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Dorothy Barnett


11 months ago | Jan 10, 2018
By: Dorothy Barnett, Executive Director

The Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) is deliberating on the proposed merger of KCP&L and Westar - a major merger that will impact most energy users in Kansas.  Your opinion matters!  Customers can tell the KCC commissioners if they support, oppose, or are neutral on the proposed merger.  Commissioners will listen to customer concerns on January 22 at the Washburn Institute of Technology at 6 pm.

For all of you climate and energy supporters, a continued commitment to invest in clean energy should be a key piece in supporting the merger.  Not sure how the merger relates to clean energy or environmental concerns?  

Solar Rate Charges:  Customers with rooftop solar, or those considering investing in solar power, should insist the utilities agree to wait for the solar industry to reach at least 5% penetration in Kansas before attempting any type of new rates for solar customers (we’re currently at less that 1/10 of 1%). 

Equal Access to Energy Efficiency:  KCP&L’s Missouri customers have access to great energy efficiency programs.  If you’d like to have equal access to utility energy efficiency programs,  then Kansas needs a stakeholder driven Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) to identify and implement energy efficiency programs.  This process benefits KCP&L’s customers in Missouri, Kansans should have it, too. 

Customer Benefits:  Both companies assert that customers and shareholders will benefit through better infrastructure programs and improved customer service.  The current merger was approved by Westar and KCP&L shareholders in late 2017. Both companies anticipate no involuntary job losses, and they intend to share $50 million dollars in customer bill credits to retail customers in Missouri and Kansas after the merger. This amounts to approximately $31.25 per customer for 1.6 million customers of the merged company.

YOUR VOICE MATTERS.  We have seen the power of public comments during previous utility rate-cases. The KCC's  website says, "The Commission welcomes and encourages public input on utility rate and siting cases and proposed rules and regulations."  

Click here for docket details

If you are unable to attend the Public Hearing in person on January 22 at the Washburn Institute of Technology at 6 pm, please consider a public comment online at

Tell the commission to advance clean energy and protect the environment in the Westar/KCP&L merger case.

 Information provided online will be made public as part of the case docket.


Comments (3)

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  1. Les Blevins's avatar Les Blevins

    $1.6 Trillion in Clean Energy Investments expected through 2020, Says EIA

    Stefan Nicola, Bloomberg

    August 28, 2014

    Investments in new clean-energy capacity will total $1.61 trillion through 2020 even as the expansion of renewables is expected to slow, the International Energy Agency said.

    Funding for power generation from wind, solar radiation and biomass will average $230 billion a year from $250 billion in 2013 as technology costs fall and growth loses pace, the Paris- based adviser to 29 nations said today in its annual renewables report.

    Renewables will account for about 26 percent of global electricity generation by the end of this decade from about 22 percent now. The expansion will slow over the next five years unless lawmakers provide clear conditions that enable investments, the IEA said.

    “Policy uncertainty remains a key challenge to renewable deployment,” according to the “Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report.” “Unanticipated changes to incentive schemes represent a risk that investors cannot manage, and can lead to elevated financing costs and boom-and-bust development patterns.”

    Constraints in China, the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases and also the largest solar-energy market, include a lack of spending on the electricity networks and the cost and availability of financing, the IEA said. Investors in the European Union face uncertainty over renewables policy post-2020 and the installation of a pan-European grid to ease the integration of clean-energy plants, it said.

    Slower growth means there may not be enough renewable capacity to meet global climate-protection objectives, the IEA said. Politicians worried about the cost of deploying renewables should think again, said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven.

    “Renewables are a necessary part of energy security,” she said in a statement. “Many renewables no longer need high incentive levels. Rather, given their capital-intensive nature, renewables require a market context that assures a reasonable and predictable return for investors.”

    Copyright 2014 Bloomberg

    Lead image: Money via Shutterstock

    #3 – 12 January, 2018 at 9:03 am

  2. Les Blevins's avatar Les Blevins

    Kansas faces dangers from rising CO2 Say KU Scientists “We can expect more heat, more intense storms and more droughts,” say KU scientists in climate change report

    By Scott Rothschild

    November 11, 2008

    Higher temperatures, more intense storms and increased drought will plague Kansas this century because of rising carbon dioxide emissions, according to a study by Kansas University scientists that was released Tuesday.

    The study details numerous dangers posed by climate change and should serve as a warning and prompt new policies that reduce CO2 emissions, the scientists said.

