Low Coal Prices Fuel Demand as Trading Volumes Soar 46%

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Coal leads surge in European energy exchange trading in first half 2016 -study

Wholesale trading of coal on the exchanges soared 46 percent from a year earlier to 3.5 billion tonnes

FRANKFURT: Coal lead a surge in trading volumes on west European energy exchanges in the first half of this year as traders took advantage of low commodity prices, research company Prospex said on Monday.

Wholesale trading of coal on the exchanges soared 46 percent from a year earlier to 3.5 billion tonnes, according to Prospex.

“Low coal prices mean a fixed amount of trading capital will buy higher volumes than it did in the past,” said Prospex Research director Ben Tait.

“In fact, many traders seeking to hit absolute profit targets have indeed ramped up volumes,” he said.

Prospex’s data covers volumes on what traders call the paper market, where two parties agree deals in the over-the-counter (OTC) market and have them cleared by an exchange.

In coal, this type of business accounts for 98 percent of volumes changing hands in Europe.

Prospex said commodity trading houses remain keen on coal, with some holding extensive physical coal interests that play out on the dominant Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) region of ports that serve Europe’s power stations and steelmakers with raw material.  Read more:  Full Article

 

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EPA and the Petroleum Industry: Fracking, Cover-ups and Academic Freedom

Thyne says he’s not the only one who’s been subjected to undue pressure from the oil and gas industry. He says he knows of faculty around the nation who have been targeted as well, including an engineer at Cornell University who called for an outright fracking ban in his state.

“Industry did a bunch of nasty pieces on him, trying to make him look like a wild-eyed, pistol-waving lunatic,” Thyne says.

There was even one woman from the tiny town of Raton, N.M., who claimed she was being followed and harassed after complaining about her water well being contaminated by nearby drilling operations.

“This ain’t shit,” Thyne says of his own situation. “I’ve talked to people who’ve been shot at. … It’s a real sticky situation, because there are some people getting jobs in the community, because of the development, and they’re good-paying jobs, and this is changing our economy, so it’s all positive, and then you say, ‘Yeah, well, so-and-so screwed up my well, and they won’t compensate me for it, so I’m going to take them to court, or I’m going to make waves.’ And you’ve got your neighbors mad at you.”

In addition, taking a big oil or gas company to court isn’t a walk in the park.

“You’ve got to have really deep pockets, you’ve got to go to court for a couple of years,” Thyne says. “They’re going to push it back and push it back and push it back, and then they’re going to wait until the last second, literally, and they’re going to settle. And they’re probably going to simply buy your land for what you paid for it, and get you to sign a nondisclosure [agreement] and say bye bye.”

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.boulderweekly.com

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E.P.A. Proposal to Regulate GHG Emissions and Fuel Economy for HD Trucks

The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to propose rules requiring heavy trucks to increase their fuel economy by up to 40 percent by 2027.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.nytimes.com

>” […] This week, the E.P.A. is expected to propose regulations to cut greenhouse gas emissions from heavy-duty trucks, requiring that their fuel economy increase up to 40 percent by 2027, compared with levels in 2010, according to people briefed on the proposal. A tractor-trailer now averages five to six miles a gallon of diesel. The new regulations would seek to raise that average to as much as nine miles a gallon. A truck’s emissions can vary greatly, depending on how much it is carrying.

The hotly debated rules, which cover almost any truck larger than a standard pickup, are the latest in a stack of sweeping climate change policy measures on which President Obama hopes to build his environmental legacy. Already, his administration has proposed rules to cut emissions from power plants and has imposed significantly higher fuel efficiency standards on passenger vehicles.

The truck proposals could cut millions of tons of carbon dioxide pollution while saving millions of barrels of oil. Trucks now account for a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles in the United States, even though they make up only 4 percent of traffic, the E.P.A. says.

But the rules will also impose significant burdens on America’s trucking industry — the beating heart of the nation’s economy, hauling food, raw goods and other freight across the country.

It is expected that the new rules will add $12,000 to $14,000 to the manufacturing cost of a new tractor-trailer, although E.P.A. studies estimate that cost will be recouped after 18 months by fuel savings.

Environmental advocates say that without regulation, the contribution of American trucks to global warming will soar.

“Trucking is set to be a bad actor if we don’t do something now,” Jason Mathers, head of the Green Freight program at the Environmental Defense Fund.

But some in the trucking industry are wary.

“I’ll put it this way: We told them what we can do, but they haven’t told us what they plan to do,” said Tony Greszler, vice president for government relations for Volvo Group North America, one of the largest manufacturers of big trucks. “We have concerns with how this will play out.”

The E.P.A., along with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, began its initial phase of big truck fuel economy regulation in 2011, and those efforts have been widely seen within the industry as successful. But meeting the initial standards, like using more efficient tires, was not especially difficult by comparison. […]”

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Industrial Plant to be Re-Developed into Mega-Indoor Vertical Farm Factory

AeroFarms, a leading commercial grower for vertical farming and controlled agriculture, together with property management firm RBH Group, a slew of investment partners along with the City of Newark and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) announced the intent to redevelop a former industrial site in Newark’s Ironbound district into a state-of-the art 69,000 square foot indoor vertical farm.

