Jason Barton

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Archive for the ‘General Electric’ tag

GE, IBM help form group to survey, educate US on smart grid

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This looks great. I’d very much like to learn whatever they’re teaching once the survey is done.

March 26, 2010

Before a newly formed consumer-focused group starts explaining the smart grid to the public, it plans to take an unusual step: listening.  The Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative, announced Tuesday at the DistribuTech conference in Tampa, Fla, as early as next month will commission a statistically reliable survey to help understand what the public knows about the smart grid, acting director Jesse Berst told us yesterday.

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Written by Jason

March 26th, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Brazil’s Lula Inaugurates World’s First Ethanol Power Plant

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Brazil’s ethanol refineries have already been generating electricity from the biomass, sometimes called “trash” or “bagasse,” left over after extracting the sugar from the cane. These refineries perform two different types of processes: biological, fermenting the sugar to produce ethanol; and thermal, burning the biomass to generate heat and steam to run the turbines to produce electricity. They’ve now taken that in a different direction by using the ethanol itself to generate the electricity. The thermal processes have been used by other companies, such as Community Power Corporation of Colorado, discussed in an earlier post. The second generation, cellulosic technology we’ve been hearing about involves using biomass such as left over sugarcane bagasse or corn stalks, called stover, or even grasses such as switchgrass or miscanthus that require very little water or fertilizers. Rather than burning that green matter to generate electricity, research is underway to access the 5 and 6 carbon sugars in the cellulose for fermentation into ethanol or other fuels such as butanol, or even creating a virtual replacement for gasoline.

SAO PAULO – Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has inaugurated a power plant that represents the world’s first use of sugarcane-based ethanol to produce electricity on a commercial scale.

“The developed world is going to have to look at ethanol with new eyes. I think when it comes to fulfilling our commitments and complying with the Kyoto Protocol, to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, ethanol is going to have to come into the equation,” Lula said during the inauguration on Tuesday.

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Brazil opens world’s first ethanol-fired power plant

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Projects like this are encouraging, especially if the priority remains focused on decreasing energy consumption. Other companies, such as Community Power Corporation (CPC) of Colorado, already have modular electricity generators that use biomass as a feedstock. The high glucose content in sugarcane should make Petrobras and GE’s efforts that much more efficient. Brazil’s ethanol refineries generate about 3% of the county’s electricity by burning the biomass left over after the sugar is extracted from cane to make ethanol for transportation. So this project has the potential to create highly versatile powerplants that can produce electricity as well as liquid fuels, depending on the proportion demanded by each location. The aspect to keep in mind when considering these developments is that unlike CPC, which uses waste products to generate electricity, sugarcane needs to be grown on arable land, a limited and highly valuable resource.

* State-run Petrobras opens first ethanol power plant

* Petrobras, GE, hoping other governments will adopt

By Denise Luna

JUIZ DE FORA, Brazil, Jan 19 (Reuters) – Brazil on Tuesday opened the world’s first ethanol-fueled power plant in an effort by the South American biofuels giant to increase the global use of ethanol and boost its clean power generation.

State-run oil giant Petrobras (PETR4.SA)(PBR.N) and General Electric Co (GE.N), which helped design the plant, are betting that increased use of ethanol generation by green-conscious countries will boost demand for the product.

Brazil, the top global ethanol exporter, is already in talks with Japan to develop biofuels power generation there.

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