Kenyan Ambassador To Speak At New York Geothermal Conference

Nairobi

The one day gathering in NYC will feature updates on geothermal technology, financing new power plants, public and private sector perspectives, practical project management insights, risks and rewards and government policies.

Kenya’s geothermal power potential is at least 7,000 MW and there are over a dozen development projects in some stage of design. Though the development of about 5,000 MW of clean energy may not seem that monumental, it should be noted that currently less than 20% of Kenyans have access to electricity. (At the moment, geothermal provides about 13% of Kenya’s electricity and by 2020, that percentage could be 30.)

Another important point is that burning wood is a major source of energy in Kenya – primarily for cooking – and this prevalent practice results in much deforestation and CO2 emissions.  Deforestation reduces rainfall, which further reduces the number of trees and other plants that constitute forests, so there is a vicious cycle culminating in droughts, and loss of biodiversity.

Wild animals and beautiful natural landscapes are a huge draw for foreign tourists and there may be as many as 100,000 Kenyans employed by the tourist industry or in related jobs. If biodiversity declines, the impact on the national economy could be significant. So, geothermal development is not only about clean energy, it also could become a way of reducing the burning of wood fuel and therefore help conserve forests and biodiversity.

‘Ambassador Odembo represents a country that is working in sync with organizations like the World Bank to fulfill its electricity needs with clean and renewable geothermal energy,’ said GEA Executive Director Karl Gawell. The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) is made up of U.S. companies who support  geothermal energy and are developing geothermal facilities around the world for clean, renewable energy production.

Odembo’ undergraduate degree is in Biology and Sociology, and he has a Master’s in public health.
Read more at http://cleantechnica.com/2013/03/27/kenyan-ambassador-to-speak-at-new-york-geothermal-conference/#7sBkdoBVpBcF3QBo.99

Advertisements

Kwik Trip wins ‘Natural Gas Vehicle Leadership Award’ – Retailer honored for building nation’s first truly alternative fuels station

Propane

The design of the station itself is a marvel, they said, because it incorporates 10 transportation fuels, including compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG), under a single canopy to achieve a one-stop fueling experience for the general public.

Kwik Trip currently has three locations offering CNG, which sells for between $1.59 and $1.79 per gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE) in Wisconsin, and plans to open five more stations this year. An additional 10 stations are slated to open in 2013.

Kwik Trip’s own natural gas vehicle (NGV) fleet will serve as part of the anchor load. The company maintains a fleet of about 400 vehicles that travel more than 18 million miles annually. It has just begun to transform its fleet and currently operates more than 20 NGVs ranging from light-duty vehicles to Class 8 trucks. The retailer is an activist for the NGV industry and strongly advocates the nationwide adoption of natural gas to be a standard fuel instead of an alternative fuel.

Kwik Trip operates a chain of 372 Kwik Trip, Kwik Star (in Iowa) and Kwik Trip Travel Center locations throughout Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. Another 38 locations are tobacco outlets, as well as three Hearty Platter full-serve restaurants.

To viisit Kwik Trip’s natural gas webpage, please, CLICK HERE.

CSP Business Media recently named Kwik Trip CEO Don Zietlow as its 2012 Retail Leader of the Year. The chain also recently won the annual CSP-Service Intelligence Mystery Shop.

Will The Trend Toward Compressed Natural Gas Continue?

Will The Trend Toward Compressed Natural Gas Continue?

CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) is increasingly being substituted for gasoline and diesel oil as a motor fuel. Although the number of vehicles that have switched is still tiny, compared to the numbers running gasoline and diesel oil, the trend is clear. Commercial fleets of trucks and buses have been switching. The number of available CNG filling stations has been increasing. But will the trend continue?

It is possible to predict that a continuing disparity between the prices of natural gas and crude oil will cause demand for CNG to increase. Take gasoline, for example. Gasoline first became more expensive than CNG in March 2006 when both were priced at $2.34 per gallon. Although gasoline was briefly priced lower than CNG in November 2008, due to a worldwide recession, by the end of March 2009 gasoline had again become more expensive than CNG. At the end of May 2012, the price differential was $3.58 for a gallon of gasoline and $1.72 for the equivalent in CNG (calculated as the price of natural gas to commercial consumers plus 70¢), as shown in the graph below:

336665-13457372229391398-Howard-Richman.png

There are two primary reasons why gasoline and diesel oil are rising in price:

1. Rapidly Growing Demand. As the emerging market countries continue to grow, they are demanding ever increasing amounts of gasoline and diesel oil.
2. Slowly Growing Supply. Worldwide proved reserves of crude oil have only been growing slowly.