Source: archinect.com

>” […] Currently under construction, the first phases will open in the second half of 2015, creating approximately 78 jobs in a local community with an unemployment rate that is twice the national average. Additionally, AeroFarms has partnered with the Ironbound Community Corporation to create a recruiting and job training program targeting local residents.

The building is located on a 3-acre industrial site in the center of the Ironbound community in Newark, NJ. It is adjacent to elevated truck Route 1 and 9, a freight rail right of way, and to other industrial businesses along Rome and Christie Streets.

When completed, AeroFarms will have the capacity to grow up to 2 million pounds per year of baby leafy greens and herbs in an environmentally controlled, safe, and sanitary facility. It will provide healthy foods to the local community as well as to other markets. AeroFarms is a model for successful, sustainable farming offering 75 times more productivity per square foot annually than a traditional field farm while using no pesticides and consuming over 95% less water. […]”<

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Are Virtual Power Plants the Next Generation in Electrical Utilities?

Germany’s energy giants are lumbering behind the rapid advance of renewable energy. They might stay afloat for a while, but they don’t seem flexible enough to achieve a turnaround, says DW’s Henrik Böhme.

Source: www.dw.de

>” […]  Decentralization is the buzzword. And the power required elsewhere, say, for street lights, electric motors, or the bakery nearby will be largely generated through renewables. Even large industrial compounds will be in a position to generate enough electricity for their own needs.

Nuclear power stations will all have been switched off by then, with only a few coal-fired or gas-fired plants still in operation. One way or another, Germany’s power landscape is bound to undergo dramatic changes.

That’s been obvious for a couple of years now. But the German utilities’ age-old business models don’t seem to be working anymore. All they know is big and heavy – they’re used to nuclear and coal power stations guaranteeing billions in profit, year-in year-out, and they seemed to secure their earnings without any trouble. And then they grew fat and began making mistakes.  […]

Then came the Fukushima nuclear disaster four years ago, leading to the German government’s decision to phase out nuclear energy completely by 2022. That dealt a severe blow to Eon, RWE and co. which hadn’t really understood the thrust of the country’s energy transition anyway.

The utilities in question are now frantically trying to rescue what they still can. They’re cutting away some of the fat. Costs are being cut, employees are being laid off and selected divisions are being jettisoned. The companies have rediscovered private clients by offering them networking technology.

But people don’t trust those giant, de facto monopolist firms anymore. Younger companies can do the same just as well, and often far more efficiently. Take “Next Kraftwerke”, a Cologne-based start-up. They run a virtual power station where power is collected from many smaller facilities and redistributed in the process. This is pretty close to what a future energy supply system will look like.

According to Silicon Valley researcher Peter Diamandis, 40 percent of the world’s current biggest companies will have ceased to play an important role some 10 years from now. On current performance, among those to fall will most likely be Eon, RWE and others.”<

 

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Wide Bandgap Semiconductors – LED’s and the Future of Power Electronics

Hidden inside nearly every modern electronic is a technology — called power electronics — that is quietly making our wor…

Source: www.youtube.com

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“Hidden inside nearly every modern electronic is a technology — called power electronics — that is quietly making our world run. Yet, as things like our phones, appliances and cars advance, current power electronics will no longer be able to meet our needs, making it essential that we invest in the future of this technology.

Today [January 15, 2014], President Obama will announce that North Carolina State University will lead the Energy Department’s new manufacturing innovation institute for the next generation of power electronics. The institute will work to drive down the costs of and build America’s manufacturing leadership in wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductor-based power electronics — leading to more affordable products for businesses and consumers, billions of dollars in energy savings and high-quality U.S. manufacturing jobs.

Integral to consumer electronics and many clean energy technologies, power electronics can be found in everything from electric vehicles and industrial motors, to laptop power adaptors and inverters that connect solar panels and wind turbines to the electric grid. For nearly 50 years, silicon chips have been the basis of power electronics. However, as clean energy technologies and the electronics industry has advanced, silicon chips are reaching their limits in power conversion — resulting in wasted heat and higher energy consumption.

Power electronics that use WBG semiconductors have the potential to change all this. WBG semiconductors operate at high temperatures, frequencies and voltages — all helping to eliminate up to 90 percent of the power losses in electricity conversion compared to current technology. This in turn means that power electronics can be smaller because they need fewer semiconductor chips, and the technologies that rely on power electronics — like electric vehicle chargers, consumer appliances and LEDs — will perform better, be more efficient and cost less.

