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Off Grid Power in Liberia 

Carbon Management Through Green Waste Management

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Partners Wanted For Waste To Energy Project Trials

You likely already know that APL’s technology provides significant value in the areas of waste management and renewable energy, while also making substantial contributions in the fight against climate change. Turning green waste into energy is a win-win-win solution. As pointed out in an article this week in The Guardian, “Agricultural waste, which would otherwise be a major source of greenhouse gas emissions if burnt, could instead be turned into a biochar – a process that produces more energy than it consumes – and the biochar could then be used to enrich agricultural soils with carbon. Research suggests that biochars not only boost crop yields, but could lock away carbon for several thousand years.”  With recent significant improvements to our technology, we believe the value proposition is now stronger than ever.

However,  you may also know that biomass gasification isn’t yet as easy to finance as solar, which is a barrier to scaling and realizing the full value of the technology. So, to make our solution more accessible, we’re now offering turnkey waste-to-energy (WTE) services, wherein APL or its affiliates will own and operate the equipment at your location. You would not be responsible for the capital cost of the equipment, and- because we can dispose of waste and generate energy more cheaply that other technologies- our fees would simply come from the waste management and electricity use savings from using our services. There’s also an option to provide onsite heating and cooling as well, if needed.

This fee-for-service model provides a simple WTE solution that offsets both waste management and power consumption costs for customers. The compact, modular, and turn-key design of the Power Pallet enables us to scale the service as needed. Projects will be operated in a net metering situation similar to solar, but would have the additional value streams of biomass waste processing and provision of heat and cooling services, not to mention the flexibility of having mobile units.

We plan to start offering our WTE service model here in Northern California, then across the state, then wherever there’s a good fit. We are targeting the first installations to begin producing power in the SF Bay Area in the second half of 2017. This pilot program will also be used to refine the business model in preparation for general release in 2018.

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This work is being enabled in part with strong support from the state of California; the California Energy Commission has awarded us $3M in grants in recent months to continue to refine our products, making them more efficient and easier to use.

The need for this kind of solution clear: climate change is causing a mounting biomass solid waste crisis, which is in itself contributing significantly to climate change. We intend to help break this cycle. Last fall, we started sounding the warning about the impacts of climate change on our forests here in California, a crisis that continues to deepen. The latest climate clarion call is from Southern California, where the transition to a landscape wholly devoid of urban trees––in parks, on campuses, and in yards––could happen in just the next generation.

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We are now looking for qualified demonstration sites to conduct the most near-term WTE projects, with the following characteristics: located within two hours of the San Francisco Bay area, significant onsite energy use  (around 100kW or more), and onsite biomass waste processing that’s either revenue neutral or a cost center. If these characteristics describe a site that you own or to which you have access, and which you would like to be considered, please fill out the attached form. We will get back to you right away if your site fulfills the requirements for a  successful project.

OPEN HOUSE this Friday night, 5-7pm
Our regular monthly open house is coming up this week. Please RSVP so we know how many guests to plan for, then drop by for pizza cooked in a gasifier-powered oven, plus cold beer and soft drinks, and all the gasifier talk you can eat.

Negative emissions tech: can more trees, carbon capture or biochar solve our CO2 problem?
As noted above, The Guardian newspaper in the UK has a thoughtful look at this promising question this week. Click here to read all the details.

The business, and climate, case for biomass
The former Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, and the former head of the US environmental group Sierra Club, Carl Pope, have written a much deeper dive into the same topic as the Guardian article in their new book “Climate of Hope.”

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They write, “We have phenomenal machines to do this job — they are called plants, and they exist to take CO2 out of the atmosphere and turn it into organic matter in the soil. (Certain kinds of rocks also sequester CO2 in very large quantities, but our ability to influence the pace of such mineralization is much more limited than our impact on the biosphere and plant life.) What does it take to trip the biosphere — the globe’s collection of animals and plants — into a massive carbon-storing mechanism?”

The climate crisis is making new heroes. Meet Matt Rogers, founder of NEST
Every day, all over the world, new heroes in the climate struggle are emerging from unlikely places. Case in point: Matt Rogers. After working at Apple on some of this century’s most iconic products, Matt left to found NEST, which makes home thermostats. Not very sexy, perhaps, but their combination of sleek design and innovative performance is driving users to install millions of them. This, in turn, has already avoided the equivalent of more than 2 million tons of carbon emissions from burning coal. You can learn more about Matt’s  impact, and the work he’s enabling, in this Medium post.

