EPA Proposes to Cut Methane Emissions from New and Existing Landfills

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming potential more than 25 times that of carbon dioxide. Climate change threatens the health and welfare of current and future generations. Children, older adults, people with heart or lung disease and people living in poverty may be most at risk from the health impacts of climate change. In addition to methane, landfills also emit other pollutants, including the air toxics benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and vinyl chloride.

Image Source:  http://www.environmentalleader.com/

Sourced through Scoop.it from: yosemite.epa.gov

>”Release Date: 08/14/2015
Contact Information: Enesta Jones jones.enesta@epa.gov 202-564-7873 202-564-4355

WASHINGTON – As part of the President’s Climate Action Plan – Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued two proposals to further reduce emissions of methane-rich gas from municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills. Under today’s proposals, new, modified and existing landfills would begin collecting and controlling landfill gas at emission levels nearly a third lower than current requirements.  […]

Municipal solid waste landfills receive non-hazardous wastes from homes, businesses and institutions. As landfill waste decomposes, it produces a number of air toxics, carbon dioxide, and methane. MSW landfills are the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions in the U.S., accounting for 18 percent of methane emissions in 2013 – the equivalent of approximately 100 million metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution.

Combined, the proposed rules are expected to reduce methane emissions by an estimated 487,000 tons a year beginning in 2025 – equivalent to reducing 12.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, or the carbon pollution emissions from more than 1.1 million homes. EPA estimates the climate benefits of the combined proposals at nearly $750 million in 2025 or nearly $14 for every dollar spent to comply. Combined costs of the proposed rules are estimated at $55 million in 2025.

Today’s proposals would strengthen a previously proposed rule for new landfills that was issued in 2014, and would update the agency’s 1996 emission guidelines for existing landfills. The proposals are based on additional data and analysis, and public comments received on a proposal and Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking EPA issued in 2014.

EPA will take comment on the proposed rules for 60 days after they are published in the Federal Register. The agency will hold a public hearing if one is requested within five days of publication.  “<

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The Hidden Costs of Fossil Fuel Dependency

It is estimated that 80 to 85 percent of the energy consumed in the U.S. is from fossil fuels. One of the main reasons given for continuing to use this energy source is that it is much less expensive than alternatives. The true cost, however, depends on what you include in the calculation, and there are so many costs not figured in the bills we pay for energy.

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com

>” […] Just last week, on May 19, a pipeline rupture caused over 100,000 gallons to spill into Santa Barbara waters. The channel where the spill occurred is where warm water from the south mixes with cold water from the north, creating one of most bio-diverse habitats in the world, with over 800 species of sea creatures, from crabs and snails to sea lions and otters, and a forest of kelp and other undersea plants; it’s also a place through which 19,000 gray whales migrate this time each year. […]

Hidden Costs of Using Fossil Fuels for Energy

It is estimated that 80 to 85 percent of the energy consumed in the U.S. is from fossil fuels. One of the main reasons given for continuing to use this energy source is that it is much less expensive than alternatives. The true cost, however, depends on what you include in the calculation. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, there are so many costs not figured in the bills we pay for energy. The following includes just some of them:

  1. Human health problems caused by environmental pollution.
  2. Damage to the food chain from toxins absorbed and passed along.
  3. Damage to miners and energy workers.
  4. Damage to the earth from coal mining and fracking.
  5. Global warming caused by greenhouse gasses.
  6. Acid rain and groundwater pollution.
  7. National security costs from protecting oil sources and from terrorism (some of which is financed by oil revenues).

Additional Costs From Continued Subsidies

That’s not all. In addition to the above costs, each and every U.S. taxpayer has been subsidizing the oil industry since 1916, when the oil depletion allowance was instituted. Government subsidies in the U.S. are estimated to be between $4 billion and $52 billion annually. The worldwide figure is pegged between $775 billion and $1 trillion. Why don’t oil and gas companies and governments around the world divert at least some of these subsidies to invest in alternative clean energy sources? Rather than invest in the depleting and damaging energy sources of the past, isn’t it time to look to the future and stop “kicking the can down the road”?

