April 30, 2007

April 2007 Digest

Woody Biomass - Energizing a new generation

America is witnessing the balkanization of its renewable energy portfolio. The sun belt is home to solar energy. The corn belt is home to ethanol. Landfill bioenergy is focused in urban areas. The nation's woodpiles are in the Pacific Northwest and the Southeast. Each region will have to come to grips with the economic, technical, environmental, and cultural changes that will be necessary build, market, and sustain development in their communities. NIMBY-ism will be a constant, frustrating impediment to many grand schemes.

We have seen the impact that ethanol has played in the cornbelt. Its communities have embraced the technologies - not without some consternation from its livestock industry. Individual farmers have banded together to form cooperatives to build ethanol plants. Agricultural giants like ADM and Cargill are re-evaluating how they can realign their business units to capitalize on their waste and biomass assets. Politicians are displaying uncharacteristic bipartisanship on ag/energy issues.

Following this model, we are now witnessing an emerging focus in the southeastern U.S. - home to communities that are committed now and in future generations to forestry and wood-related companies. 44% of the existing renewable energy generated in the U.S. comes from and is used by this industry - mostly generated from woody waste accumulating at paper and pulp mills. Landowners are eying biorefinery plans for the region to see if it makes sense to form cooperatives. Moribund mills and chemical factories that have lost business to foreign competition are now viewed as possible sites for new bioenergy ventures since they already have supply and distribution infrastructure in place.

The best resource of the region is the character of the indigenous citizens. Unfailingly patriotic but often regarded as the underappreciated step-children of America, many communities of the Southeast are eager to finally have an opportunity to contribute their regional ingenuity, brawn, and industrial capacity to the national effort to end American addiction to foreign oil. It is, after all, the young, proud southern recruit that continues to carry the bulk of the national security burden caused by this addiction.

As a political footnote, presidential aspirants interested in a Southern strategy should remember that in 2000 Gore lost ALL the states in the region - including his home state of Tennessee which would have put him in the White House. A commitment to woody bioenergy development of the region would be well received. It is not clear that the same can be said of the Pacific Northwest.

Here are links to stories that were posted in the BioEnergy BlogRing during April, 2007:

BIOstock Blog--------------
E3 Biofuels and Closed Loop Ethanol Plants
The need for Public Outreach: a case study in China
BIOstock 101: The BioTown Sourcebook
Woody Biomass Utilization and the USDA Forest Service
Development alliance builds between forest and energy giants
Hybrid poplars reduce carbon emissions best
Thinning trees to save ecology
In-Woods Expo 2007 Harvests Energy

BIOconversion Blog--------------
Industrial Symbiosis: Creating eco-industrial parks
Latin America's Blueprint for Green Energy
BIOconversion 101: The BioTown Sourcebook
EPA releases comprehensive Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program
Converting Biomass to Hydrogen
D.O.E. to fund ADM/Purdue cellulosic ethanol project
Friedman Multi-media on "The Power of Green"
Biomass Gasification at the "Chin-dia" price

BIOoutput Blog--------------
Good News from the DOE about Carbon Sequestration
BIOoutput 101: The BioTown Sourcebook

BIOwaste Blog--------------
BIOwaste 101: The BioTown Sourcebook
Hurdles to Waste Conversion Technologies
Smokestack emissions as feedstock for ethanol

Each month we provide a similar breakdown of article titles from our favorite "companion" site - Biopact Blog. This list is kept current and is accessible in the right hand column of each of the three blogs.

Please forward a link to this digest to anyone you know who would be interested in keeping track of change that will affect us all. They can add their name to the mailing list on the BioConversion Blog.

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April 23, 2007

Biomass Gasification at the "Chin-dia" price

Thomas Friedman talks about the need for new alternative energy systems to be affordable at the "China price" or, more broadly the "Chin-dia price" - cheap enough for China or India to deploy because with the demand for renewable energy so high in those countries, they may indeed be the first to develop and deploy them. He contends that the ultimate solution(s) will have to compete economically with the "Chin-dia price". Certainly, without near global deployment of a variety of technologies suited to each culture and eco-system, alternative energy will never effectively shift the energy paradigm to carbon-neutral renewable feedstock.