As always, thank you for your interest in our work. If you have any questions, or would like to discuss buying some of our equipment, email info@allpowerlabs.com or call toll-free +1 888-252-5324.

 

-ALL Power Labs

 

Got green waste? Let’s turn it into something useful.

Plus: New grants, projects, and the new master plan for reversing climate change.

Need power in California? Got green waste? Contact us
APL is now expanding into project development in California––operating its own equipment for on-site power and heat generation, focusing initially on sites that can net meter with the utility grid and have green waste onsite they’re paying to dispose of.

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As we’ve mentioned previously, California is in the midst of a solid waste crisis, driven by the twin drivers of closing biomass plants and a forest health crisis that’s killed hundreds of millions of trees. We can help you lower your electricity bills and waste disposal costs at the same time. To contact us to discuss your project, email info@allpowerlabs.com or call toll-free +1 888-252-5324.

APL wins new grants from the California Energy Commission
The State of California has long been a leader on environmental issues, and has historically invested early in promising technologies. That’s certainly true with biomass-to-energy projects: in the last several months, APL has been awarded $3 million in competitive grants from the CEC, and is shortlisted for $3 million more. The first $1.5 million award is for Combined Heat and Power (CHP) projects utilizing the Power Pallet, and the second grant, also for $1.5 million, is for a higher capacity Powertainer with CHP and a dedicated biochar offtake.  In both cases, APL was the highest-scoring applicant. APL also received a high passing score for a $3 million grant to create 2MW of Powertainer projects; that project is still working through the system, as the CEC got more winning projects than they currently have funding for. We’re cautiously optimistic those projects will move forward as well.

Highlighting recent projects
We continue to install new projects regularly, all over the world. Here are two recent projects we wanted to highlight. The first, in Costa Rica, uses waste from coffee production to make energy to run their roasters and processing equipment in a remote community. The second, in northern Ghana, powers a school using wood waste from a nearby mill.

    iCafe-talking coffee in Costa Rica. In this video ( narrated in spanish ) you can see how iCafe is able to provide the high-output energy they need to operate their processing operations even in their remote, mountainous location. The Power Pallet is uniquely positioned to serve in this use case: unlike other renewable energy sources, which are not on demand and do not have sufficiently high energy density (unless they are paired with hugely expensive battery banks), the Power Pallet can be used  as needed and provides a high level of so-called “productive power” for energy-intensive agricultural operations.

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    Modern Star, shining bright in Ghana In February, we installed a Power Pallet at the Modern Star school in northern Ghana.  The project is designed to operate on locally-sourced wood waste from a nearby mill. Once the Power Pallet was installed, the wiring was connected and the unit supplied enough power to electrify all six buildings on campus.

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We’re happy to be doing our part to solve the challenges of energy access and climate change.

Solving Climate Change: Project Drawdown
Last week, Paul Hawken’s Project Drawdown released its long awaited, and deeply researched, guide to reversing global climate change. It is an impressive, incredibly ambitious work, and full of surprises. Case in point––the #1 thing we can do isn’t switch to wind or solar, it’s….better manage refrigeration.

All of the solutions are scored and ranked according to impact and cost. Not surprising to anyone who has been following our work, supporting biomass energy ranks pretty high. And, when combined with other cross-cutting solutions like biochar production, waste-to-energy development, and regenerative agriculture, it’s easily in the top ten. Click the image below to learn more and order a copy.

 

As always, thank you for your interest in our work. If you have any questions, or would like to discuss buying some of our equipment, email info@allpowerlabs.com or call toll-free +1 888-252-5324.

 

-ALL Power Labs

LA Times: APL biomass gasification “one of the most promising technologies”

Flexible clean energy that helps solve climate change?

That’s what the LA Times calls biomass gasification from All Power Labs–
“one of the most promising technologies” to help solve the forest health crisis in California.

Last week the Los Angeles Times, California’s largest newspaper, published an editorial exploring solutions for one of the toughest problems facing the Golden State: how to preserve our leadership on climate change while dealing with a crippling multi-year drought that has left more than 100 million trees dead. The solution is to convert all that dead biomass into on-demand energy, and along the way do something impactful to address climate change. Click The Image Below For Link To Article
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The piece sums up the climate potential well: “Aside from their main output, electricity (which can be fed into the grid), the units generate a key byproduct, biochar, a charcoal-like substance that is almost pure carbon. When applied to soil, biochar stimulates plant growth and reduces water consumption, which makes it a valuable commodity in water-stressed California fields. In essence, biochar is carbon that would otherwise have been released into the atmosphere, which makes All Power’s gasification process not just carbon neutral but carbon negative.”