    “What’s important to remember — these are projections,” said Johannes Feddema, a geography professor who is a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

    The study by Feddema and KU’s Nathaniel Brunsell, also a geography professor, was done for the Salina-based Land Institute’s Climate and Energy Project.

    By 2100, if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase as projected, temperatures in Kansas will rise an average of 2 degrees to 4 degrees, the study said. Southwest Kansas could see an increase of 8 degrees.

    By 2060, winter temperatures will stay mostly above freezing. That means more insects, diseases, and the need for farmers to increase the use of costly pesticides, the scientists concluded. Higher summertime temperatures will also hurt crops and livestock and increase the need for irrigation.

    Climate change will also cause more extreme weather patterns, including intense rain and flooding, but because of higher temperatures, soil moisture will decrease, and that means more intense drought. “What hurts Kansas also hurts the nation,” the report said. “Climate change will increase stress on America’s breadbasket, risking our food security.”

    An earlier study by the National Council of State Legislatures estimated that climate change could cost Kansas $1 billion per year.

    The report recommends that Kansas embrace renewable energy, focusing on wind, biomass and solar. Not only will this help the environment but it will also play into Kansas’ economic hand, the report said.

    “When people talk about climate change, too often they ignore the costs of not dealing with it. They also ignore the economic opportunities for Kansas in shifting to a clean energy economy,” said Nancy Jackson, executive director of the Climate and Energy Project.

    Disaster damage numbers rise in Kansas

    By Associated Press

    July 6, 2015

    TOPEKA — Federal disaster declarations and damage costs are on the rise in Kansas, although it's unclear whether more severe weather is the reason.

    Twenty-nine disasters were declared in Kansas from 2004 to 2013, the last year for which data is available, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The rest of FEMA's history, from 1953 to 2003, showed 27 disasters in Kansas, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

    There also was a generally upward trend in weather-related damage. The newspaper averaged claims over five years to reduce the impact of individual years with unusually high or low claims. The claims rose from an annual average of $92 million from 1994 to 1998, to $249 million from 1999 to 2003, $339 million from 2004 to 2008 and $551 million from 2009 to 2013.

    Mary Knapp, Kansas state climatologist, said the increases coincide with weather watchers getting better at documenting some events, such as small tornadoes. She also noted that a flood or tornado that wasn't a disaster in earlier decades might be one if the same thing happened today because of shifting demographics.

    "A flooding event that happened 30 years ago may have affected a few families and not been a disaster," she said.

    Before 2000, all but one disaster in Kansas was either due to severe storms, tornadoes or flooding. The exception was a grain elevator explosion in 1998. While the severe storm-related causes still dominated in the most recent decade, the state also had declared disasters related to the Hurricane Katrina evacuation in 2005, two fires and eight winter storms.

    Michael Cappannari, spokesman for FEMA's Region Seven office, which covers Kansas, said he didn't know of any trend that would explain the increase in Kansas disaster declarations, which are declared by the president.

    The process starts on the county level, where emergency management officials determine if they need state help, Cappannari said. The state can then request that FEMA assists state and local officials in preparing preliminary damage assessments, he said.

    "These damage assessments are the first step in helping a governor determine whether the scope of the damages are beyond what the state is capable of handling and if additional federal assistance is needed," he said.

    Kansas residents rally against coal fired electric plants

    By Scott Rothschild

    March 12, 2008

    Coal-burning energy plants

    • Local lawmakers split on coal-plant bill (03-08-08)

    • Opinion: Tom Sloan on Energy for Kansas (03-08-08)

    • Opinion: Capitol thoughts from State Senator Roger Pine on energy in Kansas (03-08-08)

    • Sebelius ‘stunned’ by energy bill process (03-07-08)

    • Bremby defends coal-plant decision (03-06-08)

    • Coal: Sunflower Power Corp »

    Topeka — For her 14th birthday, Sarina Farb said she wanted to work against the proposed coal-fired power plants.

    So the Lawrence teen, her mother and father, JoAnn and Joe, and sister, Samantha, 9, came to the Capitol on Tuesday to rally with others against legislation that would allow two 700-megawatt coal-burning plants in western Kansas. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has vowed to veto the bill, but legislative leaders have said they will try to override her veto.

    “It’s a really bad idea all around,” Sarina said of the proposed project.

    “It’s just going to add to global warming, and my generation is the one that is going to be the one to suffer the consequences,” she said.

    Both she and her sister are home-schooled, and coming to the Capitol to speak with legislators was part of their education, her mother said.

