BioCycle November 2010, Vol. 51, No. 11, p. 47
Compostable Cling Film
Novamont unveiled a new biodegradable and compostable cling film that can be used for any kind of foodstuff, including perishables that have a high fat content such as oils, sauces and butters, and for acidic foods. After use, the material is compostable in accordance with European standards. Novamont’s cling film, developed with partners, has the same physical characteristics as traditional stretch films without any plasticizers or additives that can transfer into food. It is permeable to water vapor, thereby allowing condensation on covered food to evaporate. Learn more at www.novamont.com.
FuelCell Energy, based in Danbury, Connecticut, has announced the sale of a 1.4 MW power plant to G3 Power Systems for installation at the Olivera Egg Ranch, a poultry farm in French Camp, California. The fuel cell system will utilize renewable biogas for fuel, converting what is currently a waste problem for the poultry ranch into electricity and heat. FuelCell Energy will service the power plant under a five-year agreement. Residuals from the poultry operation – currently disposed in a lagoon – will be diverted into an anaerobic digester; power from the fuel cell plant will be sufficient to meet almost all of the electricity needs of the Olivera Egg Ranch. By-product heat from the fuel cell energy conversion process will be directed back to heat the digester. The power plant is expected to be operational by the mid 2011. Learn more at www.fuelcellenergy.com.
Celebrating With New Turners
Backhus EcoEngineers is launching a new line of compost turners, the Backhus 21 series, just in time for the German company’s 25th anniversary. The new series has additional options for efficient composting, including Backhus Track Control, (BTC), which automatically controls the optimal feed rate for a predetermined amount. The hydraulic systems ensure that the drum and feeder operate at full capacity even if the engine is running at a reduced speed. Another feature, the Enclosure Unit, reduces dust and odor. Backhus provides various wheel options for optimal mobility and traction on any surface. Find out more at www.backhus.com.
Cellulosic Methanol Production
Range Fuels, Inc. has produced cellulosic methanol from the initial phase of its cellulosic biofuels plant near Soperton, Georgia. Range Fuels’ two-step thermochemical process uses heat, pressure and steam to convert nonfood biomass, such as woody biomass and grasses, into a synthesis gas composed of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. The syngas is then passed over a proprietary catalyst to produce mixed alcohols that are separated and processed to yield a variety of low-carbon biofuels, including cellulosic ethanol and methanol. “We are ecstatic to be producing cellulosic methanol from our Soperton Plant, and are on track to begin production of cellulosic ethanol in the third quarter of this year,” says David Aldous, Range Fuels’ President and CEO. “This milestone is a giant step in overcoming the technological and financing challenges facing the commercialization of cellulosic biofuels.” The methanol can be further processed into biodiesel. The Soperton Plant is permitted to produce 100 million gallons of ethanol and methanol each year. For more information, visit www.rangefuels.com.
Digester, In-Vessel Composting Package
Zero Waste Energy (ZWE), LLC, a company specializing in recyclable commodity recovery and green energy production, has acquired the North American license for IVC Plus in-vessel composting technologies developed by German partner Eggersmann Anlagenbau. ZWE will combine this technology with Eggersman’s Kompoferm dry anaerobic digestion technology, which it also has licensed. According to ZWE, the IVC Plus system requires 50 percent less cycle time than traditional aerobic composting. The California-based company says other system benefits include a smaller footprint and lower infrastructure and operating costs. Learn more at www.zerowasteenergy.com.
Conveyor Belt Cleaner
A new, high-quality cleaning blade for use on vulcanized conveyor belts features a special polyurethane blend and tungsten carbide tip to deliver service life two to three times longer than conventional urethane blades. According to Martin Engineering, its QCTM #1 MT Pre-Cleaner maintains consistent tension without frequent adjustment, requiring retensioning just twice a year in most applications. The new precleaner was developed specifically for vulcanized belts with no mechanical splices and can be used at belt speeds up to 900 feet per minute (4.6 meters per second). The heavy-duty blade is well suited for wet, sticky material applications. More about Martin Engineering at www.martin-eng.com.
UK Energy Company Expands Portfolio Toward Biogas
Alkane Energy PLC, based in the United Kingdom, has set a goal of opening two to three new biogas power plants a year beginning in 2012, according to Bloomberg. The company’s stated goal is to produce $31 million in annual sales from biogas plants. Alkane Energy has sought approval for a power plant in Derbyshire utilizing municipal waste and is seeking partners for agricultural biogas projects using corn or sugar beets. The move comes as UK has set a goal to produce 15 percent of its required power from alternative sources by 2020 and in the face of declining electricity production from North Sea oil and gas drilling as well as antiquated nuclear power plants. That goal includes developing 1,000 biogas projects. “Even if you’re looking at 200 to 300 sites,” Alkane Energy CEO Neil O’Brien told Bloomberg, “that’s going to be a very interesting program.” Find out more about Alkane Energy at www.alkane.co.uk/news.
Filtrexx Launches Nonprofit Foundation
The Filtrexx Foundation achieved 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization status in September. The foundation was formed to work collaboratively with public and private entities to facilitate environmentally focused projects such as food initiatives, gardens and playgrounds in greater Cleveland communities and nationwide (the company is located 30 miles away in Grafton, Ohio). As a first project and a part of the 2010 Serve Elyria program, The Filtrexx Foundation partnered with the Church of the Open Door to distribute 300 food gardens to low-income families in Lorain County, Ohio. Through its collaborative projects, The Filtrexx Foundation strives to educate communities on the use of renewable, biobased, recycled natural products within public areas. Visit www.filtrexxfoundation.com to learn more.