The solution that unlocks this potential at scale is the Powertainer, a mobile 150KW power plant that turn waste forest biomass into energy, heat, and biochar. Sponsored by a grant from the California Enegy Commission, APL has been developing a commercial version of the Powertainer modeled on a design we first made in 2012 for the US Department of Energy. Shown below is the new version at a green waste yard testing facility just minutes from APL’s headquarters in Berkeley. As you can see, the unit is easily moved to and from project sites. No expensive civil works are required–just put it on the ground, plug it in, and add fuel.

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To really understand the scope of the challenge we’re facing, check out this video produced by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection: (click the image to play video).

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Over the last two years we have been developing the Powertainer we have received significant interest from potential customers. Now that we are planning to begin deploying units in the field,  we would like to gauge the current level of interest in the product. If you are considering or are interested in getting a Powertainer, please fill out this very quick form–it should take less than one minute.

As always, thank you for your interest in our work. If you have any questions, or would like to discuss buying some of our equipment, email info@allpowerlabs.com

-ALL Power Labs

A menace in our mountains: the terrifying climate truth behind California’s fall forest colors

Fall in the United States is known for the colors in New England, as trees turn to the warm shades of autumn before dropping their leaves. That sort of change historically wasn’t common here California, where our forests are mostly evergreen pine trees. At least, that used to be true–but not anymore.

Thanks to drought and climate change, there are now 66 million dead trees in California, a number that may triple by year’s end. That’s almost one million linear miles of dead biomass, enough to stretch to the moon and back twice. But, when combined with a forward thinking energy policy, this crisis is also creating an unique opportunity to solve the twin challenges of affordable renewable energy and climate change at the same time. APL’s Tom Price just published this Medium post that outlines what’s at risk, and how APL’s gasification solution could save not only California, but the whole planet.

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If after reading this piece you’re interested in seeing the new 150kW Powertainer in person, please see below for an upcoming event at our Berkeley factory.

More APL news:

National Science Foundation awards All Power Labs $225,000 grant to develop next-generation reactor.NSF

Last month, APL was awarded a prestigious $225,000 Phase 1 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, to support our research and development of our next generation gasifier reactor.  Specifically, this grant “enables the research and development of a new hybrid fixed-fluidized biomass gasifier design that allows for a higher carbon conversion efficiency over a far wider range of feed stocks than what current commercially available biomass-to-electricity technologies are able to offer.”  APL’s Dr. Jay Hasty will be the Principal Investigator leading the team doing this important work.

 

APL powers events across Silicon Valley and beyond, spreading the word about “energy for productive use.”

This summer APL presented at (and powered!) several high profile events, all focused on reinforcing a perspective that’s gaining traction in the global renewable energy community:  We need to provide more than just lighting; true energy access means energy for productive use. That kind of high amperage power, to enable value adding activities like running machinery, is something off-grid solar can’t provide, but it’s an ideal use for compact biomass gasification gensets.

In June  we presented these ideas at the Clean Energy Ministerial in San Francisco, the implementation-focused follow up to the COP21 Climate Accords in Paris last December, at which APL also presented.  That makes APL the only company in the world to exhibit carbon-negative technology at both events.

We then flew over to Hawaii to help power a microgrid running the first VERGE Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit, getting help from Governor David Ige to refill a Power Pallet operating on locally-sourced macadamia nut shells.
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We then powered the dining tents during the Social Capital Markets SOCAP conference in San Francisco, and went straight from there to Santa Clara, the heart of Silicon Valley, helping power the microgrid at the VERGE conference and participating in their startup showcase.  We wrapped up our tour at the International Off Grid Renewable Energy Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, contributing to the “Emerging technology solutions for off-grid renewable energy systems” session, and are now home getting ready for our biggest event of the year–unveiling our new Powertainer.

Powertainer demonstration coming this fall

APL is preparing to publicly unveil our new 150kW Powertainer, designed to help address forestry waste management as well as clean energy and climate solution needs. If you are interested in the Powertainer and attending our upcoming live demonstration, please let us know.  Space is limited, so email your interest to info@allpowerlabs.com with the words “Powertainer Demo” in the subject line, so we can hold a spot for you and let you know event details.

