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Toxin leaves 500,000 in northwest Ohio without drinking water PDF Print E-mail

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Toxin leaves 500,000 in northwest Ohio without drinking water

Sat, Aug 02 19:35 PM EDT

 

By George Tanber

TOLEDO Ohio (Reuters) - Dangerously high levels of toxins from algae on Lake Erie left 500,000 people in Toledo, Ohio, without safe drinking water on Saturday and sent many driving to other states in search of bottled water.

The crisis affects the state's fourth-largest city and surrounding counties, forcing most restaurants and the Toledo Zoo to close.

Ohio Governor John Kasich declared a state of emergency for the region, freeing up resources for the Ohio National Guard and state workers to truck safe water to people who need it.

City officials said in a statement that Lake Erie, the source of local drinking water, may have been impacted by a "harmful algal bloom."

In response to the Toledo crisis, Chicago is doing additional testing on Lake Michigan water as a precaution, and expects results in a day or two, city spokeswoman Shannon Breymaier said.

Blue-green algae are naturally found in Ohio's lakes, ponds and slow-moving streams. Algal blooms in Lake Erie are fairly common in recent years, typically in the summer, state emergency operations spokesman Chris Abbruzzese said.

Potentially dangerous algal blooms, which are rapid increases in algae levels, are caused by high amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous. Those nutrients can come from runoff of excessively fertilized fields and lawns or from malfunctioning septic systems or livestock pens, city officials said.

Officials could not say when Toledo's water service can be declared safe, and boiling the water will not destroy the toxic microcystins.

Drinking the contaminated water could affect the liver and cause diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, numbness or dizziness, city officials said.

The water should not be used for drinking, making infant formula, making ice, brushing teeth or preparing food, the governor's office said. It also should not be given to pets, but hand washing is safe and adults can shower in it, officials said.

As soon as the crisis became public early Saturday, all local stores sold out of their water supplies. That sent residents traveling in all directions to find supplies.

Jeff Hauter of Toledo drove to a Walmart in suburban Detroit, where he bought 18 gallons and four cases of water. He said he ran into others from the Toledo area loading up their trucks and cars.

A retired Toledo water department employee, Hauter said the crisis did not shock him.

"It's a lack of preventative maintenance over many city administrations," he said. "It was inevitable."

(Reporting by George Tanber in Toledo, Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles and Mary Wisniewski in Chicago; Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Dan Whitcomb, Dan Grebler and Lisa Shumaker)

 
Methanol Use in Denitrification PDF Print E-mail

Effective Use to Clean Our Waterways

methanol.org 1

 

Importance of Denitrification

In 2012, the Gulf of Mexico “Dead Zone,” an area of eutrophication

(excessive plant/algae growth) and hypoxia (oxygen depletion), spans some

6,700 square miles (17,300 square kilometers) from the mouth of the

Mississippi River. Marine dead zones can be found in more than 400

estuaries worldwide including the Chesapeake Bay, Long Island Sound,

Baltic Sea, Black Sea, Caspian Sea, Mediterranean Sea, East China Sea, and

the South China Sea. These dead zones are caused by nutrient enrichment,

particularly nitrogen and phosphorous, that comes from agricultural run-off

and major point sources such as wastewater treatment plants.

Facing regulatory pressure, municipal wastewater treatment plant

operators around the globe are increasingly turning to a process of

biological nutrient removal or “denitrification” that is based on the addition

of methanol as a carbon source to accelerate the biodegradation of

nitrogen. The Methanol Institute engaged the environmental consulting

firm Exponent to prepare a 124-page white paper titled “Methanol in

Wastewater Denitrification,” providing a comprehensive overview of the

use of methanol in the removal of nitrogen from wastewater.

 

Denitrification around the World

The last several decades have seen a worldwide increase in the regulatory

control of nitrogen from municipal wastewater treatment plants. In the

United States, the Clean Water Act implements water regulation by

incorporating both technology-based and water-quality-based levels of

treatment. Historically, most WWTPs have treated to standards based on

the ability of secondary treatment to meet effluent standards, such as 30

mg/L for both biological oxygen demands (BOD) and total suspended solids.

As the impact of the macronutrients nitrogen and phosphorus on

eutrophication – a term used to describe when aquifers and waterways gain

too much nutrient from sewage and wastewater - has become more

apparent, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began to put more

emphasis on meeting water-quality-based standards. With too much

methanol.org 2

nutrient in waterways, surface plant life can grow rapidly starving the water

of oxygen and sunlight.