We typically think of "biomass gasification" as an elegant but expensive alternative to co-firing or fossil fuel combustion. A recent Biopact article titled Biomass gasification to power rural India out of energy povertydispells that myth:

Even though there is no magic solution to the age-old development problem of bringing electricity to the rural poor, some elements and factors have been identified as key: decentralisation, reliance on locally available energy resources (water, wind, the sun or biomass) and, crucially, the need for low-cost systems.

Experts from India think these principles and requirements converge in a technology known as biomass gasification, in an electrification concept that has become commercially feasible and reliable (in-depth discussion of the technology, here, or see the image showing a downdraft biomass gasifier, click to enlarge). The energy system may be applicable to rural areas in the developing world at large because it is the least costly of the common alternatives. Depending on local circumstances, it is estimated to be between 15 and 20 times less costly than photovoltaics.

Several community-operated experiments with decentralised biomass gasification and electrification are now underway in India, and it looks like the technology can literally turn marginalised communities into thriving and prosperous societies (see the case-study). Drawing on this success, an ambitious initiative by science institutes and the private sector has been launched aimed at mass-producing efficient small to medium-scale gasifiers

It turns out that Ludditism - the tendency of technology detractors to hold up deployment for any number of reasons - is the most expensive part of any alternative energy technology. If Americans persist in delaying implementation of even the most tested and reasonable solutions to our environmental/energy problems, we will cede leadership in the investment and development of emerging technologies.

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April 21, 2007

Friedman Multi-media on "The Power of Green"

Thomas L. Friedman is an author, journalist, and visionary who has earned recognition as the foremost commentator of the Green Energy "revolution."

And revolution it is - on many levels. It could be argued that, while military might is still necessary to contain crises, all-out wars are an anachronism - a victim of the Law of Unintended Consequences and instantaneous worldwide communication. "All-out" is now analogous with "suicidal" and has been relegated to "terrorism." If you want to stage a sustainable revolution in the new millennium your only option is through economic evolution and industrial redevelopment.

Friedman is a voracious student on the subject of world economic trends - traveling the globe, interviewing people with insight, and witnessing the causes and consequences of our folly. He also writes stimulating articles and books, full of heat and light, on the present and future challenges that face generations that haven't even been born yet. His 2005 book The World is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century is a must read that was updated in April of 2006.

In last weekend's New York Times Magazine, Friedman offered his latest insights on geopolitics, energy, and the green revolution - The Power of Green. In case you are reading this after the article has been archived, you can still see the The Power of Green Video.

Discovery Channel is premiering Green: The New Red, White and Blue, a documentary featuring his reporting on green technology, on Saturday, April 21 at 9 p.m.

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman travels the globe to unravel the tangled web of where we get our energy, and what we can do about the carbon footprint producing and consuming that energy. He visits the front lines of a revolution taking shape.

Another access hub of Friedman multimedia is, of course, YouTube which has an assortment of interviews with the author. One highlights The Case for Businesses Going Green but there are other ones that focus on themes developed in his books regarding the economics of globalization, answers to our addiction to oil, and Muslim attitudes toward their leaders and their occupiers.

Thomas L. Friedman doesn't have all the answers but he asks great questions and has earned his position for asking them of the right people. His synthesis of interwoven global issues is his most stimulating talent.

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April 20, 2007

D.O.E. to fund ADM/Purdue cellulosic ethanol project

Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) is a highly visible producer of biofuels utilizing corn kernels as feedstock for sugar fermentation to ethanol. It should come as no surprise that they have a vested interest in the successful commercialization of new technologies that will advance fermentation on other sources of agricultural feedstock - initially the residuals of corn conversion, eventually other crops and their residuals.

Their joint venture with Purdue on R&D of commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol fermentation using new, highly-efficient yeast is a logical direction for them to take. Here is a recent press release concerning D.O.E. funding of part of this important R&D...

