Sunday, November 28, 2010

Biofuel-- From Your Trash to Your Car

Fulcrum BioEnergy Inc. has plans for a co-generation plant that converts common household garbage into transportation fuel for cars and light trucks. This is not your typical crops to fuel ethanol production process.  The plant converts everyday trash, post recycling, into biofuel.  By 2012, the plant is expected to produce 10.5 million gallons of ethanol and 16 megawatts of electricity annually by processing municipal solid waste. Production cost for this trash born ethanol is estimated at less than $1 a gallon, 65 percent lower than corn-based production.

Fulcrum BioEnery Inc. of Pleasanton announced on 16Nov that the U.S. Department of Energy agreed to move ahead with the final phase of a loan guarantee needed to begin construction.  The ethanol plant will be in Storey County about 30 miles east of Reno. Fluor, Inc. is the Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) lead for this $120M project.

The Sierra BioFuels project will provide more than 550 engineering, manufacturing, construction and operations jobs.  The project will be one of the Nation’s first large-scale facilities capable of transforming everyday trash into a clean, renewable transportation fuel.  Nevada, Sierra BioFuels will convert approximately 90,000 tons of post-sorted MSW – the amount of trash produced by a city with a population of approximately 165,000 – into 10.5 million gallons of ethanol annually, meeting the demand for ethanol in the Reno market.  Utilizing MSW as a feedstock, Sierra BioFuels will produce cellulosic ethanol that reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 75 percent on a lifecycle basis when compared to traditional gasoline production from oil.

Information and details taken from the Fulcrum BioEnergy Website

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

B&W mPower Leading the SMR Charge?

It appears B&W is moving up the small modular reactor (SMR) ranks to be on of the first SMRs to realize a customer and construction. 

TVA continues to express interest in the mPower design and may want up to six of them by 2020. Good summary of the details at Cool Hand LukeTVA is committed by 2020 to generating at least half of all the electricity it sends to customers with noncarbon sources.  Nuclear is a logical choice especially with easier to build and finance SMRs.  We all love to love wind and solar but TVA will not meets its 50% goal with such inefficient power generation sources.  Discussion on the logic of wind and solar here.

Details on TVAs long term plan from a previous post here.

Details on the design from a previous post here.

B&W mPower
-125 MWe to 750 MWe or more for a 4.5-year operating cycle without refueling
-Proven ALWR design which will reduce regulatory review time
-Design Certification submittal in 2011 with approval expected in Q4 2012
-Letter of intent recieved from Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to begin the process of evaluating a potential lead plant site
Data and picture from B&W website