Team Gemini

Team Gemini Recognizes Julius Montz GmbH for its Chemical Engineering and Refinery Applications

Team Gemini Recognizes Julius Montz GmbH for its Chemical Engineering and Refinery Applications

With advanced technologies for biofuel production and other chemical processing and refining, Team Gemini works with Montz and others to offer sustainable solutions for the industry.

Team Gemini works closely with Julius Montz GmbH and others to offer technology resources and project design solutions that allow for uniquely-sustainable biofuel production, with one of Team Gemini’s flagship projects focusing on bioethanol.

Julius Montz GmbH, based in Hilden/Hanau, Germany, was founded in 1911. The company provides structured packings, liquid distributors, separation technology, column layouts, and other components for the oil-and-gas, food, and other industries. Montz also offers engineering, revamping, testing, and apparatus engineering services. The Montz Bioethanol production technology, based on wheat, is considered the world-leading and most efficient technology in the industry.

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In recent years, Montz has designed, engineered and/or constructed over 34 operational ethanol plants in Europe, Asia and South America, accounting for a significant portion of the market share for new construction. Montz plants are known to have high efficiencies, with up to over 60% water savings, and low operating costs when compared to other ethanol plant technologies currently in today’s market.

In combination with Team Gemini’s design work, these technologies are enhanced through the generation of renewable energy (through integrated applications of Anaerobic Digesters and Combined Heat and Power Units), in addition to wastewater treatment and recycling. These components are just a few that contribute to maximizing commodity production, operating cost savings, and significantly minimizing any environmental impacts.

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Learn more about Julius Montz GmbH at http://montz.de/en/montz/, and visit http://teamgemini.us/bio-refinery/ to learn more about Team Gemini’s bio refinery technologies.

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Sustainability for U.S. Farmers through Anaerobic Digestion

Sustainability for U.S. Farmers through Anaerobic Digestion

By Arno Tschunke | Founder and Business Manager at enCO2, LLC & Team Gemini Anaerobic Digestion (AD) Advisor

Valuable resources like fertilizer, compost, electricity, and thermal energy can be created using organic waste, and the potential for doing this at various scales in the U.S. is significant.

What should be done with manure, sludge, and other seemingly unusable leftovers from farming operations? Whether it’s with cattle, chickens, or pigs, farmers will always have a need to remove the waste their animals produce. Unfortunately, in many cases this waste gets dumped in lagoons, spread on the ground (resulting in bad odor), or hauled away (at high cost) to another location to decay, away from the farm. Aside from the environmental damage this causes, it is also a lost opportunity to generate valuable resources. As an example: if only going by confined animal (CAFO) dairy operations of 500 cows or larger, one 2013 report by Informa Economics noted the availability of 2,647 dairy operations nationwide. The value of production for 2,647 Dairy Anaerobic Digesters producing electricity is estimated between 1.3 and 4.6 billion USD, based on different scenarios. So much can be gained from waste!

As an increasing number of regions become concerned about their sustainability and the costs of ineffective waste treatment, enCO2 helps deliver innovative solutions through Anaerobic Digestion (AD) facilities from 64 kWel up to 12 MWel and even more. enCO2, LLC—with its office in Grand Rapids, Michigan—is one of America’s most innovative renewable energy companies. Their engineers have been designing and developing processing plants to meet the demands of clients for the past 20 years. The goal from enCO2 is to provide integrated solutions that offer a unique balance between technology, functionality, efficiency and profitability. This involves focusing on the latest scientific findings, as well as state-of-the art technologies. The enCO2 in-house quality control department works to ensure that their services continue to meet the highest of standards. The work with their partner Team Gemini offers the following power plant services:

  • Feasibility Reports
  • Feedstock Pre-treatment and Post-Treatment Processing
  • Plant Design
  • Authorization Process
  • Plant Construction and Installation
  • Plant Commissioning
  • Plant Services and Enhancements
UDR MonoTube

UDR MonoTube Systems are ideal for small farming operations.

For small farmers, enCO2 new compact 64 -120 kW systems have been designed specifically for the use on smaller farms. Thanks to their patented UDR MonoTube and MonoTube Plus technology, their biogas plants offer a range of unique benefits, from a small footprint to the ability to install it within just six weeks because of containerized modular components, with the option to extend if your business grows. Using patented technologies, you always benefit from a maximum rate of return, whether you use the electricity and heat generated by the plant’s CHP (Combined Heat and Power) for your own use, or choose to sell this energy to a grid. Additional revenue streams from processing side products are also an option.

