Business Briefs

By Anna Simet | March 31, 2017

Niziolek joins Morbark senior management team
Morbark, manufacturer of equipment used in forestry, recycling, tree care, landscaping, sawmill and biomass markets, has appointed Walt Niziolek as the new vice president of operations and supply chain.

Niziolek joins Morbark at a time of continued business growth to take charge of supply chain and site operational requirements, which include managing local, U.S. and overseas vendors and suppliers, all warehouse and distribution activities, quality initiatives and liaising with business unit engineering support.

Niziolek’s extensive expertise includes holding many previous senior leadership roles in manufacturing with companies such as CPG Building Products and Pride Mobility Products, where he specialized in deploying standardized work and other lean initiatives to improve safety, quality, delivery, supply chain management and cost.

Prior to his 20-plus years in manufacturing operations, Niziolek served as a captain in the U.S. Army, where he held multiple leadership and staff positions, both in peacetime and periods of conflict.

Mid-South opens New England office 
Mid-South Engineering Co., an Arkansas-based, full service consulting engineering firm, announced the opening of its fourth office located in Orono, Maine.  The new office, led by Walter Goodine, director of operations, allows Mid-South to better respond to its clients’ engineering needs in New England and Maritime Provinces. Orono, the home of the University of Maine, is just north of Bangor.  “The addition of this location supports our firm’s commitment to build on the success we have seen in the New England area,” stated Jeff Stephens, Mid-South president. “The new office location is convenient to the building products, paper and bio-energy markets we serve and provides ready access to the professional talent to grow our staff.”

Alliance promotes Slager
Alliance BioEnergy Plus Inc. has elevated Vice President of Business Development Benjamin Slager  to the position of chief technology officer. Slager’s new responsibilities include working with the development team at Ek Laboratories on implementing the CTS process at company-owned plants as well as licensees; identifying and exploring ancillary product pathways for the CTS process, and ensuring that the company is making the best use of its intellectual properties and processes. Slager joined the company in August 2016 as a consultant, eventually became a board member, has vast experience in technology development, deployment and commercialization.

Valmet introduces online analyzer for wood chip, bark moisture
Valmet recently introduced the Valmet Chip 'n' Bark Moisture Analyzer, which offers pulp mills a new tool to advance productivity and efficiency. Continuously measuring wood chip moisture provides the means to accurately control cooking liquor-to-chip mass ratio for improved digester operation. When applied to monitor biomass moisture, better boiler efficiency is enabled by the continuous indication of heating value to optimize fuel feeding control and supplementary fuel use. Valmet CBA replaces oven dry laboratory measurements by utilizing microwave technology to continuously measure chip, bark, forest residue biomass or recycled wood moisture. A sample flow is taken from the conveyer chute, pushed through the unobstructed measurement chamber and then returned to the chute. Disturbances that affect conveyor-mounted instruments have been eliminated with the innovative design and measurement concept.

EnviTech optimizes thermal pressure hydrolysis 
An optimized thermal pressure hydrolysis (TDH) process from the research and development division of EnviTec Biogas utilizes high pressures and temperatures to digest biomass even more effectively. Apart from a long-term increase in gas yield, which can range from 10 percent to over 60 percent when renewable raw materials are used, the process also facilitates the use of substrates that have to date been unsuitable for use in biogas plants.

 “Previously, thermal pressure hydrolysis was used with the input materials—i.e., the matter,” explained Jürgen Tenbrink, CTO of EnviTech. “This is a hugely involved process, however, since the additional mashing means additional heating or cooling is required, depending on the type of hydrolyzed material.”

Handling unwanted materials adds to the effort, but EnviTec’s method skips this step, as the process targets only the difficult-to-degrade raw fiber from the biogas process. Since the technique doesn’t involve any input mashing, heating requirements are reduced. Other advantages include the exclusion of unwanted material, as well as lower throughput. “Operators can make considerable savings thanks to the more cost-effective use of difficult-to-digest inputs like solid manure,” Tenbrink added. Depending on the project, input costs can be cut by as much as 35 percent or more, according to EnviTech.

Advanced Cyclone Systems makes first North American biomass installation
Advanced Cyclone Systems S.A. designed and supplied a Hurricane Cyclone System for KMW Energy, an engineering consulting company and equipment manufacturer of biomass energy solutions from Ontario, Canada. The system, ACS’s first biomass boiler installation in North America, was installed at Produtis Forestiers D.G.’s softwood lumber processing plant in Quebec, Canada.

The current emission legislation in Quebec, Canada made it mandatory for biomass boilers less than 3 MW to curb emissions below 150 milligrams (mg) per dry cubed meter at 7 percent O2. Until recent, most of the smaller biomass boilers were able to meet emission limits with just multicyclones. The new emissions limit value left a lot of end users in need of a compact, efficient and economical system to reach the new mandatory values. ACS was contacted by KMW Energy to design a system for Produits Forestiers D.G.’s bark biomass boiler to meet emissions limits.

Consulair, an emission testing company from Quebec, Canada, confirmed that all test results ensure PM emission compliance for the DG plant with an ACS cyclone system.

TTcogen hires Gray to lead biofuel CHP effort
TTcogen LLC, a 50/50 joint venture of combined heat and power (CHP) company Tecogen Inc.  and TEDOM a.s., announced the hiring of Walter Gray III to lead the development of biofuel-powered CHP projects as director of business development. He has more than 14 years of international project development, business development and environmental finance experience in the utility-scale renewable and distributed generation markets. Most recently the CEO and Founder of Enthalpic Capital, Gray was focused on developing a portfolio of waste heat, biogas, biomass and cogeneration projects in the U.S. and Mexico.