    The proposed plants would produce 11 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, but proponents of the project say it will be among the cleanest burning coal plants in the country and help revitalize the western Kansas economy.

    Later, both Sebelius and Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson spoke at the rally. Organizers of “Kansas Clean Energy Day” said approximately 250 people attended events at the Capitol throughout the day.

    Sebelius urged the crowd to contact their legislators to lobby against the bill.

    “We are in the beginning of what needs to be a thoughtful, and careful and comprehensive conversation that will impact this state for generations to come,” the governor said.

    Kansas residents could greatly benefit from a new nonpartisan and comprehensive approach

    By Les Blevins Jr.

    January 12, 2008

    This is a rewrite of a Journal World opinion piece.

    Next week, Kansas legislators will gather in Topeka to begin their 2008 session and, from all indications, the lawmakers are going to face several difficult, challenging issues that are sure to result in a contentious session.

    And, although legislators are pleased and proud of the basketball and football teams and the Orange Bowl win, legislators are not generally very wild about KU. Therefore it is likely to be a challenging session relative to the university and its wishes and needs.

    One of the major issues facing lawmakers is how Kansas is going to pay the bills from major natural disasters this past year. According to one lawmaker, the price tag for 2007 disasters could easily top $625 million. This includes floods, ice storms and the devastating tornado that hit Greensburg.

    Federal funds normally take care of roughly 75 percent of such costs with the state picking up the remaining 25 percent.

    Where is Kansas going to find the financial resources to deal with these issues, and how can it avoid the consequences of future weather-related disasters? One lawmaker said, “There is a huge issue relative to Greensburg. How do we rebuild the community?” “They have no money. It is critical, and we must find a solution.”

    Response; If the state were to build a substantial building in Greensburg, and hire Greensburg residents to build it, it would amount to a huge helping hand to Greensburg, and the state of Kansas would have a building to use in solving other wider needs - such as helping develop an ongoing effort at wider economic assistance for the entire Southwestern part of Kansas.

    The question of what to do about the proposed coal-fired Sunflower plant near Holcomb is a major issue and, some even suggest it is very likely to pit western Kansas legislators against eastern Kansas lawmakers, others are saying energy issues could and should be discussed in a positive, visionary manner, including finding and developing numerous energy sources. Coal, oil, gas, wind and biomass should all be brought to bear in creating the kind of energy and environmental future Kansas needs.

    Response; Therein lies the opportunity for Kansas lawmakers to initiate a comprehensive and nonpartisan approach to dealing with several issues Kansas faces in coming decades.

    “I could see a sound energy plan with a wide menu of energy providers possibly getting as many as 110 votes in the House and as many as 45 in the Senate,” one Kansas lawmaker said. He also said, however, that if a sound, broad plan cannot be agreed upon, there’s a good chance legislators may tell the state to go ahead and proceed and allow building the controversial coal-fired plants near Holcomb - despite Secretary Rod Bremby’s rejection of the permit for the plants.

    As usual, there are far more requests for funding — many for very worthy programs — than there is money to pay for them. The soft economy doesn’t help. And education continues to be the largest single recipient for Kansas tax dollars.

    Response; Education funding can be brought to bear in addressing all the issues previously mentioned and those yet to follow.

    Right or wrong, justified or not, KU and/or its leadership, does not stand tall in the eyes of far too many lawmakers. This hurts the school in its funding requests. Some legislators want to take a closer look at how KU and the KU Medical Center spend money obtained from state resources. The recent “negotiations” for the “affiliation” agreement between KU Hospital, KU Medical Center and St. Luke’s Hospital did not set well with many Kansas lawmakers. In fact, they want to consider having more say in how a proposed $5 million a year increase for the school’s cancer effort is spent.

    Response; Here in this issue lies an opportunity to provide funding for addressing the issues already mentioned and those to follow.

    It is understood Rep. Jim Morrison of Colby has invited KU Hospital CEO Bob Page and KU Medical Center Vice Chancellor Barbara Atkinson to appear before his committee in Topeka next Thursday to discuss the recent affiliation agreement with St. Luke’s. It would be a very interesting session if everyone involved was frank and told the truth that Kansas University needs to accept the pressing need for a change in its priorities and begin to put much more emphasis on solving global problems such as the issue of Global Warming, and not continue putting unjustified and unsustainable amounts of its resources in health focused programs. The reasoning here is that cancer is being addressed in hundreds of programs all around the world and cancer affects far fewer people than does global warming and it will cause far fewer deaths and far fewer monetary demands on people than will global warming.

