International Society for Industrial Ecology

In the News

  • 24 Sep 2010 12:12 AM | Anonymous
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    By John Roach contributor

    Explainer: Ten hot green-energy trends to watch

    • Image: Turkey litter
      Jim Mone / AP

      From the rollout of sexy new electric vehicles to technologies that convert turkey poop to electricity, green energy is the source of constant hype and buzz. What do green-energy experts have on their radar screen? To find out, we checked in with Dan Kammen, director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley; and Ron Pernick, co-founder and managing director of Clean Edge, a research firm with offices in Oregon and California. Click ahead to learn about 10 trends they say are worth watching.

    • Solar prices are dropping

      Image: Solarpanels
      Matt Slocum / AP

      Prices for solar energy are dropping and will keep dropping, Kammen and Pernick say. For Kammen, the trend means that solar will finally start grabbing significant market share away from energy sources such as coal and oil — and catch up to the deployment of wind power, which itself is forecast to become as big as nuclear.

      Lump all three sources of energy together, and "we are now starting to talk about more than half of our energy coming from clean carbon sources," he says, noting the caveat that nuclear has its own concerns, such as waste storage that lead to questions about its overall cleanliness.

      According to Pernick, the price drops in solar — as much as 50 percent from 2008 highs — will lead to cost parity with other energy-generating technologies. "That is the big Holy Grail … and we are going to get there," he says.

    • A meet-up of energy and information technologies
      Virtual Test Drive is an app that simulates the performance of electric cars as they drive a route.

      In a "Jetsons"-like future, refrigerators will know when we're low on items such as cheese and beer and send a message to our GPS-equipped cell phones to remind us to pick up a wedge and a six-pack the next time we walk into our favorite grocery store — and thus prevent an extra 20-mile jaunt in our 2,000-pound car for a few items. Such a future is just around the corner, Kammen says.

      "Smart hardware won't solve our consumption addiction, but it will allow us to be much more efficient," he says. "And movement of goods around is a big deal."

      Kammen and his colleagues are currently matching up energy and information technologies with a smart phone application that lets people take a virtual test drive of an electric vehicle such as the Nissan Leaf or Chevrolet Volt. The app sits on a GPS-equipped smart phone and rides along with drivers in their current car. Then, the users can go online, upload their data, and learn what their energy consumption would have been if they were driving an electric ride.

    • China starting to win the clean energy game

      Image: China clock
      Greg Baker / AP

      Global competition for dominance in the green energy industry is fierce. Industry insiders are watching the fight and keeping score, according to Pernick. "China is starting to beat out almost all other nations on a lot of different clean energy counts," he says. Sectors where China has a leading edge include solar photovoltaic manufacturing and deployment of wind turbines. The Chinese are also players in the electric car market, a sector traditionally dominated by the U.S. and Japan.

    • Call for clean-energy funds getting louder

      Image: Bill Gates

      Titans of U.S. industry, including Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and Bank of America chairman Chad Holiday, issued a call this June for an annual $16 billion investment in clean-energy innovation.

      To get there, according to Pernick, will require government subsidies and regulations that promote clean energy instead of propping up the oil, gas, coal and nuclear industries.

      "The naysayers will say, 'Well, you know, if you can't compete against oil and gas, then why bother?' And that's either an ignorant or disingenuous statement," he says. "There is not one energy source on this planet that is not both subsidy- and regulatory-dependent."

    • Energy development in the developing world

      Image: Third world

      "Few research labs innovate for other people; they innovate to meet their own needs," says Kammen, explaining the importance of energy development and innovation that is evolving in the developing world. Shown here are solar panels on a gas station in Algeria, for example.

      In Central America, plans are under way for a power grid that connects together everyone from Panama to Mexico. While the grid will be powered by all kinds of energy, solar and wind will be part of the mix. "We need more developing countries prioritizing their own needs, not just waiting for whatever happens to spill over [to them]," says Kammen.