As the need to address waste handling becomes more pressing and impactful to communities’ bottom line, Team Gemini and enCO2 are combining their efforts and industry experience to establish proven technologies for small- and large-scale challenges of those communities. How we handle increasing waste stream is one of the chief components of doing that.

Arno Tschunke

Arno Tschunke is founder and business manager at enCO2, LLC, and serves as Anaerobic Digestion (AD) Advisor to Team Gemini. He has been actively engaged as a manager in the Biogas industry since early 2007, and has been responsible for business development and project engagements in various international markets, including Germany, Turkey, Switzerland, and France.

Arno TschunkeFounder and Business ManagerenCO2

 

Team Gemini

OBIC Releases 2014 Annual Report

OBIC Releases 2014 Annual Report

Report highlights success of OBIC Bioproduct Network, Strategic Relationships, Project Updates, and More.

Team Gemini has been collaborating with the Ohio Bioproducts Innovation Center (OBIC) for several years now to provide for the development of bio-related products, services, and initiatives. This ongoing relationship has seen participation at the 2014 Bioproducts World Showcase and Conference and visits with Team Gemini in Germany to learn more about and exchange research initiatives, opportunities, and industry experience.

In its report, OBIC Director Dennis Hall summarizes several key facts about the 2014 Bioproducts Showcase and Conference; reviews noteworthy project initiatives of 2014 and comments on expanding opportunities and new projects for 2015; and highlights the need for cost-competitive, industrial-scale feedstock. “The acquisition of biobased feedstocks at competitive prices and industrial scale remains a hurdle for many bioproduct manufacturers. OBIC is helping to address this issue through programs like BRDI, PENRA, and ongoing support of the Gemini Synergy Center.”

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Team Gemini proudly continues its collaboration with OBIC and its partners at OSU and elsewhere.

To learn more about OBIC’s affiliation with Team Gemini visit http://teamgemini.us/obic/.

Team Gemini

Team Gemini Recognizes Artigianfer S.r.l. for its Valuable Greenhouse Technology Applications

Team Gemini Recognizes Artigianfer S.r.l. for its Valuable Greenhouse Technology Applications

Offering climate-controlled, automated greenhouses with a range of customization options, Artigianfer and Team Gemini provide infrastructure for sustainable agriculture.

Whether it involves hydroponics, aquaponics, or other setup needs, Team Gemini works closely with Artigianfer and others to offer project design, engineering, manufacturing, and construction solutions for sustainable agriculture production. Artigianfer—which avails itself of solid know-how gained in over 60 years of experience—is a leader in the Italian market and boasts significant international presence. Today, Artigianfer manufactures from 90 to 150 hectares of different types of greenhouses a year, and many of them are equipped with technological systems and installations supplied and directly installed by the company. Project locations include Germany, France, Japan, the former CIS, Saudi Arabia and Eritrea, just to name a few.

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Drawing on collaboration with other Team Gemini members, these greenhouse technologies make full use of enhanced renewable energy (through integrated applications of Anaerobic Digesters and Combined Heat and Power Units), wastewater treatment and recycling, and more. This allows agriculture production to function in almost any climate zone, year-round. Greenhouses can be sized according to different needs, though Team Gemini focuses primarily on large-scale production most suited for communities. Options for different wind-load ratings, integration of varying solar-panel technologies, and more can be determined and applied based on project need.

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Learn more about Artigianfer S.r.l. at http://teamgemini.us/artigianfer/, and visit http://teamgemini.us/sustainable-agricultural-technology/ to learn more about Team Gemini’s sustainable agriculture offerings.

Team Gemini

Team Gemini Recognizes AKVA group for its Valuable Aquaculture Technology Applications

Team Gemini Recognizes AKVA group for its Valuable Aquaculture Technology Applications

With sustainable fish production becoming increasingly relevant throughout the world, Team Gemini works with AKVA group and others to offer relevant solutions.

Team Gemini works closely with AKVA group and others to offer technology resources and project design solutions that allow for uniquely-sustainable, land-based fish production. AKVA group holds strong, well-known brand names and their product offering ranges from feed systems, underwater lights, feed cameras, environmental sensors, production and process control software, recirculation systems, to PE piping and more. The company has more than 30 years of aquaculture engineering experience, and their team of experts is renowned for designing sustainable recirculation systems that are second to none. Having delivered systems globally for more than 15 different species, AKVA group provides optimal water quality conditions for both fresh- and seawater operations.