Given the regional nature of sources for impacted estuaries, the most

effective way to control the amount of nitrogen effluents is through

collaborative efforts of multiple jurisdictions. The Chesapeake Bay and Long

Island Sound programs are examples of coordination by state and local

agencies to reduce the total load of reactive nitrogen to regional water

bodies, which includes the upgrading of WWTPs to remove nitrogen from

their effluents.

The Blue Plains Wastewater Treatment Facility, one of the largest in the

United States, continually meets, if not exceeds national standards for

nitrogen loadings in water each year. Furthermore, the addition of

methanol to the denitrification process has saved Blue Plains, and many

plants like it, millions of dollars over the long-term.

In Europe, the European Water Framework Directive (EU WFD) marked a

shift in focus, from point-source control to an integrated prevention and

control approach at the water-body level. As a result, tertiary wastewater

treatment has increased since 1990, although the percentage of wastewater

treatment plants with tertiary treatment varies by region. The EU WFD

caused the discharge standard for nitrogen in water to decrease from 10

mg/L to 2.2 mg/L. The goal of this action is to “promote sustainable water

use, protect the aquatic environment, improve the status of aquatic

ecosystems, mitigate the effects of floods and droughts, and reduce

pollution.” The two- step strategy to achieve the directive’s goals includes

the adoption of new wastewater treatment technologies which includes

biological denitrification.

In China, expanding industrialization has resulted in a rising need for

discharge standards and more effective wastewater treatment. As of 2002,

35.5% of rivers in China were not suitable for drinking-water use due to

pollution issues, which has led to water shortages. Environmental legislation

put in place in 2003 sets Class 1A effluent discharge standards at <5 mg/L

ammonia nitrogen and <15 mg/L total nitrogen. As of 2002, only 39% of

wastewater in China was being treated; the number grew officially to 59%

as of 2008. In the last several years, almost a dozen existing WWTPs have

been upgraded to biologically remove nitrogen using denitrification filters,

with methanol as the supplemental carbon source.

methanol.org 3

 

Denitrification Process

In order to meet mandated ammonia discharge requirements, most

municipal systems in the United States practice nitrification, which adds

additional nitrogen to the water. However, only about five percent of Nr is

removed through engineered treatment systems. A tertiary nitrogen

removal system presents a method for removing a large portion of the

nitrogen concentration from wastewater effluent before it is discharged.

Through a process known as "denitrification," water treatment facilities

convert the excess nitrate into nitrogen gas which is then vented into the

atmosphere.

The removal of nitrogen in biological treatment systems consists of four

basic steps. The first step is the conversion of organic nitrogen to ammonia

in a process called ammonification. Ammonia is then converted to nitrate in

a two-step aerobic process called nitrification—the conversion of ammonia

to nitrite followed by the conversion of nitrite to nitrate. Finally, conversion

and removal of nitrate can be carried out using various treatment

configurations. All treatment systems, however, require an aerobic zone for

converting ammonia to nitrate and an anoxic zone for converting the nitrate

to nitrogen gas. One of the more common approaches to retrofitting

existing facilities is to extend the aeration period to allow for nitrification,

followed by a filtration system for denitrification. Because organic carbon is

consumed mostly in the extended aeration process, it is often necessary to

add a carbon source, such as methanol, especially when the discharge

requirements for total nitrogen are low.

 

Role of Methanol

As part of the denitrification process, methanol plays a crucial role in

reducing environmentally-damaging effluent that is discharged by

wastewater treatment facilities across the globe. Methanol is a naturally

occurring, biodegradable molecule and is employed in these operations

because of its favorable chemical properties. Nearly 200 wastewater

treatment facilities across the United States are currently using methanol in

their denitrification process. Methanol is the most common organic

compound used in denitrification, accelerating the activity of anaerobic

bacteria that break down harmful nitrate. In an anoxic tertiary nitrogen

removal system, an external carbon source, such as methanol, is often

required to ensure that denitrification is maximized.

methanol.org 4

 

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Results

The three common external carbon sources, capable of removing nitrogen

from wastewater, methanol, ethanol and acetic acid were by examined for

tertiary nitrogen removal by using a life-cycle assessment (LCA). LCA is a tool

that allows for the impacts of a product or process to be compared across

different life stages and impact categories. This ensures that the

environmental burden is not being shifted from state to state, or location to

location, in pursuit of environmental goals, and allows for the overall impact

of the product to be examined.