 

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You’re invited: Creating an Ecosystem for a Carbon Balanced Planet, October 18th in San Francisco

Join Nancy Pfund of DBL Partners, Jim Mason of APL, and Noah Dietch of the Center for Carbon Removal for an interactive workshop that brings together leaders from across disciplines to create tangible projects for the development of innovative carbon solutions. This workshop will explore how Bay Area business, policy, and NGO leaders can partner with local carbon removal solution developers. Workshop attendees will participate in a design charrette with the goal of identifying measurable projects. Together we will advance the development of a carbon balanced planet. More details and registration info here.

 



Two years in the field-and counting

Two years in the field and counting — APL technology passes key new product milestone

As world leaders gather in New York this week to celebrate Earth Day, and to sign the COP21 Paris Climate Accords,  here at APL we’ve been doing some celebrating of our own.

If you have been in the renewable energy field for a while, you know that new technologies don’t come along that often, and rarer still are the ones that pass two years of service in the field.

That is why we’re so pleased to announce that our v5 Power Pallets have just done exactly that.  For two years now, even through the Ebola crisis, the BWI Renewable Energy Center in Kakata, Liberia has been making free energy for their school from biomass (in their case using expired rubber tree chips as fuel) via three of our Power Pallets.

To celebrate this key product validation milestone, last month we held an Open House at BWI. Our local staff showed off their work to local dignitaries, NGOs, and business leaders, and as a result of their successes negotiations are now underway to expand the project.

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This project was originally sponsored by USAID and organized by EcoPower Liberia. Since then, we’ve been managing the facility’s operations and using BWI for an intensive R&D facility, intentionally running parts to failure in the toughest conditions we could manage.

We’ve learned a lot over the last few years and have integrated that knowledge into everything we do here in Berkeley. Congratulations to everyone on the APL Liberia team for your successes– you’re proving every day just how valuable energy from biomass can be.

When “renewables” aren’t renewable- tough choices ahead for policy planners
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Last week the New York Times published a story about the impact of climate change on hydropower in Zambia. It highlights a topic that doesn’t get the attention it deserves, namely how a changing climate can affect the production of renewable energy.

As our weather changes, there will be times the sun doesn’t shine, the wind doesn’t blow, and the rain doesn’t fall. This in turn highlights one of the important features of using small scale biomass energy—it can be used rain or shine, day or night, and since it uses existing waste as fuel it’s all but impossible to run out of energy.

We hope this article sparks a broader conversation about resiliency issues in renewable energy, as we all work to address the twin challenges of energy access and climate change.

In Addis Ababa this week? Stop in to see Jim Mason at the Africa Climate Resilient Infrastructure Summit

Speaking of resiliency, if you are in Addis Ababa this week at the Africa Climate Resilient Infrastructure Summit, please make sure to meet up with APL’s acrisCEO/Founder Jim Mason. He’s there meeting with other technology companies and clean energy advocates to help map out how Africa can address rising energy demands in a world newly focused on sustainability and dependability in energy systems.

We’re Hiring: Engineers and Sales

APL is looking to make some immediate hires in our engineering and sales departments, across a wide range of interesting and challenging positions. The best people we end up with come from referrals from people familiar with our work, so feel free to share these openings with your networks.

Down the trail: saying goodbye for now to Brenna Sheldon

BPIMG_2244APL is blessed to have a team of incredibly talented, dedicated people working here. It’s a pretty tight knit group, so we’re certainly going to feel the absence of one who is leaving us. But that sadness is offset by happiness for the reason she’s leaving: to take the adventure of a lifetime.

Brenna Sheldon answered an ad for a position here a year and a half ago, and we immediately hired her–she has a radiantly positive attitude, a can do spirit, and appetite for learning and trying new things.  She quickly jumped into a big role in our sales department, and was key part of our outreach at the COP21 climate accords in Paris. (At R, with Sara Norris.)

But like we said, she likes a challenge–and she just took on one of the biggest. She won a coveted permit to hike the grueling 2,659 mile Pacific Crest Trail, and later this month will start her solo hike from the border of Mexico, all along the spine of the American west, to the border of Canada.

We’ll be heading out to meet her along the trail when she passes near here this summer, and know you’ll join us in wishing her a safe and rewarding journey.

Thank you for your continued interest in All Power Labs. Please contact us with any questions or to discuss your project, at info@allpowerlabs.com.

 

Upcoming events

APL events all summer long

At APL we love talking about how biomass gasification can address the twin challenges of energy access and climate change, while providing a meaningful solution to solid waste problems. So we regularly host events, like this recent tour for local science and technology students.

