biomass magazine - august 2007

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August 2007 Biomass Magazine

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  • Learning FromFirst-GenerationBiomass Power Producers Renewable Energy Industry Prepares for the Next Generation

    US $24.95 year : www.BiomassMagazine.com

    INSIDE: SUCCINIC ACIDS POTENTIAL AS A BIOBASED CHEMICAL FEEDSTOCK

    August 2007

  • University ofNorth Dakota

    Grand Forks

    Backed by more than 60 years of experience in gasication technologies and more than a decade in biomass energy, the Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) is leading North Dakota and the nation in renewable energy technologies.

    EERC Centers for Renewable Energy and Biomass Utilization Renewable

    C e n t e r s f o r

    E n e r g y& Biomass utilization

    With more than 300 employees, the EERC is a worldwide leader in developing cleaner, more efcient energy technologies as well as environmental technologies to protect and clean our air, water, and soil. At the EERC, sound science evolves into true innovation. Find out more about how the EERC can innovate for you.

    www.undeerc.org EERC Technology Putting Research into Practice

  • 8|2007 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 3

    INSIDE AUGUST 2007 VOLUME 1 ISSUE 3

    FEATURES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 POWER One Mans Trash Is Anothers Power Source

    More landfills are starting to realize the benefits of using waste to generate

    power. Whether collecting and combusting landfill gas or incinerating garbage,

    landfill managers are protecting the environment and creating new revenue

    sources. By Nicholas Zeman

    22 CHEMICALS The Quest to Commercialize Biobased Succinic Acid

    Researchers are closing in on the means to commercially produce succinic acid. The

    four-carbon molecule is an attractive replacement for petroleum-derived maleic

    anhydride, which is used to make foods, pharmaceuticals, detergents, plastics and

    clothing fibers. By Jessica Ebert

    28 PROCESS Harnessing the Power of Biomass

    While renewable energy hasnt garnered as much attention as renewable fuels

    in the realm of reducing the nations dependence on foreign oil, that hasnt

    stopped the industry from evolving using the lessons learned from industry

    pioneers. By Susanne Retka Schill

    34 FUEL Fuels for Schools and Beyond

    A program designed to use biomass waste to reduce schools heating costs has

    expanded into more states and other institutions. One of the Fuels for Schools largest

    projects involves the Northern Nevada Correctional Center in Carson City, Nev.

    By Anduin Kirkbride McElroy

    40 INDUSTRY The Elusive Biorefinery

    Biorefineries have long been the ideal for researchers and investors seeking to

    produce biomass-derived chemical intermediates. The concept is similar to an oil

    refinery where crude oil goes in and several different products come out. Although a

    range of valuable chemicals that could form the base of a viable biorefinery have

    been identified, the development pace is slow. By Jerry W. Kram

    DEPARTMENTS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    04 Editors Note

    05 Advertiser Index

    07 Industry Events

    09 Business Briefs

    10 Industry News

    47 In the LabThe Need for Speed:

    Rapid Biomass Analysis Makes Better Breeding Possible

    By Jerry W. Kram

    49 EERC UpdateA Road Map for Biofuels Research

    By Chris J. Zygarl icke

    INDUSTRY | PAGE 40

  • editorsNOTE

    Cellulosic ethanol in,biomass power out of Senate energy bill

    he U.S. Senate passed an energy bill June 21 that has positive implications for one form of biomass utilization

    and disappointing implications for another.

    On the bright side, the legislation would give ethanol productionspecifically cellulosic ethanol produc-

    tiona big boost. It would raise the current renewable fuels standard (RFS) from 7.5 billion gallons of consumption by

    2012 to 36 billion gallons by 2022. This new RFS would contain an advanced biofuels carve-out, mainly for cellulosics,

    taking effect in 2016 with 3 billion gallons and increasing by that amount each year to reach 21 billion gallons by 2022.

    The Senate energy bill would also boost auto fuel economy standards to 35 miles per gallon (fleet average) by

    2020, a 40 percent increase over current requirements. If you look back at aggressive biofuels visions set by groups

    such as the Natural Resources Defense Council and others, improved fuel economy standards are as important to the

    future relevancy of biofuels as advancing cellulosic ethanol process technology. That is, for biofuels to be relevant in

    Americas energy future, cellulosic ethanol production must be rapidly commercialized and rise precipitously while over-

    all fuel consumption simultaneously falls. The Senate should be applauded for passing legislation that pairs increased

    biofuels production with higher fuel economy standards.

