Category: Renewable Energy

Worms help power Valley winery’s wastewater system

Worms are helping a Valley winery on its path to becoming more green. Olympic-sized swimming pools at O’Neill Winery are actually beds filled with worms helping the company become greener. “Our technology at BioFiltro, what it is is the star of the show is the worm. Ultimately, the worms are known as an ecosystem or environmental engineers,” said Mai Ann Healy, BioFiltro spokesperson.

BioFiltro, an international company, was able to go through Fresno State’s Valley Ventures program that focuses on water, engineering and technology businesses. The worms are known for converting waste or organic matter. Water is spread across the worm beds and goes through levels of wood chips, river rocks, drainage cells and exit pipes. “So within four hours, our worms are getting fed, getting full and also producing more microbes and bacteria that’s furthering helping us reduce and convert waste into beneficial byproducts,” Healy said. The technology allows the company to take about 80 million gallons of processed water and clean it.

O’Neill Winery is the seventh-largest winery in California. They produce wines and spirits sold around the United States. “So what we are trying to do is provide a sustainable process so that we can have a facility that is environmentally stewards, that is reducing our carbon footprint, reducing/minimizing our waste,” said Phil Castro, senior director of winery operations. O’Neill said they’ve taken steps to be more green with solar energy and the BioFilitro system. They’re able to save water and use that for crop irrigation and reduce the amount of water they use. “So we can ensure for generations to come that there’s water available to continue the great process of agriculture,” Castro said. A sustainable process and technology thriving here in the Valley.

Kern looks to seize economic benefits of carbon management

Momentum is building in the push to make Kern nationally competitive in carbon management, the emerging field of trying to slow climate change by removing or reducing greenhouse gases. The most ambitious project, now wrapping up initial design work and heading into permitting early next year, could put the state’s first carbon capture and sequestration project at the Elk Hills Power Plant in western Kern. Alternative fuels projects underway locally are also part of the county’s carbon-management portfolio, and agricultural land in the region could play a role as well. There’s also hope the county’s renewable energy portfolio will help it land investments in hydrogen fuels.

Lorelei Oviatt, the county planner spearheading the effort, sees the carbon-management industry as being in its infancy, much as renewable energy was when Kern embraced that field and became a leader in the state through a focus on permitting efficiency. Since the county Board of Supervisors voted early this year to add the field to its list of industries worthy of subsidy supports, Oviatt has begun working to understand environmental impacts of such work and ways of possibly cushioning them.

Oviatt sees a wealth of opportunities, based on a number of local strengths — a workforce well-suited to industrial labor, chemical safety expertise and proximity to renewable energy in the form of eastern Kern’s solar and wind farms. Another advantage is Kern’s inventory of open land. “When it’s time to build it, are you building it in San Jose? Are you building it in Santa Monica? No,” she said. But Oviatt has also identified local competitive disadvantages. Technologies dependent on ample water access probably won’t work locally, she noted, and Kern’s biggest competitor, Texas, doesn’t have to deal with an expensive state environmental review process that takes a year and a half.

Having become somewhat disillusioned by solar projects that have yielded little revenue for county government and only modest employment opportunities, she said her goal is not simply to prioritize large investments. Rather, it is to attract good-paying jobs and tax income to help make up for economic and financial losses expected to result locally from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s anti-oil policies. Because of carbon management’s environmental promise, it’s possible Sacramento’s goal of making California “carbon neutral” by 2045 may yet be of some benefit to Kern.

A report released in January by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory concluded the state can achieve that goal by burying or offsetting 125 megatons per year of carbon dioxide. It also pointed to a significant role for Kern. In addition to outlining land management practices and waste material processing, Livermore recognized local oil formations’ vast geologic capacity for permanently storing carbon dioxide. One such project, California Resource Corp.’s “CalCapture” initiative, is scheduled for a county environmental review in the first quarter of next year. The company hopes to see it operational by mid-decade.

The project is not intended to vacuum CO2 out of the atmosphere — an expensive and energy-intensive process that may eventually figure into the local economy. Rather, CalCapture would remove a large share of the compound from the emissions stream of CRC’s 550-megawatt Elk Hills Power Plant in the Tupman area. Early estimates were that the project, one of nine to receive recent financial support from the U.S. Department of Energy, would process 83 percent of the emissions from the plant’s chimneylike flue. Of that, 90 percent of the CO2 would be captured, trapped deep underground, and be used to displace oil and extend the life of the prolific Elk Hills Oil Field.