More Hidden Costs

While some call it an urban legend, others say quite emphatically that the oil industry conspired with the automobile industry and other vested interests to put streetcars out of business so that people would be forced to use automobiles and buses to get from point A to B — selling more automobiles, tires, fuel, insurance, etc. Fact or fiction, many big cities (and especially Los Angeles, where alternatives are sparse) are choking from traffic gridlock. The first study on this subject determined that traffic congestion robbed the U.S. economy of $124 billion in 2013. That’s an annual cost of $1,700 per household. This is expected to waste $2.8 trillion by 2030 if we do not take immediate measures to reverse the situation. For those who are skeptical, visit Los Angeles and try to drive around. Even with Waze, much more time and energy is wasted sitting in traffic than you could ever imagine. A commute that formerly took five to 10 minutes can now take upwards of an hour.

There Is a Solution

The solution to many of the problems related to gridlock, damage to the environment and human health includes the following:

  1. Clean energy and storage. […]
  2. More effective and efficient transportation (clean and safe mass transit […]
  3. Better marketing of, and accounting for, the true cost of the alternatives.
  4. Investment to do it.
  5. Political vision and will to transparently tell the truth and make the investment.

Doing the Right Thing Is Rarely Easy

While what is most worthwhile is rarely easy, it is necessary for the planet and living things that call it home.  […]”<

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Nonpetroleum share of transportation fuel energy at highest level since 1954

“In the United States, petroleum is by far the most-consumed transportation fuel. But recently the share of fuels other than petroleum for U.S. transportation has increased to its highest level since 1954, a time when the use of coal-fired steam locomotives was declining and automobile use was growing rapidly.”

Source: www.eia.gov

>” […] After nearly 50 years of relative stability at about 4%, the nonpetroleum share started increasing steadily in the mid-2000s, reaching 8.5% in 2014. Of the nonpetroleum fuels used for transportation, fuel ethanol has grown most rapidly in recent years, increasing by nearly one quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) between 2000 and 2014. Nearly all of the ethanol consumed was blended into gasoline in blends of 10% or less, but a small amount was used in vehicles capable of running on higher blends as the availability of those flexible-fuel vehicles grew. Consumption of biodiesel, most of it blended into diesel fuel for use in trucks and buses, grew to more than 180 trillion Btu by 2014.

In 2014, transportation use of natural gas reached a historic high of 946 trillion Btu, 3.5% of all natural gas used in the United States. Transportation natural gas is mostly used in the operation of pipelines, primarily to run compressor stations and to deliver natural gas to consumers. Natural gas used to fuel vehicles, although a much smaller amount, has more than doubled since 2000.

Electricity retail sales to the transportation sector grew more than 40% from 2000 through 2014, although sales have declined slightly since 2007. Electricity for transportation is mostly sold to railroads and railways. However, this increase does not include the consumption of electricity in electric vehicles that are not used in mass transit, because charging stations for these types of vehicles are likely associated with meters on residential, commercial, or industrial customer sites where this specific use may not be differentiated from other uses. […]”<

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Bio-Gas Waste Treatment System Installs Remote Fuel Station for Fleet

MADISON, WI–(Marketwired – Mar 3, 2015) – BioCNG, LLC announced that the St. Landry Parish Solid Waste Disposal District’s BioCNG Vehicle Fuel Project, which was fully commissioned in 2012, will be expanded to include an additional BioCNG system and a remote CNG fueling station. BioCNG, which partnered with the District…

Source: www.marketwired.com

>”[…]

The expansion is part of a contract between St. Landry Solid Waste and Progressive Waste Systems. In exchange for continuation of its existing waste hauling contract with the District, Progressive Waste has agreed to purchase new CNG-powered trucks, and will have access to the increased BioCNG generated from the expanded system. The expanded project will also provide BioCNG fuel to additional St. Landry Parish clients.

