Energizing Brew

A new facility in the UK, Adnams Bio Energy anaerobic digestion plan, using brewery waste and local food waste will begin producing renewable gas which can be used as liquid fuel among other things.

Working in partnership with National Grid, the facility expects to generate up to 4.8 million kilowatt-hours of energy per year – that is enough to heat 235 family homes annually.

Well, the average home in the UK burns 56 kilowatt-hours of gas per day. The same amount of energy which could be generated from the waste left behind from brewing roughly 600 pints of beer.

Some 28 million pints of beer are enjoyed daily by Britons — well, the waste from brewing that much beer could produce enough biomethane to heat 47,000 homes.

The Adnams plant plans to be able to produce enough renewable gas to power the company’s brewery and run its fleet of lorries, while leaving up to 60% of the remaining output available for injection back into the national grid.

By diverting waste from landfill, the plant will also prevent the release of methane into the atmosphere.

Biomethane is like natural gas. Once it’s upgraded to grid specification, it may be injected into the gas network to be used by customers.

National Grid suggests that biomethane could account for at least 15% of domestic gas consumption by the often-cited year 2020.

The Adnams Bio Energy plant has three digesters – these are sealed vessels in which naturally-occurring bacteria act without oxygen to break down up to 12,500 tons of organic waste every year. In addition to producing biomethane, the process also yields a liquid organic fertilizer.

Working in connection with Centrica, the parent company of British Gas, Adnams Bio Energy has also deployed British solar thermal panels at the plant and will soon install cutting-edge photovoltaic cells on site, thereby creating a sort-of mini energy park.

Aisle-Crossing Climate Bill Has been Unveiled

Because of disagreements about offshore drilling and immigration reform, a key Republican senator negotiating with Democrats on a climate change bill that it is “become impossible” to get the legislation passed right now.
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is the one doing the complaining:
Kerry & Lieberman

“Regrettably, in my view, this has become impossible in the current environment…I believe there could be more than 60 votes for this bipartisan concept in the future. But there are not nearly 60 votes today and I do not see them materializing until we deal with the uncertainty of the immigration debate and the consequences of the oil spill.”

Sixty votes are needed in the Senate to overcome such filibusters:

In April, Graham threatened to withhold personal support for the climate and energy legislation because he was peeved that Democrats said that they would take up a rewrite of immigration policy; which forced his Democrat partners, John Kerry and Joe Lieberman to postpone unveiling the legislation, which aimed to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases 17% below 2005 levels by the year 2020.
Kerry and Lieberman have since decided to unveil the bill on May 12th.

About the oil spill in the Gulf, Senator Graham said:

“Some believe the oil spill has enhanced the chances energy legislation will succeed. I do not share their view…When it comes to getting 60 votes for legislation that includes additional oil and gas drilling with revenue sharing, the climb has gotten steeper because of the oil spill.”

Senators Kerry and Lieberman released the following joint statement which comes as news to the relief of Graham:

“We appreciate Senator Graham’s statement of his continued commitment to passing comprehensive energy independence legislation. Over the past several months we have worked with Senator Graham and he has made a significant contribution to construct balanced legislation that will make our country energy independent, create jobs and curb pollution. Senator Graham has been our partner in building a broad-based coalition of support for legislation that can pass the Senate this year…”

“…Over the last three weeks, we all understand Lindsey has been busy with the immigration issue and we understand his feelings on that issue, but during this period we’ve continued working, moving forward, and talking in great detail with our Senate colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and with the environmental and business communities. We’ve continued to work with the Senate leadership and the White House, and we believe we’ve made new progress on the path to 60 votes…”

“We are more encouraged today that we can secure the necessary votes to pass this legislation this year in part because the last weeks have given everyone with a stake in this issue a heightened understanding that as a nation, we can no longer wait to solve this problem which threatens our economy, our security and our environment. Our optimism is bolstered because there is a growing and unprecedented bi-partisan coalition from the business, national security, faith and environmental communities that supports our legislation and is energized to work hard and get it passed. We look forward to rolling-out the legislation next Wednesday and passing the legislation with the support of Senator Graham and other Republicans, Democrats and Independents this year.”

Please Don’t Poison My Water

For years, the energy industry has argued to the nation’s courts and Congress that the federal law which protects drinking water shouldn’t be applied to hydraulic fracturing, the industrial practice which is essential to extracting the nation’s vast natural gas reserves. In 2005 Congress finally passed a law prohibiting such regulation.

Now it has been discovered that part of the argument: most of the millions of gallons of toxic chemicals which drillers inject underground are removed for safe disposal, and aren’t discarded inside the earth, doesn’t apply to drilling in many of the nation’s booming new gas fields.

drilling As much as 85 percent of the fluids used during hydraulic fracturing is being left underground after wells are drilled in the Marcellus Shale, the massive gas deposit which stretches from New York to Tennessee. Problem.

So for each modern gas well drilled in the Marcellus and places like it, more than three million gallons of chemically tainted wastewater get left in the ground forever. Drilling companies say that chemicals make up less than 1 percent of that fluid. But by volume, these chemicals still amount to 34,000 gallons in a typical well. Problem.

These facts raise questions as to why the Safe Drinking Water Act should not be applied to hydraulic fracturing.
Congress is considering a bill that would repeal the exemption, and has directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to consider a fresh study of how hydraulic fracturing may affect drinking water supplies.

Foreign Oil Makes way for Domestic Manure

Power CircleShawn Saylor inherited his multi-generational family dairy farm, and with it, came all the cow manure. 600 cows worth of cow manure. All that foul-smelling awfulness was causing complaints from passersby. That, and energy costs were going up, while the price of milk was going down. So Saylor put 2 and 2 together, and decided to get rid of the smell while at the same time drastically reducing his energy costs.

He installed a system that scrapes all the manure into a 19,000-gallon tank, moves it into 16×70 foot digester that heats it for a little over 2 weeks, and out comes methane gas that powers twin electric generators. The electricity is enough to power the whole farm and 12 neighboring homes, and then some. The heat runoff is used to heat water, buildings, and whatever is left over he sells back to the local grid.

Overall, it saves him $200,000 a year. With a system expense of about a million bucks, the whole thing pays for itself in about 5 years. Besides paying for the farm’s electric bill, the digesters reduce 98 percent of all odor. Electric generators give off a rather neutral smell compared with the contents of a cow’s behind.

After the gas is extracted, there’s still the matter of solid waste to deal with. It’s actually sold to the local community, which uses it for bedding for animals, or garden fertilizer.

And how about this for once: The government doing something right! Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection gave Saylor a $600,000 boost to get this thing going.

Perhaps we can all reduce our dependence on foreign oil by increasing our dependence on domestic poo.