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In combination with Team Gemini, these technologies are enhanced through the generation of renewable energy (through integrated applications of Anaerobic Digesters and Combined Heat and Power Units), wastewater treatment and recycling, and implementation of aquaponic systems that are an economically-strengthening supplement to aquaculture.

“Sustainable food production is an increasingly important component of maintaining a healthy environment, community, and industry,” states Richard Haugner, Chief Technical Officer at Team Gemini. “We work with technology providers, researchers, and others to identify many challenges in traditional aquaculture operations, like insufficient application of monitoring technologies, lack of safeguards against human error, and other shortcomings.” As system failures and losing entire fish populations can be critical to successful aquaculture operations, Team Gemini continually looks for the best possible solutions to ensure a well-designed system with minimum risk for failures.

Learn more about AKVA group at http://akvagroup.com/, and visit http://teamgemini.us/sustainable-agricultural-technology/ to learn more about Team Gemini’s sustainable agriculture offerings.

Team Gemini

Aquaculture and Protein—How Effective Fish-Farming Can Provide Invaluable Sustenance in Sustainable Ways

Aquaculture and Protein—How Effective Fish-Farming Can Provide Invaluable Sustenance in Sustainable Ways

Providing support to endangered aquatic species and offering a resource-efficient method to create protein, aquaculture plays an increasingly vital role in feeding the human population.

By Mathias Haugner

A growing human population cannot be sustainably supported by critical resources that are on a decline. Added to this is the dilemma that attempts to mass-produce needed resources—like food and energy—often cause new problems (environmental pollution; pesticides and chemicals that contaminate foods and cause systemic health problems; and more) that don’t advance solutions in the healthiest ways. Aquaculture is one tool with which to tackle the topic of feeding the human population, but whether it’s sustainable is a matter of how it’s done.

“The broad term ‘aquaculture’ refers to the breeding, rearing, and harvesting of animals and plants in all types of water environments […] Aquaculture is used for producing seafood for human consumption; enhancing wild fish, shellfish, and plant stocks for harvest; restoring threatened and endangered aquatic species; rebuilding ecologically-important shellfish habitat; producing nutritional and industrial compounds; and providing fish for aquariums.”

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2014 Aquaculture Infographic

It becomes clear that aquaculture is an incredibly versatile way of producing food and other resources for human use and consumption. Added to this is the fact that generating protein through fish requires fewer resources in comparison to other food sources like beef, pork, or chicken—it takes 1.2 pounds of feed to produce 1 pound of salmon, for instance, compared to 8.7 for beef or 5.9 for pork.

A lot of fish will be needed in the coming decades as well! According the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization, “With capture fisheries production stagnating, major increases in fish food production are forecast to come from aquaculture. Taking into account the population forecast, an additional 27 million tonnes of production will be needed to maintain the present level of per capita consumption in 2030.”

Maintaining a sufficient food supply is just one puzzle piece of a sustainable planet. This can become a more far-reaching topic and include issues of energy generation and consumption that is required to raise fish, to methods of feeding and growing fish that may put a strain not only on water and other resources, but also cause fish to become contaminated with diseases that cause illness or other issues. Animal welfare is another important and relevant topic.

Along with researchers and innovators devising new ways of solving these issues, Team Gemini keeps engaged in the topic and, along with its partner companies, offers continually-innovating ways of implementing sustainable solutions. These include maximizing resource conservation (like water treatment and recycling, and creating renewable energy) and combining human oversight with technological support to minimize problems such as fish stress, water pollution, and others from occurring.

To learn more about Team Gemini’s innovative agriculture solutions, visit http://teamgemini.us/sustainable-agricultural-technology/.

To obtain more info about aquaculture from the NOAA Office of Aquaculture and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, visit http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/aquaculture/faqs/faq_aq_101.html and http://www.fao.org/fishery/en.

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The Benefits of Combined Heat & Power Systems for Biogas-Fueled Operations

The Benefits of Combined Heat & Power Systems for Biogas-Fueled Operations

By Michael Turwitt | President & CEO of 2G CENERGY® & Team Gemini Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Systems Advisor

With different waste streams throughout the U.S. providing promising and plentiful sources of biogas, there is high potential of biogas CHPs. Reaching highest efficiency in power generation becomes an important factor.

The demand for alternative energies in the U.S. continues to grow. EPA rules require the States to develop plans on how to lower greenhouse gas emission by 2016, and renewable energy sources become the tool of choice for advanced power generation technologies. Biogas has a huge potential to contribute to this environmental change and will play a central role in the new age of energy production.