    • Transportation starting to go electric

      Image: Nissan Leaf
      Mark Blinch / Reuters

      To those sick of the hype over electric vehicles such as the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf, shown here, Pemnick says ... get over it. The buzz over electrified transportation is only going to get stronger, he says, with a build-out of high-speed rail networks and a resurgence of streetcars joining the mix.

      Kammen hopes to see a shift in behavior from personal cars to use of more mass transit, but isn't ready to call it a trend. "There are options there," he says, "but they are not real yet."

    • Growing investment in smart grid and grid infrastructure

      Image: Powergrid
      Charlie Riedel / AP file

      The electricity grid brings energy from wherever and however it is generated to the people who use it. Lots of technologies have emerged in recent years that promise to make use of this electricity more efficiently, such as sensors that shut off unnecessary appliances when demand spikes, and meters that let people know when rates are lowest for energy-intensive activities such as washing dirty clothes.

      Investment in these types of smart grid technologies is destined to grow, according to Pernick, whose firm recently launched an index to track the sector. In addition, the grid itself is bound to grow in coming years as utilities shuttle new sources of generation, such wind energy from rural, windy locales, to people in big cities on the coasts.

    • Carbon dioxide, a value-added product?

      Image: Coal on trial
      Charlie Riedel / AP

      Pernick sees signs of a nascent industry that uses carbon dioxide from industrial operations such as coal-fired power plants and breweries to create products such as calcium carbonate, a key component of Portland cement, and algae fuels.

      "This whole idea of industrial ecology that has been around for decades hasn't really reached an inflection point yet," he says, "but I think we're close — where all of the sudden waste streams become value-added products and services."

    • Megaprojects delayed but not all dead

      Image: Megaprojects

      The economic downturn and engineering obstacles have derailed green megaprojects such as Abu Dhabi's planned Masdar City, a carbon-neutral, zero-waste community in the oil-rich nation, shown here in an artist's rendering, and Texas oil-tycoon T. Boone Picken's much-hyped plan to build 1,000 MW of wind power in the Texas panhandle.

      But not all green megaprojects are dead in the water, according to Clean Edge. For example, the clean-tech research firm has its eyes on 2,000 megawatts worth of concentrating solar power plants under construction in China, a 1,000-megawatt wind farm in India, and the rollout of smart meters and distributed solar throughout Southern California.

    • Biofuels gain prominence, green cred still questioned

      Image: Biofuels
      Charles Dharapak / AP

      Electric utilities are burning more forest trimmings and agricultural waste to generate electricity and heat — a sign, according to Clean Edge, that woody biomass is growing up from a niche business to one that could become a significant player in the energy mix.

      However, as deployment of the technology scales up, so do questions about its green credibility — it gobbles up land and still emits carbon dioxide, for example.

      "We will certainly have more biofuel," says Kammen, "but whether we have biofuel that in fact is sustainable or not, I'm not sure. And if we have lots of biofuel but it is not deep green, not significantly cleaner than fossil fuel, why bother?"

  • 30 Jul 2010 10:25 AM | Anonymous
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    NORTHBROOK, Ill., July 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, UL Environment, a global leader in environmental validation and standards development, published the position paper Interpreting Pre-Consumer Recycled Content Claims, which outlines multi-industry guidelines regarding the use of pre-consumer recycled content. The paper provides clearer definitions and guiding principles expressing what constitutes pre-consumer recycled content and leads the global marketplace towards best practices for its incorporation into product manufacturing.

    "Manufacturers have historically struggled to understand pre-consumer recycled content," said Steve Wenc, president of UL Environment. "Our guidelines are intended to make it easier for manufacturers to identify and incorporate pre-consumer recycled content, helping to make recycled content more prevalent in many products and industries."

    The new UL Environment position paper represents a shift in the common understanding of this type of recycled content and has process implications across a wide range of industries, including: chemicals, metals, minerals and plastics.  The paper is based on the concept of industrial ecology, which takes a holistic approach to examining sustainability in industrial systems and leads to a well-defined goal of zero-waste manufacturing.  