St. Landry Parish Solid Waste Disposal District executive director Katry Martin, said, “The fact that the hauler that delivers waste to the Parish landfill will fuel its trucks with the biogas generated from the landfill is a true example of the power of renewable energy sources and a preview of the future of biogas.”

The St. Landry Parish BioCNG Vehicle Fuel Project received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Landfill Methane Outreach Program (LMOP) 2012 Project of the Year award. The system was originally designed to serve public works trucks and the sheriffs’ vehicle fleet. Now, with a new fuel purchaser, the District will increase on-site BioCNG production and provide an off-site CNG fueling station. The District can transport the BioCNG to the off-site location in a compressed gas tube trailer. […]”<

 

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Renewable Energy Provides Half of New US Generating Capacity in 2014

According to the latest “Energy Infrastructure Update” report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Office of Energy Projects, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydroelectric, solar, wind) provided nearly half (49.81 percent – 7,663 MW) of new electrical generation brought into service during 2014 while natural gas accounted for 48.65 percent (7,485 MW).

 

Image source:  http://usncre.org/

Source: www.renewableenergyworld.com

>” […] By comparison, in 2013, natural gas accounted for 46.44 percent (7,378 MW) of new electrical generating capacity while renewables accounted for 43.03 percent (6,837 MW). New renewable energy capacity in 2014 is 12.08 percent more than that added in 2013.

New wind energy facilities accounted for over a quarter (26.52 percent) of added capacity (4,080 MW) in 2014 while solar power provided 20.40% (3,139 MW). Other renewables — biomass (254 MW), hydropower (158 MW), and geothermal (32 MW) — accounted for an additional 2.89 percent.

For the year, just a single coal facility (106 MW) came on-line; nuclear power expanded by a mere 71MW due to a plant upgrade; and only 15 small “units” of oil, totaling 47 MW, were added.

Thus, new capacity from renewable energy sources in 2014 is 34 times that from coal, nuclear and oil combined — or 72 times that from coal, 108 times that from nuclear, and 163 times that from oil.

Renewable energy sources now account for 16.63 percent of total installed operating generating capacity in the U.S.: water – 8.42 percent, wind – 5.54 percent, biomass – 1.38 percent, solar – 0.96 percent, and geothermal steam – 0.33 percent.  Renewable energy capacity is now greater than that of nuclear (9.14 percent) and oil (3.94 percent) combined.

Note that generating capacity is not the same as actual generation. Generation per MW of capacity (i.e., capacity factor) for renewables is often lower than that for fossil fuels and nuclear power. According to the most recent data (i.e., as of November 2014) provided by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, actual net electrical generation from renewable energy sources now totals a bit more than 13.1 percent of total U.S. electrical production; however, this figure almost certainly understates renewables’ actual contribution significantly because EIA does not fully account for all electricity generated by distributed renewable energy sources (e.g., rooftop solar).

Can there any longer be doubt about the emerging trends in new U.S. electrical capacity? Coal, oil, and nuclear have become historical relics and it is now a race between renewable sources and natural gas with renewables taking the lead.”<

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European Airlines Contracts Biofuel Supplier For Biofuel Powered Flights

SAS has, along with the Lufthansa Group and KLM, signed an agreement with Statoil Aviation for a regular supply of 2.5 million liters (660,430 gallons) of biofuel at Oslo Airport, allowing the airport to offer a regular supply of biobased fuel.

Source: biomassmagazine.com

>” […] Via an agreement signed with Avinor and the above named airlines, Statoil Aviation is to supply 2.5 million liters (660,430 gallons) of biofuel to the refueling facility at Oslo Airport. With a 50 percent biofuel mix, this will fuel around 3,000 flights between Oslo and Bergen and make OSL the first major airport in the world to offer a regular supply of biofuel as part of daily operations from March 2015. […]

SAS aims to use synthetic fuel on an increasingly regular basis in the next few years, and expects biofuel to become competitive with the fossil fuel alternative. For this to happen, a general environment and tax policy will be required from governments, based on aviation being a form of internationally competitive public transport with thin profit margins.”<

 

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Combined Heat & Power Drives Biomass Demand

New analysis from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) forecasts CHP and industrial heat demand are set to drive global bioenergy consumption over the coming decade and more.

