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Casa Grande company may be on the frontline of an agricultural revolution

What that means is that the emerging company's Algae Development Center in Casa Grande will soon be the site of a 40-acre commercial production site that could help revolutionize agriculture.
Work continues at the algae center in Casa Grande, where the company has a patent pending on the XL Super Trough it developed here. The Super Trough is expected to go into production on a full-sized, 40-acre plot here in November, a size XL officials consider ideal for algae biomass production.

"It's an actual site so we can demonstrate, running it at a commercial level," Cloud explained. "We expect farmers will take the 40-acre size" and operate multiple-trough fields. Visitors from around the world are expected for a November field day at the site. Eventually, the company hopes to sell the system to farmers for commercial production and wants to begin delivery by January. Installation costs should be about $25,000 per acre.
XL also plans to develop a 400-acre algae farm and processing facility near Vicksburg in western Arizona, 100 miles due west of Phoenix near Interstate 10. More than 20,000 tons of biomass could be processed at the proposed facility, and the company has more than 2,400 acres to expand production.
"There's a tremendous amount of capital being invested in algae development right now. Our focus has been to demonstrate that you can produce algae economically using proven farm practices. We believe people just need the right tools to produce algae. We want to offer our trough technology to other growers so they can grow algae as well."

Making Algae

The XL Super Trough uses a miniature greenhouse-type process to produce the algae in laser-leveled, 18-inch-deep, 1,250-foot-long troughs.

Mechanized equipment installs specially designed plastic liner sheets with integrated aeration and lighting systems along 6-foot-wide troughs. An optional plastic sheet called "mulch" can be installed on top of the trough to make it a closed system and increase algae production during cooler temperatures.

There are no moving parts, and the only connection points are at the ends of the troughs. Fortified water is pumped clear through the 40-acre field in 24 hours at a rate of 2,000 gallons per minute. Half of the flow - 1,000 gallons per minute - is then diverted into the harvest system, and 950 gallons of that is recirculated into the fields. Fifty gallons of algae concentrate is pumped into harvesting and can be transported to a central processing plant.
CleanTech Biofuels, Inc. Announces It Is Evaluating Sites for First Municipal Solid Waste to Ethanol Plant

ST. LOUIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In order to expedite the process for the construction of a small commercial plant, CleanTech Biofuels, Inc. (OTCBB: CLTH) announced today that it has begun identifying and evaluating sites for its first commercial facility. CleanTech is seeking to work with municipalities and waste haulers in locations with favorable tipping fees (fees paid to accept trash), feedstock supply, transportation logistics, and governmental financing possibilities to implement its technology to convert municipal solid waste (curbside garbage) into ethanol.
We believe that our combined technologies will enable the production of ethanol from cellulosic waste streams at a lower cost than from grain or other agricultural feedstocks. Our combined technologies will avoid the immense consumption of water and farmland that plague grain ethanol producers, with the added benefit of recycling garbage and reducing the amount of waste disposed of in landfills by as much as ninety percent.

BlueFire: Making ethanol at the landfill

BlueFire Ethanol wants to set up a series of small ethanol refineries at the world's finest landfills. The company will convert organic waste--paper, vegetable scraps, etc.--into fuel and then sell it locally. The business revolves around the idea that the feedstock is worthless. Landfill operators pay about $6 a ton to get rid of their trash. By converting it to ethanol the operators eliminate this cost and can qualify for carbon credits. BlueFire operates the ethanol refinery and then sells the fuel.

The first plant, a 3.6 million gallon a year facility that will grow to 12 million gallons a year, will go up in Lancaster, Calif. Later, the company hopes to open larger facilities in Europe and Southeast Asia.

Unlike some ethanol refiners, BlueFire's process does not rely on cutting-edge science. The company breaks down organic matter in an acid bath to obtain the cellulose, and then converts the sugars into ethanol. Still, producing the ethanol costs about 30 percent to 40 percent less than the cost of producing corn ethanol, said Chief Executive Arnie Klann. The lignin, a tough fiber extracted from plants in the acid process, is used to operate the equipment.

Farm Bill is good for advanced biofuels says BIO

The Farm Bill passed today (15th May) by the US Senate will, says the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) encourage biofuel producers to move more rapidly to commercialize advanced biofuels and help farmers transition to growing energy crops for a sustainable biofuel industry.
The Farm Bill includes an important new incentive for the development of cellulosic biofuels, which hold tremendous promise as a home-grown alternative to fossil-based fuels. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that became law last year calls for production and use of 21 billion gallons of advanced biofuels by 2022. But because the technology for producing cellulosic biofuels is emerging, government assistance is necessary to help companies reach the commercial scale called for in the RFS. The Farm Bill contains a new, temporary production tax credit for up to $1.01 per gallon, available through December 31, 2012, with an estimated cost of $403 million over the ten-year budget window.

The bill also includes loan guarantees to assist the construction of commercial biorefineries for production of advanced biofuels. It also creates a Biomass Crop Assistance Program that will help farmers transition to growing cellulosic energy crops for these biorefineries. Lastly, it continues funding research and development into making advanced, low-carbon biofuels cost-competitive for consumers.

"The farm bill energy title will accelerate the commercialization of cellulosic biofuels technologies and will help ensure abundant fuel and food resources are produced by the nation’s farmers and fuel producers," said Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section.

Mesa Power Places World's Largest Single-Site Wind Turbine Purchase Order
Purchase is step one in T. Boone Pickens' plans to build world's largest wind farm near Pampa, Texas

DALLAS, May 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Mesa Power LLP, a company created by legendary energy executive T. Boone Pickens, has placed an order with General Electric to purchase 667 wind turbines capable of generating 1,000 megawatts of electricity, enough to power more than 300,000 average U.S. homes.

The agreement represents the first phase of the four-phase Pampa Wind Project that will become the world's largest wind energy project, with more than 4,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for 1.3 million homes. When all phases of the project are completed as projected in 2014, the wind farm will be five times as big as the nation's current largest wind power project, now producing 736 megawatts.

Pickens said he expects that first phase of the project will cost about $2 billion, and that electricity from the project will be on-line by early 2011. When complete, the Pampa Wind Project will cover some 400,000 acres in the Texas Panhandle.
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Doing the math on those windmills brings them to $3 million each at over 1 megawatt each. What does a megawatt-hour sell for?
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