    "UL strongly believes that the foundation of environmental responsibility starts by creating a common vocabulary," said Wenc. "We are helping to support a more sustainable economy by providing manufacturers with direction to achieve greater material reuse and encouraging recycling and reuse of all waste materials."

    To download a copy of the UL Environment pre-consumer recycled content white paper or learn more about related testing and certification services, visit

    About UL Environment, Inc.

    UL Environment is helping support the growth and development of sustainable products, services and companies in the global marketplace through standards development, independent third-party assessment and certification and knowledge services. UL Environment is a wholly owned subsidiary of Underwriters Laboratories, a global leader in conformity assessment that has been testing products and writing standards for more than a century. UL Environment currently offers Environmental Claims Validation (ECV), a service testing and verifying manufacturers' self-declared environmental claims, Sustainable Products Certification (SPC), a service evaluating and certifying products to accepted industry standards for environmental sustainability and Energy Efficiency Certification (EEC), a service certifying products for compliance with government energy efficiency specifications.  UL Environment is developing additional environmental standards, as well as training and advisory services to support organizations in the sustainable products and services industry.

  • 30 Jul 2010 10:23 AM | Anonymous
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    CONSTRUCTION work has been completed on a ground-breaking “green” energy plant at brewing and leisure retail company Adnams’ distribution site outside Southwold.

    The anaerobic digestion (AD) unit will be the first of its kind in the UK to use by-products from the brewing process and local food waste as a renewable source of gas for injection into the national gas grid as well as providing gas for use as a vehicle fuel.

    Adnams Bio Energy Ltd, a subsidiary of the Cambridge-based Bio Group, to which the Adnams has licensed its name, will start supplying gas to the grid once commissioning work is completed later this summer, in a partnership with British Gas and the National Grid.

    The plant will generate up to 4.8million kilowatt-hours of energy a year, enough to heat 235 family homes for a year or run an average family car for four million miles.

    In practice, around 60% of the output will be supplied to the National Grid, with the remainder being used to power the Adnams brewery and run the company’s fleet of lorries.

    The plant consists of three “digesters” − sealed vessels in which naturally-occurring bacteria act without oxygen to break down organic waste. The result is the production of biomethane, plus a liquid organic fertiliser.

    Biomethane is very similar to natural gas and, once upgraded to grid specification, can be injected into the gas network for end use by customers.

    Besides representing a renewable source of energy, so helping to reduce carbon emissions, the plant will also prevent the release into the atmosphere of methane − another contributor to global warming − which would result were the waste to be sent to landfill.

    Under an agreement with British Gas parent company Centrica, Adnams Bio Energy is also installing solar thermal panels and photo voltaic cells on the site, effectively creating a mini “energy park” and ensuring that all of the site, including the Adnams distribution centre, will be using renewable energy generated on-site with some surplus energy available for export.

    The £2.75million project has been supported by funding from Royal Bank of Scotland and grants from the European Regional Development Fund, the East of England Development Agency and the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

    Steve Sharratt, chief executive of Bio Group, which has experience in the design and construction of renewable energy processing plants across the UK, said the Southwold facility represented the first stage in a national roll out of AD plants.

    “We use innovative, low carbon building techniques to produce energy through a completely organic and natural process; nothing is wasted,” he added.

    Adnams chief executive Andy Wood said: “We are delighted that Adnams Bio Energy is located on the site of our eco-distribution centre.

    “For a number of years now, Adnams has been investing in ways to reduce our impact on the environment. The reality of being able to convert our own brewing waste and local food waste to power Adnams’ brewery and vehicles, as well as the wider community is very exciting.”

    Mr Wood said the “industrial ecology cycle” would be complete as the fertiliser produced from the AD process could be used on farmland to grow barley for Adnams beer.