The graph below shows the most recent statistics for America’s proved reserves of natural gas and crude oil (calculating 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas = 188 million oil barrels). As shown in the graph, since the beginning of 2000, U.S. proved natural gas reserves have nearly doubled from 167 to 318 trillion cubic feet while U.S. proved crude oil reserves have only risen from 21.8 to 25.2 billion barrels.

336665-13457431510785625-Howard-Richman.png
According to the economics principle of substitutes (i.e., when the price of coffee goes up, demand for tea will increase), demand for CNG should continue to increase into the foreseeable future.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Additional disclosure: I get royalties from natural gas wells and own stocks and mutual funds that are involved in oil and natural gas exploration and in building CNG filling stations and compressors.

This article was first published by Seeking Alpha.

London fuel cell taxi fleet remains operational during 2012 Olympics

London’s fleet of hydrogen fuel cell taxis is remaining operational during the Olympic Games despite problems encountered by the fleet of fuel cell buses

Because of safety concerns, hydrogen is not allowed within the Games area for the course of the competition. It means the capital’s fleet of hydrogen fuel cell buses have been taken out of action, though they will return in September on the RV1 route with three new additions. This will bring the fleet up to eight, making the RV1 route the first of its kind in Europe fully serviced by fuel cell buses.

Taxis, however, can get around the restrictions and were transported to the BOC hydrogen station in Swindon to refuel. A refuelling station will open at Heathrow soon, allowing the taxis to continue to transport dignitaries and VIPs during the Games.

Built by Air Products, the airport’s hydrogen station will be accessible to the public, dispensing hydrogen at 350 bar, with plans in place for a 700 bar capability in the future.

Competing projects propose $500 home Cng Fueler

Eaton Corp. and General Electric Co. are working on competing projects to develop a $500 home natural gas fueling station, a product that could entice car owners to switch to a fuel whose price has plummeted because of shale drilling.

The companies’ efforts are part of a U.S. Department of Energy push to reduce the cost of such stations, which can sell for more than $5,000, and the time it takes to refuel as a way to attract more people to drive vehicles powered by compressed natural gas.

An affordable CNG station for homes could “revolutionize” how Americans commute, Dane Boysen, director of an Energy Department program to encourage use of the fuel in vehicles, said in a statement from Cleveland, Ohio-based Eaton.

“My hope is that these advanced technologies will enable us to use our abundant domestic supply of natural gas for transportation, diversifying our nation’s fuel and refueling portfolio for the future,” he said.

CNG is selling at retail for the equivalent of about $2.09 per gallon of gasoline, according to Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy Corp., one of the nation’s largest producers of natural gas. Monday in Tulsa, the most common price of regular-grade gasoline was $3.39 a gallon.

Eaton said its technology will tap into a home’s existing natural gas system. The company is developing the home station with the University of Minnesota, funded in part by a $3.4 million Energy Department grant. The company said it will draw on its experience installing electric-vehicle charging stations across the nation.

GE said last week that it’s working with Chart Industries Inc. and the University of Missouri to develop a fueling station. The Fairfield, Conn.-based company received a $1.8 million Energy Department grant, according to Todd Alhart, a GE spokesman.

The Energy Department is also funding projects including storage tanks being developed by Ford Motor Co. and United Technologies Corp. in separate efforts.

Thanks to drilling technologies to recover the natural gas from shale rock, the market price of the fuel is about 80 percent lower than four years ago. Monday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas rose a penny to finish the trading day at $3.09 per 1,000 cubic feet.​

This article was first published by Tulsa World.

Nexus EnergyHomes Building City of Brotherly Love’s First Net-Zero-Energy Homes

The city of Brotherly Love is gunning to be the greenest city in the USA. Nexus ENERGYHOMES hopes to help fulfill that vision of the Philadelphia mayor’s sustainability office with a super-green new development.

The Stevenville, Maryland company is currently in the midst of building the Foundry Court project, taking up five lots between 4th and Brown Street in the Northern Liberties Philadelphia community.

By mixing efficient air filtration, energy recovery, ventilation systems, and volatile organic compound (VOC) building materials, it will help to create not only some of the nation’s most energy-efficient homes, but some of the healthiest also. The new homes will also have the highest green building standards targeted by the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB).

Senior Vice President Ann Ashley of Nexus EnergyHomes said in a statement: “As the recognized national leader for energy-efficient home building, we are well qualified to help Philadelphia reach their goals for a revolutionary transformation towards a cleaner, greener lifestyle. Our High Performance homes combine the best technologies available under one roof.”

