Business Briefs

By Anna Simet | November 10, 2017

Bioenergy Australia appoints new CEO
Shahana McKenzie has joined Bioenergy Australia as CEO, a role in which she will drive the organization’s commitment to integrating bioenergy into the energy strategies and policies of all tiers of government.  

McKenzie comes from the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects, where she successfully led a restructure to increase the relevance and impact of the landscape architecture industry.  McKenzie said the inclusion of bioenergy in the South Australian government’s recently released Renewable Technology Fund is greatly encouraging for the future of the sector. “Additionally, both Queensland and New South Wales have biofuel mandates for the use of ethanol and biodiesel, and are reaping the benefits in lowering emissions from transport fuels,” she said.

Vermont DRF hires wood energy coordinator
The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation recently welcomed new staff member Emma Hanson, who will serve as Wood Energy Coordinator. Hanson will be tasked with helping implement the Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan’s goal of doubling wood fuel’s share of building heat by 2035. In this role, Hanson will focus on providing outreach and information to potential wood energy users. She is available as a resource for local energy committees, civic groups, organizations, and institutions, as well as individual homeowners who are interested in exploring their wood heat options.

Pinnacle Renewable Energy’s McCurdy wins award
Rob McCurdy, CEO of Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc., has been named is EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 Pacific Winner.

Before joining Pinnacle, McCurdy held positions across the globe spanning chemical, construction materials and mining industries. Most recently, he was the India managing director for a world-leading producer of building materials. McCurdy became Pinnacle CEO in August 2012, leading major transformation and improvement in the organization’s safety and culture. Under his leadership, Pinnacle has improved its safety rate by 90 percent, significantly increased employee engagement, and improved EBITDA results by over 100 percent. Today, Pinnacle is the world’s third largest producer of wood pellets, shipping over 1.4 million metric tons per year from its seven B.C. locations, and the company is currently expanding into Alberta.

As the Pacific region’s EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2017, McCurdy will compete with top entrepreneurs from other Canadian regions for the national honor of Canada’s EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2017.

DTE Biomass Energy wins safety innovation award
DTE Biomass has won the 2017 Best Safety Innovation Award from the Solid Waste Association of North America.

DTE recognized that if a lone worker at a site were incapacitated in an emergency, there would be no method to initiate emergency response. By implementing a Lone Worker Safety Program, including a device that automatically alerts emergency responders, DTE dramatically improved its ability to quickly get help in the event of an emergency.

Mark Hill, vice president of operations at DTE Biomass Energy, accepted the award on the company’s behalf at the ISA World Congress & WASTECON 2107 on Sept. 27 in Baltimore, Maryland.

DONG Energy changing name to Orsted
Danish energy company DONG will change its name to Orsted on Nov. 6.
DONG began transitioning away from coal in 2006, and in 2017, officially announced that it would completely cease use of it by 2023. Since 2006, DONG has reduced its coal consumption by 73 percent, through a reduction in the number of power stations, a massive buildout of offshore wind energy, as well as biomass conversions.

DONG has used wood pellets and chips at its Herning Power Station and Avedøre Power Stations since 2002, and in 2016, both its Studstrup Power Station near Aarhus and Avedøre Power Station near Copenhagen were converted to run on 100 percent wood pellets and straw. Those conversions were followed by Skærbæk Power Station near Fredericia, which runs on 100 percent on wood chips, and most recently, DONG began the conversion process for its Asnæs Power Station, which will use wood chips when the conversion is complete in late 2019.

Following completion of the Asnæs Power Station, DONG will have one remaining coal plant, the Esbjerg Power Station.

Aries Clean Energy gasification project cited in awards
Aries Clean Energy downdraft gasification plant in Lebanon, Tennessee, has been the catalyst in two outstanding award programs.

The Greater Nashville Regional Council presented the 2017 Local Government Award for Public Works & Utility Infrastructure to the city of Lebanon on Sept. 27. The GNRC recognized Lebanon for Solid Waste Management and Environmental Stewardship through the city’s gasification initiative, its use of public/private partnerships, and the city’s other energy-saving and recycling programs.

Industrial Water & Wastes Digest has also included the waste-to-energy plant in its list of top projects for 2017.

Velocys forms UK waste-to-jet-fuel partnership
Renewable fuels company Velocys plc announced that it has entered into a partnership to prepare the business case for a commercial scale waste-to-renewable-jet-fuel plant in the U.K. Velocys will lead this initial feasibility stage of the project, for which all members of the partnership are providing funding. Subject to successful completion of all development stages, the aim is to achieve a final investment decision in 2019.

Members of the partnership include British Airways, Suez, Norma, and Velocys, which intends to supply its technology to the plant and provide project management, engineering, operations and technical service support. The plant would take in hundreds of thousands of metric tons of post-recycled waste annually.

Wärtsilä to acquire Puregas Solutions
Technology group Wärtsilä has reached an agreement to acquire Puregas Solutions, the Sweden-based provider of turnkey biogas upgrading solutions. Puregas has subsidiary companies in Germany, Denmark, the U.K., and the U.S.

The acquisition will provide Wärtsilä with added equipment and expertise in biogas upgrading, and will complement well the company’s existing position in the biogas liquefaction market. In the larger context, Puregas Solutions’ offering is in close alignment with Wärtsilä’s own gas-based technologies, and the merging of the two companies will expand Wärtsilä’s overall reach in the gas value chain.