Here’s an overview of key biogas news.
As 2020 begins, the biogas industry has a new pair of tax credits to drive project development. The credits can be used for projects that will be developed this year or started operation during the last two years when these credits were expired. This marks a major step forward for the biogas industry which has been at a significant competitive disadvantage due to inequities in the U.S. tax code. The tax extenders package signed into law on Dec. 20, 2019 included tax provisions extending the Sect 45 Production Tax Credit for renewable electricity and the alternative fuel excise tax credit for biogas projects that provide vehicle fuel.
The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), a national entity for economic development aid, has allocated $105 million (€94.4 million) for eight renewable energy projects, including a biogas project. The funding forms part of the seventh cycle of its partnership with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The IRENA/ADFD facility announcement marks a record level of funding for any cycle since its launch and will support projects in Nepal, Cuba, Chad, the Maldives, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia, Burkina Faso and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
The US Department of Energy (DOE) will provide up to $75 million (€67.4 million) over five years for research to develop sustainable energy crops that are “tolerant of environmental stress and resilient to changing environmental conditions”. According to the DOE, the research will focus on better understanding the genetic and physiological mechanisms influencing plant productivity and resource use, among other factors. Paul Dabbar, Under Secretary for Science, said: “With this research, the US will lead the way in laying the agricultural foundation for the emerging bio-economy.
After much debate, Stratford city council is moving forward with plans to produce renewable natural gas at their wastewater treatment plant. After narrowly defeating a motion to end the project before it even began, council members voted to tentatively move forward with plans to turn the city’s organic waste from a soon-to-be-introduced green bin program and current waste byproducts into natural gas. Exactly how much organic waste comes from outside Stratford is still up for debate. The original $20-million facility, which would have required up to 16 trucks of expired food and meat trimmings from across Ontario each day, made some councillors uncomfortable.
Have you noticed less dog feces in Mississauga’s green spaces? Seen large green dog waste receptacles around various parks? Noticed that said receptacles have no smell? If so, you have Christopher Pyke — waste management supervisor for the city — to thank. Pyke was the one to spearhead the city’s year-long dog waste pilot, which saw the installation of 13 specialty waste containers across Mississauga. The containers not only allow for the dog waste to be disposed without odour, they are the first stop in the journey of turning poop to power.
Spanish renewable energy company Energia & Celulosa (Ence) has opened its new 50MW biomass plant in La Mancha, central Spain. The new facility will produce an estimated 325,000 MWh per year, providing power for around 60,000 people, and consume around 238,000 tonnes of biomass formed of pomace, vine shoots, olive leaf, woody biomass and agricultural waste. The biomass used will comply with the Decalogue of Ence for the Sustainability of Biomass as a Fuel, a company initiative to guarantee its commitment to the use of sustainable biomass.
Calgren Dairy Fuels and Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) have announced that four additional Central Valley dairies have started sending methane produced from cow manure to Calgren’s biogas operation in Pixley, US, where it is processed into high-quality, renewable natural gas (RNG) and injected into SoCalGas’ system. The Calgren facility now collects methane from more than 66 000 cows at 10 area dairy farms. The additional dairies are projected to nearly double the amount of RNG produced at the facility, further reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and displacing more traditional natural gas.
Waste to energy is still a growth market in Europe. The number of facilities commissioned is set to rise in the years ahead, the consulting firm Ecoprog announced at the publication of the latest edition of its waste to energy study. Ecoprog anticipates that around 50 additional plants with capacity to treat roughly 18 million tonnes a year will get up and running over the next five years. The consulting firm singles out EU waste policy as the main driver. This legislation was unleashing a renewed boom in the very country that will leave the EU this year: the UK had raised its landfill tax substantially as part of its efforts to implement the EU Landfill Directive.
From food to clothes, transport fuels to building materials and plastics, we can build a huge amount of our economy around renewable, biodegradable plant materials, writes Xyntoe’s Osvald Bjelland. But collaboration is key to ensuring we do it sustainably. Our current growth model has cashed in on the unbridled use of fossil fuels, setting off a carbon explosion that we now urgently need to contain – and we have just decades to do so. But our economy needs to be brought in line with this reality if any significant change is to be made. In other words, we need to transform our fossil-fuel reliant economy into a bio-economy. Quickly.
University of Alberta engineers have found a way to turn waste fat, oil and grease into a steady supply of renewable energy. In a recent study, environmental engineering master’s student Bappi Chowdhury and his colleagues found that adding conductive materials to the waste products could potentially turn them into a reliable feedstock, allowing for a production rate of up to 70 per cent more biomethane—a renewable energy source—from a mixture of fat, oil and grease and ordinary food waste in an anaerobic digester.