June 28, 2010 - federal grant money for ethanol R&D; Syncrude found guilty in oil sands duck kill

Monday, June 28, 2010

Here's a "do you know..." for you: do you know anyone doing biomass R&D, especially working with cellulosic ethanol? There's a round of federal grants for research and development of handling processes and feedstock logistics. Grants are expected to average $5.5 million each.

DOE, USDA issue funding opportunity for biomass R&D

Up to $33 million is available for biomass research and development projects through a joint funding opportunity from DOE and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The funding opportunity aims to develop new technologies in biofuels, bioenergy and high-value bio-based products.

Pre-applications are due July 13. 
DOE is interested in developing systems to handle large amounts of biomass feedstocks, such as wood chips and wood wastes.

One goal of this funding opportunity is to develop logistics systems that can handle and deliver large amounts of feedstock year-round for cellulosic biofuels production.  DOE’s Biomass Program is focusing its R&D efforts on ensuring that cellulosic ethanol is cost competitive by 2012. For more information on the agencies’ biomass goals, see DOE’s multi-year program plan and the USDA’s Bio-preferred Program, which aims to create a market pull for new products and technologies.

In the news: a Canadian judge has found oil sands developer Syncrude Inc. guilty of quasi-criminal charges related to the death of 1,600 ducks that became mired in oily settling ponds.  Allegedly, Syncrude knew or should have known that a large flight of ducks was inbound (one source says Syncrude had 48 hours notice based on radar) at a time when most natural ponds were frozen.  Syncrude was found guilty of depositing materials hazardous to ducks without deploying its "duck protection systems" in time to prevent these ducks from landing on the settling ponds.  The federal charges could be as high as $300,000 per bird.

Tide power: Irving has walked away from its exclusive rights to evaluate tidal power at 11 Crown-owned sites in the Bay of Fundy.  With Irving's relinquishment, the government will likely issue another RFP for the sites.

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