Source: www.cospp.com

>”The trend towards modern and industrial uses of biomass is growing rapidly, the report notes, adding that biomass-based steam generation is particularly interesting for the chemical and petrochemical sectors, food and textile sectors, where most production processes operate with steam. Low and medium temperature process steam used in the production processes of these sectors can be provided by boilers or CHP plants. Combusting biogas in CHP plants is another option already pursued in northern European countries, especially in the food sector, where food waste and process residues can be digested anaerobically to produce biogas, IRENA adds. A recent IRENA analysis (2014b) estimated that three quarters of the renewable energy potential in the industry sector is related to biomass-based process heat from CHP plants and boilers. Hence, biomass is the most important technology to increase industrial renewable energy use, they conclude.

In industry, demand is estimated to reach 21 EJ in the REmap 2030, up to three-quarters of which (15 EJ) will be in industrial CHP plants to generate low- and medium-temperature process heat (about two-thirds of the total CHP output). In addition to typical CHP users such as pulp and paper other sectors with potential include the palm-oil or natural rubber production sectors in rapidly developing countries like Malaysia or Indonesia where by-products are combusted in ratherinefficient boilers or only in power producing plants.

As a result, installed thermal CHP capacity would reach about 920 GWth with an additional 105 GWth of stand-alone biomass boilers and gasifiers for process heat generation could be installed worldwide by 2030. This is a growth of more than 70% in industrial biomass-based process heat generation capacity compared to the Reference Case.

Biomass demand for district heating will reach approximately 5 EJ by 2030 while the power sector, including fuel demand for on-site electricity generation in buildings and on-site CHP plants at industry sites, will require approximately another 31 EJ for power generation (resulting in the production of nearly 3,000 TWh per year in 2030, according to IRENA.

The total installed biomass power generation capacity in Remap 2030 reaches 390 GWe. Of this total, around 178 GWe is the power generation capacity component of CHPs installed in the industry and district heating sectors.”<

 

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Development of small scale renewable landfill bio-gas electric generator in UK

ACP funds for development of small scale landfill gas engine in UK Energy Business Review ACP’s biogas partner AlphaGen Renewables, which oversee the installation and operation of a 50kW microgeneration landfill gas engine, will develop the project.

Source: biofuelsandbiomass.energy-business-review.com

>”The project is expected to generate power from the landfill gas resource at the site under a 20 year agreement with Norfolk County Council.

AlphaGen Renewables chairman Richard Tipping said: “We are delighted to be partnering with ACP on this project, which is set to deliver strong returns. Renewables such as biogas are playing a growing role in the UK’s energy production.”

Albion Ventures Renewables head David Gudgin said: “Biogas is an increasingly popular area of renewable energy and we are looking forward to working with AlphaGen both on this project and others in the future.”<

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Virtual Power Plants (VPP): A New Tech Based Utility Model for Renewable Power Integration

Today’s global energy market is in the midst of a paradigm shift, from a model dominated by large centralized power plants owned by big utilities to a mixed bag of so-called distributed energy generation facilities — smaller residential, commercial and industrial power generation systems &mdas

Source: www.renewableenergyworld.com

>”Virtual Power Plants

One distributed generation technology with significant growth potential is the virtual power plant (VPP). In the VPP model an energy aggregator gathers a portfolio of smaller generators and operates them as a unified and flexible resource on the energy market or sells their power as system reserve.

VPPs are designed to maximize asset owners’ profits while also balancing the grid. They can match load fluctuations through forecasting, advance metering and computerized control, and can perform real-time optimization of energy resources.