Joint ADM and Purdue University Cellulosic Ethanol Project Selected For Funding By U.S. Department Of Energy

April 16, 2007 - A joint BioEnergy project of Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM) and Purdue University has been selected to receive funding by the U.S. Department of Energy to further the commercialization of cellulosic ethanol. Specifically, the Purdue-ADM project is focused on commercializing the use of highly-efficient yeast which converts cellulosic materials into ethanol through fermentation.

“As the global leader in BioEnergy, we are able to leverage our biofuel production and agricultural processing expertise to advance the development of cost-efficient processing technologies, including those that will turn cellulosic materials into ethanol and other co-products,” stated Tom Binder, President-ADM Research.

“One of our goals is to reduce the cost of the process and make it applicable for commercial production,” said Nancy Ho, the principal investigator and a researcher in Purdue’s Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering (LORRE).

The development of improved fermentation organisms is a crucial step in the commercialization of cellulosic ethanol. In order to be cost-efficient and work in commercial-scale processing, such organisms must be able to produce high concentrations of ethanol from hexose and pentose sugar streams that can be derived from a wide range of plant lignocellulosic material, such as fibers, hulls, straws, soft and hardwoods.

The research team will include scientists from Purdue and from ADM. The joint project will receive federal funding, beginning this fiscal year and ending in fiscal year 2010, subject to Congressional appropriations. The Purdue-ADM project was selected, along with four other projects, by the Department of Energy for federal funding to develop improved fermentation organisms.

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April 17, 2007

Converting Biomass to Hydrogen

It is pretty clear that whatever exists as an energy paradigm today will be replaced in the future. Wood gave way to coal, whale oil made way to petroleum and petroleum distillates, and gasoline is ceding ground to ethanol. What will follow ethanol?

Many suspect that ethanol will give way to hydrogen - hydrogen produced using biomass conversion processes. Hydrogen from electrolysis and other ways runs the risk of using more energy to produce it than it creates. Gasification produces syngas which is predominantly carbon monoxide and hydrogen. So the energy in the feedstock is used for both providing the heat to break its chemical bonds while the hydrogen atoms are released for isolation.

The reason we cannot skip ethanol and proceed directly to hydrogen is because we need to transition our infrastructure, energy storage, and vehicle technology at the same time. Ethanol is easy - made far simpler because it is blendable in gasoline - acting as both an oxygenate (to burn cleaner) and an extender.

Hydrogen sounds irresistible because it's emissions are so clean (drops of water) as it propels our automobiles. But implementation will require that many new technologies advance concurrently. One question is how can we transport compressed hydrogen? One prominent answer is - ethanol could be the carrier! If that is the direction hydrogen distribution is taking then the infrastructural transition from ethanol to hydrogen will be so much easier.

Here are excerpts from an article about the bioconversion of feedstock into "biohydrogen" that appeared this week on Biopact. They preface a story about a British company, Biohydrogen, that is advancing technology in this area.

New company called 'Biohydrogen' to make H2 from sugar

The problem with hydrogen is that it is merely an energy carrier and needs a primary energy source from which the gas can be obtained. If this first source is a fossil fuel, then hydrogen isn't really a clean energy carrier. If the gas is made from the electrolysis of water, which is a rather energy-intensive process, then electricity is needed, and the dilemma remains: where do we get the electricity from?

Biohydrogen is probably the most competitive of the non-fossil fuel production routes. There are roughly three main ways of obtaining the gas from biological sources: (1) biochemical conversion (diagram, click to enlarge): chemotrophic or phototrophic micro-organisms are allowed to ferment sugars, under anaerobic or aerobic conditions (depending on the micro-organism) during which hydrogenase or nitrogenase enzymes produce hydrogen directly (on H2 production from cyanobacteria and micro-algae see the last section of our post on biofuels from algae), (2) thermochemical conversion: biomass in solid form (wood, straw, etc) is transformed through gasification into a hydrogen-rich gas, from which the H2 is then separated, or (3) indirectly from biogas: biomass is anaerobically fermented into biogas, the methane of which is further converted into hydrogen (similar to H2 production from natural gas); combinations between biohydrogen and biomethane production are being researched as well.