    “This facility will have a major impact on the reduction of carbon emissions in the region and the production of renewable energy,” he added.

    “The food waste would otherwise be destined for landfill, but processing it through the digester will save an estimated 50,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalents from landfill.”

    Gearóid Lane, managing director of communities and new energy at British Gas, said: “This project demonstrates how local communities can help us move to a low carbon energy future.

    “Using waste that would otherwise end up in landfill to produce renewable gas is mutually beneficial for the environment and homes and businesses”.

  • 30 Jul 2010 10:22 AM | Anonymous
    Click here for full article.

    Brewing firm Adnams is claiming a UK first as it nears completion of building work on its anaerobic digestion plant.

    The Suffolk-based beer maker says it will be the first to turn brewing and food waste into a renewable source of gas when it opens the plant in around October this year.

    About 60% of the gas will be used to run the brewery's fleet of delivery trucks and, once commissioning work has taken place later this summer, the rest will supply power to the national grid.

    The £2.75 million plant is capable of producing up to 4.8 million KW hours of energy each year - enough to heat 235 family homes for a year or run an average car for four million miles.

    The plant features three digesters inside which naturally occurring bacteria act without oxygen to break down up to 12,500 tonnes of organic waste each year and produce biomethane.

    Adnams' chief executive, Andy Wood, said: "For a number of years now, Adnams has been investing in ways to reduce our impact on the environment.

    "The reality of being able to convert our own brewing waste and local food waste to power Adnams' brewery and vehicles, as well as the wider community is very exciting.

    "The industrial ecology cycle is completed when the fertiliser produced from the anaerobic digestion process can be used on farmland to grow barley for Adnams beer.

    "This facility will have a major impact on the reduction of carbon emissions in the region and the production of renewable energy.

    "The food waste would otherwise be destined for landfill, but processing it through the digester will save an estimated 50,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalents from landfill."

  • 19 Jul 2010 11:24 AM | Anonymous
    For full article, click here.

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) has come a long way in the past few years, evolving from a niche activity carried out by academics and a few forward-thinking businesses to a mainstream practice talked about publicly by Fortune 500 companies. 

    But there is still some confusion about what LCA is, what it's good (and not so good) for, and where it might be headed. 

    What follows here are 10 facts -- and a few opinions -- to help shed some light on this exciting young field.

    1.  LCA is a tool in a growing field called Industrial Ecology

    Industrial Ecology seeks to redefine the global economy from the old paradigm of open loop systems  (linear flows of materials where resources are extracted, goods are produced and used, and waste products are disposed) to closed loop models (the goal of which is to mimic nature, where the wastes from one product are the raw materials for another). 

    2.  Think "cradle-to-grave," or ideally, "cradle-to-cradle"

    LCA is a "cradle-to-grave" (or, ideally, cradle to cradle) accounting of the key environmental impacts of products and services.
    To perform an LCA, you essentially sum up all of the material and energy inputs to the production, use, and disposal of a product; then sum up all of the outputs (air and water emissions, materials, and waste) from each phase; and interpret the results in terms of impacts on human health, ecosystems quality, and resource depletion.

    3. LCA is often performed to determine the impact of consumer products 

    Though there are many uses for LCA, consumer products have long been a prominent target for practitioners. There can be many reasons for this, but it seems likely that it is a response to the growing consumer demand for environmentally-responsible products. The increasing prevalence of product carbon footprints (see next bullet) is a good example of this phenomenon.

    4. A product carbon footprint is a type of LCA

    There are many ways that LCA can "quantify" the environmental impact of products.  One such method is the product carbon footprint, which is really an LCA that focuses on climate change impacts.  The increasing prevalence of carbon footprinting can only be good news, as so-called supply chain carbon (that is, carbon emissions that occur outside the direct control of the company selling the final product) make up a very large percentage of the emissions associated with the goods we buy and sell every day.