When you add geo-solar technology for each home into the mix, you have homeowners that will be able to save where it matters the most to them: in their pocket books.

“And the homes’ geo-solar technology is just the beginning of features these luxury dwellings offer prospective homebuyers. Nexus’ townhomes will offer a myriad of green outdoor home living options, such as; rooftop gardening (including vegetables and artistic plantings), and the highest practices for water reclamation,” Ashley said.

“With all of those benefits and virtually eliminating home utility expenditures, the Nexus EnergyHome provides comfort and affordability far superior to any other home on the market today,” she said.

With the recent announcement by Nexus ENERGYHOMES, The City of Brotherly Love may need to change it’s name to the City of Brotherly Green in the near future.

 Photo Credit: Nexus Energyhomes

Source: Clean Technica (http://s.tt/1gzfe)

Green Cities: Waste2Tricity Pushes ‘Game Changing’ Waste-to-Energy Tech

Graphic courtesy: Waste2Tricity

The folks over at Waste2Tricity in the UK believe they’ve hit upon a process and combination of technologies that are going to change the economics of the energy-from-waste (EfW) market. The consortium is putting together an EfW system and strategic plan ultimately based on two core components: at the front-end, plasma gasification technology is to be used to “gasify” waste that will feed clean, high-efficiency alkaline fuel cells that will produce electricity and hydrogen. Initially, W2T proposes using internal combustion engines (ICEs) on the back-end.

Aiming to turn urban waste into a local, renewable clean energy resource, UK governments since at least 2009 have been soliciting input from and providing incentives to private industry in the search for cost-effective EfW solutions. Waste2Tricity (W2T) says its plasma gasification-fuel cell system is not only head-and-shoulders above competing alternatives in terms of clean energy, it will be of a modular, scalable nature that will enable the cost-effective construction of EfW plants up and down the country, eliminating trash and waste and producing clean, low-carbon energy locally, at source. Adding to the possible benefits is the potential to use surplus hydrogen to stock hydrogen vehicle fueling stations.

“We’ll be running at the 10-MW scale taking waste as a feedstock. It’s much more distributed, and you’re avoiding the issue of grid losses [by minimizing transmission distance],” explained Howard White, a consultant to W2T. “You’re not having the grid losses and you’re boosting your efficiency because a lot of feedstock is essentially renewable and local.”

The High & Rising Cost of Waste

The W2T consortium — made up of alkaline fuel cell developer AFC Energy and AlterNRG, amongst others, was formed in 2009 as a result of rising fossil fuel costs over the past decade.

Since 2002, the high and rising price of fossil fuels has fundamentally changed the way government, business, and society look at energy, prompting individuals and groups across all three spheres to cast a wider net in the search for clean, renewable energy alternatives, as well ways to reduce the amount of energy that’s wasted.

At the same time, rising urban populations have led to more and more trash and waste, and less space to bury it. Reuse and recycling has increased, but they’re nowhere near large enough in scale today to effectively cope with the issue. That’s meant rising taxes for the public, including businesses, to haul away and bury or burn trash.

Burning it by conventional means has traditionally meant incinerating waste, and increasingly making use of the heat produced to fuel coal-fired electricity generation. It’s an old, centralized, large-scale, inefficient and very polluting means of converting waste to energy. Though, that doesn’t have to be, nor should it be, given advances in technology, W2T’s White and John Hall pointed out.

The UK’s Waste-from-Energy Drive

Since at least 2009, UK governments have been working on policies and the right combination of market-based incentives to commercialize a new generation of more efficient, much greener EfW plants.

“There’s been a drive to find a technology that will efficiently extract energy from waste, from renewable carbon feedstocks,” White elaborated. “The market has developed and there’s certainly been a lot of government interest in promoting advanced technologies. On the UK government side, that’s been focused on Advanced Conversion Technology — pyrolysis, gasification and anaerobic digestion. We have focused on gasification in W2T.”

After much back-and-forth between government and varied, often competing commercial and public interest stakeholders, a potential turning point occurred last August in the UK’s EfW market, continued W2T managing director John Hall: Air Products and AlterNRG received local council planning permission to build a utility-scale, advanced EfW plant in Teesside in the Tees Valley.

Air Products-AlterNRG’s proposed advanced waste gasification plant has been designed to process more than 300,000 metric tons of waste and produce 49-MW of electrical power, enough for some 50,000 homes. Plasma gasification equipment is to process the waste and channel it into natural gas turbines, which will generate electricity.

