May 2008

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Business Briefs

Nexterra receives innovation award



The clock is ticking on public acceptance of ethanol as the United States' corn-based industry is under relentless attack. With cellulosic conversion technologies as the ostensible lone saving grace for ethanol, Biomass Magazine takes a look at what fruits the first-quarter ‘08 produced.

It's touted as a superior renewable fuel but challenges have stymied the industrial-scale production of biobutanol. Now, however, Dupont and BP have teamed to develop and commercialize the fuel. This comes as scientists announce advancements in the design of process technologies and the engineering of microbes aimed at improving the economics of mass-producing biobutanol.

This biogas refining system was installed at the Vintage Dairy farm in Fresno County, Calif. This project went live in March and was the first biogas-to-pipeline injection project in California.

Gas Naturally

By Jerry W. Kram

California, according to some dairy commercials, is home to happy cows. So many cows, in fact, that Pacific Gas and Electric Co. estimates that dairy manure makes up 20 percent of the state's available waste biomass for conversion into renewable fuels. The company is aggressively courting developers of anaerobic digestion and biomass gasification projects to provide biomethane for its millions of natural gas customers.

Purdue University researchers have implanted poplar trees with genetic material from rabbits. The trees are destined for a Herculean task: cleaning up a contaminated site that housed an oil storage facility. The site, called Peter's Pond, was tainted by contaminated oil stored there nearly 40 years ago. The process, called phytoremediation, allows transgenic trees to slurp up underground contaminants.

Approximately 150 people attended NDSU's BioOpportunities Workshop.

Big Wood

By Simon Hadlington

Construction will start soon on a giant wood-fueled power station in Wales. But where will all that wood come from? Where will the ash go? And why not use the waste heat?

For the first time Biodiesel Magazine asks producers exactly how much biodiesel is being produced. The results of our comprehensive survey create an intriguing picture of the industry. Not all producers took our phone calls, but those who did spoke loudly.

Many diesel engine manufacturers have implemented what's called post-injection, the introduction of fuel late in the combustion cycle, as part of an advanced control strategy to reduce emissions. Biodiesel Magazine looks at how post-injection of biodiesel blends facilitates dilution of engine oil while interacting with oil additives to potentially accelerate engine wear.


A Man on a Mission

By Sarah Smith

When President George W. Bush proclaimed biodiesel the most promising renewable fuel, one that could help meet his 36 billion-gallon goal, he was likely unaware that this mandate would set off a debate now taking place across America: don't build here or anywhere near here.

Renewable Identification Numbers are becoming increasingly important not just for people in environmental compliance or accounting, but also for those in marketing, investing and sustainability.

The 'FOG' is Lifting

By Kris Bevill

San Francisco is on its way to becoming an even brighter shade of green by starting a program to collect the waste fat, oil and grease (FOG) that clog city sewers and cost taxpayers millions, and turning it into biodiesel to fuel the city's fleet.


Gaining Traction

By Susanne Retka Schill

The nation's underground mines are turning to biodiesel to reduce diesel particulate matter levels to help comply with tighter air quality limits.

Most think of biodiesel as a motor fuel. But it is much more versatile and can drive steamships and, notably, gas turbines. A group in Texas has been pushing the frontiers of biofuel technology to bring electricity to the suburbs of Houston.

The Western hemisphere's poorest nation faces the same dire problems with fuel cost that the rest of the world encounters. But for once Haiti may have a head start. Its farmers already work with a native plant called jatropha.


Research into all facets of biomass-supported industries is taking off at schools throughout the country. North Dakota State University is combining and coordinating its efforts to a better biobased program.

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