    5. To do an LCA the right way, you need to know (and communicate) the "What" and the "Why"

    Why are you performing an LCA?  Is it intended for use only inside your organization to make improvements to a product?  Or are you intending to "go public" with your findings and make an environmental claim?  And what will you be evaluating?  Is it a single, consumer facing item (like a can of soda), or is it an entire product line (such as carbonated beverages)?  Also, what year will you be evaluating (most recent is always best)?  These are the kind of questions you'll need to answer when you state the "What and the Why" of your study (technically called the Goal and Scope), the first stage of any LCA.

    6. LCA is data driven

    To perform an LCA, you need a lot of data.  Some of the data is relatively easy to come by -- the amount of energy used in a manufacturing plant that your company owns and operates, for example. Other types can be extremely difficult to obtain -- a common example is a material used in your product (such as plastic packaging) that is bought from an overseas supplier. Fortunately, there are databases that contain representative information for common materials.  Some of these databases are proprietary, others free, and all are of varying degrees of quality.  But there are global efforts to improve the data available to LCA practitioners, so we can look forward to stronger and more robust results as time goes on. 

    7. The Life Cycle Inventory is the meat of LCA

    The grunt work of LCA begins with data collection and modeling, or Life Cycle Inventory in LCA terms. This is often made easier by drawing a process map of your product's life cycle -- a box flow diagram of all the inputs and outputs across the entire supply chain. Once this is sketched out, the LCI essentially becomes a matter of acquiring and filling in data at each relevant step. So, the LCI is really a balance sheet of all the material and energy inputs and the emissions outputs over the product's life cycle. 

    8. It's not enough to know how much -- we have to place the impacts in context

    After the LCI is compiled, the inputs and outputs are interpreted to broadly explain their effect on key environmental categories -- the usual suspects are human health, ecosystem quality, and resource depletion. This part of the LCA is known as life cycle impact assessment (LCIA), and is used by decision makers to make choices about how to lessen the environmental effects of the evaluated product.  So, for example, while the LCI might tell us how many grams of different greenhouse gases are emitted across a product's life cycle, the LCIA would go a step further and quantify the global warming potential of all those emissions. 

    9. Interpretation

    Once the life cycle inventory and assessment are finished (these are usually accomplished with the help of software tools, which are proliferating at a rapid rate), it's left to the human practitioner to frame the results. Questions such as which impact categories to emphasize the most (human health is a common choice) and which processes to focus on for improvement need to be decided. Answers to these questions are often highly subjective, and depend upon many things, such as the priorities of the organization performing the LCA, the target audience, and other issues decided in the Goal and Scope phase.

    10. LCA is what we make of it

    LCA is a powerful tool to help us understand the impacts of the products we make and use. But like any tool, it can be used in many different ways, some of them not so helpful. If, for example, we evaluate a "bad" product and use LCA to improve its impact incrementally, we still might not realize the true aim of our work -- the production of goods and services that do not hinder the ability of current future generations to provide for themselves. In other words, only in the context of broader sustainability goals can LCA do what it was created to do -- help to enable the creation of truly green economy.

    Scott Kaufman is a senior manager at the Carbon Trust and Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, where he teaches a course in Industrial Ecology and Life Cycle Assesment (LCA).

  • 15 Jul 2010 3:11 PM | Anonymous

    Suffolk brewer will provide enough gas for more than 200 homes

    Brewer Adnams is set to provide enough gas to heat 235 homes a year by converting brewery and local food waste.

    The Suffolk-based company has constructed the first UK anaerobic digestion plant to use such materials to create biomethane.

    This will provide gas to use at the brewery and to inject into the National Grid.

    It has teamed up with British Gas and the National Grid for the project and will start pumping renewable gas into the grid later this summer.

    Chief executive Andy Wood said: “For a number of years now Adnams has been investing in ways to reduce our impact on the environment.

    “The reality of being able to convert our own brewing waste and local food waste to power Adnams brewery and vehicles as well as the wider community is very exciting.”

