NewEnergyNews: HAWAIIAN MARINE ALGAE

NewEnergyNews

Gleanings from the web and the world, condensed for convenience, illustrated for enlightenment, arranged for impact...

The challenge: To make every day Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE- EU UPS THE WORLD’S BAR ON EMISSIONS CUT TARGETS
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-FIRST BIG MOROCCO SOLAR NEAR POWERING UP
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-NORTH SEA WIND-HYDRO INTERLINK TO GROW
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-TURKISH GEOTHERMAL GETS INTELLIGENT
  • THE DAY BEFORE

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, Oct. 23:

  • TTTA Thursday-EVANGELICALS IN ‘CREATION CARE’ CLIMATE FIGHT
  • TTTA Thursday-ADVANCED WIND-MAKERS MAKANI, SHEERWIND READY DEMOS
  • TTTA Thursday-TEA PARTY BACKS SOLAR, ATTACKS UTILITY MONOPOLIES
  • TTTA Thursday-WHAT DRIVERS DON’T KNOW HOLDS BACK THE FUTURE
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    THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • THE STUDY: THE IMPACT ON REAL PEOPLE OF RISING POWER PRICES
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 22: SCHOOLS SAVE W/GEOTHERMAL HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; BUILDING FOR NEXT-GEN U.S. BIOFUELS; ENERGY STORAGE MARKET EMERGING
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • THE STUDY: WHERE U.S. OFFSHORE WIND WILL CONNECT
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 21: SOLARCITY TO CROWDFUND WITH $1,000 BONDS; NEW JERSEY LOOKS AT OCEAN WIND; SMART LED LIGHTING MRKT TO DOUBLE
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • THE STUDY: NEW OPPORTUNITIES IN TRANSMISSION
  • QUICK NEWS, Oct. 20: ELEVEN GOOD THINGS ABOUT SOLAR ENERGY; YAHOO BUYS WIND; SMART THERMOSTATS’ BILLION DOLLAR FUTURE
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • Weekend Video: The Ocean Speaks Out
  • Weekend Video: Adapting To The Inevitable
  • Weekend Video: The Joy Of Driving EVs Powered By The Sun
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    Anne B. Butterfield of Daily Camera and Huffington Post, is a biweekly contributor to NewEnergyNews

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT)

    November 26, 2013 (Huffington Post via NewEnergyNews)

    Everywhere we turn, environmental news is filled with horrid developments and glimpses of irreversible tipping points.

    Just a handful of examples are breathtaking: Scientists have dared to pinpoint the years at which locations around the world may reach runaway heat, and in the northern hemisphere it's well in sight for our children: 2047. Survivors of Superstorm Sandy are packing up as costs of repair and insurance go out of reach, one threat that climate science has long predicted. Or we could simply talk about the plight of bees and the potential impact on food supplies. Surprising no one who explores the Pacific Ocean, sailor Ivan MacFadyen described long a journey dubbed The Ocean is Broken, in which he saw vast expanses of trash and almost no wildlife save for a whale struggling a with giant tumor on its head, evoking the tons of radioactive water coming daily from Fukushima's lamed nuclear power center. Rampaging fishing methods and ocean acidification are now reported as causing the overpopulation of jellyfish that have jammed the intakes of nuclear plants around the world. Yet the shutting down of nuclear plants is a trifling setback compared with the doom that can result in coming days at Fukushima in the delicate job to extract bent and spent fuel rods from a ruined storage tank, a project dubbed "radioactive pick up sticks."

    With all these horrors to ponder you wouldn't expect to hear that you should also worry about the United States running out of coal. But you would be wrong, says Leslie Glustrom, founder and research director for Clean Energy Action. Her contention is that we've passed the peak in our nation's legendary supply of coal that powers over one-third of our grid capacity. This grim news is faithfully spelled out in three reports, with the complete story told in Warning: Faulty Reporting of US Coal Reserves (pdf). (Disclosure: I serve on CEA's board and have known the author for years.)

    Glustrom's research presents a sea change in how we should understand our energy challenges, or experience grim consequences. It's not only about toxic and heat-trapping emissions anymore; it's also about having enough energy generation to run big cities and regions that now rely on coal. Glustrom worries openly about how commerce will go on in many regions in 2025 if they don't plan their energy futures right.

    2013-11-05-FigureES4_FULL.jpgclick to enlarge

    Scrutinizing data for prices on delivered coal nationwide, Glustrom's new report establishes that coal's price has risen nearly 8 percent annually for eight years, roughly doubling, due mostly to thinner, deeper coal seams plus costlier diesel transport expenses. Higher coal prices in a time of "cheap" natural gas and affordable renewables means coal companies are lamed by low or no profits, as they hold debt levels that dwarf their market value and carry very high interest rates.

