Business Briefs

By Staff | January 07, 2013

Sapphire Energy appoints new executive officer
Sapphire Energy Inc. has appointed Jeff Webster as chief operating officer. In this role, he will oversee current and future business operations, business and project development and corporate affairs. Webster has more than 28 years of industry experience in the biotech, renewable energy, agricultural, oil and gas sectors. Prior to joining Sapphire Energy, Webster served as COO at Solazyme Inc., where he was responsible for leading in-market business units and multiple administrative functions. He has also served as group vice president and general manager of renewable products at Tyson Foods, where he established new growth platforms, partnership and brands while pioneering the company’s efforts in the renewable energy space.

Biomass Thermal Energy Council elects board members
The Biomass Thermal Energy Council has announced the election of six members to its 2013 board of directors. New board members include Christine Donovan, managing consultant at Vermont Energy Investment Corp.; Scott Nichols, president of Tarm Biomass; and Angela Visintainer, senior brand manager at Cambridge Environmental Technologies. Reelected board members include John Ackerly, president of the Alliance for Green Heat; Kristen Cofrancesco, sales and business development manager of North America at Pratt & Whitney; and Dan Wilson, vice president of Wilson Engineering Services. The election was held during BTEC’s fourth annual membership meeting Nov. 15 in Washington, D.C.

Xebec Adsorption adds board member
Xebec Adsorption Inc., a provider of biogas upgrading, natural gas, field gas and hydrogen purification solutions has added Patrick Palerme to its board of directors. Palerme currently serves as a board member at Rona Inc., and is the managing director and cofounder of Global Change Leaders, a consulting group comprised of former GE employees that offers experience in change initiatives, organizational integrations and business mergers and acquisitions. Palerme’s expertise, experience and skill set will serve as an asset to Xebec Adsorption as it pursues its growth strategy.

Viaspace Giant King Grass planted in Virgin Islands
Viaspace Inc. has announced its Giant King Grass is now growing in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. The initial shipment was received and planted by Tibbar Energy USVI LLC. The company is developing a 6 MW biomass energy project fueled by a 1,000-acre Giant King Grass plantation. The Tibbar project is scheduled to be online by the first quarter of 2014. The 20-year project is expected to generate 20 full-time jobs and $150 million in economic benefit to the local community through its agricultural- and power-production components. Tibbar and Viaspace have formed an exclusive partnership to grow Giant King Grass on St. Croix. The initial shipment of the feedstock was sent by Viaspace from its California growing site.

Italian refinery retrofits for biofuel production
UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, has announced that Italian energy company Eni S.p.A. will implement Honeywell’s UOP/Eni Ecofining technology at its Venice, Italy, facility to produce renewable diesel. Once complete, Eni’s retrofitted facility will be capable of producing more than 100 MMgy of renewable diesel beginning in 2014. The initial conversion of the Venice oil refinery’s existing facilities is scheduled to begin during the first quarter of 2013 and be complete by the end of the year. New facilities constructed as part of the project will be complete during the first half of 2015.

Anellotech licenses p-xylene technology
Anellotech Inc., a technology-based company focused on biobased fuels and chemicals, has signed an exclusive license agreement with the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. The agreement adds new technology capability to Anellotech’s core catalytic fast pyrolysis process, tripling the amount of p-xylene produced from cellulosic biomass. The company is developing a process to produce benzene, toluene, xylenes, and olefins from biomass. The additional technology involves a modified catalyst used within Anellotech’s process to enable more economical production of biobased p-xylene, enabling lower-cost renewable polyethylene terephthalate. Both Anellotech’s core technology and the new innovation were invented at UMass-Amherst.

Airline commits to biojet purchase
British Airways has officially committed to a 10-year purchase agreement for biojet produced at GreenSky London, a commercial-scale waste-to-biojet fuel, bionaptha and renewable power plant. The facility is under development by US.-based Solena Fuels Corp. in east London.  The 10-year contract equates to approximately $500 million in investment. Once complete, the facility is expected to produce 16 million gallons of biojet fuel, 9 million gallons of bionaptha and up to 40 MW of power. The facility will feature Solena’s high-temperature gasification process as well as Oxford Catalyst’s/Velocys’ Fisher-Tropsch reactors and catalyst. Fluor is serving as project engineer for the facility.

Microsoft to install biogas fuel cell power plant
FuelCell Energy Inc., a manufacturer and designer of fuel cell power plants, has announced a biogas-powered stationary fuel cell power plant will support Microsoft’s latest data center research project in Cheyenne, Wyo. Biogas to fuel the plant will be sourced from a wastewater treatment facility. The sub-megawatt Direct FuelCell power plant will be installed at the Dry Creek Water Reclamation Facility in Cheyenne by spring. The plant will provide 200 KW of power to the Microsoft center. Excess power not used by the data center will be provided to the water treatment facility to offset its electric costs. The fuel cell plant will be configured to operate independently and provide continuous power in the event of a grid outage.