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April 12, 2007

EPA releases comprehensive Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program

The Bush administration took an important step toward toward the achievement of his "Twenty in Ten" goals April 10th when his Environmental Protection Agency announced the establishment of its first comprehensive Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program and modernization of the CAFÉ standards.

The impact on the renewable fuels industry should be considerable because it assures a ready and growing market for the RD&D and products of emerging technologies in ethanol production, biomass conversion, renewable electricity generation, automobile redesign, and industrial emissions reduction. Those are the most direct impacts. Indirectly it could serve to stimulate job growth and the economy in other ways while reducing energy waste and pollution. Some of the biggest positive impacts will be felt in rural communities.

Here is the entire press release as it appears on the EPA Newsroom website...

Bush Administration Establishes Program to Reduce Foreign Oil Dependency, Greenhouse Gases

Washington, D.C. – April 10, 2007) In step with the Bush Administration’s call to increase the supply of alternative and renewable fuels nationwide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today established the nation’s first comprehensive Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.

At a press conference today, EPA Administrator Johnson, joined by Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman and National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator Nicole Nason, discussed the RFS program, increasing the use of alternative fuels and modernizing CAFÉ standards for cars.

“The Renewable Fuel Standard offers the American people a hat trick – it protects the environment, strengthens our energy security, and supports America’s farmers,” said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. “Today, we’re taking an important first step toward meeting President Bush’s “20 in 10” goal of jumping off the treadmill of foreign oil dependency.”

"Increasing the use of renewable and alternative fuels to power our nation's vehicles will help meet the President's Twenty in Ten goal of reducing gasoline usage by 20 percent in ten years," Secretary Bodman said. "The Administration's sustained commitment to technology investment will bring a variety of alternative fuel sources to market and further reduce our nation's dependence on foreign sources of energy."

“While we must look at increasing the availability of renewable and alternative fuels, we must also continue to improve the fuel efficiency of our passenger cars and light trucks,” said Nicole R. Nason, Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “As a part of the President’s “20 in 10” energy security plan, we need Congress to give the Secretary of Transportation the authority to reform the current passenger car fuel economy standard.”

Authorized by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the RFS program requires that the equivalent of at least 7.5 billion gallons of renewable fuel be blended into motor vehicle fuel sold in the U.S. by 2012. The program is estimated to cut petroleum use by up to 3.9 billion gallons and cut annual greenhouse gas emissions by up to 13.1 million metric tons by 2012 -- the equivalent of preventing the emissions of 2.3 million cars. The RFS is an important first step toward meeting President Bush’s call on our nation to reduce gasoline use by 20-percent within 10 years by growing our renewable and alternative fuel use to 35 billion gallons by the year 2017.

The RFS program will promote the use of fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel, which are largely produced from American crops. The program will create new markets for farm products, increase energy security, and promote the development of advanced technologies that will help make renewable fuel cost-competitive with conventional gasoline. In particular, the RFS program establishes special incentives for producing and using fuels produced from cellulosic biomass, such as switchgrass and woodchips.

The RFS program requires major American refiners, blenders, and importers to use a minimum volume of renewable fuel each year between 2007 and 2012. The minimum level or “standard” which is determined as a percentage of the total volume of fuel a company produces or imports, will increase every year. For 2007, 4.02 percent of all the fuel sold or dispensed to U.S. motorists will have to come from renewable sources, roughly 4.7 billion gallons.

The RFS program is based on a trading system that provides a flexible means for industry to comply with the annual standard by allowing renewable fuels to be used where they are most economical. Various renewable fuels can be used to meet the requirements of the program. While the RFS program establishes that a minimum amount of renewable fuel be used in the United States, more fuel can be used if producers and blenders choose to do so.