    Response; the above will of course cause some people involved in cancer research to wail and protest but the issue needs no further clarification. The manner of some at KU already tends to rankle lawmakers. One legislator said one particular KU administrator “redefines the word arrogance.” This is not good for KU nor the people of Kansas.

    A number of legislators wish all those serving on the Kansas Board of Regents would show more vision and leadership in their oversight of state universities, but based on the current situation, they don’t hold out much hope this will happen. Consequently, funding requests for regents schools don’t carry as much weight as they should.

    For the overall good of the state, Kansans should hope their elected lawmakers enter the upcoming session with an honest desire to do exactly what is in the best interests of the entire state and try to put personal perceptions and partisan politics at the bottom of their priorities or motives.

    Maybe this is simply dreaming, or asking for the impossible, but consider what could be accomplished in making Kansas a leader in so many arenas if legislators and the governor could rise above partisan politics and spend the 08 session studying, working, deliberating and debating what course is truly best and most beneficial for the state and its residents. It might also try realizing that what is good for the entire world might just be the same as what is good for Kansas.

    Kansas should also consider the direction the national elections are taking, take visionary and courageous actions for local, state, national and world improvements and, in so doing, set some examples for the nation.

    Lets ask ourselves; what can Kansas legislators do and what could the governor do to make Kansas a uniquely progressive state and show leadership in how it faces and addresses many interconnected challenges faced by other states and help set a course for avoiding natural disasters in the first place.

    Lets ask ourselves; how to properly fund public education in such a manner as to encourage superior leadership at our state universities and how to find the best answers to the growing energy crisis, all are issues that deserve the best efforts of our legislators and the governor. What kind of example, for instance, could a state such as Kansas set, sitting atop coal, gas and oil reserves and with plenty of biomass and wind potential in showing leadership in how to address the growing energy and environmental crisis?

    Some may suggest there is all kinds of time to address these and many other questions, but really there is no justification to delay and play political games and one-upmanship.

    Kansas residents deserve a lot better than what Kansans have been getting in the past. And this is all possible through improved efforts on the part of the legislators and governor.


    The above position statement is a rewrite of an opinion piece by Dolph C. Simons Jr. of the Lawrence Journal World that appeared in the Lawrence Journal World of January 12, 2008 on page 1B.

    #2 – 12 January, 2018 at 9:01 am

  3. Les Blevins's avatar Les Blevins

    My firm has developed technology designed to empower cities and/or utilities to double the clean energy cities use.


    With the right tech approach; adopting the circular economy business model can boost renewable energy, cut greenhouse emissions, help many towns, cities, counties, companies and institutions create hundreds of thousands or perhaps even millions of good paying jobs, boost local and national infrastructure investments, cut bottom line Economic costs, reduce our excessive waste, improve our overall Energy efficiency, protect our water supplies, and help enable the Environmental sustainability movement to spread more rapidly among nations while reducing harmful global emissions and even doing so while keeping some coal and oil use in the energy mix.

    Les Blevins asks; Why do we not move more aggressively to the circular economy model and power our energy needs on extraction of carbon from the Earth’s atmosphere instead of powering our energy needs by pumping more carbon into it? That's the primary question we now face, and as an inventor and renewable energy technology developer I would like to offer the big, bold and obvious solution to many and diverse problems that threatens life on planet earth. Over the next 20-30 years we know we will see major changes in where our energy comes from and how we produce, store and use it as we attempt to tackle the huge trilemma of affordability, availability and sustainability, we also know big changes are being driven by many and diverse environmental and social pressures, and we know the choices we make now will be affecting us all far into the future.

    Whether we admit it or not; fighting induced global warming and climate change will become an epic battle if we are to avoid dooming billions of our descendants to a far worse social, economic and environmental situation than that which we have enjoyed. So lets begin to think outside the box and innovate.

    AAECorp. is offering a new 3E technology concept that offers new solutions because we need to be innovative if we are to pass on a tenable condition to future generations. I’m hoping to put this new technology into production and license it to firms internationally that can put energy conversion projects based on this innovation into production in countries all around the world, and in that way spread its application quickly and widely enough to have a positive effect on human induced global warming before it becomes too late to make any difference. Unlike solar, hydro, nuclear and wind energy, renewable energy from diverse biomass and wastes can be dispatchable and even carbon negative and therefore help the whole world resolve the global warming problem through adding new concept innovations in stand-alone, distributed, microgrid and grid-tied energy delivery systems that serve humanity’s long term interests much better.