But even by our outgoing standards, the next months have an exceptionally heavy schedule. In addition to the events below, we’re also going to be commissioning projects in Ghana, Benin, Liberia, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and many more, as we continue our work to make on demand, renewable, carbon negative energy available everywhere. We hope to see you (somewhere) soon.

Thursday, May 12th 6:30pm —  Movie release and technology display, Berkeley
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Come see the powerful new film about climate change and citizen activism “How to let go of the world and love all the things climate can’t change,” by Josh Fox, Emmy award winning director of “Gasland.” Time:  6:30pm  Location: La Pena Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Avenue. RSVP for free tickets here.  APL’s Power Pallet is featured in the film, and we’ll have one outside after to show off to the audience.

Friday, May 13th 5-7pm — Monthly Open House at APL, Berkeley
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Friday the 13th doesn’t have to be bad luck – if you come to our APL open house THIS FRIDAY May 13th you will definitely be in good fortune. Join us from 5-7pm for product demonstrations, facilities tours, live music, a variety of delightful libations (wine, beer, juice) and hot snacks, baked in a biomass-powered electric oven running off of one of our Power Pallets. A brief talk and guided tour kicks off at 6pm sharp. Families, friends and dogs are welcome! This is an informal event, so show up anytime, but please let us know you are coming by RSVPing.

May 19-21–Maker Faire, San Mateo
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One of our *favorite* events of the whole year, and this one marks APL’s 10 year anniversary of participation. This is a place where science, creativity, innovation and exploration come together in an imagination playground for people of all ages.  Check out their website, buy tickets, come early and plan to stay late.

May 31-June 2nd — Clean Energy Ministerial 7, San Francisco
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CEM7 will bring the global energy policymakers together with visionaries from the business and investment communities and other clean energy experts to drive high-impact, real-world action. A two-day tented technology exhibit in San Francisco’s Union Square will showcase clean energy technologies and innovative business models driving clean energy deployment around the world.”   APL is delighted to have been chosen to participate in the technology expo, and will also be participating in side events like EnergyAccessX and a roundtable on carbon with the Center for Carbon Removal;  you can get details and RSVP for that event here. 

Friday, June 3rd, 5-7pm — Special early APL Open House, to welcome guests in town for CEM7.   Same details as above, don’t forget to RSVP.
Friday, June 10, 7pm — Time to Choose movie premier and public demonstration, Berkeley
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Directed by Academy Award winner Charles Fergeson, and presented by Executive Producer Tom Dinwoodie and Associate Producer Dan Kammen (both APL board members)–and all of them will be on hand for the screening. “Ferguson explores the comprehensive scope of the climate change crisis and examines the power of solutions already available. Through interviews with world-renowned entrepreneurs, innovators, thought leaders and brave individuals living on the front lines of climate change, Ferguson takes an in-depth look at the remarkable people working to save our planet.”  The screening will be at the California Theater at 2113 Kittredge in downtown Berkeley at 7pm, with a live demo by APL outside afterwards. Tickets available here.

June 21-23 — Verge Hawaii / Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit, Honolulu, Hawaii
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Continuing our outstanding partnership with VERGE, APL will again be demonstrating our technology by literally powering the clean tech event we’ll be attending.

VERGE is now hosting the Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit, a multidisciplinary event encompassing clean energy technology and policy, infrastructure design, financing, resilience, and much more.  You should check out the whole program here.

APL will be powering the main ballroom with an islanded micro grid, with battery storage provided by Blue Planet. This power will be used for the main conference, as well as the affiliated VERGE Accelerate pitch competition, in partnership with the Energy Excelerator.

Since we’re shipping one over for this event, we also want to make this SPECIAL OFFER: if you are in Hawaii and want to buy a Power Pallet this summer and pay no shipping, get in touch.

July 13-15 — Gasification Workshop at APL, Berkeley
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Over the last eight years, APL has cultivated a community of gasification enthusiasts through our dedication to educating the public about the science behind biomass gasification. In the service of this APL tradition, we’re hosting another comprehensive, hands-on workshop that will cover the fundamentals of gasification, design, assembly, operation and maintenance of ALL Power Labs products.  This July, treat yourself to a trip to lovely Berkeley, CA to take part in this distinctive opportunity to learn about the ins and outs of biomass gasification from some of the top experts in the field. Sign up here. Visa invitation letters for foreign guests provided on accredited request.

Thank you for your continued interest in All Power Labs. Please contact us with any questions or to discuss your project, at info@allpowerlabs.com.

