The environmental problems, our solutions, your opportunity.
“Impact defined: An impact investor seeks to produce beneficial social or environmental outcomes that would not occur but for his/her investment in a social enterprise.”
Three-dimensional investing: By focusing single-mindedly on refining biomass, New Energy Blue can practice three-dimensional investing, which creates financial, societal, and environmental rewards. Investors reap handsome profits, rural communities see economic revitalization, and everyone benefits from not only cleaner air and water, but also atmospheric healing from reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Air, water, & soil pollution from fossil fuels and outdated farming practices
Health risks: respiratory disease, cancer, premature death; also neurological, cardiovascular, liver, kidney, immune system, and reproductive system effects from sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), mercury, smog-forming volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide (CO), particulate matter (PM), and various air toxics such as benzene, 1,3-butadiene, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acrolein, polycyclic organic matter (POM), naphthalene, and diesel particulate matter.
Exposure to airborne toxics includes breathing contaminated air, eating fish from polluted water, consuming meat, milk, or eggs from animals fed contaminated crops, and drinking contaminated water.
- Global warming/disruptive climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions (primarily CO2 and methane).
- Contamination of waterways, shorelines, and groundwater from industrial discharge, acid rain, oil spills, mine acid, power plant tailing ponds, etc.
- Ocean acidification: dissolving coral reefs, decline of marine life, loss of biodiversity caused by excess CO2 absorption.
- Water for Energy reported that about 15% of the world’s total water withdrawals, or 583 billion cubic meters (bcm), is used for energy production.
- The Earth loses roughly 23 billion tons of fertile soil every year. At this rate, all fertile soil will be gone within 150 years, unless farmers convert to practices that restore and build soil organic matter, an essential component of soil fertility.
- Many industrial agricultural practices are lethal to soil fertility, including deforestation and burning, excessive use of synthetic fertilizers and other toxic chemicals. One of the biggest contributors to soil degradation is the common practice of soil tilling.
Oil drilling, refining, shipping, burning gasoline in motor vehicles
- 38 reported oil spills in the U.S. in past 15 years, including Deepwater Horizon (BP) and Hurricane Katrina-related
- Environmental impacts of shale oil and shale gas extraction, known as fracking, are being studied by the U.S. EPA. Impacts vary from well-water contamination in Pennsylvania to earthquakes in Oklahoma linked to pumping wastewater into deep wells.
- 139 oil refineries operate in the U.S., most built before 1975. Air and water pollution are difficult to monitor and document by the EPA, in part because refineries have hundreds of emission points and equipment leaks that are a major contributor with ageing facilities.
- 24 oil trains exploded, caught fire, or derailed in the U.S. and Canada over the past decade.
- Gasoline contains about 200 chemical compounds.
- EPA says: “Motor vehicles are responsible for nearly one half of smog-forming volatile organic compounds (VOCs), more than half of the nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, and about half of the toxic air pollutant emissions in the United States…and now account for 75 percent of carbon monoxide emissions nationwide.”
- Coal mining, strip mining, mountaintop removal, coal washing, coal-burning in industry and power stations, waste ash disposal.
- Coal burning releases carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and mercury compounds.
- Coal washing in mines can contaminate wastewater with heavy metals.
- Pollutants build up in water used for power plant boilers and cooling systems and contaminate soil around these plants for years to come.
From the EPA regarding greenhouse gas emissions:
Electricity production (31% of 2013 greenhouse gas emissions) – Electricity production generates the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions. Approximately 67% of our electricity comes from burning fossil fuels, mostly coal and natural gas.
Transportation (27% of 2013 greenhouse gas emissions) – Greenhouse gas emissions from transportation primarily come from burning fossil fuel for our cars, trucks, ships, trains, and planes. Over 90% of the fuel used for transportation is petroleum based, which includes gasoline and diesel.
Natural gas is a fossil fuel, primarily methane, but also containing ethane, propane, and heavier hydrocarbons along with small amounts of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen sulfide. When burned in power stations to generate electricity, the emissions from natural gas-fired boilers and furnaces include nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon dioxide (CO2), but in lower quantities than burning coal. Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) and mercury (Hg) emissions negligible. Methane can be emitted when natural gas is not burned completely.
