Business Briefs

By Staff | August 20, 2013

Attorney moves practice to California
Stoel Rives partner Graham Noyes is transferring his practice to the firm’s Sacramento, Calif., office. He represents clients involved in conventional and advanced biofuels, as well as forestry, agricultural, and solid waste-to-energy projects, and biogas projects involving anaerobic digestion, thermochemical gasification, and other advanced technologies. Noyes has extensive experience with the federal renewable fuel standard and California’s low carbon fuel standard. He is also a well-known speaker and writer on renewable energy credits and renewable identification numbers.

BTEC releases developer tools
The Biomass Thermal Energy Council has announced the release of two new tools to help manufacturers, project developers, engineers and architects better understand biomass systems for the commercial building sector. A resource library hosts more than 100 documents on a variety of topics, from technical and financial topics, to information on policy, case studies and health and environment. The second is a stakeholder document that outlines the individuals and groups of people in a community that project developers should consider when deliberating the development of new projects. Development of the tools was supported by a grant from the Wood Education and Resource Center of the U.S. Forest Service.

BioNitrogen announces board, executive changes
Biobased urea fertilizer producer BioNitrogen Corp. has made several changes to its board. Carlos Contreras, CEO of the company, was promoted to chairman of the board. Mario Beruvides, previous chairman of the board and a professor of industrial engineering at Texas Tech University, is continuing to serve on the board of directors. Juan Vazquez has stepped down from the board, but is continuing to act as an advisor to the company. Roger Imperial, who has served as a senior consultant at Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services, also joined the company’s board of directors. In addition, Ernie Iznaga, who previously served as operations manager of BioNitrogen, has been promoted to the position of vice president of operations.

Drax reveals biomass railcar
The Drax Group plc has unveiled the U.K.’s first purpose-built biomass rail freight wagon at the National Railway Museum in York. The wagon was developed by designers at Lloyd’s Register Rail and manufactured by WH Davis. It will transport biomass from the Ports of Tyne, Hull and Immingham to the Drax Power Station, which is located near Selby. The wagon has a capacity of 116 cubic meters and can transport 71.6 metric tons of biomass. The volume of the newly designed wagon is nearly 30 percent larger than freight wagons currently in use in the U.K.

CPM appoints general manager
CPM, a supplier of process engineering, process equipment and aftermarket parts for the biofuels, oilseed, animal feed and food processing industries, has appointed Todd Fierro as Crown Companies general manager. Fierro fills a new executive management position responsible for global coordination of all sales, operations, engineering, strategy, and administrative functions. He will be based in Roseville, Minn., and will report to CPM CEO Ted Waitman. Most recently, Fierro served as president of Oshkosh Corp.’s commercial segment, focusing on new product introduction and strategic development.

ACORE announces interim president, CEO
The American Council on Renewable Energy’s board of directors has announced Michael Brower, Mosaic Federal Affairs senior federal policy director and principle, will step in to lead the organization during its search for a new president and CEO. Brower is currently a member of the board of directors. He will begin the role in September and will immediately begin working in collaboration with Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn, ACORE’s outgoing president and CEO. McGinn was recently nominated by President Obama to serve as the next assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, installations and environment.

Senate approves EPA administrator
The U.S. Senate has voted to approve Gina McCarthy’s nomination to lead the U.S. EPA by a vote of 59 to 40. Prior to her nomination, McCarthy served as assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. She replaces former Administrator Lisa Jackson, who resigned in December.
Emera completes sale of Canadian plant
The Nova Scotia government has announced the sale of the 30 MW biomass-fired Brooklyn Power Corp. plant is complete. Emera Energy Inc. purchased the facility for $25 million. The government first announced the sale in December 2012 following its decision to purchase Bowater Mersey Paper Co. Ltd. from Resolute Forest Products Inc. and change the name to ReNova Scotia Bioenergy Inc. The Brooklyn Energy facility was purchased as part of that deal.

Kephart named to advisory committee
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz have appointed Kevin Kephart as the new committee co-chair of the Biomass Research and Development Initiative Technical Advisory Committee. Kephart, vice president of research and development at South Dakota State University, will serve as co-chair beside former Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove. The committee is made up of 32 volunteers from industry, academia, nonprofit organizations and local government who discuss and work with technical issues involving energy and agriculture.

Canadian thermal system gains EPA qualification
Heat Smart Plus Inc., the factory representatives for Manitoba-based Piney Manufacturing, announced that the company’s new biomass heating system has gained U.S. EPA qualification for North American distribution. The news comes following two years of development and testing. The Portage and Main EnviroChip 500 biomass heating system is fueled with wood chips. A large fuel storage bin is coupled with a high-efficiency boiler to consistently generate 280,000 Btu per hour. A water and glycol mix is pumped from the boiler into a building by means of insulated underground pipe. Resulting heat is dissipated by a heat exchanger or in-floor hydronic heat loops.

Sundrop Fuels selects contractor
Sundrop Fuels Inc. has named international engineering and construction firm IHI E&C International Corp., a U.S. subsidiary of Toyko-based IHI Corp., as contractor of choice for its inaugural facility near Alexandria, La. The combined commercial and demonstration plant will annually produce approximately 60 million gallons of gasoline from natural gas while providing the platform for Sundrop Fuels to prove its proprietary gasification technology for making renewable gasoline from woody biomass.

DOE grant supports development of sugar analysis system
Carbo Analytics was awarded a $150,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant for fiscal year 2013 from the U.S. DOE to support the development of a biofuels sugar analysis system. The technology aims to provide a rapid determination of accessible C5 and C6 sugars in a biomass sample. The company has partnered with CEM Corp., a developer of microwave digestion systems, to prepare biomass samples. The combined solution is expected to allow biofuel operators to flag potential feedstock problems and facilitate suppliers in developing and supplying the highest value products.

NSF funds biobased isoprene research
Biofuels research underway by C5.6 Technologies of Middleton, Wis., and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point is getting a boost from a $224,292 National Science Foundation grant. C5.6 Technologies and the Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology at UW-Stevens Point will use the funding to support continued research on the development of bacteria that will ferment sugar into isoprene, a high-energy molecule that can be used to make jet fuel and other products. The funding was awarded through the NSF’s Small Business Technology Transfer Program, which promotes innovation in the private sector by linking businesses with university researchers.

Mississippi pellet plant planned
The Mississippi Development Authority has announced Green Circle Bio Energy plans to locate a wood pellet plant at the George County Industrial Park near Lucedale, Miss. The 500,000 ton per year facility is expected to be operational by spring 2015. Pellets produced at the proposed facility will be exported from the Port of Pascagoula to European markets. The project represents a company investment of $115 million.

Iowa landfill gas project expands
Waste Management of Des Moines announced the expansion of its Des Moines Metro Methane Recovery Facility at the Metro Park East landfill in Polk County, Iowa. The plant is the results of a public-private partnership between Waste Management and Metro Waste Authority. The plant currently generates 6.5 MW of power. Once the expansion is complete, the production capacity will expand to 11.2 MW. The new plant will add three additional engines to convert landfill gas into energy, with room to add a fourth engine in the future.