 

BWI REC Open House, Kakata Liberia

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Constant improvement: 2016 updates to the Power Pallet

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Gasification has been famously described as “all variables, all the time,” and wrangling those variables into a tractable form has been our work at All Power Labs since starting out with the GEK kit back in 2OO8.  Since then, we’ve released five complete generations of our gasification systems, and today Power Pallets are at work in more than 3O countries on six continents, and are supporting research at dozens of universities.

They deliver high-quality energy for productive use by turning waste biomass into on-demand, renewable, carbon-negative energy for far less than the cost of solar or diesel. (A recent video from the Huffington Post  highlights the Power Pallet’s potential impact on rural electrification.)

However, our technology can always be made better, and we are constantly making changes to improve its performance and ease of use. The purpose of today’s note then is to highlight the most significant changes that have been implemented over the last several months. We’ve made a strong value proposition even stronger. Take a look:

 

Pyroreactor

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As of today, all Power Pallets now include the new 5.02 version of our pyroreactor (shown here on the left being manufactured this week in our shop in Berkeley.)

Quite literally the burning heart of the Power Pallet, the pyroreactor is the core element of our gasifiers; the current generation–the version 5–was first introduced two years ago. The v5.02 incorporates various changes to the hearth, materials, accessories, and manufacturing methods.

The most significant modifications changed the impact zone of the reactor air input, creating a more even and precisely located combustion zone.  This results in more complete tar cracking that occurs exactly where we want it, delivering a robust 40% reduction in tar production over previous generations, as well as a significant reduction in clinkering effects.

That means better performance and lower O&M costs.  And because the changes are taking place entirely within the hearth of the reactor, there’s no change to external sizing and configuration, so the overall compact footprint remains the same.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heat Exchange Filtration

IMG_4080Another big innovation: a new secondary heat exchanger filtration system (seen here, at the far left of the Power Pallet), which reduces the amount of tar in the gas stream and increases the longevity of the power train. One of the features that distinguishes the Power Pallet from other gasification systems is our innovative and patented use of thermal management, utilizing “waste” heat from one process to drive useful reactions and processes elsewhere in the machine–for example, using the waste heat from gas leaving the reactor to dry feedstock before it goes into the pyroreactor.
The heat exchange filtration system is another innovation in thermal management and heat recycling. After the gas is used to dry feedstock, it is routed through the inner tubes of the heat exchanger. The engine vacuum is used to simultaneously pull ambient air into the outer shell of the heat exchanger, where the temperature differential between the cool air and the hot gas allows heat to be exchanged, cooling the gas coming out of the reactor. This causes suspended tars and volatiles in the producer gas to condense and fall out of the gas stream before it flows into the primary filter.

The heated atmospheric air is then routed through the engine’s air intake and mixed with the cleaned and cooled gas after it exits the primary filter. The heated intake air serves a second function, as it raises the temperature of the combustible air/gas mixture and thus avoids the condensation of water and other remaining trace tars entering the engine so that they can be completely combusted. The result is much cleaner gas pre- and post-filter, and a markedly lower O&M requirement for the engine.

 

 

 

 

Engine Side CHP

CHPA few months ago, in another iteration on waste heat transfer that adds substantial value to the Power Pallet, we introduced a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) module.

This CHP module uses the excess heat from the working fluid in the engine radiator and runs it through a heat exchanger. We provide hook-ups to the outside of the heat exchanger so operators can use that thermal energy to heat water and put it to productive use, like drying crops and other agricultural processes.  An additional benefit of the CHP module is that is helps keep your engine running cool, reducing wear and tear.

We have also ensured that the CHP module delivers its thermal energy load without any reduction in electrical power output, meaning you can now get 1 kilowatt hour of electricity and 1 kilowatt of heat out of the same 1.2 kG of biomass. You can find more of the CHP module’s technical specifications and pricing here.

 

 

 

Stainless steel grate baskets

IMG_4083The perforated grate basket is one of the core elements in the APL gasifiers. It helps maintain a char bed at the bottom of the reactor that is ideally suited to maintain gas flow and sustain the reduction processes that are critical to the production of combustible gases from biomass waste. Refresh your understanding of how this basket is designed to work.
In order to ensure long uptime and reliability, we are now making the basket out of a very strong alloy of stainless steel, which resists corrosion and which our testing has shown is not prone to degradation.

The stainless steel grate basket is an improvement that was driven directly by feedback from our customers. We were getting reports from the field that over very long periods of runtime, the exposure to high heat and corrosive gases, combined with constant agitation, was causing degradation of the mild steel in the previous version of our grate baskets. This solution now solves that issue.