- Renewable product solutions from New Energy Biomass Refineries: Fuel ethanol Used in place of gasoline, ethanol made from grain cuts greenhouse gas emissions (CO2) by 34%, toxics by 13%, carbon monoxide by 30%, and fine particulate matter (PM) by 50%. NEB’s refineries produce cellulosic ethanol that is a 2-carbon alcohol identical to the grain ethanol molecule. Air-quality gains are identical to those described above, plus much lower carbon-intensity scores for cellulosic ethanol made from wheat straw, corn stalks and sugar bagasse–the agricultural residues–leftovers at the end of every food harvest. “Some fuels—such as those made from cellulosic biofuels—can reduce [auto] emissions by 80 percent compared to gasoline.” —The Union of Concerned Scientists While the scientists were correct on the cellulosic biofuels carbon reductions in general, NEB’s refineries on average can be designed at 130% lower than gasoline. Factor in NEB’s lignin biofuel utilized in a CHP relationship within the designed platform to produce renewable electricity, and the refinery’s fuel ethanol produced can be as much as 190% below gasoline’s carbon baseline. This is a considerable reduction compared to the majority of grain ethanol operations that reduce carbons 30% below gasoline’s baseline. Archer Daniel Midland’s (ADM) wet mills are only touting 20% carbon savings.
- Lignin Biofuel Ørsted (formally DONG Energy) originally created this technology to produce a clean replacement for coal from their wheat straw. This technology extracts sugars, salts and minerals from the incoming biomass and produces a clean lignin that has the same BTU as a high-quality coal. Replacing 30% of coal in today’s power stations is the least costly solution to reduce stack emissions by 30%. These operations can combust onsite with powder lignin blown directly into the boiler or we pelletized for shipping to offset fossil fuels anywhere it is needed in the world.
- Biogas At the end of the process NEB produces biogas from sugars not fermented into fuel ethanol (expectation is to ferment 80% of those sugars) leaving 20% to produce downstream energy used to run the refinery. This biogas offsets natural gas use for producing steam requirements to process the biomass. Continued process improvements to the process and operations expect to see excess gas production that can be fed into existing gas pipelines or fed to the truck fleet in refinery operations.
- Clean Water There is roughly 15% moisture in wheat straw and 30% in corn stover. This is our make-up water which NEB engineering has designed as an enclosed loop operation to recycle back into the front-end of the refinery’s process. Since the refinery uses only a patented high-pressure steam design to break down the biomass with no dilute acid or high ammonias used like those found in other processes now being developed or commercialized. This means less washings and less freshwater used in the entire operation. NEB refineries can give back between 2 to 4 million gallons of clean water annually at the end of the process. This water can be used for irrigation or sold as make-up water to other existing operations close-by.
- Nutrients In our down-stream vinasse from our biodigesters we will be collecting the silt and nutrients to give back to revitalize the local fields, replacing chemical fertilizers. This will amount to about six truckloads a day from our first refinery. Our vinasse presents organic solids and minerals, such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium and can provide a rich culture medium for biological cultivation to what constitutes a healthy soil.
- Lower carbon farming NEB operations will remove about 50% of the agricultural residues from the harvested fields. This is important as today’s seeds can produce an over abundance of residues that prohibit no-till farming practices. The main benefit of no-till farming practice is that when the soil is not churned, it diminishes the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. According to the United Nations Environmental Program, no-tillage operations in the United States have helped avoid 241 million metric tons of carbon dioxide since the 1970s. That’s equivalent to the annual emissions of about 50 million cars. No-till farming saves atmospheric carbons, labor and chemical costs to the farmer and with the right crop rotation can improve crop yields.
- Green jobs According to a study from the North Dakota Department of Commerce NEB’s first refinery will provide over 400 construction jobs over two years, 101 direct jobs ongoing, 124 indirect and induced employment, and a $40 million jump in GDP. These jobs created are also higher-value and higher-trained green sustainable jobs that can provide a major change in quality of life in rural areas. The job creation from these refineries can provide even greater value to island countries where agricultural jobs are needed and energy is most expensive.
- A business model to surpass the Paris Treaty The Paris Agreement’s mandate is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping global temperature rise within this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts limiting the temperature increase even further by 1.5 degrees Celsius. The EU’s contribution is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 1990. Most countries cannot reach that goal with renewable electricity replacement alone–they need a low-carbon fuel component. NEB refineries can offset more Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions per liter than other commercial solutions ready to deploy today.
- Profits NEB’s refineries give off between $120 million to $300 million depending on size and half of that is EBITDA. NEB seeks to make impact investing profitable and encourage continual investing into a cleaner planet.
Investment solution: Leading a team-of-teams coalition, New Energy Blue is financing, developing, designing, engineering, constructing, and managing biomass refineries in order to turn them into low-carbon, high-profit, sustainable businesses.
Achieving project success creates confidence and support among lawmakers, regulators, the general public and investors. This in turn generates greater investment, which finances more and more projects, which multiplies our power to create economic growth, break fossil-fuel monopolies, ensure greater energy diversity and fossil-free choice, enhance national energy security–leading to cleaner air and water for future generations.
Research sources: EPA, EIA, Union of Concerned Scientists, RFA, Wikipedia, USDA, Ørsted, and New Energy Blue’s proprietary findings.