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CHP Engines can provide electricity and thermal energy, an invaluable combination of resources.

Biogas Combined Heat and Power Systems can reach highest efficiencies and turn this valuable fuel into money, instead of flaring it to the sky. To clarify the term, a true CHP System is far more than a simple genset. To reach best outcomes it is necessary to not only produce electricity, but to also capture the heat that can be used for various thermal applications. A good Combined Heat and Power System should include a combustion unit, thermal energy extraction components, as well as thermal energy distribution technology with integrated controls and grid connection. The better these components are geared to each other, the better the outcomes that will be achieved.

Unlike natural gas, biogas can vary heavily in its composition and quality. That requires engines that are specialized for the operation with low BTU gases and customized components for the gas treatment. Good biogas energy conversion technology can utilize a variety of biogases to generate electricity and heat. There a four main categories that need specialized treatment and knowledge:

  • Biogases derived from the fermentation process (anaerobic digestion);
  • Biogases abstracted from natural biodegradable materials (wet or dry digestion);
  • Biogases from bacterial decomposition processes of organic material like it is contained in landfills (LFG); and,
  • Biogases from the fermentation and incineration process of sewage sludge water at waste water treatment plants.

These complex variations require biogas CHP Systems that are composed of advanced and optimized biogas engines, components and materials that are skillfully geared towards each other in order to meet the needs for each situation.

Such a perfect harmonization of components can be most easily found in modular CHP Systems through which not only the quality of single components is ensured, but also the way they work together. This fine-tuning requires a lot of testing and experience to be mastered.

Other advantages that come with pre-manufactured modular CHP Systems are the ease of installation and commissioning, better functionality and ease of operation, as well as service and support advantages. Engineering a CHP System from the ground up allows customized installation and the implementation in greatly confined spaces, but also poses a lot disadvantages. It may take years to plan and install and makes it more difficult to foresee the overall project costs right away. Modular Systems can be installed in just a couple of days and no system engineering is required.

A good CHP System not only delivers maximum efficiency but also, and equally important, reliability and functionality.

Michael Turwitt

Michael Turwitt is an adviser to Team Gemini in the area of Combined Heat and Power Systems. He is President & CEO of 2G CENERGY®, a Team Gemini member company. Michael has more than 30 years’ experience in capital goods, sales & marketing, business development, engineering, project management, and energy investments, including developing, constructing and commissioning power plants, cogeneration and distributed energy systems.

Michael TurwittPresident & CEO2G CENERGY®


Team Gemini

Addressing Challenges of Inclement Weather and Population Growth, Indoor Farming Operations Can Provide Sustainable Solutions

Addressing Challenges of Inclement Weather and Population Growth, Indoor Farming Operations Can Provide Sustainable Solutions

Indiana warehouse farming operation offers context for what’s possible, produces variety of goods around the year.

By Mathias Haugner

Farmers are very familiar with the impact weather can have on the food they produce each year. From droughts or heavy rain, to freezing temperatures and other extreme weather occurrences, many food production operations are at the mercy of nature’s forces. And results can be catastrophic to food supplies on which so many people depend. But that doesn’t have to be the status quo, especially with innovative projects moving food production forward in various ways.

A vertical farm warehouse operation in Portage, Indiana, showcases one such project, and it benefits from growing and harvesting produce year-round—“taking the weather out of the equation.” But there’s more, as methods and resources used in food production help create better output. “Researchers believe plants respond best to the blue and red colors of the spectrum, so the densely-packed plants are bathed in a pink and purple haze. They’re moistened by recycled water; bolstered by nutrients; and anchored in a special mix of ground Sri Lankan coconut husks.”

Team Gemini takes sustainable food production a step further, enhancing the processes and resources involved in food creation, not to mention implementing it on a substantial scale. With partner companies like Artigianfer, AKVA group, 2G CENERGY, and A3, among others, Team Gemini takes a holistic approach to growing all kinds of vegetables, herbs, medicinal plants, and fish.

Team Gemini’s sustainable agriculture is set up through a combination of aquaponic and aquaculture technologies—no soil media is used, removing the occurrence of any potential pests, and maximizing the production area by incorporating several growing levels. Furthermore, the fish water is particularly nutrient-rich, which is a direct benefit to growing plants. Resource conservation includes water treatment and recycling, and renewable-energy-based electricity and heat are generated from different sources (including food waste, where possible) to power the operation. Mass-automation and monitoring applications are incorporated to maximize quality control and minimize the occurrence of human error that might jeopardize output.

