Thursday, November 26, 2009

Alberta Carbon Trunk Line project

WWW.BLUEFUELENERGY.COM: Capturing and transporting CO2 by pipeline is fundamental to Blue Fuel Energy’s plan to produce carbon-neutral DME/Blue Fuel in British Columbia. Recent announcements about Enhance Energy’s Alberta Carbon Trunk Line (ACTL) project, and support for it by the governments of Alberta (C$495m) and Canada (C$63m, from the Clean Energy Fund) have certainly caught our attention, even though the CO2 is slated for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) and not the production of alternative fuels.

As regards the link between the ACTL and the production of DME/Blue Fuel, the key points are that the technologies for large-scale carbon capture and the pipelining of CO2 are ready to roll—and that energy companies that clearly understand that a carbon-constrained future is fast approaching have an opportunity to utilize recycled CO2 to produce an emerging carbon-neutral fuel that will have a significant role in mitigating climate change, enhancing air quality, and providing energy security in countries around the world.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Change to BC energy policy could pave way for Blue Fuel/DME exports

WWW.BLUEFUELENERGY.COM: As reported in the Vancouver Sun and other media on Monday, November 2, British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell has outlined a major change in BC’s energy policy which should have major and positive implications for all alternative energy suppliers in the province. According to their press release, the provincial government intends to create four green power task forces which “will consist of clean-energy experts, energy consultants, renowned climate experts, leading academics, First Nation representatives and environmentalists.” The stated goal of the task forces is to make “BC an international leader in green power development – both for the province and for export…”

These task forces fall under the overall responsibility of the Green Energy Advisory Task Force which was highlighted in the August BC Throne Speech and which was written about in this blog on August 28, 2009.The four task forces are to be organized in the following way:

• Green Energy Advisory Task Force on Procurement and Regulatory Reform. This task force will recommend improvements to BC Hydro's procurement and regulatory regimes to enhance clarity, certainty and competitiveness in promoting clean and cost-effective power generation; and identify possible improvements to future clean power calls and procurement processes.

• Green Energy Advisory Task Force on Carbon Pricing, Trading and Export Market Development. This task force will develop recommendations to advance British Columbia's interests in any future national or international cap and trade system, and to maximize the value of B.C.'s green-energy attributes in all power generated and distributed within and beyond B.C. borders. The task force will also develop recommendations on carbon-pricing policies and how to integrate these policies with any cap and trade system developed for B.C.

• Green Energy Advisory Task Force on Community Engagement and First Nations Partnerships. This task force will develop recommendations to ensure that first nations and communities see clear benefits from the development of clean and renewable electricity and have a clear opportunity for input in project development in their areas. It will work in partnership with first nations, not only to respect their constitutional right, but to open up new opportunities for job creation and reflect the best practices in environmental protection.

• Green Energy Advisory Task Force on Resource Development. This task force will identify impediments to and best practices for planning and permitting new clean, renewable-electricity generation to ensure that development happens in an environmentally sustainable way. The task force will also consider allocation of forest fibre to support energy development and invite input from solar, tidal, wave and other clean energy sectors to develop strategies to enhance their competitiveness.

Of particular note to companies interested in Blue Fuel/DME in general and export in particular are the task force on Carbon Pricing, Trading, and Export Market Development and the one on Resource Development. Let’s look at these two task forces separately.

The Green Energy Advisory Task Force on Carbon Pricing, Trading and Export Market Development shows promise in two areas. First, this task force states that it intends to develop recommendations relating to any future national or international cap and trade system. Clearly, the world is moving increasingly towards such a system (or a network of systems) and, as such, clean fuels have a central role to play not only on their own carbon-neutral merits but also because they offer value to companies and/or countries in need of carbon credits. It is by no means a stretch to imagine the day when clean DME/Blue Fuel producers are not only exporting their fuel but also their credits. The second way in which this task force may benefit clean energy producers in BC and their overseas off-takers is its focus on export development. Although it is unclear at this time how the task force intends to promote clean energy export, any energy-export-minded government organization is a welcome ally.

Now let’s look at The Green Energy Advisory Task Force on Resource Development. One of this task force’s stated goals is to develop strategies to enhance the competitiveness of clean energy sectors. This could mean a more efficient regulatory system which could make export easier either in terms of speed or cost. Moreover, this task force is also “considering the allocation of forest fibre to support energy development”, which immediately brings to mind the BioDME Project and their efforts to create carbon-neutral DME from biomass.

The long story is, of course, that these initiatives are in their very earliest stages in an ever-changing energy environment. The short story is that these initiatives are good news. Very good news indeed.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Production of liquid fuels from waste CO2 ramping up

WWW.BLUEFUELENERGY.COM: On May 23, 2009, a pilot plant at the Mitsui Chemicals Osaka Works became the first site in the world to synthesize methanol from its carbon dioxide exhaust. DME, of course, is a derivative of methanol, making this development highly significant for proponents of carbon-neutral DME.

On October 17, 2009 there was more good news as the Icelandic-American firm Carbon Recycling International (CRI) started construction of its CO2 to methanol plant at the Svartsengi Geothermal Power Plant of HS Orka in Iceland. Dignitaries on hand for the ceremony included the president of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, and George Olah, Nobel Prize Laureate, Chemistry. Apart from being on the Advisory Board of CRI, Professor Olah is also co-author of “Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy”, a groundbreaking work that promotes the production of methanol and DME from renewable energy and waste carbon dioxide.