February 2008

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Business Briefs


Nexterra Energy appoints Tertzakian to board



Executives with Colusa Biomass Energy Corp., a company securing its niche in rice waste, were searching diligently for an engineering company to take their project to the next level: commercial production. No matter the paths they traversed, CBEC execs say all roads led to BBI International.

District Energy St. Paul is housed in a 1906 power plant building that presents a stately presence on Kellogg Boulevard. The CHP plant, built on the riverbank below the bluff

Cool, Hot and Green

By Susanne Retka Schill

District Energy St. Paul Inc. relies predominantly on biomass power to heat and cool the majority of downtown St. Paul, Minn. The goal is to replace all fossil fuels in the future.

The existing 200 megawatt coal power plant in Cassville, Wis., owned by Alliant Energy, is shown with a simulation of a new 300 megawatt plant

Lukewarm on Cofiring

By Anduin Kirkbride McElroy

Cofiring biomass in coal-powered plants is a way to include renewable energy within the existing grid. Can renewable mandates regulations encourage utilities to utilize biomass, and is it a good idea?

Feedstock availability, consistency and the hype surrounding alternative fuels are all challenges to the development of waste-to-energy projects.

China's agricultural industry produces a massive amount of residue, which could be used to cofire power plants.

Straw Tiger

By Marianne Osterkorn

Chinese farmers could earn more money by cutting their country's coal consumption. Straw residues from agricultural production are becoming an appealing feedstock for cofiring in power plants.

Biodiesel Magazine talks with a California-based company about its unique reactor design and unconventional business plan that will lead to the construction of a model refinery on the East Coast.


Making Pennycress Pay Off

By Susanne Retka Schill

Pennycress is a weed that researchers think has the potential to quell the food versus fuel debate. If initial findings prove true, it could become a biodiesel feedstock that doesn't compete with corn and soybeans for acres.

The biodiesel industry claimed several important victories in the latest Energy Bill. Fuel labeling, performance studies and an all-important specific carve-out are expected to enhance production and market confidence. However, critical issues remain as the dust settles.

Blending terminals will be built where there is a more dependable supply and demand for biodiesel.

No Need to Splash

By Jerry W. Kram

Biodiesel doesn't typically go straight from the processor to the fuel tank. It has to be distributed, blended and then redistributed to retailers before it's sold to consumers. Managing the transfers and tracking the blending is important to growing a viable biodiesel industry.

On the surface it seems simple: too little water or too high temperatures during the growing season equals disappointing soybean yields. A closer look, however, reveals a host of entwined physiological changes in the soybean seed that result in this deflating outcome. Soybean physiologists spoke with Biodiesel Magazine about how they're trying to understand these changes in an attempt to improve yields.


Moving Biodiesel

By Anduin Kirkbride McElroy

Distribution of fuel makes up less than 10 percent of the cost of biodiesel, but there's a lot of flux within that 10 percent. Trucks, trains and barges each offer options to control costs and reach markets.

Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen's bold leadership has unlocked the state's potential to become a biodiesel producer and user.

The conventional wisdom has always been that combining oil crushing and biodiesel production is too expensive for all but the largest producers. That thinking has put biodiesel producers at the mercy of a volatile and capricious oil market. A California engineering firm says it's found a way for biodiesel makers to take control of their feedstocks.

Figuring out how to make fuel and chemicals from biomass is only the first step, making those processes economically viable is the ultimate goal. Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado work with large and small businesses to turn their discoveries into commercial successes.

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