Archive for March 2009
VEGREVILLE, Alta. — Two huge tanks with rounded, mushroom lids loom above the snowdrifts, the first glimpse of Alberta’s oddest-looking electricity plant and also its greenest.
About one megawatt of power flows out on the wires — enough power to run the next-door feedlot and turn on the lights in 700 homes in Vegreville and Two Hills.
Two more gigantic tanks are under construction, and beside them, the site is cleared for the final installation, an ethanol plant, the greenest in Canada, thanks to homegrown, Alberta inventions.
In the land of big oil, a fledgling alternative energy economy is taking shape down on the farm and it’s based on that most plentiful of Alberta resources — a smelly, endless supply of cattle poop. That and the inventiveness of two sets of farmer brothers and a scientist from China who made Edmonton her home.
One man’s trash is another’s treasure.
That’s the lesson Hoosier Energy learned when it built its electricity-generation plant at the Clark-Floyd Landfill in September 2007, a project so successful the company announced it will expand the operation with a third generator by the end of June.
Through an agreement with the Clark County Commissioners, Hoosier Energy built two 1-megawatt reciprocating engines that use methane emitted from the landfill to generate electricity. The renewable-energy project’s success has prompted Hoosier Energy’s decision to place a larger 1.5-megawatt engine at the landfill.
“Based on our operating experience, we have had exceptional reliability and production capability with the existing system,” said Chris Tryba, spokesman for Hoosier Energy. “We have determined that there is a sufficient amount of landfill gas to run a third unit.”
Partnership with city of Sioux Falls, S.D. makes ethanol production greener
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – POET Biorefining – Chancellor, S.D. and the city of Sioux Falls, S.D. have taken “green” to a new level with the completion of a landfill gas pipeline that is now providing methane gas to help power daily operations of the 105 million gallon per year (MGPY) POET ethanol plant.
The 10-mile, low-pressure pipeline from the Sioux Falls Regional Sanitary Landfill began supplying methane to the plant at the end of February, ahead of the expected completion date. The POET plant will utilize the landfill gas in a wood waste-fuel boiler to generate process steam. Combined, the two alternative energy sources will initially offset up to 90 percent of the plant’s process steam needs currently met using natural gas and has the potential to replace 90 percent of the plant’s total energy needs (combined with waste wood) over time.
The methane is produced when solid waste decomposes at the landfill. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the annual environmental benefits from using this gas for power is equal to removing emissions from more than 27,000 passenger vehicles, removing carbon dioxide emissions from more than 344,000 barrels of oil or sequestering carbon with nearly 34,000 acres of pine or fir forests. Besides reducing greenhouse gasses, the partnership provides additional revenue to Sioux Falls and lowers energy costs at the Chancellor plant.
“At POET, we take a lot of pride in helping reduce the human impact on our environment,” POET CEO Jeff Broin said. “Ethanol already cuts greenhouse gasses significantly compared to gasoline. This partnership makes that process even cleaner.”
Sioux Falls Mayor Dave Munson said the new Methane Gas Compressor system provides a benefit for everyone in the area.
“Not only is this now allowing us to reuse the methane, but with POET as our customer we have added a revenue stream to the landfill which is going to keep rates low for the entire region,” Munson said.
POET and the City of Sioux Falls are members of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Landfill Methane Outreach Program (LMOP). The program aims to reduce methane emissions from landfills by encouraging development of cost-effective and environmentally sound landfill gas projects.
POET, the largest ethanol producer in the world, is an established leader in the biorefining industry through project development, design and construction, research and development, plant management, and marketing. The 20-year-old company currently operates 26 production facilities in the United States. The company produces and markets more than 1.54 billion gallons of ethanol annually. For more information, go to http://www.poet.com.
BEDFORD (Reuters) – John Ibbett and pigs go back a long way. “The pig manager pushed me round in a pram,” recalls Ibbett, whose family have been farming on the same site since 1939.
Now he’s proud his family farm can turn muck into electricity, using new technology paid for by a multi-million pound windfall. His Bedfordia Group is one of only a handful of companies with farm-based biogas plants in Britain.
Waste Management Inc. plans to build Arkansas’ second “gasto-energy plant” near its Tontitown landfill.
The plant will convert methane gas to generate about 5 megawatts of electricity, which could power 5,000 homes, said George Wheatley, a spokesman for the Houston based company. Methane gas is created naturally as waste decays in landfills.
“It’s green electricity,” Wheatley said. “It moves your landfill from being just a landfill to being a component of renewable energy.”
The Tontitown landfill should have an ample supply of methane to provide 5 megawatts of electricity for about 30 years, Wheatley said.