“The final decision depends on the future of the ROC (Renewable Obligation Certificate) regime,” Hall explained, a clean energy program established around 10 years ago along the lines of state REC programs that exist in the US.

A much anticipated reformulating of UK ROC rates — Electricity Market Reform (EMR) — for various forms of clean energy production — wind, solar, landfill gas, hydroelectric, etc. — that’s been delayed repeatedly now appears imminent. The new ROC rates will have a major impact on the financial viability and returns available to clean and renewable energy project developers and investors.

Scaling Down for Distributed, Local Power

In any event, “the Teesside project validates the technology,” Hall stated, noting that “it’s been operating eight years in Japan.”

Besides being much smaller in scale, thereby holding out the potential of locating EfW plants closer to sources of waste feedstock, W2T takes Air Products’ design one step further by replacing natural gas turbines with fuel cells. That will further boost the energy efficiency of the system, as well as reduce CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions further, Hall and White explained.

According to the two W2T execs, their plasma gasification-fuel cell system can cost-effectively boost electricity output from waste conversion by 130% over steam turbines and as much as 70% above internal combustion engines (ICEs) and natural gas turbines. At the same time, substantial reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane emissions would be realized, not to mention eliminating the nasty problems associated with disposing of fly ash.

AlterNRG acquired Westinghouse’s plasma gasification technology, which will be incorporated as the front-end of W2T’s EfW system. At the back-end will be AFC Energy alkaline fuel cells.

AFC’s been testing its modular, low-cost fuel cells with chemicals manufacturer Akzo Nobel at its Bitterfield chlor-alkali plants in Germany, where hydrogen is produced as a by-product in the making of chlorine, a widely used intermediary chemical that is in turn used to produce mass market products, such as poly vinyl chloride (PVC).

W2T’s Plasma Gasification-Fuel Cell Design

In W2T’s proposed system, syngas is produced as a result of the plasma gasification of organic waste. The syngas — primarily a mix of CO2, CO and H — is refined to remove contaminants, such as sulfur and nitrogen compounds — that can gum up natural gas turbine and fuel cell works.

The carbon monoxide (CO) is used to produce additional hydrogen and CO2 via a gas-water shift process. The hydrogen and CO2 are separated by means of pressure-swing adsorption (PSA), which results in highly refined hydrogen for the fuel cells, White explained.

The one process White said he believes is generally accepted as the best, most proven method of refining syngas to produce almost pure hydrogen is that of Calgary, Alberta-based W2T partner AlterNRG, which acquired the technology from Westinghouse, White noted.

“Syngas contains oils and tars that can gum up systems. At over 1200 degrees C, you crack the tars and oils. The majority of gasification systems operate at 850 degrees C and leave these contaminants in the gas stream.”

There is one missing link in W2T’s vision of a “closed-loop” EfW system: what happens to the CO2 captured during the process? White noted that 60%-70% of the cost of carbon capture and storage (CCS) lies in the extraction part of the process.

The Missing Link in a Closed Loop EfW System

Without carbon storage, or sequestration, any technology that uses hydrocarbons as a fuel, be it ICEs, gas turbines or fuel cells, produces CO2 and other emissions, he continued.

“However, if you look at the feedstock and see that 85% of it is renewable, it will result in a reduction in carbon emissions. If CCS is incorporated, it will result in negative carbon emissions.”

In addition, Hall added, fuel cells’ higher efficiency will result in pro rata reductions in the proportion of CO2 and emissions as compared to EfW systems where ICEs and natural gas turbines are used.

“You need sequestration to really close the loop; CO2 pipelines, etc., they’re part of long-term government strategies. They’re now trying to make industry carbon capture-ready.”

For its part, W2T is now moving forward with a project that entails building an 80,000-metric-ton EfW plant. Along the lines of Air Products’ Teesside plant, plans call for ICEs to be used in a first stage, to be replaced with AFC fuel cells at a later stage.

“We believe once you have a system with fuel cells linked in, then you’ll have a low-cost waste-to-energy plant that will outperform substantially any other solution on the market. It recalibrates the total cost of waste-to-energy downward, which will eliminate the practice of throwing waste into the ground.”

“You’ll get a sea change in the approach to waste overall,” White continued. “As opposed to a nuisance, waste becomes a great resource. As this resource is generally accepted, you’ll get the opportunity of a virtuous circle of distributed energy. The feedstock is produced in place, where the electricity is generated.” That sounds like a goal worth pursuing.

Source: Clean Technica (http://s.tt/1fNOK)