CRC said by email CalCapture is expected to generate nearly 3,500 jobs statewide and more than $200 million in taxes during its three-year construction period, plus 150 permanent jobs and $200 million in taxes over 20 years. “We are excited to advance this pioneering project that will make Kern County and our state a leader in CCS (carbon capture and sequestration) technology,” the company said.

Expanding on what carbon management might ultimately mean for the county, Oviatt noted that farmland can be used to manage carbon, too. That may involve transitioning to different crops, she said, or working with agricultural properties that might have to be taken out of production because of upcoming groundwater restrictions. Local production of alternative fuels can be considered carbon management, too, and that’s already happening, with more to come.

At least two local refineries — Kern Oil & Refining Co. and Crimson Renewable Energy LLC — produce renewable diesel in significant quantities. Crimson makes a biodiesel that can be stored in conventional fuel tanks and releases 80 percent less carbon. Also, this year it was announced a Torrance-based company had bought the former, 67,000-barrel-per-day refinery on Rosedale Highway. It said it plans to spend $365 million reopening the plant by early 2022 with about 100 employees producing 10,000 barrels per day of biodiesel from cooking oil. Later, it wants the refinery to make the product from a ground-cover plant called camelina.

Hydrogen energy is another aspect of carbon management that Oviatt said might hold promise locally. It’s a complex technology that can take many forms, she said, with one important requirement that the energy involved come from renewable energy, which Kern makes a lot of.

One advantage Kern has in that regard is a new partnership between Bakersfield College and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which Oviatt said is on the very cutting edge of carbon management. That partnership, she said, represents an “absolute new future for us.” “To have them here gives us national and international exposure,” she said.

CSUB professor helps create eco friendly way to fill potholes

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Doctor ZhongZhe Liu is an Assistant Engineering Professor at Cal State Bakersfield, but that’s not all he does. He’s on a research team that is developing a new, cost-efficient road patch material. “I think we’ve found another way to reuse this material because this byproduct, wastewater grit, has never been studied before,” said Liu.

According to the American Chemical Society, the asphalt currently used to fill potholes can pollute the environment. Liu said the material his team created, called GAP, or Grit Assisted Patch, is an inexpensive, eco-friendly alternative.

Grit is the remnants leftover after wastewater is processed at a treatment plant. It’s mostly sand and gravel. Usually grit is buried in a landfill, but now Liu’s team is re-purposing it. “So, we add some water,” said Liu.

These are the steps taken to turn grit into road patch material. They use chemicals that usually treat hazardous or radioactive waste to kill unhealthy pathogens. “And then, the first step, we need to add some calcium oxide,” said Liu. Add in magnesium oxide and a weak acid too, and the pathogens are killed using inexpensive components that are non-toxic to people. “Now we fill the pothole right away, and after a couple minutes, this material will be solidified and the pothole will be repaired,” said Liu.

The rest of Liu’s team resides in Wisconsin where he was originally a research assistant. They will field-test the material on real roads this winter. and if it can withstand the harsh weather on actual pavement, Liu says they hope to introduce this product to the real world. “We’re very excited. I mean we made it,” said Liu. Liu said right now his team has filed a patent and they’re working on strengthening the material’s durability even more. He said they are excited to see where the next steps lead them.

https://www.turnto23.com/news/local-news/csub-professor-helps-create-eco-friendly-way-to-fill-potholes#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20American%20Chemical,processed%20at%20a%20treatment%20plant.

DEMAND FOR SOLAR BRINGS VACAVILLE-BASED COMPANY TO FRESNO

Citadel Roofing & Solar has opened an office in Fresno to serve homeowners and builders in the Central Valley.The Vacaville-based roofing and solar installation company is opening up an office in Fresno to meet the growing demand for its products for homeowners and builders. Citadel is already provides panels to many homebuilders in the area, including Bonadelle Neighborhoods and Granville Homes.

“We chose Fresno for our new office because of the big increase in demand from homeowners and homebuilders here, for both solar energy systems and energy storage systems,” said Aaron Nitzkin, executive vice president at Citadel. “Solar energy has of course been wildly popular with California homeowners for some years now, while only some of our homebuilder partners were installing solar as part of their new construction projects. But since the state of California began requiring solar energy systems on most new homes built after January 1, 2020, homebuilder demand for solar partners has jumped. Our Fresno office will help us serve those local homebuilder partners.”