 

 

 

Continuous Feed Optimization

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All Power Pallets now come with their electronics and feedstock hoppers ready to retrofit with an optional air lock system to enable easy automated filling for a customer-provided external feed system.

If you want to use a manual feeding process with your new Power Pallet, you won’t notice anything different. But if you’re interested in integrating APL’s continuous feed module and external fuel handling system with a Power Pallet that you already own, you can now do it without changing hardware.

Specifically, the hopper on all Power Pallets is now shipped with attachment points and wiring harnesses that will allow easy integration of the continuous feed module with its sensors, motor, and valve, should a customer decide that he or she would prefer to use a continuous feed system after receiving the unit. (Image: plugged bungs on the side of the feedstock hopper that would be used for continuous feed module feedstock level sensors in a retrofit.)

Because the APL continuous feed module obviates the need for an operator standing by to refill the Power Pallet’s feedstock hopper, this change enables customers to lower their O&M costs and thus provides a lower cost per kilowatt hour. You can see that system in use on this project at the Hybridnet in Terni, Italty.

Other recent performance improvements

There’s now a larger ash collection vessel for 24hr+ continuous run times, strengthened materials in the flare and exhaust, backfire-suppressing wiring and software changes, increased grid tie module control, an upgraded oxygen sensor, and much more. We also focused on usability issues, like adding an easily-accessible, weatherproof documentation holder right on the Power Pallet and improving the PCU automation interface.

All told, there are more than 30 changes and improvements to the Power Pallet in the last few months. With every improvement we make, we strive to ensure backward compatibility wherever possible, so it’s easy to upgrade your existing system to the latest performance.

 

And in other news…

We’re Hiring Again
We’re expanding our team, and are looking for both engineering and sales support in our Berkeley headquarters. Read the details about the positions here–please feel free to share and forward these job announcements.
Open House this week
Our March Open House will be held Friday the 11th, from 5-7pm. Come see the above improvements in person, learn about what’s coming next, and get your questions about gasification (or working at APL!) answered. Cold beer, hot pizza, and cool technology. Free to the public; please RSVP here so we know how many to shop for.

Biochar Workshop March 19th:
Jump into the fiery world of applied biochar with this immersive workshop for land managers, gardeners, farmers, policy makers, soil builders, and climate activists, being hosted by PLACE in Oakland, Ca. See examples using biochar for wastewater filtration, rooftop farming and vertical gardening .

TOPICS COVERED:
• How to make biochar and biochar kilns
• Sustainable procurement of feedstocks
• Biochars’ potential and role in atmospheric CO2 reduction and climate stabilization
• Optimizing biochar production (pyrolysis) for beneficial properties
• Emissions analysis from wildfire, RX burns and gasification
• Biofiltration and bioremediation applications
• Usage of biochar as a soil amendment

TO REGISTER: Please go to http://aplaceforsustainableliving.org/support/and click on our gold “Donate” button on the middle of the page.
Once in Paypal, please make payment and add a note: “BIOCHAR Workshop.”
Questions? Email us at: info@aplaceforsustainableliving.org with “BIOCHAR Workshop” in the subject line.

Thank you for your continued interest in All Power Labs, the Power Pallet, and the exciting new renewable frontier of biomass gasification technology. Please contact us with any questions about these design changes or to discuss your project, at info@allpowerlabs.com.

We got a great climate deal at COP21–now what?

We got a great climate deal at COP21–now what?

We should all be rightly happy about the outcome of the COP21 climate accords.  Now comes the hard and exciting work–how do we reach these climate targets? The answers are sobering, and one take away is absolutely clear: solar and wind alone won’t do it. We’ll need carbon negative energy, and on a massive scale.

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APL brought a big team to COP21 to share a simple message: affordable, renewable, carbon negative energy from biomass is here, and ready to help solve the twin challenges of energy access and climate change.

Paris was a fantastic time to discuss climate friendly energy with so many committed players all in one location, such as Andrew Herscowitz (top), the head of the Power Africa program, California’s Senate leader and renewable energy champion Kevin de Leon (bottom), and many more.

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The importance of carbon negative energy bears repeating; as our friend Noah Deich at the UC Berkeley Center for Carbon Removal points out, almost every single scenario to get us to below +2 Celsius warming has to include large scale deployments of carbon removal technology. (Click here to read an early draft of a report he’s creating to explain the options and opportunities.)

Liberia APL Project in Huffington Post TV feature
We’re doing our part by getting to work immediately on a project that combined both energy access and climate change, with our second major project in Liberia. While the negotiations were still underway in Paris, a team of reporters from the Huffington Post was in Liberia filming APL putting those ideas into action.