“Virtual power plants essentially represent an ‘Internet of Energy,’ tapping existing grid networks to tailor electricity supply and demand services for a customer,” said Navigant senior analyst Peter Asmus in a market report. The VPP market will grow from less than US $1 billion per year in 2013 to $3.6 billion per year by 2020, according to Navigant’s research — and one reason is that with more variable renewables on the grid flexibility and demand response are becoming more crucial.

Asmus called VPPs “an ideal optimization platform for the coming transformation of the power grid,” adding that both supply and demand flexibility will be increasingly necessary to accommodate fast ramping periods and address corresponding supply forecast errors.

German utility RWE began a VPP in 2012 that now has around 80 MW of capacity. According to Jon-Erik Mantz, commercial director of RWE Energy Services in Germany, in the near future flexibility will become a commodity. Virtual power plants generate additional value from the flexibility they can offer the grid, he said-so, for RWE, “this is why we concentrate on building VPPs.” As large utilities’ market share falls in response to growing self-consumption, he said, utilities can still “be part of a VPP and profit.”

Dr. Thomas Werner, senior key expert in product lifecycle management at Siemens, said that in order to integrate diverse smaller energy sources, “You need an energy management system with good data models which represents energy resources on the one hand and, on the other, the energy market environment.” Werner believes VPPs fulfill these conditions and are the best way to integrate a growing number of power sources into the grid and the market.

“VPPs can be handled like other conventional generation,” he said. “They can target different energy markets and regulatory environments. They can play as important a role as conventional concentrated generation.”

“No Real Competition”

“From my point of view, there is no real competition for the VPP concept,” Werner said, pointing to VPPs’ use of cheap and ubiquitous information and communication technologies, while other technology trends like building energy storage systems incur comparatively heavy costs. VPPs can also avoid expensive installation costs in, for example, a home system, he notes. Self-consumption for home or industrial use is hampered by having to produce “the right amount of power at the right time.”

VPPs can deliver needed energy at peak usage times, and can store any surplus power, giving the energy aggregator more options than would exist in a single power plant. Other advantages include improved power network efficiency and security, cost and risk savings in transmission systems, increased value from existing infrastructure assets and reduced emissions from peaking power plants. And, importantly, VPPs can also enable more efficient integration of renewable energy sources into the grid by balancing their variability.

For example, explains Werner, if one wind power source generates a bit more energy than predicted and another generates a bit less, they will compensate for each other, resulting in a more accurate forecast and making it easier to sell the capacity in the market or to use it in power systems operation.

A VPP can also combine variable renewable power sources with stable, controllable sources such as biomass plants, using the flexibility of the biomass source to smooth out any discrepancy between planned and actual production.”<

Scientists Convert Algae into Crude Oil in Less than One Hour

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Pacific Northwest National Laboratory engineers a way to turn algae into usable crude oil without a million years wait or harmful and expensive chemicals.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>Department of Energy scientists at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory say they’ve reduced nature’s million year process of turning algae into crude oil to one than takes less than an hour. The engineers created a chemical process that produces crude oil minutes after it is poured into harvested algae. The reaction is not only fast, but also continuous since it produces a recyclable by product containing phosphorus that can then be used to grow more algae.   […]

The scientists say with additional conventional refining, the crude algae oil can be converted into a variety of fuels for aviation, gasoline burning cars, or diesel vehicles. Meanwhile, the wastewater can also be used to yield burnable gas or elemental substances like potassium and nitrogen, which, along with the cleansed water, can grow more algae.

The new process promises to reduce time and save money compared to other techniques by combining several chemical steps and skipping the process of drying out the algae. Instead, the new process uses a slurry that contains as much as 80 to 90 percent water while eliminating the need for complex processing solvents like hexane to extract the energy rich oils from the algae. Elliott said in addition to saving time, “there are bonuses, like being able to extract usable gas from the water and then recycle the remaining water and nutrients to help grow more algae, which further reduces costs.”<

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