Business Briefs

By Erin Voegele | January 27, 2016

Renew Biomass, New Energy Farms partner in miscanthus project
Renew Biomass and New Energy Farms recently announced a long-term partnership agreement under which New Energy Farms will provide Renew Biomass with high-quality miscanthus  planting material. The supply agreement commenced in January 2016 for the upcoming planting season. Renew Biomass will plant a rate of 10,000 rhizomes per acre in central and southwest Missouri.  

FuelCell Energy expands Connecticut manufacturing facility
FuelCell Energy has announced the commencement of a previously disclosed North American manufacturing facility expansion, and closing on an assistance agreement with the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development. A groundbreaking ceremony was held in November. The expansion project will increase the size of the facility by approximately 102,000 square feet to approximately 167,000 square feet. The expansion is being undertaken in two phases with the first stage increasing the size of the manufacturing facility and the second stage increasing annual manufacturing capacity from the current 100 MW to at least 200 MW.  

Statkraft announces wood chip shipment to Danish customer
Statkraft has successfully shipped over 3,000 tons of wood chip cargo to a leading Danish customer. The consignment is the first wood chip cargo to be shipped from Statkraft’s new biomass trading hub, which opened in August at the site of the former Södra Cell paper mill, located south of Oslo, Norway, at Tofte, directly on the Oslofjord.

New NREL director appointed
The Alliance for Sustainable Energy recently announced the appointment of Martin Keller as director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and president of the Alliance, which manages the laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy. Keller officially joined NREL on Nov. 30. He was previously employed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where he served as the associate laboratory director for energy and environmental sciences, which includes ORNL’s programs in biosciences, environmental sciences, buildings technologies, transportation, climate change, manufacturing, and electrical and electronics systems. In 2006, Keller was recruited to ORNL from an industrial enzyme discovery and development company to lead the Office of Science-supported BioEnergy Science Center, in which NREL is a partner.

Veolia announces power contracts 
Veolia has won two contracts to operate biomass power plants in Japan. The two facilities, located in Hirakawa and Hanamaki cities in the Tohoku region, will produce 100 GWh of electricity per year. Wood used to fire the boilers comes from neighboring forestry industries. Veolia will manage the overall operations, including 40 employees who will work permanently at the two facilities. Operations at the Hirakawa plant were scheduled to begin in November 2015, with the Hanamaki facility expected to be operational in December 2016.

Building Energy to develop bioenergy plant in Serbia
Building Energy and the city of Krusevac, Serbia, have announced the construction of a biomass power plant. The facility is the first one in the country to combine electric and thermal energy. It will have an installed capacity of 4.8 MWe and 20 MWt and will generate 38.4 GWh of electric power and 86 GWh of thermal power per year. The plant will be fueled by wood chips coming from the cleaning of Serbian forests. The sale of thermal energy, resulting from a 10-year agreement between Building Energy and the Krusevac thermal power plant, will largely satisfy the thermal needs of the city, which has about 110,000 inhabitants. The sale of electric power will be regulated by a contract with the national utility operator EPS, according to the Serbian feed-in-tariff rules.

BTEC elects board of directors
The Biomass Thermal Energy Council recently announced the re-election of four members of the board. At the Nov. 17 Annual Membership Meeting in Washington, D.C., all four directors up for election were re-elected, including Dan Wilson of Wilson Engineering Services; Christine Donovan, senior advisor for the Biomass Energy Resource Center and director of Business Strategy and Innovation at Vermont Energy Investment Corp.; Andrew Haden, founder and president of Wisewood Inc., and John Ackerly, president of the Alliance for Green Heat.

Opcon to deliver automatic biomass-handling system to UK
Opcon Group has received an order from Babcock & Wilcox Vølund A/S, Denmark,  for the delivery of a state-of-the-art biomass handling system to the Templeborough Biomass Power Plant in Sheffield, U.K. The order includes the design, manufacturing, delivery and commissioning of a dual automatic fuel handling system with reception and transport lines to the boiler, complete with cranes. The entire fuel feeding system, including wood storage and conveyor systems, will be designed for multi-fuel waste wood, designed for efficiency, minimum maintenance and high availability as well as low emission of dust and noise. Commissioning and take-over is scheduled for next year.

Genera Energy adds business development team member
Genera Energy Inc. has hired Chad Covert to join its growing business development team as a business development associate. Prior to joining Genera, Covert managed U.S. ocean import processing for an international freight forwarder. His knowledge and experience will help Genera continue to meet the needs of existing clients, as well as help identify new business opportunities in this rapidly expanding industry.

Round for a Reason announces patent for combustion chamber
South Dakota-based Round for a Reason LLC has received a patent, U.S. Patent No. 9,182,116, for a new combustion chamber concept, known an Efficient Solid Fuel Burning Appliance. The ESFBA is a vertical cylinder combustion chamber that burns solid biomass fuels. When compared to similarly shaped appliances, the ESFBA features a stronger cylinder shape, increased internal pressure, more efficient heat distribution and a smaller footprint. The combustion chamber allows for many feedstocks and applications, including forced air furnaces, boilers, free-standing stoves, and indoor or outdoor placement.

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati names new partner
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati has elected attorney Nicole Gambino as a new partner. Based in San Francisco, Gambino specializes in renewable energy and project finance and, in particular, related tax matters. She represents both equity investors and developers in the financing of wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass facilities, utilizing a variety of structures. Gambino also represents investors in new market tax credit transactions. The promotion was to become  effective on Feb. 1.

Cool Planet adds board members
Cool Planet has added Ed Anderson to its board of directors and Jim Bone to its technical advisory board. Anderson brings strong leadership from his experience in founding and growing North Bridge Partners, a Boston-based venture capital firm, while Bone brings four decades of agriculture business and technical expertise.