Monday, February 14, 2011

Renewable Energy News, February 14, 2011

Magic Hat digester turns brewery waste into energy
Before he started “saving the earth, one beer at a time,” all inventor Eric Fitch knew about home brewing was that it could make quite a mess.

Once, he accidentally backed up the plumbing in his apartment building by dumping into his garbage disposal the spent grain left over from his India pale ale home brew. The oatmeal-looking gunk choked the pipes in his Cambridge, Mass., building, flooding the basement.

These days, he’s doing something more constructive, fulfilling the dream of beer lovers everywhere by recycling the stuff: The MIT-trained mechanical engineer has invented a patented device that turns brewery waste into natural gas that’s used to fuel the brewing process.

The anaerobic methane digester, installed last year at Magic Hat Brewing Co. in Vermont, extracts energy from the spent hops, barley and yeast left over from the brewing process — and it processes the plant’s wastewater. That saves the brewer on waste disposal and natural gas purchasing.
China Profits From Solar Policy as Europe Backpedals
China, the world’s biggest electricity consumer, is figuring out how to capture a larger share of the solar-energy market without losing money.

The government will spend at least a year studying Europe’s system of paying above-market prices for solar power before deciding if there’s a better way to spur clean-energy plants across China, said Wu Dacheng, an adviser to national power regulators. The delay has stalled projects planned on Chinese soil by developers such as First Solar Inc. of the U.S.

“We need to learn from European countries like Germany” that pay subsidized rates to spark solar-panel installations, Wu, vice chairman of the Solar Photovoltaic Committee of China’s Renewable Energy Society, said in an interview.

Europe, which attracted more than $65 billion in solar plant investment in 2010, is providing lessons for China. Germany, the largest panel market, together with Spain and France carried out four unscheduled subsidy cuts in 2010, trying to slow a torrent of projects by developers and speculators.
House passes Wyoming wind energy property rights bill
A proposal that would prevent landowners from selling wind rights separate from the rest of the property has passed the House of Representatives.

Senate File 22 would designate wind as a property right similar to surface and mineral rights.

Landowners can set up wind energy agreements with developers, and the lease would be canceled if wind generation stops long enough or development never occurs.
Maui Is Gassing Up Renewable Energy Effort
Trash at the Central Maui Landfill creates gas, which Maui officials want to convert into energy. Energy commissioner, Doug McLeod said the county is considering its options including selling the gas to nearby Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company.

Another option is to process the gas into fuel for your cars, or the more appealing alternative is burning the gas to produce electricity on site.

“The combustion option seems to be the most proven technology. It's something where we could buy an engine and put that to work. On the other hand it is attractive to think that the gas could be reused potentially by the sugar mill,” said McLeod.

McLeod said the amount of generated gases could power patches of homes and businesses across the island and burning gas at the source would have a direct financial impact.

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