    So often in the biofuels industry, we see investors practically salivating over skyrocketing fuel consumption projec-

    tions. The logic is simple: Limited global oil supplies plus rising fuel consumption plus increasing reliance of foreign oil

    equals a better market for ethanol. The higher the demand is for fuel, the higher demand is for ethanol. Ive always

    believed that way of thinking was flawed. We, as biofuels advocates, should never hope overall fuel consumption keeps

    rising to guarantee the future need for biomass-based transportation fuels. Rather, we should actively push for higher

    and higher fuel economy standards that ultimately make biofuels more relevant by giving them a larger share of a small-

    er market.

    The ethanol provisions in the Senate bill are terrific, but the legislation falls short in at least one key area. A provi-

    sion that would have required electric utilities to produce at least 15 percent of their electricity from wind, biomass or

    other renewables was shut out. What happened? The electricity provision faced strong opposition from senators who

    worried that such a national mandate would raise electricity costs in some statesnamely Southeastern states that dont

    have adequate wind resources. During Senate debate on the issue, Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., circulated a study

    commissioned by the Edison Electric Institute, showing that 27 states would be unable to comply with the 15 percent

    renewables requirement. However, that report was apparently based principally on wind power and didnt look adequate-

    ly at the potential for biomass-based electricity generation in the Southeast. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., said during

    the debate that states in the Southeast have huge resources of biomass. Despite claims by the opposition that the

    renewables requirements would cause electricity prices to soar, Bingaman produced a report from the U.S. Energy

    Information Administration that said otherwise.

    In fact, 23 states already require utilities to move toward meeting minimum renewable fuel use requirements,

    including nine states where standards are equal to or exceed the Senate proposal.

    Its disappointing that the renewables requirement wasnt part of the Senate bill. At press time, the House was con-

    tinuing to work on its own version of the energy bill. Its too early to tell, but perhaps biomass power will fare better in

    that version. Stay tuned.

    T

    Tom Bryan Editorial Director

    tbryan@bbibiofuels.com

    4 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 8|2007

  • 8|2007 BIOMASS MAGAZINE 5

    EDITORIAL

    Tom Bryan EDITORIAL DIRECTOR tbryan@bbibiofuels.com

    Jaci Satterlund ART DIRECTOR jsatterlund@bbibiofuels.com

    Jessica Sobolik MANAGING EDITOR jsobolik@bbibiofuels.com

    Dave Nilles CONTRIBUTIONS EDITOR dnilles@bbibiofuels.com

    Rona Johnson FEATURES EDITOR rjohnson@bbibiofuels.com

    Craig A. Johnson PLANT LIST & CONSTRUCTION EDITOR cjohnson@bbibiofuels.com

    Michael Shirek ONLINE EDITOR mshirek@bbibiofuels.com

    Jan Tellmann COPY EDITOR jtellmann@bbibiofuels.com

    Ron Kotrba STAFF WRITER rkotrba@bbibiofuels.com

    Nicholas Zeman STAFF WRITER nzeman@bbibiofuels.com

    Anduin Kirkbride McElroy STAFF WRITER amcelroy@bbibiofuels.com

    Jerry W. Kram STAFF WRITER jkram@bbibiofuels.com

    Susanne Retka Schill STAFF WRITER sretkaschill@bbibiofuels.com

    Bryan Sims STAFF WRITER bsims@bbibiofuels.com

    Jessica Ebert STAFF WRITER jebert@bbibiofuels.com

    Elizabeth Slavens GRAPHIC DESIGNER bslavens@bbibiofuels.com

    PUBLISHING & SALESMike Bryan PUBLISHER & CEO mbryan@bbibiofuels.com

    Kathy Bryan PUBLISHER & VICE PRESIDENT kbryan@bbibiofuels.com

    Joe Bryan VICE PRESIDENT OF MEDIA jbryan@bbibiofuels.com

    Matthew Spoor SALES DIRECTOR mspoor@bbibiofuels.com

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    Subscriptions Subscriptions to Biomass Magazineare available for just $24.95 per year within the

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