One of three new institutes in the President’s National Network of Manufacturing Innovation, the Energy Department’s institute will develop the infrastructure needed to make WBG semiconductor-based power electronics cost competitive with silicon chips in the next five years. Working with more than 25 partners across industry, academia, and state and federal organizations, the institute will provide shared research and development, manufacturing equipment, and product testing to create new semiconductor technology that is up to 10 times more powerful that current chips on the market. Through higher education programs and internships, the institute will ensure that the U.S. has the workforce necessary to be the leader in the next generation of power electronics manufacturing.

Watch our latest video on how wide bandgap semiconductors could impact clean energy technology and our daily lives.”

source:  http://energy.gov/articles/wide-bandgap-semiconductors-essential-our-technology-future

 

Potential of liquefied natural gas use as a railroad fuel

Source: www.eia.gov

>” […]  Continued growth in domestic natural gas production, along with substantially lower natural gas spot prices compared to crude oil, is reshaping the U.S. energy economy and attracting considerable interest in the potential for fueling freight locomotives with liquefied natural gas (LNG). While there is significant appeal for major U.S. railroads to use LNG as a fuel for locomotives because of its potentially favorable economics compared with diesel fuel, there are also key uncertainties as to whether, and to what extent, the railroads can take advantage of this relatively cheap and abundant fuel.

Freight railroads and the basic economics of fuel choice  Major U.S. railroads, known commonly as Class 1 railroads, are defined as line-haul freight railroads with certain minimum annual operating revenue. Currently, that classification is based on 2011 operating revenue of $433.2 million or more [1]. While there are 561 freight railroads operating in the United States, only seven are defined as Class 1 railroads. The Class 1 railroads account for 94% of total freight rail revenue [2]. They haul large amounts of tonnage over long distances, and in the process they consume significant quantities of diesel fuel. In 2012, the seven Class 1 railroads consumed more than 3.6 billion gallons (gal) of diesel fuel [3], amounting to 10 million gal/day and representing 7% of all diesel fuel consumed in the United States. […]

The large differential between crude oil and natural gas commodity prices translates directly into a significant disparity between projected LNG and diesel fuel prices, even after accounting for natural gas liquefaction costs that exceed refining costs. […]

Given the difference between LNG and diesel fuel prices in the Reference case, railroads that switch locomotive fuels could accrue significant fuel cost savings. Locomotives are used intensively, consume large amounts of fuel, and are kept in service for relatively long periods of time. The net present value of future fuel savings across the Reference case projection for an LNG locomotive compared to a diesel counterpart is well above the roughly $1 million higher cost of the LNG locomotive and tender (Figure IF3-3).  […]

Relatively large changes in assumptions used to evaluate investments in LNG locomotives (such as a significantly shorter payback period or much higher discount rate) or in fuel prices would be required to change LNG fuel economics for railroad use from favorable to unfavorable. […] “<

 

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Could desalination solve California’s water problem?

Desalination would seem to answer every prayer to fix California’s water shortages. But turning the sea into drinking water is not so easy. The state’s first major desalination plant, under construction in Carlsbad, is a major test for the industry and wary environmental groups.

Source: www.sacbee.com

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US EPA Awards Energy Star to 3 CHP (Cogen) Projects

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognised three combined heat and power projects with ENERGY STAR CHP awards.

Source: www.cospp.com

>”[…] Eastman Chemical Company’s Kingsport, Tennessee, Campus plant (pictured) was recognised for its 200 MW CHP system, which includes 17 GE steam turbine generators. The Kingsport industrial campus, one of the largest chemical manufacturing sites in North America, employs nearly 7000 people […]

Seventeen boilers produce steam to support manufacturing processes, help meet the space heating/cooling needs of 550 buildings, and drive 17 GE and two ABB steam turbine generators with a combined design output of 200 MW. With an operating efficiency of more than 78%, the predominantly coal-fired system requires approximately 14% less fuel than grid-supplied electricity and conventional steam production, saving Eastman Chemical approximately US$45 million per year.

Janssen Research & Development, LLC, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, was granted an award for its 3.8 MW CHP system, powered by a Caterpillar lean-burn low-emissions reciprocating natural gas generator set. The system supplies 60% of the annual power needs for the site and approximately 40% of the thermal energy used to support R&D operations and heat, cool, and dehumidify the facility’s buildings.

With an operating efficiency of more than 62%, the system requires approximately 29% less fuel than grid-supplied electricity and conventional steam production, saving approximately $1.1 million per year.

Merck’s CoGen3 CHP system at its West Point facility was also recognised by the EPA. A pharmaceutical and vaccine manufacturing, R&D and warehouse and distribution centre, the project is powered by a 38 MW GE 6B heavy-duty gas turbine and recovers heat to produce steam to heat, cool and dehumidify approximately 7 million square feet of manufacturing, laboratory and office space.

The system, designed by Burns & Roe, is the third CHP system that Merck has installed at the 400-acre West Point, Pennsylvania campus. With an operating efficiency of more than 75%, the natural gas-fired system requires approximately 30% less fuel than grid-supplied electricity and conventional steam production.”<

 

 

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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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