LCA was used to evaluate the following nine impact categories: ozone

depletion, global warming, acidification, eutrophication, smog formation,

ecotoxicity, particulate respiratory effects, human carcinogenic effects, and

human non-carcinogenic effects. In terms of environmental impact, they are

not all the same. In the nine impact categories presented, methanol has the

lowest impact in eight of the categories. The exception to this is ozone

depletion, where ethanol has the lowest impact. Acetic acid has the greatest

impacts in seven of the categories, with the exception of acidification and

eutrophication, where ethanol has the highest impact. In terms of relative

environmental impact among the three external carbon sources, methanol

has the lower impact in most

 
Honda hydrogen fuel cell car stylishly envisaged PDF Print E-mail

Honda hydrogen fuel cell car stylishly envisaged

Honda, on the heels of Toyota and Hyundai, will launch a hydrogen fuel cell next year. Unlike the others, however, the new car’s final design is still under wraps. 

The design of clean energy cars is often argued. Some believe that an innovative powertrain should be reflected by avant-garde design, like the Nissan LEAF or BMW i8. Others think a traditionally attractive aesthetic is important if you don’t want to scare of potential customers, which is an attitude Tesla has adopted for the Model S.

Hyundai’s Tucson Fuel Cell is simply a converted version of the regular, gasoline-powered model. It’s hardly exciting, but it’s a safe bet. Toyota has gone a little further, developing a new design language that, although still largely conventional, tells us that the car is different from other vehicles.

Honda_FCEV_Concept

That leaves Honda, who, were things to balance up nicely, would come along with a prophetic vision of what mobility should look like in the future. It’s unlikely this scenario will unfold, as the Japanese carmaker is targeting relatively strong sales, but there’s certainly scope for originality.

concept car revealed during last year’s Los Angeles Auto Show (above) is clearly too adventurous to accurately portray what the car will look like, but the radical design suggests that the successor to the FCX Clarity will be anything but dull.

The render pictured at the top of the page, by Dillion C, aka Hondatalover, shows a production version of the AC-X plug-in hybrid concept (below) showed us at the 2011 Tokyo Auto Show.

That the AC-X was a plug-in hybrid and the upcoming fuel cell car will be hydrogen-powered is irrelevant. What matters is the progression of Honda’s clean-energy design language – the LA concept clearly followed on from the concept at Tokyo, but its the former car that’s closer to reality.

honda-ac-x-concept

With a low nose – permitted by the lack of a cumbersome engine – and a raised, elongated tail providing space for high-pressure hydrogen tanks, this steeply raked vision of Honda’s 2016 fuel cell sedan seems close to the mark for us. I even borrows the rear light styling from the hotly anticipated Acura NSX hybrid sportscar.

With a 300-mile range it’s easy to imagine such a car going up against the Tesla Model S.

 
Biofuels are included in latest U.S. Navy fuel procurement PDF Print E-mail

JULY 25, 2014

 

Source: U.S. Navy, used with permission
Note: Above, clockwise from left: Fleet replenishment oiler USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187), aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93), and cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59). Great Green Fleet demonstration, July 2012.


Recently the Department of Defense (DoD) released its annual procurement for bulk fuels to be delivered to its facilities in the eastern and inland United States and Gulf Coast. For the first time, this procurement requests military-specification diesel fuel and jet fuel that are blended with biofuels. The biofuels components, however, are optional and will only be accepted if certain cost and performance requirements are met. A similar procurement for the Rocky Mountain and West Coast regions is expected to be released later this year.

The U.S. Navy's interest in biofuels is part of its goal to generate 50% of its energy from alternative sources by 2020: nuclear energy, electricity from renewable sources, and biofuels. The Navy currently sources about 17% of its energy supplies from renewable and nuclear sources of electricity. No biofuels are currently included in that percentage.

The Navy's interest in biofuels is limited to those fuels that can be used as direct replacements for petroleum-based gasoline and distillate fuels, also known as drop-in biofuels. These fuels require no modification or operational changes to distribution infrastructure, aircraft, or ships. Although biodiesel blends readily with diesel fuel or jet fuel, and is compatible with most diesel engines, it is not a drop-in fuel. Certain properties limit biodiesel blends from being used in some applications: potential fuel system clogging and poor performance at low temperatures prevent its use in jet fuel for civilian or military use, and water separation problems prevent its use as a marine diesel fuel. Drop-in biofuels are available today on a limited commercial basis, and operable U.S. production capacity is about 210 million gallons per year.