    Biomethane is similar to natural gas and according to National Grid could account for 15 per cent of the domestic supply by 2020.

  • 13 Jul 2010 3:10 PM | Anonymous
    Source: Nanowerk
    Author: Michael Berger

    The construction industry has recently begun to look at a variety of manufactured nanomaterials as a way to advance conventional construction materials, according to this article. Nanomaterials could help the construction industry enhance material properties as well as reduce energy consumption. Commercial buildings and residential houses use 41 percent of all the energy consumed in the United States. Scientists at Rice University, United States, have completed a review that looks at the benefits of using nanomaterials in construction materials and highlights the potentially harmful aspects of releasing nanomaterials into the environment. The review contains a list of current uses of nanomaterials in various building applications and highlights potential and promising future uses. The authors state that "[W]hether nanoenabled construction materials could be designed to be "safe" and still display the properties that make them useful is an outstanding question," and suggest that adopting principles of industrial ecology and pollution prevention should be a high priority to prevent environmental pollution and the associated impacts. Substances should be re-engineered to create safer, greener, and yet effective products, the authors say. They conclude by emphasizing the potential of manufactured nanomaterials in the construction industry to harvest solar or other forms of renewable energy, and as substitutes for materials such as lead and mercury that can become harmful environmental pollutants. The article and a link to the review can be found online at the link below.

  • 18 Jun 2010 2:52 PM | Anonymous
    Click here for full article.

    By Anna Austin

    The New York State Energy and Research Development Authority has released a renewable fuel road map for New York that indicates there is potentially 1 million to 1.68 million acres of nonforest land that can be used for bioenergy feedstock production in New York.

    The 140-page document assesses the prospects for the expansion of biofuel production within the state while focusing on biomass resource availability and economic and environmental impacts. The road map considers 11 key issues, including stakeholder input, analysis of sustainable feedstock production in New York, feedstock transportation and logistics, life-cycle analysis and public health and biofuel industry economic impacts and analysis.

    The road map’s lower estimate of available biomass crop land (1 million acres) assumes that no cropland is used for new bioenergy feedstock production, rather new production lands come from abandoned farmland, old pasture, and scrub and shrub lands not currently used for production. The estimate also assumes that only about half of New York landowners would be interested in production. The higher estimate of 1.68 million acres assumes additional land (approximately 0.68 million acres) becomes available by the year 2020 due to projected increased crop and milk yields but on less land, freeing some current crop land for lignocellulosic energy feedstocks.

    Another potential feedstock source the report considers is municipal solid waste (MSW) for ethanol production. Using data from two New York State MSW characterization studies and a U.S. EPA waste characterization study, estimates of waste biomass available for ethanol production were extrapolated from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Waste Management Plan 2000 update. The road map calculates that if New York were to convert only the yard waste and paper waste fraction that’s not currently being recycled into ethanol, it could possibly yield 426 MMgy of ethanol in the short term and 524 MMgy in the long term, depending upon the conversion process used.

    Overall, New York lands could potentially provide 5.6 to 16 percent of estimated 2020 in-state gasoline consumption, assuming that the technological barriers to commercial-scale production of lignocellulosic ethanol are overcome by the year 2020, according to the road map. It also finds that New York-derived biomass could support four large-scale centralized lignocellulosic biorefineries (capacity ranging from 90 MMgy to 354 MMgy) or up to 24 smaller capacity (60 MMgy) biorefineries.
    The Renewable Fuels Roadmap and Sustainable Biomass Feedstock supply For New York can be accessed at

  • 18 Jun 2010 2:45 PM | Anonymous
    Dan Looker
    Successful Farming magazine Business Editor
    6/15/2010, 4:17 PM CDT
    Click here for full article.

    Most farmers are painfully aware that corn prices have been trending down for much of this spring, even as the ethanol industry recovers and expands its use of the grain to make fuel.