The RFS brings the nation closer to President Bush’s Twenty in Ten goal to reduce gasoline consumption 20 percent in ten years. To achieve this goal, the Bush Administration’s Alternative Fuel Standard (AFS) proposal builds on the RFS and requires use of 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels in 2017 - nearly five times the RFS target of 2012. The AFS proposal will displace 15 percent of projected annual gasoline use in 2017 through the use of fuels, including corn ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, biodiesel, methanol, butanol, hydrogen, and other alternative fuels. The Twenty in Ten plan also calls for reforming and modernizing CAFÉ standards to increase the fuel economy of cars. This will reduce projected annual gasoline use by up to 8.5 billion gallons, a further 5 percent reduction that will bring the total reduction in projected annual gasoline use to 20 percent. President Bush has called on Congress to act on these proposals by the start of the summer driving season this year.

For more information: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/renewablefuels/

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April 7, 2007

BIOconversion 101: The BioTown Sourcebook

For anyone who desires a simple introduction to what BIOmass Conversion technologies are I suggest a careful reading of a brief technical overview document called The BioTown, USA Sourcebook of Biomass Energy (released in April, 2006). It was written for the Indiana State Department of Agriculture by scientist and fellow blogger, Mark Jenner, PhD. who has his own website called Biomass Rules.

Below you can see an overview graphic that charts where conversion technologies (highlighted in blue) fall in proper context for addressing BIOstock, BIOoutput, and BIOwaste issues. For this reason, I offer a similar 101 abstract treatment in each of my BlogRing blogs.

This BioTown sourcebook is the official inventory on local energy use, available biomass fuels and emerging technologies for Reynolds, Indiana. As such, it can serve as an inventory template for any similarly focused study of a medium-sized rural community. It greater importance is its microcosmic view of rural communities as decentralized, sustainable entities that possess more than enough biomass to service their own energy needs.

Below is a table from the fifth section of the report addressing Biomass Energy Conversion Technologies.

The section addresses not only the difference between combustion pyrolysis and gasification, but also lists the benefits and liabilities of each base technology in addition to a partial listing of vendors developing the expertise in North America.

This report is not a utopian call to return to rural, communal living. It is, instead, an affirmation that there are many biomass resources available and technologies in development to provide environmentally clean bioenergy alternatives to the existing fossil fuel energy paradigm. Rural communities can develop expertise and marketable output best suited to their own resources and industries. Urban communities can develop some technologies that are relevant to the diversion of trash from landfills.

The BioTown, USA Sourcebook of Biomass Energy

BioTown, USA is Indiana Governor, Mitch Daniel’s, bold approach to develop local renewable energy production, create a cleaner environment, find new solutions to municipal/animal waste issues, and develop new markets for Indiana products – all at the same time. BioTown, USA is quite simply the conversion of Reynolds, Indiana from a reliance on fossil fuels to biomass-based fuels. With the implementation of BioTown, USA, a template will be set that simultaneously promotes Indiana energy security, rural development, profitable agriculture and a green, thriving natural resource environment.

The only conclusion that can be made is that BioTown, USA is profoundly thermodynamically and technologically viable. Reynolds, Indiana used 227,710 million BTUs (MMBTU) in 2005. White County annually produces over 16,881,613 MMBTU in undeveloped biomass energy resources. That is 74 times more energy than Reynolds consumed in 2005.

BioTown, USA is a concept whose time has come. This Sourcebook and subsequent BioTown reports will serve as vital stepping stones to the implementation of BioTown, USA and subsequent bioeconomic rural development opportunities across Indiana and the nation.

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April 4, 2007

Latin America's Blueprint for Green Energy

The IDB commissioned Garten Rothkopf, a consulting firm which works with corporations on long-term global strategies, to perform an analysis that would serve as a blueprint to its development of energy technologies in the Americas.

What is the IDB? According to their website. "The Inter-American Development Bank was established in 1959 as a development institution with novel mandates and tools. It is the main source of multilateral financing for economic, social and institutional development projects and trade and regional integration programs in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is the oldest and largest regional development bank."

This report begins with the major trends in global energy: the drivers of demand, the constraints on supply, and the twin imperatives of energy security and emissions reductions. The promise of biofuels is then assessed relative to the leading alternative technologies in the transport sector: hydrogen fuel cells and coal liquefaction. This is followed by the “Global Biofuels Outlook 2007”, an assessment of the state of biofuels in 50 countries on 6 continents, highlighting the critical areas of government policy, productive capacity, private sector investment, and research and development.