    2013-11-05-Table_ES2_FULL.jpgclick to enlarge

    2013-11-05-Figure_ES2_FULL.jpg

    One leading coal company, Patriot, filed for bankruptcy last year; many others are also struggling under bankruptcy watch and not eager to upgrade equipment for the tougher mining ahead. Add to this the bizarre event this fall of a coal lease failing to sell in Wyoming's Powder River Basin, the "Fort Knox" of the nation's coal supply, with some pundits agreeing this portends a tightening of the nation's coal supply, not to mention the array of researchers cited in the report. Indeed, at the mid point of 2013, only 488 millions tons of coal were produced in the U.S.; unless a major catch up happens by year-end, 2013 may be as low in production as 1993.

    Coal may exist in large quantities geologically, but economically, it's getting out of reach, as confirmed by US Geological Survey in studies indicating that less than 20 percent of US coal formations are economically recoverable, as explored in the CEA report. To Glustrom, that number plus others translate to 10 to 20 years more of burning coal in the US. It takes capital, accessible coal with good heat content and favorable market conditions to assure that mining companies will stay in business. She has observed a classic disconnect between camps of professionals in which geologists tend to assume money is "infinite" and financial analysts tend to assume that available coal is "infinite." Both biases are faulty and together they court disaster, and "it is only by combining thoughtful estimates of available coal and available money that our country can come to a realistic estimate of the amount of US coal that can be mined at a profit." This brings us back to her main and rather simple point: "If the companies cannot make a profit by mining coal they won't be mining for long."

    No one is more emphatic than Glustrom herself that she cannot predict the future, but she presents trend lines that are robust and confirmed assertively by the editorial board at West Virginia Gazette:

    Although Clean Energy Action is a "green" nonprofit opposed to fossil fuels, this study contains many hard economic facts. As we've said before, West Virginia's leaders should lower their protests about pollution controls, and instead launch intelligent planning for the profound shift that is occurring in the Mountain State's economy.

    The report "Warning, Faulty Reporting of US Coal Reserves" and its companion reports belong in the hands of energy and climate policy makers, investors, bankers, and rate payer watchdog groups, so that states can plan for, rather than react to, a future with sea change risk factors.

    [Clean Energy Action is fundraising to support the dissemination of this report through December 11. Contribute here.]

    It bears mentioning that even China is enacting a "peak coal" mentality, with Shanghai declaring that it will completely ban coal burning in 2017 with intent to close down hundreds of coal burning boilers and industrial furnaces, or shifting them to clean energy by 2015. And Citi Research, in "The Unimaginable: Peak Coal in China," took a look at all forms of energy production in China and figured that demand for coal will flatten or peak by 2020 and those "coal exporting countries that have been counting on strong future coal demand could be most at risk." Include US coal producers in that group of exporters.

    Our world is undergoing many sorts of change and upheaval. We in the industrialized world have spent about a century dismissing ocean trash, overfishing, pesticides, nuclear hazard, and oil and coal burning with a shrug of, "Hey it's fine, nature can manage it." Now we're surrounded by impacts of industrial-grade consumption, including depletion of critical resources and tipping points of many kinds. It is not enough to think of only ourselves and plan for strictly our own survival or convenience. The threat to animals everywhere, indeed to whole systems of the living, is the grief-filled backdrop of our times. It's "all hands on deck" at this point of human voyaging, and in our nation's capital, we certainly don't have that. Towns, states and regions need to plan fiercely and follow through. And a fine example is Boulder Colorado's recent victory to keep on track for clean energy by separating from its electric utility that makes 59 percent of its power from coal.

    Clean Energy Action is disseminating "Warning: Faulty Reporting of US Coal Reserves" for free to all manner of relevant professionals who should be concerned about long range trends which now include the supply risks of coal, and is supporting that outreach through a fundraising campaign.

    [Clean Energy Action is fundraising to support the dissemination of this report through December 11. Contribute here.]

    Author's note: Want to support my work? Please "fan" me at Huffpost Denver, here (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anne-butterfield). Thanks.

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    Anne's previous NewEnergyNews columns:

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT), November 26, 2013
  • SOLAR FOR ME BUT NOT FOR THEE ~ Xcel's Push to Undermine Rooftop Solar, September 20, 2013
  • NEW BILLS AND NEW BIRDS in Colorado's recent session, May 20, 2013
  • Lies, damned lies and politicians (October 8, 2012)
  • Colorado's Elegant Solution to Fracking (April 23, 2012)
  • Shale Gas: From Geologic Bubble to Economic Bubble (March 15, 2012)
  • Taken for granted no more (February 5, 2012)
  • The Republican clown car circus (January 6, 2012)
  • Twenty-Somethings of Colorado With Skin in the Game (November 22, 2011)
  • Occupy, Xcel, and the Mother of All Cliffs (October 31, 2011)
  • Boulder Can Own Its Power With Distributed Generation (June 7, 2011)
  • The Plunging Cost of Renewables and Boulder's Energy Future (April 19, 2011)
  • Paddling Down the River Denial (January 12, 2011)
  • The Fox (News) That Jumped the Shark (December 16, 2010)
  • Click here for an archive of Butterfield columns

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    Some details about NewEnergyNews and the man behind the curtain: Herman K. Trabish, Agua Dulce, CA., Doctor with my hands, Writer with my head, Student of New Energy and Human Experience with my heart

    email: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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    Your intrepid reporter

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  • Friday, June 27, 2008

    HAWAIIAN MARINE ALGAE

    Marine algae require no fresh water and no agricultural land and should not affect the price of food crops except perhaps to drive it down by taking the biofuels market away from corn, soybeans, sugar and other AGROfuel crops. Algae thrive on a diet of greenhouse gas emissions and can be grown adjacent to fossil fuel-burning plants to consume the spew. And, unlike most AGROfuels and biofuels, algae can be refined into anything petroleum can, from jet airplane fuel to biodegradable plastics.