    California doesn't know. At least officially, at the California Air Resources Board, or CARB. CARB is in charge of a state law that aims to lower the carbon emissions from fuels 10% by 2020. Last year CARB ranked the "carbon intensity" of fuels and used a controversial theory on indirect land use that had the effect of making gasoline look greener than Midwest corn ethanol. The theory assumes that an expanding ethanol industry will raise grain prices and lead to tropical savannas and rainforests being cleared for crop production.

    No one disputes that clearing tropical forests puts a lot of CO2 into the atmosphere. That's why Indonesia, a relatively poor country, ranks third behind China and the U.S. among the planet's top greenhouse gas producers. Indonesia is a major producer of timber and paper and has been converting rain forests and tropical peat bogs to palm oil production.

    But the science of calculating how biofuels fit into the equation is new and still uncertain. This Thursday CARB will hear from a Purdue University economist, Wally Tyner, who led a team that refined a computer model for a report that shows ethanol has a much smaller effect than originally believed.

    "Sometimes I tell people this whole land use issue has only been around for three years," Tyner told in a recent interview. "Over the last 14 months, we learned a lot about the kind of data we need and the parameters."

    Tyner's latest computer analysis comes up with at least a 10% cut in greenhouse gases from ethanol over gasoline, even including indirect land use.

    Tyner will talk about a report that he and others released this spring for the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory. Tyner is a member of the CARB Expert Working Group.

    Economic computer modeling might seem like a dry subject, but it's a big deal to the ethanol industry.

    California represents nearly a tenth of the nation's market for ethanol, said Geoff Cooper, vice president of the Renewable Fuels Association. New rules for blending fuel in California take effect next January and gasoline suppliers are already making decisions based on a low carbon fuel standard that the state adopted last year.

    "They're going to be looking for biofuels that generate credits that help lower the carbon intensity of their fuel blends," Cooper told Current rules favor ethanol made in California and Brazilian sugar cane ethanol over corn-based ethanol from the Midwest.

    That's why the RFA has asked CARB to give credit to Tyner's work right away, even though CARB has until December to make any changes it its low carbon fuel standard.

    RFA considers the whole concept of indirect land use flawed and, along with another trade group, Growth Energy, is challenging CARB's low carbon fuel standard in court.

    "One thing I want to make clear is that us pushing CARB to adopt the new Purdue numbers is not an endorsement of the concept (of indirect land use) in any way," Cooper said.

    Mark Stowers, vice president for research and development at POET, the world's largest ethanol producer, is another industry member of CARB's Expert Working Group. He, too, is skeptical of the validity of earlier estimates of the effect of ethanol on land use in other nations.

    "I think CARB needs to look at a two-year moratorium and let the science settle out," Stowers told recently.

    Tyner's estimate of the effect of land use changes on greenhouse gas emissions from ethanol is only about 13% as much as the first estimate published in Science magazine by Tim Searchinger and others. And it's about half as much as CARB estimated last year.

    Tyner said there are several reasons why the new computer modeling cut ethanol's impact.

    The original Searchinger paper didn't account for distillers grains from ethanol, making the loss of corn for feed seem greater than it is. Tyner's estimate does. It also gives more credit for the productivity of pasture and marginal land that would be converted to crops as ethanol uses more corn. Previous reports estimated that marginal land converted to crops would be only about two-thirds as productive as prime land.

    "In many areas of Brazil, for example, it's closer to one," Tyner said.

    As experts and CARB debate the carbon footprint of ethanol, the industry isn't standing still.

    At least half-a-dozen plants have applied to CARB for approval of ethanol production processes (called a pathway by CARB) that are more efficient at conserving energy and carbon, said Cooper of the RFA.

    One is Corn Plus, a farmer-owned plant in Winnebago, Minnesota, that gets part of its electricity from two windmills and which burns part of the soluble portion of distillers grains for heat.

    Last year CARB gave Midwest corn ethanol a "carbon intensity" of 99.4 (above gasoline's 95.86).

