12 August 2010, 10:56 BST
Global Green Solutions is currently developing an innovative biomass-to-energy technology called Greensteam which generates industrial steam and electrical power from waste biomass.
The Greensteam technology was developed in-house by GGRN to meet the high biomass-to-steam energy conversion efficiency economics required for the Aera project, (a heavy oil recovery partnership between Exxon Mobil and Shell Bakersfield operations) and the low air emissions regulatory requirements of the California Air Emissions authority. The Aera project involves replacing a minimum of 15 gas-fired steam generators with 10 Greensteam waste biomass-fired steam generators for two key reasons: 1) to reduce its steam generation operating costs and 2) to decrease its greenhouse gas emissions footprint.
Global Green Solutions recently completed construction of a 1.25 MWe equivalent generation capacity demonstration unit for the Aera project and is currently in the commissioning stage, with testing to continue until December 2010. Doug Frater says that Greensteam will finalise project financing and commence construction of the 10 full-scale commercial projects staged over a 30-month period if everything goes well.
While Greensteam literally moves full steam ahead, Global Green Solutions has been less successful with another clean-tech project it had in the pipeline: Green Algae. According to Frater, this project, involving an algae photobioreactor growing system that produces algae biomass from which oil can be extracted as a biofuels feedstock, was shelved "following the global financial market crisis resulting in a significant reduction in investor-based funding opportunities". Consequently, his company took the decision to focus solely on Greensteam.
Frater remains optimistic about the future of algae-based biofuels. However, he believes the US is still some way behind Europe in terms of support for biomass and other clean-tech projects.
Green algae in a fermenter. Science in progress...
The successful completion of Greensteam R&D and the Aera demonstration project in 2010 will lead to the commencement of the construction of ten Aera Greensteam units in early 2011, and commercialisation stage status for Global Green Solutions.
"There are also a number of Greensteam opportunities in the project development phase in the UK and Europe, which we expect will be commissioned in the future," reveals Frater. "We are also pursuing a business model in which we license the technology and build, own and operate projects with international, national or local strategic partners."
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