Prior to founding Enthalpic Capital, Gray led project development initiatives at Neoen in Jamaica, and E.ON Climate and Renewables in Singapore. He also has experience in environmental finance, having served as country director of Thailand for EcoSecurities, where he led origination activities for emission reduction purchase agreements under the Kyoto Protocol, while also leading project development for biogas projects in Southeast Asia.

QED announces Landtec Biogas 3000 fixed gas analyzer
QED Environmental Systems has announced the new Landtech Biogas 3000, a next-generation, fixed-gas analyzer that offers optimal continuous monitoring of the complete gas production process. Building on field-proven gas analysis technology, the compact, self-contained Biogas 3000 system offers cost-effective online monitoring that is ideal for anaerobic digestion, biogas monitoring, and landfill gas monitoring applications.

The Biogas 3000 can use up to four sample ports to monitor methane, carbon dioxide, and oxygen, with optional monitoring of hydrogen sulfide, hydrogen and carbon monoxide levels—operators can choose up to five gases to monitor. The device features easy self-installation and maintenance. In addition, QED provides a temporary replacement unit, resulting in zero operational downtime for servicing. The Biogas 3000 offers simple user calibration and an easy-to-operate system. It is calibrated to ISO/IEC 17025 standards for optimum accuracy.

Eggersmann Group acquires biological drying technology
The trademarked Bio-Dry, a well-established biological drying technology of Convaero, is being integrated via an asset deal into the portfolio of the Eggersmann Group with immediate effect. The contracts on the future cooperation were signed March 2.

The Eggersmann Group, located in Marienfeld, Germany, is known for its decades-long experience in the field of mechanical-biological waste treatment. Labelled with the brands Kompoferm and Bekon, the quickly expanding plant constructor has developed and successfully established numerous dry fermentation waste treatment sites. “The Bio-Dry technology now allows us to enter new markets in countries with limited financial strength, but where waste volumes and energy demand are growing substantially,” said Karlgünter Eggersmann, CEO of Eggersmann Group. “For such market conditions the Bio-Dry system of Convaero provides the optimal solution, namely the biological drying of municipal solid waste for the production of alternative fuel.”

Roeslein Alternative Energy opens Missouri project office
Roeslein Alternative Energy is proud to announce the opening of a project office in Milan, Missouri. This office will be the home of RAE for the next 12 months as it works with residents in northern Missouri to expand its hog waste-to-renewable natural gas project (RNG). This office will be a resource for RAE employees and will allow area residents to interact with the RAE team. RAE representatives will be accepting appointments and walk-ins from landowners and residents who may have questions or concerns about the expansion of their current project.

In 2014, Roeslein Alternative Energy partnered with Smithfield Hog Production of Missouri, placing impermeable covers over their hog manure lagoons to create and capture methane gas using a process called anaerobic digestion. The captured methane is dried and cleaned and then injected into the national pipeline, where it is sold to customers throughout the U.S.

Drax picks Quintiq for supply chain optimization
Power station operator Drax has implemented Quintiq’s supply chain planning and optimization system to handle transport and storage of some 7.5 million tons of biomass every year.
Drax operates the largest power station in the United Kingdom and supplies up to 8 percent of the country’s electricity needs. It converted from burning all coal into a predominantly biomass-fueled electricity generator.

Prior to Quintiq, Drax handled the transport and storage of 7.5 million tons of biomass annually through spreadsheets. This planning method was unable to support Drax’s business goals as it sought to diversify and grow its operations. Drax required a solution that would not only handle its current supply chain puzzle, but also have the flexibility to scale up as the company grew in both scope and complexity.

Together with consultancy Crimson & Co., Drax searched for a solution that would facilitate the cost-effective purchase, storage and management of the biomass and coal needed for the operation of its power station. A stringent selection exercise was conducted encompassing case studies, reviews of live supply chain planning solutions, site visits and data analysis and scenario testing to compare systems and solution providers. Within three months of signing the deal in January 2016, Quintiq had developed a prototype that showcased a 95 percent working system for ports. After a smooth implementation process, the full solution went live in September 2016.

Crossley receives NSF Early Career Award
Steven Crossley, professor at University of Oklahoma Gallogly College of Engineering, is the recipient of a five-year, National Science Foundation Early Career Award in the amount of $548,829 for research that can be used to understand catalysts that are important for a broad range of chemical reactions ranging from the production of renewable fuels and chemicals for natural gas processing. The research will be integrated with educational and outreach programs intended for American Indian students, emphasizing the importance of sustainable energy.

"The NSF CAREER award is partly in recognition of the important work that Steve has already done in the field of catalysis,” said Brian Grady, director of the OU School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering. “It is one of the highest honors a young faculty member can receive. We look forward to him doing great things in the future.”

Crossley, an assistant professor in the OU School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering, is also a faculty mentor for the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. The project will provide a detailed understanding of active sites and atom transfer processes involved in catalytic conversion of bio-oil molecules derived from biomass. 

Biotech Energy partners with Clinton Community College
In January, Biotech Energy Inc. and Clinton Community College were accepted into the Start-Up New York program.  As participants in the program, Biotech and Clinton Community College have entered into a new strategic partnership arrangement that will focus on developing new curriculum and programs at the college to enhance the educational opportunities for its students, and to support the growing biomass energy industry.

The strategic move is in response to the growth and development of Biotech's business within the Northeast U.S. The new corporate office, located on the college campus, is ideally situated to manage and support the growth of Biotech’s exclusive distributors, authorized dealers and biomass projects throughout the Northeast, while engaging students in hands-on, interactive learning activities in an actual business environment. Biotech plans to assume occupancy of its new office beginning in April.