These are just some of the technology highlights incorporated by our team, and the result is that Team Gemini project solutions can create millions of produce every year in ways that are reliable, sustainable, and economical.

To learn more about Team Gemini’s innovative agriculture solutions, visit http://teamgemini.us/sustainable-agricultural-technology/.

To learn more about the project in Indiana, visit http://www.cbsnews.com/news/making-nature-better/.

Team Gemini

With a Call to Protect Drinking Water, Technology Becomes Key Component

With a Call to Protect Drinking Water, Technology Becomes Key Component

EPA article highlights algal bloom incident of Toledo, Ohio, and how nutrient measurement technologies help maintain safe drinking water vital to economic and environmental health.

By Mathias Haugner

In the summer of 2014, a harmful algal bloom triggered a state of emergency being declared in the Toledo, Ohio area. On a scale that drives home the point of how water impacts communities, half a million people were told not to drink the water coming out of their taps for several days because the bloom released toxins into the water that could have made many people ill.

Algal blooms like the one near Toledo are partly caused by an excessive amount of nutrients in the water – specifically, nitrogen and phosphorus. These nutrients are essential for ecosystems, but too many of them in one place is bad news. Not only do harmful algal blooms pose huge risks for people’s health, they can also cause fish and other aquatic wildlife to die off.” Around the country, the implications of this in terms of costs are significant—tourism-related activities alone incur losses upwards of $1 billion each year because people avoid fishing, boating, and visiting areas affected by such blooms.

A new innovation challenge was announced, and it’s devoted to bringing new, affordable [nutrient-level] sensors to the country’s waterways. These will help in pointing out at-risk areas, and should facilitate improved warnings to communities about the quality of their water.

But measuring nutrient levels in water is just one component of the puzzle. What about actually treating dangerous levels of nutrients so water may be safe to use again? That’s where water treatment and filtration technologies do their part. Team Gemini and its partner company A3-USA, Inc. provide robust, modular treatment technologies that are among the most efficient on the market. From Membrane Bioreactors to Ultrafiltration and Reverse Osmosis systems, these components are able to retain suspended matter, bacteria, and viruses (pathogens), and can even remove carbon, phosphorous, nitrogen, certain toxins, and bio-accumulative micro-contaminants. Water quality doesn’t need to suffer because technology isn’t ready—it is ready, and communities must find ways of implementing effective treatment methods more widely for the sake of the environment, economy, and people’s health.

To learn more about A3’s innovative solutions, visit http://teamgemini.us/a3-usa/.

To read the EPA’s full article, visit http://blog.epa.gov/science/2014/12/new-challenge-put-technology-to-work-to-protect-drinking-water/.

Team Gemini

EPA Rule Promotes Responsible Hazardous Materials Recycling

EPA Rule Promotes Responsible Hazardous Materials Recycling

Rule helps protect communities from the impact of mismanagement of hazardous waste, validating Team Gemini’s efforts in treating waste for the benefit of communities.

By Mathias Haugner

Safeguards that promote responsible recycling of hazardous secondary materials are one of the components that will be part of a larger movement to evolve the waste-handling-and-treatment industry in the U.S. Chief among the rule’s tenets is that it seeks to implement both resource conservation and economic benefits, while strengthening protections for environmental justice communities.

“This important rule gives communities a voice in the decisions that impact them, promotes safe and responsible recycling of hazardous secondary materials and conserves vital resources, while protecting those most at risk from the dangers of hazardous secondary materials mismanagement. This innovative rule demonstrates that protecting communities and leveraging economic advantages for sustainable recycling and materials manufacturing can go hand-in-hand,” notes Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response.

The Center of Resource Recovery & Recycling (COR3) is one of Team Gemini’s technology offerings in handling waste effectively. From separating valuable recyclables for sale as commodities, to diverting unusable or hazardous waste for further processing, different configurations can be implemented to address different needs of communities around the country.

Among other details, the EPA rule re-affirms the legitimacy of in-process recycling and of commodity-grade recycled products, such as metal commodities. The EPA estimates that if 31 states and territories adopt the 2014 Definition of Solid Waste (DSW) rule, it will have an annual regulatory cost savings of $24 million as compared to baseline cost savings in the 8 states and territories that have adopted the 2008 DSW final rule.

To learn more about Team Gemini’s solutions in waste management and use of waste, check out http://teamgemini.us/resource-recovery/ and http://teamgemini.us/bio-refinery/.

To read more details about the EPA ruling, you can view this page.