Nitzkin said that their Fresno office will help serve homeowners and builders wanting energy storage systems which store electricity in batteries and provide backup power during utility outages. Energy storage systems have become more popular in the last two years due to frequent utility power outages. The Fresno office is located at 744 P. St. Citadel Roofing & Solar also has regional offices in Roseville, Davis, Santa Rose, and Valencia.

https://thebusinessjournal.com/demand-for-solar-brings-vacaville-based-company-to-fresno/#:~:text=The%20Vacaville%2Dbased%20roofing%20and,Bonadelle%20Neighborhoods%20and%20Granville%20Homes.

Idemitsu Renewables Completes $60 Million Financing for 50 Megawatt Central 40 Solar Project in California

SAN FRANCISCOJune 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Idemitsu Renewables, the US-based renewable energy business of Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd, announced today it has closed on debt financing for its 50 MWp Central 40 solar project in Stanislaus County, California.

Debt financing was provided by KeyBank National Association. KeyBanc Capital Markets served as sole arranger of the financing. “This project expands Idemitsu Renewables’ operating business in California,” said Cary Vandenberg, Managing Director of Idemitsu Renewables. “We were happy to build upon our existing relationship with KeyBank and to close a successful transaction even amidst the difficulty of the current COVID environment.” “As a part of our continuing support for renewable energy, we are pleased to support the growth of Idemitsu Renewables’ solar business in California,” said Andrew Redinger, Manager Director & Group Head, Utilities Power & Renewables at KeyBanc Capital Markets.

The renewable power generated by Central 40 will be sold through a power purchase agreement with Silicon Valley Power, which serves the City of Santa Clara. Idemitsu Renewables, the US-based renewable energy subsidiary of Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd, is a leading solar and storage developer and IPP. The company acquires, develops, owns, and operates utility-scale solar power generation plants; selling the clean energy to help communities both economically and ecologically live in healthier environments. With offices in California and Nevada, Idemitsu Renewables continues to develop its growing pipeline of energy projects. Learn more at http://idemitsurenewables.com/.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/idemitsu-renewables-completes-60-million-120500052.html

Aemetis provide updates of RNG, cellulosic ethanol projects

By Erin Voegele | March 13, 2020
Aemestis Inc. released fourth quarter financial results on March 12, reporting increased revenues and progress with the development of its cellulosic ethanol and renewable natural gas (RNG) projects. During an earnings call, Eric McAfee, chairman and CEO of Aemetis, said the company has signed participation agreements with 17 dairies for its RNG project. The company has also built and tested two dairy lagoon digesters, and has designed and permitted a 4-mile pipeline that is now under construction to connect the dairy digesters to its corn ethanol plant in Keyes, California. The RNG project is currently expected to begin generating revenue for Aemetis during the second quarter of this year. According to McAfee, the company plans to complete construction of the next 15 digesters by the end of 2021.

McAfee also provided an update of the company’s proposed 12 MMgy cellulosic ethanol plant in Riverbank, California, that will employ LanzaTech gas microbe ethanol production technology. Last year, Aemetis signed three significant financings related to the Riverbank project, including a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commision, a $12.5 million tax waiver that offsets equity funding required for the project, and the signing of a $125 million United States Department of Agriculture conditional commitment letter for a 20-year debt financing under the 9003 biorefinery program, according to McAfee. Currently, he said the company is focused on completing engineering of the plant required for the negotiation of the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract. McAfee said financial closing to being construction of the Riverbank plant is dependent on completing the engineering and procurement work required for the signing of the construction contract. During the call, McAfee also described several upgrades that are being made to the company’s Keyes ethanol plant. One upgrade involves the development of a carbon dioxide liquification plant by Linde Gas adjacent to the Keyes plant. McAfee said construction on the CO2 capture equipment and piping for the Keyes plant was complete in January. Once the project becomes fully operational in the second quarter, the new liquification plant is expected to convert approximately 150,000 tons per year of CO2 produced by the Keyes plant into liquid CO2 for sale to local food processors, beverage producers and other industrial users.