    Keith Kor, manager of Corn Plus, said his plant has hired a consultant to do a life cycle analysis for its own carbon intensity rating.

    It may be as low as 72, "which basically would be the same as Brazilian sugarcane ethanol," Kor said.

    POET, too, is a major innovator.

    At the Fuel Ethanol Workshop in St. Louis today, it released its own life cycle analysis of cellolusic ethanol that will be produced at its corn ethanol plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa.

    According to an independent analysis of POET's Project Liberty, the cellulosic ethanol will lower carbon emissions by 111% compared to gasoline. It will actually have negative emissions, offsetting more carbon than it releases. The plant will use corn cobs and the upper 25% of corn stover for its feedstock.

    "Not only is cellulosic ethanol a clean and safe alternative fuel, in cases such as Project Liberty, it can literally reverse some of the effects of our nation's dependence on fossil energy such as oil," POET CEO Jeff Broin said. "By expanding the number of sources for ethanol production, the entire nation can contribute to helping our nation's economy, security and environment through alternative fuel production."

    Broin gave the results to reporters today. A lifecycle analysis tracks the emissions of ethanol production from "field to tank." It includes emissions from planting and harvest, feedstock transportation, conversion to ethanol, waste products, co-products and transportation of the ethanol. It also includes Environmental Protection Agency calculations for changes in land use and effects on agriculture inputs.

    Waste from the cellulosic plant will produce biogas, which will be used to help power an existing corn ethanol plant next to the cellulosic plant.

    Click here for details on the POET announcement.

    Click here for the full report of Wally Tyner's research, Land Use Changes and Consequent CO2 Emissions due to U.S. Corn Ethanol Production: A Comprehensive Analysis.

  • 18 Jun 2010 2:28 PM | Anonymous
    Click here for full article.

    TUNISIAONLINENEWS- The Tunisian Clean Production Project (TCPP) was launched on Thursday, in Tunis, in the presence of Mr.Nadhir Hamada, Minister Environment and Sustainable Development.

    Eco-friendly or clean production prevents all forms of pollution, in order to reduce risks for health and the environment, while improving the competitiveness and economic viability of businesses.

    Funded by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), this project aims at strengthening capacities of the National Clean Production Centre (NCPC) in terms of resources efficient and clean production (RECP).


    The TCPP which is part is part of implementing the second phase of the UNIDO’s integrated technical co-operation program with Tunisia, is structured around two main axes.

    The first aims at strengthening the capacity of national skills in terms of dissemination of the concept of cleaner production, through training of 25 Tunisian national experts in the master of the basic tools of cleaner production and innovative concepts (industrial ecology, analysis of life’s cycle, social responsibility, Eco-label) and accompanying 75 industrial companies and hotels for the implementation of cleaner production tools.

    The second axis, aims at putting up a  network of the Tunisian CNPP with its counterparts in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to promote technology transfer and knowledge on cleaner production.

    To this end, a knowledge management system (KMS) will be established to promote the exchange of information and expertise between countries of the region.

    The targeted sectors are textiles, leather and footwear, food, hotels, engineering, electrical and chemical industries.

    Mr. Nadhir Hamada stressed that the project, which is part of the national objectives in of environmental upgrading, will help enterprises reduce their consumption of raw materials, water and energy, while increasing their competitiveness.

    Other factors mentioned by the Minister, including benchmarking studies conducted nationally in this sector, which revealed the interest for Tunisian companies of clean products.

    In a related event, Mr. Nadhir Hamada, held on Thursday a conference on “national and regional planning and the fight against the challenges of climate change and desertification”, in which he said that Tunisia implemented projects aimed at reducing emissions of greenhouse gas, the main cause of climate change.

    He mentioned in this context, the adoption by the National Clean Development Mechanism Office of 37projects in the sector of energy efficiency, exploitation of renewable energy in addition to the strengthening of the Tunis railway network, the reduction of emissions of phosphate sector and control of waste management.

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