The report concludes with a blueprint for green energy in the Americas. This strategic blueprint is organized around the four pillars that they project will drive and shape competition and demand: innovation, capacity expansion, infrastructure, and building global markets.

The basic thesis is clear:

Coordination between the government, private sector, universities, and research institutions to strengthen the connection between the scientific research activities and practical technological needs of the sector is critical.

A Blueprint for Green Energy in the Americas
Strategic Analysis of Opportunities for Brazil and the Hemisphere
Featuring: The Global Biofuels Outlook 2007
Prepared for the Inter-American Development Bank

We are in the midst of a sustainable energy and climate change revolution, directly linked to the other major transformational trends of our time-the rise of the world's emerging economies, the world's rapid urbanization and the revolution in biotechnology. While not a panacea, biofuels represent one important choice in an increasing array of energy options. They have a significant role to play in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from transport, developing rural economies, and attracting private sector investment.

This study, prepared by Garten Rothkopf for the Inter American Development Bank, seeks to cut through the hype surrounding biofuels, and alternative energy writ large, and present an objective, fact-based analysis of the region's global competitive position looking forward to 2020. It includes the most extensive study done to date on the global biofuels market, including 50 countries. The report also focuses on the challenges that lie ahead, from ensuring that the choices made are sustainable in terms of their environmental and social impact to recognizing that unprecedented investment and innovation will produce new competitive forces that will require all who would lead to adapt or fall behind.

The growth of biofuels will favor countries with long growing seasons, tropical climates, high precipitation levels, low labor costs, low land costs, as well as the planning, human resources, and technological know how to take advantage of them. Latin America and Caribbean, led by Brazil, already produces 40% of the world's biofuels and is uniquely positioned to take advantage of this growing industry.

"A Blueprint for Green Energy in the Americas" offers a strategic blueprint for IDB activities in the region, to serve as the basis for even more focused and policy-oriented studies in the future.

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April 2, 2007

Industrial Symbiosis: Creating eco-industrial parks

For commercial-scale deployments of emerging technologies to succeed financially they will have to integrate into the industrial landscape in a way that supports the health of the enterprise. The ideal sites would co-locate companies that supply biostock, cleanly process it, and use the output of the processing to create new chemicals, bioproducts, biofuels and bioenergy. Ideally, the energy needed for operation of the eco-industrial park would come from the park itself (all this without leaving a carbon footprint).

Case studies citing examples are beginning to be published. MIT and Yale have teamed together to share the publishing responsibility to make these case studies available in The Journal of Industrial Ecology.

The Journal of Industrial Ecology is pleased to announce a special feature on industrial symbiosis in its recently released issue. The feature contains 4 cutting edge articles on industrial symbiosis - environmentally beneficial exchanges of materials, energy, water, and by-products among diversified, geographically-clustered firms.

Industrial symbiosis, and the related notions of eco-industrial development, industrial ecosystems and eco-industrial parks, are one of the signature concepts in the field of industrial ecology. This special feature is designed to highlight the latest work in this growing area. The Journal of Industrial Ecology is an international peer-reviewed quarterly owned by Yale University and published by MIT Press.

Special Feature on Industrial Symbiosis from the MIT Press Journal of Industrial Ecology

"Uncovering" Industrial Symbiosis
Marian R. Chertow
Journal of Industrial Ecology Winter 2007, Vol. 11, No. 1: 11-30.
This article provides a historical view of the motivations and means for pursuing industrial symbiosis—defined to include physical exchanges of materials, energy, water, and by-products among diversified clusters of firms. It finds that “uncovering” existing symbioses has led to more sustainable industrial development than attempts to design and build eco-industrial parks incorporating physical exchanges.

Industrial Symbiosis in China: A Case Study of the Guitang Group
Qinghua Zhu, Ernest A. Lowe, Yuan-an Wei, Donald Barnes
Journal of Industrial Ecology Winter 2007, Vol. 11, No. 1: 31-42.