The Keyes plant is also adding a Mitsubishi membrane dehydration system to the Keyes plant. That dehydration unit was delivered to the Keyes plant in late February, McAfee said, and is currently being installed. Aemetis is also working to add a solar microarray, high-efficiency heat exchanger, and mechanical vapor recompression system to the Keyes plant. Aemetis also operates a biodiesel plant in India. The company reported revenues of $52.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2019, up from $38.8 million for the same period of last year. Gross profit was $5.8 million, compared to a gross loss of $1.9 million. Operating profit was $1 million, compared to an operating loss of $6.7 million reported for the same period of 2018. Net loss attributable to Aemetis was $6.7 million, compared to a net loss of $11.4 million for the fourth quarter of the previous year. For the full year, revenues reached $202 million, up from $171.5 million in 2018. Gross profit was $12.7 million, up from $5.4 million. Operating loss for 2019 reached $4.9 million, compared to an operating loss of $10.9 million for 2018.

http://biomassmagazine.com/articles/16886/aemetis-provide-updates-of-rng-cellulosic-ethanol-projects

GLOBAL CLEAN ENERGY HOLDINGS, INC. ANNOUNCES ACQUISITION OF BAKERSFIELD REFINERY

Source: Global Clean Energy Holdings, Inc.

BAKERSFIELD, California, May 08, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Global Clean Energy Holdings, Inc. (OTC: GCEH) announced that on May 7, 2020, through a subsidiary, it purchased Alon Bakersfield Properties, Inc., a subsidiary of Delek US Holdings, Inc. and the owner of the Alon Bakersfield Refinery. The total cash consideration paid to Delek US Holdings for the purchase was $40 million.

Alon Bakersfield Refinery is an existing oil refinery located in Bakersfield, California.  Historically, the refinery has produced diesel from crude oil.  GCEH will immediately commence retooling the refinery to produce renewable diesel from organic feedstocks such as vegetable oils. The facility, when repurposed as a renewable fuels refinery, will vertically integrate to produce renewable diesel from various feedstocks, including GCEH’s patented proprietary fallow land crop varieties of camelina. Traditionally, grown in rotation with wheat, camelina is cultivated as an alternative to fallow so as not to displace or compete with food crops. The balance of feedstock will be provided from various non-petroleum renewable feedstocks, such as used cooking oil, soybean oil, distillers’ corn oil, and others.

No petroleum processing of any kind will occur hereafter at the refinery, either during or following the retooling effort. Instead, the refinery will be repurposed to become a producer of low-carbon renewable fuels that meet the needs of the California Low Carbon Fuels Standard.  Fuels produced from the facility will result in significant reductions of both greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and local air pollutants like particulate matter. The retooling is expected to take between 18 to 20 months to complete, with the primary work being conducted by union trades through a local Bakersfield EPC contractor, ARB, Inc., a Primoris Services Corp subsidiary (NASDAQ: PRIM).  As an existing oil refinery, the refinery already has a significant portion of the necessary equipment in place for the production of renewable diesel. An estimated 100 union tradesmen from a diverse variety of crafts will be used to conduct a full turnaround and refurbishment of the necessary equipment to produce renewable diesel. Following startup, currently anticipated to be in late 2021, the repurposed refinery is expected to supply a meaningful portion of the demand for clean-burning alternative diesel fuels in California.

GCEH also announced that it has entered into two credit facilities to finance the work to be provided by ARB, Inc. and other construction companies, the clean-up of the site, the facilities’ operating costs, and other project costs during the construction and initial post-construction periods. Strategically located in Bakersfield within a large regional demand center, and only a short distance from the Los Angeles metropolitan area and the San Francisco Bay Area, fuels produced at the site will be available to be blended into the California transportation fuel mix.  The blended fuel will reduce the overall GHG emissions and other harmful local pollutants in the San Joaquin Valley and elsewhere in California.  GCEH’s plan is to have the renewable fuels that are produced at the facility sold to, and thereafter, marketed and distributed through various partnerships, including one with a multi-national oil major.

Richard Palmer, Chief Executive Officer of Global Clean Energy Holdings, commented, “We are thrilled to announce this exciting new venture in Bakersfield, California; a venture that leverages the region’s core competencies in agriculture and both traditional and alternative energy.” Mr. Palmer added, “we expect that this project will be a catalyst for economic development and will  generate both direct and indirect job opportunities in Kern County and the region.”

