels strategy on Wednesday that will include seven key priorities aimed at kick starting the fledgling industry.

Photon Energy new Solar Heater

Photon Energy Systems Ltd., the city based manufacturer and 100% EOU of a wide range of Solar Energy - Solar PV Modules, Solar Lanterns, Solar Street Lights, Solar Water Pumps, Solar Power Plants and Solar Water Heating Systems, has introduced world’s latest Solar Water Heating Technology.

The Miracle Solar Geyser is now widely accepted and is the preferred Solar Geyser for a number of users across the country. Giving details while addressing the media at its plant at IDA Bollaram, Sharad Saxena, Director & CEO of Photon Energy Systems Ltd.highlighted the salient features of the new product. He informed that the new product approved by the Ministry of Non Conventional Energy Sources, Government of India has been tested at Regional Solar Energy Centre, Madurai (approved test centre of MNES & BIS, Govt of India).

The Miracle Solar Geyser is the result of a vigorous product development exercise undertaken by Photon with its Joint Venture Partner, Haiyan Solarbridge, China. These Geysers are now manufactured in a new and modern facility at the Photon Factory at IDA Bollarum, Hyderabad.

Denmark: Renewable energy poised for US invasion

America has an addiction. Denmark's alternative energy producers may have the cure, says the Copenhagen Post. The excitement amongst Danish alternative energy producers was tangible late Wednesday night as US president uttered the words 'America is addicted to oil' and that something must be done about it.

During his State of the Union Speech, President Bush announced that the US needed to cut its reliance on foreign oil. To achieve that, he was launching the Advanced Energy Initiative - a project aimed at reducing the country's dependence on oil 75 percent by 2025.

The initiative is no small deal. The US has already has spent USD 10b (EUR 8b) since 2001 to reduce its energy dependence, and experts predict that far more will be needed to meet the goal. The initiative itself will increase research by 22 percent.

A key element of the reducing energy dependency will be a shift to renewable energy technology, and here Danish alternative energy producers already have a leg up on their competition.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Brazil's Biofuel: A Success Story

Brazilians are choosing to pump ethanol into their cars, reducing the country’s dependency on petrol and setting a worldwide example on how to reduce greenhouse emissions from transport.

More than 183 600 “flexi-fuel” cars, which run on petrol or ethanol made from sugar cane, were sold in December in Brazil -- more than 70% of all cars sold there. In total, 33% of all fuel used is now made from sugar.

Cost is the driving factor -- ethanol fuel is 60% of the price of gasoline -- but there is also growing understanding that Brazil is leading the world in the flight from fossil fuels. President Lula da Silva describes Brazil’s use of biodiesel as the country’s “energy revolution”.

One of those spearheading the revolution is Luiz Custodio Martins, president of the Sugar and Alcohol Union in Minas Gerais, Brazil’s second-largest sugar-producing state. He says Brazil’s vast land mass and tropical climate make it ideal for producing sugar cane.

Luis Cortez, a professor at the University of Campinas who has spent 20 years researching biofuels, reels off the reasons behind his country’s growing ethanol empire: “The land, the rain, the climate and experience.” .

Martins predicts that if oil prices remain high, 95% of all new vehicles produced in Brazil will be flexi-fuel by next year. Experts hope exporters will also benefit from ethanol. The country exported two billion litres last year, making it the world’s largest exporter.

But there are some who doubt Brazil will be able to keep up with foreign demand for ethanol -- China and Africa have displayed interest. A recent study by Sâo Paulo’s sugar cane agro-industry union, Unica, indicated that ethanol production would have to increase by 10billion litres by 2010 to keep pace with overseas demand.

Others believe lack of space near the ports and an outdated transport infrastructure will prevent Brazil from fulfilling its potential.

Despite the obstacles, Cortez describes Brazil’s dominance of the ethanol market as a success story. He says: “The developed world should look at how a poor country was able, by means of its own creativity, to give an intelligent answer to the energy problem.” Credit: Guardian

Solar energy may hold key to water shortage

ABU DHABI — International experts have called for the use of solar energy to resolve the problem of water shortage in the region.

Winding up a two-day seminar on Sustainable GCC Environment and Water Resoruces (EWR 2006), the experts underlined the need to chalk out strategies to address the acute water problem in the region as well as ways of protecting the environment.

The event was jointly organised by the Research Affairs department at UAE University and the Japan Cooperation Center for Petroleum (JCCP).

On the water issue, they said the region is rich in solar energy with high intensity so that solar desalination may be an ideal solution.

Solar distillation is the simplest desalination technique, compared to others such as multiple-effect distillation, multi-stage flash, reverse osmosis, electro-dialysis and biological treatment. A basin-type solar still is the most popular method of solar distillation but has undergone very little advances due to low distillate productivity and the difficulty of rapid and easy removal of salt accumulation in the basin.

More studies are needed to overcome design problems and efficiency, experts said adding, other techniques such as "tubular solar still" should be looked at. Source: Press Release

Bush: Renewable energy close

President Bush has said alternative fuels to compete with petrol could be produced within six years.

Speaking in Nashville, Mr Bush said that scientists were close to a breakthrough on making ethanol from materials such as grasses.Technology, he hoped, would help the US "reduce if not end" reliance on Middle Eastern oil in his lifetime.

In his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday, Mr Bush criticised the US "addiction" to oil. "The best way to break this addiction is through technology," he said. On Wednesday President Bush set off on a tour of the United States to bring the messages in his State of the Union speech to all corners of the nation.

He told the Nashville audience that the US was close to a breakthrough in making ethanol from materials like grasses or woods. "All of a sudden, you know, we may be in the energy business by being able to grow grass on the ranch! And have it harvested and converted into energy. That's what's close to happening," he said. "We're told that if we continue to focus on research, we'll be able to within six years have a competitive fuel to gasoline." The US is the world's biggest consumer of oil. Credit: BBC

Diversified Energy Corporation Created to Develop Renewable Energy

Entrepreneur and Industrialist W. David Thompson announced today that he has completed the formation of a new company, Diversified Energy Corporation.  Focused on the development of advanced alternative energy systems, Diversified Energy Corporation is positioning itself to address the rapidly expanding renewable energy and alternative fuels marketplace.

"We created Diversified Energy Corporation following the completion of a comprehensive energy  market study and trend analysis," Thompson said.  "There is clear and definite evidence that the United States, and the entire world, is on the brink of a major energy crisis and we must aggressively pursue
alternative solutions in order to sustain our economy and maintain our quality of life." Source: Press Release

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Bush Promotes Renewable Energy Cuts ?

President Bush’s FY06 budget request for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) energy efficiency and renewable energy programs envisioned “reductions totaling nearly $50 million - an overall cut of roughly four percent.”