Drop-in biofuels tend to be more expensive than petroleum fuels. The 2014 National Defense Authorization Actprohibits DoD from paying prices for alternative fuels that are higher than it would pay for traditional fuels. To address these economic issues, the Navy and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the Farm-to-Fleet program in December 2013. The program intends to increase the production of drop-in biofuels in the short term to allow producers to improve yields and lower feedstock costs through experience, and to achieve economic competitiveness by 2020.

Firms wishing to offer drop-in biofuels under the current solicitation can apply to the USDA Commodity Credit Corporation for grants to offset the cost of feedstocks used to produce the biofuels. Some drop-in biofuels may also qualify for Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs), which can be used to comply with the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) or sold to other parties. The RFS has encouraged the production and import of drop-in diesel that can meet DoD's requirements. It remains to be seen whether the combination of the USDA grants and RIN value is enough to bring drop-in jet fuel to market at a price comparable to traditional jet fuel.

For this year's fuel procurements, there are two acceptable sources of drop-in biofuels: hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids (HEFA), and Fischer-Tropsch (FT) liquids. HEFA biofuels are produced through the reaction of vegetable oil or animal fat with hydrogen to yield hydrocarbons that are nearly identical to those found in petroleum-based diesel fuel or jet fuel. FT liquids are hydrocarbons produced from coal-, natural gas-, or biomass-based synthesis gas and are suitable for blending into diesel fuel and jet fuel.

In the near term, EIA projects that HEFA fuels likely will be used in much greater quantities than FT liquids. Unlike with HEFA, the United States has no commercial-scale production of FT fuels. Other nations produce FT liquids, but their production is more often based on coal and natural gas, not biomass. The U.S. therefore does not import large volumes of FT liquids, because coal- and natural-gas based fuels do not qualify for credit under the RFS or the California Low Carbon Fuels Standard.

Principal contributor: Tony Radich

 
Exxon License Methanol to Gasoline Technology PDF Print E-mail

press release

July 21, 2014, 9:52 a.m. EDT

ZeoGas Awarded Methanol-to-Gasoline Technology License by ExxonMobil

Proven ExxonMobil technology to support new ZeoGas gas-to-liquids project on U.S. Gulf Coast

 

 

HOUSTON, Jul 21, 2014 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- ZeoGas LLC (ZeoGas), a developer of natural gas-to-gasoline projects, has entered into a license agreement to use ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company’s (ExxonMobil) methanol-to-gasoline technology in the development of a natural gas-to-gasoline plant on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

ZeoGas is developing a portfolio of projects to convert natural gas to gasoline to take advantage of the abundant and relatively low cost of natural gas in North America. Coupled with the 5,000 tons-per-day of planned methanol production, ZeoGas will produce more than 16,000 barrels per day of ASTM-spec, 87 Octane gasoline with zero sulfur and about 50 percent less benzene than allowable standards.

“We are pleased with this milestone in our development. ExxonMobil’s proven methanol-to-gasoline technology is a critical element of our strategy to use only market-proven, production-scale component technologies, thereby eliminating the technology risk associated with many gas-to-liquids projects,” said Timothy D. Belton, founder and chief executive officer of ZeoGas.

ExxonMobil’s methanol-to-gasoline technology was first commercialized in 1985 by New Zealand Synfuels, a 14,500 barrel per day gas-to-gasoline plant in New Zealand. “Our methanol-to-gasoline technology is not only flexible and scalable, but it has also proven to be a reliable option for producing gasoline,” said Vince Alberico, manager of Technology Sales and Licensing at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company.

About ZeoGas LLC

ZeoGas is developing a portfolio of plants to convert plentiful and clean natural gas into gasoline, employing proven component technologies like ExxonMobil’s MTG and Air Liquide’s MegaMethanol® technology. Its management team represents over 100 years of direct experience managing complex organizations and the engineering, permitting, construction and operation of large-scale chemical processing plants. For more information, visit www.zeogas.com .

About ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company (EMRE)

EMRE is the research and engineering arm of Exxon Mobil Corporation, a leading global oil, natural gas, and petrochemicals company whose subsidiaries have operations in nearly 200 countries and territories. Additional information regarding ExxonMobil and technologies it licenses can be found at www.exxonmobil.com/refiningtechnologies .

SOURCE: ZeoGas LLC

for ZeoGas LLC
Jeri P. Wechsler, 713-751-9138 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 713-751-9138 FREE  end_of_the_skype_highlighting
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ExxonMobil Downstream Media Relations
Christian Flathman, 703-846-4467 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 703-846-4467 FREE  end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Copyright Business Wire 2014

 

 
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