The Guitang Group (GG), which operates one of China’s largest sugar refineries, has been developing and implementing an internal and external industrial symbiosis strategy for more than four decades. The GG first invested in developing its own collection of downstream companies to utilize nearly all byproducts of sugar production. This strategy has generated new revenues and reduced environmental emissions and disposal costs, while simultaneously improving the quality of sugar.

Internally, the GG’s complex consists of interlinked production of sugar, alcohol, cement, compound fertilizer, and paper and includes recycling and reuse. Externally, the GG has established a strong customer base as a result of its product quality, has worked to maintain and expand its supply base through technological and economic incentives to farmers (and even to competitors), and has had to react to a strong government presence that fundamentally affects its operations.

A Spatial Analysis of Loop Closing Among Recycling, Remanufacturing, and Waste Treatment Firms in Texas
Donald I. Lyons
Journal of Industrial Ecology Winter 2007, Vol. 11, No. 1: 43-54.

A central element of industrial ecology is the concept of closing the loop in material use (cycling) by directing used material and products (wastes) back to production processes. This article examines the issue of geographic scale and loop closing for heterogeneous wastes through an analysis of the location and materials flows of a set of recycling, remanufacturing, recycling manufacturing, and waste treatment (RRWT) firms in Texas. The results suggest that there is no preferable scale at which loop closing should be organized. RRWT firms are ubiquitous and operate successfully throughout the settlement hierarchy. The cycling boundaries of RRWT firms are dependent primarily upon how and where their products are redirected to production processes rather than the firm’s location in the settlement hierarchy. In other words, loop closing is dominated by the spatial economic logic of the transactions of the firm involved.

Industrial Symbiosis in the Australian Minerals Industry: The Cases of Kwinana and Gladstone
Dick van Beers, Glen Corder, Albena Bossilkov, Rene van Berkel
Journal of Industrial Ecology Winter 2007, Vol. 11, No. 1: 55-72.

This article provides an overview of past and current synergy developments in two of Australia’s major heavy industrial regions, Kwinana (Western Australia) and Gladstone (Queensland), and includes a comparative review and assessment of the drivers, barriers, and trigger events for regional synergies initiatives in both areas.

To enhance the further development of new regional synergies, the Centre for Sustainable Resource Processing (CSRP), a joint initiative of Australian minerals processing companies, research providers, and government agencies, has undertaken several collaborative projects. These include research to facilitate the process of identifying and evaluating potential synergy opportunities and assistance for the industries with feasibility studies and implementation of selected synergy projects in both regions. The article also reports on the progress to date from this CSRP research.

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April 1, 2007

Biopact: April 2007 Digest

Biopact Blog writes many stories that are relevant to the study of BIOstock, BIOconversion, BIOoutput, and BIOwaste.

Rather than summarize and reprint excerpts from this excellent source of information, a breakdown of each month's most relevant titles is provided in one updated article...

A closer look at Social Impact Assessments of large biofuel projects
The mobile pellet plant

Scientists break down lignin to enter a world of sugar and energy
Top FAO and UN experts to weigh benefits and perils of bioenergy
Swiss technology institute launches ‘Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels'
Climate change is a national security issue - report
A closer look at China's biomass power plants
Biomass gasification to power rural India out of energy poverty
UN environment chief backs EU's biofuels plan, urges environmentalists to drop 'simplistic' views
Satellites play vital role in understanding the carbon cycle
Dupont outlines strategy for mass adoption of biofuels
New class of enzymes discovered that could increase efficiency of cellulosic ethanol production

Giant reversible swelling of nanoporous materials discovered
Carbon capture experiment begins in Germany
The bioeconomy at work: Dutch biorefinery project CATCHBIO receives first nod
US and EU to partner on commoditisation, standardisation of biofuels
US wood pellet industry eyes exports to EU
The bioeconomy at work: robust bioplastic used for off-shore oil riser pipes
In case of total oil embargo, US military could remain operational thanks to synthetic (bio)fuels
Researchers propose Green Biofuels Index
Biochar soil sequestration and pyrolysis most climate-friendly way to use biomass for energy
Fuel testing shows biobutanol performance similar to unleaded gasoline