The remote village of Kwendin, Liberia, had almost no electricity at all. But under a project sponsored by the USAID Power Africa program, three PP2O Power Pallets are being installed to provide power to every home in the community, as well as street lights, small businesses, and more. It’s more than just lighting–it’s energy for productive use that allows putting value adding tools like sewing machines and saws to work, creating jobs and opportunities for people in Kwendin.
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Below are some screenshots from the excellent news piece they produced — we encourage you to click and watch. They did a very good job explaining the need for energy access in Africa, and what the solution means for local lives.
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What lies ahead in 2016 for APL
This year we’ll be releasing our beta version of the 15OkW Powertainer, funded under a grant from the state of California to help reduce wildfire risk. We’ll also be releasing new versions and upgrades for our Power Pallets, making them easier to use, more powerful and more reliable.  And we’ll be working to implement the new incentive and funding programs following the COP21 agreement, which will help grow projects for all of us. We’ll be sharing details on those soon.

In rural areas of the US? Quick turn around grants available from USDA
For those of you in rural areas in he US, know there is grant funding available from the USDA for projects in the US to create renewable energy in remote communities. The Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvement Assistance program provides grants and guaranteed loans to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements to their operations. It has a short turn around, so give it a quick look.

Thanks for your interest and support of our work, and very best wishes in this New Year.

-All Power Labs

Report from COP21

The first week is finished at COP21, with less than a week to go until the deal is (hopefully) done. APL is attending these climate accord meetings to raise awareness about the potential of biomass gasification + biochar to make carbon negative energy.  Gasification + biochar is a rare solution that can offset and replace fossil fuel emissions for contemporary power generation, as well as capture and and sequester additional carbon against previous fossil emissions. It is both fossil offsetting generation and atmospheric carbon drawdown together. The result is quite a few “a ha’s” at our booth with consequential folk, so we’re happy with the outcome and our ability to contribute to the exchange of ideas so far.

There are tens of thousands of delegates, activists, and business leaders here, all working to find common ground on which they can hammer out a binding agreement on limiting climate change.  It is a rare gathering of the world working with seriousness to solve the ultimate problem of the commons. The main thing that has struck all the APL staff here is the seriousness of the project, and the willingness of various interest to promote solutions that are beyond their immediate self interest.

Government and business here is further along than we would have ever believed, in accepting the climate problem as an existential issue, and responding with deep imperative to act now. There are of course many details and much horse trading, but the basic hurtle of achieving a critical mass of agreement that climate is a critical problem requiring a global response, and that that response is going to be difficult and hurt, has been achieved. We’ll see what comes out in the deal at the end of the week, but currently the mood and specifics are surprisingly positive and forward looking.

The “we” of 50-100 years in the future may, in fact, not be completely doomed. Seeing the gathering here, I’m optimistic for the first time that this deep global problem might actually gather a human response on the scale needed to ( pc2 3artially ) solve the problem.

Because it will impact so many, there’s extraordinary media interest in the event  An army of media vans are beaming the story back around the world. You are probably seeing the results on your side of the world.

We even had a little press from our hometown newspaper.  The San Francisco Chronicle published a full page story about APL’s work and its potential, noting “the [Power] Pallet can churn out electricity for less than diesel generators…and is carbon negative.”  The snow sports magazine POWDER also wrote about the potential of APL tech to help keep snow in the mountains in the winter.

Having so many world leaders and visionaries in one place creates opportunities for high quality discussions and information exchange. For example, yesterday climate scientist Dr. James Hansen  and I had an exchange about the scale potential for the gasification + biochar solution.  Later I was able to talk with Sir David King, the head of the UK science advisors office, about biomass based power generators for higher power commercial needs in the large initiative the UK is starting in African rural electrification.
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The booth for All Power Labs is at La Galerie Des Solutions, an exhibition of low carbon solutions, just outside the Blue Zone at La Bourget, where we’ve had a steady flow of visitors, like US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack (L), and Dean Cooper with UNEP ( R), and maybe you, too.

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This expo is only open to accredited visitors, and APL is able to offer immediate credentialing to as many visitors as would like to come join us over the next day or so.  Write us at info@allpowerlabs.com if you would like one, or to set up an appointment time to talk.

The negotiations are in their last, most tense hours and much will change in the near times ahead, but for the moment at least the prospects remain positive. Stay tuned.

-Jim Mason
Founder and CEO