Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Biomass Stepping Up

First story: Cow manure can power up to 9 million US homes.
...anerobic digestion of cow manure could...provide 100 billion kilowatt hours of electric power, enough for 9 million homes _BiofuelsDigest
Next, how plasma biowaste-to-bioenergy can solve 2 problems in one: eliminating garbage, and creating energy.
"InEnTec's Plasma Enhanced Melter has huge advantages over both conventional ethanol production and conventional waste disposal," said Jeffrey Surma, President and CEO of InEnTec. "It is a conversion system and not an incineration process, so emissions are extremely low, including very low CO(2) emissions. The feedstock is garbage or industrial waste. This means one of the modern world's most vexing problems--how to get rid of tons and tons of garbage--now becomes one of its most abundant energy resources. It doesn't compete with the world's food supply or even cultivatable land, and it significantly reduces the need for landfills which produce greenhouse gases and can leach toxins into groundwater," Surma added. _Checkbiotech
Next, a Minnesota iron ore processor is starting to substitute a biomass fuel in place of coal and gas:
The proposed upgrades also would allow UTAC to use Renewafuel, a proprietary carbon-neutral biofuel that produces substantially lower greenhouse gas, sulfur dioxide, and mercury than fossil fuels. Cleveland-Cliffs recently became a 70 percent owner in Renewafuel and hopes to use the biofuel in its mining operations....Renewafuel has demonstrated it can produce a densified cube fuel from a number of renewable materials, including wood, sawdust, corn stover, straw, paper, grasses, grain and seed hulls. _Trading Markets_via_biofuelsdigest
Heavy industry, such as steel-making, will no doubt develop better ways to use biomass products in their energy-intensive processes. The smartest managers will be the ones who learn to use the biomass resource to save their companies the most money, to maximise profits:
The Integrated Biomass Technology (IBT) framework lays out a vision for renewable, bio-based economies focused on producing and using bio-based products and materials, including foodstuffs, chemical feedstocks, consumer products, and construction materials (Fig. 2). It identities the needs, opportunities, and research necessary to implement the concept. These include development of technologies such as:

* Initial value assessment and sorting procedures during biomass harvesting and collection,

* Direct conversion of biomass into energy,

* Biorefining some components into bio-based transportation fuels,

* Biorefining other components into chemical feedstocks,

* Processing residuals and other component materials into engineered composites, such as particleboard, fiberboard and strandboard, and paper, paperboard or advanced composites using varying combinations of biomaterials, nanomaterials, inorganic materials, and synthetics.

But most important, the IBT framework recognizes that each of the component technologies must fully integrate within existing process technologies for converting a variety of biomass types (e.g., foodstuffs and timber) into food and traditional wood products, as well as fuels/energy and an array of new high-value materials and products. _Checkbiotech
North American economies are slowly but surely shifting from a wasteful petro-based economy to an integrated, responsive economy based upon local and regional resources, responding to local and regional needs. As this new and integrated infrastructure proves itself on the local and regional level, it will scale whenever possible to address national and international needs. It is a bottom-up growing of infrastructure, rather than a top-down dictating of irrational mandates as we see coming from a Boxer/Pelosi US congress.

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