    Is there money in algae? Royal Dutch Shell just bought in on a pilot project in Kona, Hawaii, operated by HR Biopetroleum. That says a mouthful. The joint venture, Cellana, is already producing transport fuels, including jet fuel.

    How long 'til algae-derive fuels come to market? Cellana’s Kona pilot project is producing oil now and it is building a bigger, demonstration plant. First commercial operation: 3 years. Multiple plants: 5 years.

    For more info, see:
    BIOFUELS: THE ALGAE GENERATION

    click to enlarge

    Algae may be biofuel source; Isle researchers hope to produce biodiesel from nonfood crops
    Greg Wiles, June 19, 2008 (The Honolulu Advertiser)

    WHO
    Cellana, a joint venture of HR Biopetroleum (Ed Shonsey, CEO) and Royal Dutch Shell Plc

    WHAT
    Cellana is doing a pilot project to grow and refine algae for biofuels.

    Marine algae: Abundant and fast growing. (click to enlarge)

    WHEN
    - Hawaii’s diesel fuel price was the highest in the U.S. on June 13, $5.204 a gallon, 46% over the year previous price.
    - HR Biopetroleum has been working with algae for ~two decades and has already solved problems like contamination and species specialization.

    WHERE
    - Most Hawaiians in Moloka'i and Lana'I depend on diesel fuel for their electricity.
    - Moloka'i: Electricity bills up 60% from 2007 to 2008 b/c Maui Electric Co.'s generators there burn diesel. Lana'I: Up 67%.
    - Maui: Blue Earth Biofuels and Hawaiian Electric Co. are pursuing permits for an $81 million facility capable of producing 30 million gallons of biodiesel. Profits will go into local biocrop research/infrastructure.
    - O'ahu: Imperium Renewables is building a new biodiesel plant. Pacific Biodiesel can’t keep up with demand used cooking oil-derived biodiesel.
    - The HR Biopetroleum/Royal Dutch Shell Cellana pilot project with algae is in Kailua, Kona. A demonstration plant there is under construction.
    - About 20 companies worldwide are working with algae as a commercial fuel.
    - When Cellana scales up (funded by Royal Dutch Shell), it will build in the U.S. south and southwest.

    WHY
    - AGROfuel crops like corn ethanol and soybean biodiesel have caused reactions in food pricing. The also probably require more energy to make than they produce and generate more greenhouse gases (GhGs) in production than they save.
    - While palm oil produces at best 600 gallons of fuel/acre/year, algae produces 5,000 to 8,000 gallons of fuel/acre/year.
    - Algae can be grown adjacent to fossil fuel-burning plants and will consume the GhG spew.
    - Marine algae also require no fresh water and no agricultural land and should not affect the price of food crops except perhaps to drive it down by taking away the fuel market for corn, soybeans, sugar and other AGROfuel crops.
    - University of Hawai'i and Hawai'i Agricultural Research Center researchers are also studying nonfood crops such as Jatropha trees, Kukui, Pongam and Moringa (aka Kalamungay). 100,000 acres in Hawaii could, over 10 to 15 years of biofuel crop growth, produce perhaps 30 million gallons of biodiesel (after a several year startup period). 2006: ~182 million gallons of diesel were used by nonmilitary consumers in Hawaii
    - Hawaii is developing a bioenergy masterplan with special attention to acreage, food prices and water use.
    - Press kit for Cellana project from Shell.

    Bonus: Algae eats CO2. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Shonsey, CEO, HR Biopetroleum: "We have good confidence that it's very viable…It's looking extremely good…We have a very precise patented process which we now need to scale up…Now it's a matter of the commercialization."
    - Michael Poteet, agronomist, Hawaii Agricultural Research Center: "We'd all like to have a quick answer to this problem…It's hard to be patient when diesel is $4.50 or over $5 a gallon, but we're working as fast as we can."
    - Maria Tome, energy engineer, Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism: "We use a great deal of liquid fuel…To the extent that we can have locally produced alternatives, we can keep the money in the state."

    1 Comments:

    At 10:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    This is a home run. It needs engineering and development money, but seems to be a sure thing. So where's the money? There should be a "bio-reactor" next to every fossil fuel plant and CO2-producing activity in the warmer climates. Now to perfect and proliferate deisel engines.

     

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