Certain matters discussed in this press release are “forward-looking statements” of Global Clean Energy Holdings, Inc. (herein referred to as “GCEH,” “we,” “us,” or “our”)  as that term is defined under the federal securities laws. We may, in some cases, use terms such as “believes,” “potential,” “continue,” “estimates,” “anticipates,” “expects,” “plans,” “intends,” “may,” “could,” “might,” “will,” “should” or other words that convey uncertainty of future events or outcomes to identify these forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, risks and uncertainties relating to the success and timing of the activities required to retool the Bakersfield refinery, the sufficiency of the funding available under the two credit facilities to complete the retooling and the startup of the Refinery, the cost and availability of feedstocks to be used in the repurposed renewable fuels refinery, general economic and business conditions, and other risks described in GCEH’s filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.  Forward-looking information is based on information available at the time and/or management’s good faith belief with respect to future events and is subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in the statements. GCEH undertakes no obligation to update or revise any such forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that occur, or which GCEH becomes aware of, after the date hereof, except as required by applicable law or regulation.

https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2020/05/08/2030327/0/en/GLOBAL-CLEAN-ENERGY-HOLDINGS-INC-ANNOUNCES-ACQUISITION-OF-BAKERSFIELD-REFINERY.html

 

Westlands Solar Park Begins Construction

KINGS COUNTY — CIM Group announced recently that it is advancing the development of Westlands Solar Park in Kings County, one of the largest permitted solar parks in the world. The solar park could grow to more than 2,700-megawatts (2.7 gigawatts) of renewable energy potential at full build out, which could provide clean energy to more than 1.2 million homes, said a press release from CIM Group. The master-planned energy park encompasses more than 20,000 acres in the Central Valley in western Fresno County and Kings County, southwest of Lemoore, and is designed to open in phases to meet the needs of public and private utilities and other energy consumers.

The first phase of CIM’s development at Westlands Solar Park includes Aquamarine, a 250-megawatt solar photovoltaic project, which obtained all entitlement and conditional use approvals following a full environmental impact review. CIM signed a power purchase agreement with Valley Clean Energy Alliance, a locally-governed electricity provider for the California cities of Davis and Woodland and unincorporated portions of Yolo County, for 50-megawatts of capacity, with initial delivery anticipated to occur in late 2021.

According to the press release, Valley Clean Energy’s decision to select Aquamarine from a competitive solicitation process was based on its board adopting criteria designed to select cost-effective California-based renewable projects that minimize impacts on prime farmland, environmentally protected species, and habitat. CIM said it applies sustainable principles across its real asset portfolios, and at Westlands Solar Park, CIM is repurposing selenium-contaminated and drainage impaired farmland for the development of clean energy.

Kings County Supervisor Joe Neves, whose district includes some of the project’s area, said there are challenges with the land in terms of a shortage of water and it not being suitable for permanent crops, which led to land retirement. Neves said the large project will keep the land active and on to its next application. “I think it’s a good project,” Neves said. CIM said its clean energy projects will also provide solutions to multiple policy objectives for the state of California’s renewable energy mandate, including greenhouse gas reduction and carbon free energy.

Additionally, Westlands Solar Park is expected to contribute to economic development in Central Valley communities by diversifying the region beyond agriculture and creating a substantial number of clean energy jobs over the development of the entire project. CIM earlier completed a 2-megawatt pilot project at Westlands Solar Park in mid-2016 with the Anaheim Public Utility as the off-taker.

NATION’S LARGEST SOLAR FARM PLANNED SOUTH OF PORTERVILLE

The nation’s largest solar farm is in the works south of Porterville. The big facility is planned on farmland with a water deficit, perhaps a glimpse of the future for some marginal ag land here. Tulare County released a Notice of Preparation (NOP) Feb. 14 announcing the big renewable energy project. Built on 3,800 acres scattered near the town of Ducor, the Rexford Solar Farm will be rated at 700 megawatts in addition to 700 megawatts of energy storage. The solar arrays would eclipse the state’s biggest solar farm in San Luis Obispo — the 550-megawatt Topaz facility built in 2011.

https://thebusinessjournal.com/nations-largest-solar-farm-planned-south-of-porterville/?utm_source=Daily+Update&utm_campaign=99b60615ca-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_02_17_08_44&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fb834d017b-99b60615ca-78934409&mc_cid=99b60615ca&mc_eid=a126ded657

Renewable natural gas producer announces Pixley expansion

The Calgren facility now collects methane— a potent greenhouse gas that would otherwise escape to the atmosphere and contribute to climate change — from more than 66,000 cows at 10 area dairy farms. The additional dairies are projected to nearly double the amount of RNG produced at the facility, further reducing greenhouse gas emissions and displacing more traditional natural gas. Calgren partnered with Maas Energy Works to develop these four new dairy digesters as well as the previous six dairy digesters that have been operating since 2018.