    Our position is; to win an epic battle, humanity needs new, modern and innovative tools of battle just as America needed advanced new tools of battle (ships, planes, tanks etc.) to win victory in Europe and in the Pacific during World War Two. My small firm, - Advanced Alternative Energy - has developed and patented negative emissions technology and therefore I’m inviting requests for more information from all interested in helping humanity move quickly forward on a much saner pathway. Please call or email me if you would like information on my novel, new concept technology, a technology designed for the epic battle ahead, and designed to help us win the fight for humanity's long term survival.

    I believe we will do far better and be far safer in the long run if we can deploy a practical way to power whole economies on extraction of greenhouse emissions that have already been emitted into earth’s atmosphere while also greatly reducing ongoing greenhouse emissions and begin protecting communities and electric power grids much better. I’m claiming to be the inventor of one of weapons we need to fight global warming and climate change and one of the repowering “tools” needed to enable humanity to overhaul the power delivery system, in North America and elsewhere, and to help get us out of the box fossil fuels and governmental inaction have humanity boxed up in. I believe we can do this through deployment of advanced alternative energy projects at residential, community and county scale and we should do so because good paying infrastructure construction jobs are much needed worldwide. AAEC is now seeking support from any and all that may care to support this grass roots - trickle up - project.

    The following is a notice I’ve posted on Facebook and elsewhere.


    AAEC’s CEO invented, patented, tested and further developed a novel new concept low-carbon energy technology we’ve designed for serving as the core technology for a range of much cleaner alternative/renewable energy production systems and energy efficiency improvements across the American landscape and around the world. AAEC’s novel new concept technology consists of a biomass, fossil fuel, and waste combustion, gasification and pyrolysis conversion technology that can provide low-carbon, scalable, heat and power requirements as well as both biofuel and biochar production. AAEC’s technology is designed for both stand-alone use or as backup for alternative energy systems that depend on solar, wind or other intermittent sources of energy, and in this way it will help enable a doubling of the deployment of alternative energy projects around the world in coming decades.

    AAEC developed this novel new concept energy technology to enable homeowners, businesses, towns, cities and even counties to convert completely to cleaner energy. AAEC is for all those who understand that distributed alternative / renewable energy derived from solar, wind, biomass and waste is a viable pathway to stall global warming and produce a much better future for our descendants, and ultimately for all humanity. AAEC offers a viable and affordable way to move to a future where people are better at controlling global warming. Fossil fuel firms and utilities may at first oppose what AAEC offers, preferring to continue passing on the high costs in cleaning up their operations to their customers, even if far better options are available that would benefit them as well.

    AAEC management believes we will all do better and be safer in the long run if we can deploy a practical way to power nearly all human activities on extraction of greenhouse gases that have already been emitted into earth’s atmosphere while also cutting back on ongoing greenhouse emissions and begin protecting communities and electric power grids. I’m claiming to be an inventor of one of the “tools” needed to enable humanity to overhaul the power delivery system, in the USA and elsewhere, and help get us out of the box fossil fuels and governmental inaction have humanity bound up in. I propose that we do this through deployment of modern advanced alternative energy projects at residential, community, city and county scale as good paying, infrastructure producing, jobs are needed that protect rather than degrade sustainability.

    Les Blevins says my small tech energy development firm is seeking support from any and all that may care to support our novel new trickle up distributed energy technology development project. With a small amount of financial support AAEC will enable bringing localized clean low-carbon energy production to the people of the world much as the PC brought computing to the people of the world.

    Please contact me for more information.

    Les Blevins President at Advanced Alternative Energy

    1207 N 1800 Rd. Lawrence, KS 66049

    Ph: 785-842-1943 Email ;

    "Humanity has pushed the world's climate system to the brink, leaving itself only scant time to act. We are at about five minutes before midnight." — Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2013

    “The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil but

    because of the people who don’t do anything about it” ~Albert Einstein

    “insanity is repeating the same behavior over and over and expecting different results” ~Albert Einstein

    To put it another way; it’s insanity to believe we can solve problems by using the

    same kind of thinking we used when we created them. ~Les Blevins

    “Because many of the best solutions to society’s most pressing problems can be found at the local level, we support community-led efforts to drive transformational change that can be adapted, scaled and replicated”

    ~ a quote from the Kendeda Fund’s website..

    “There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things for the reformer has enemies in all who profit from the old order.” --Niccolo Machiavelli, 1513

    “We may need to solve some problems not by removing the cause but by designing the way forward even if the cause remains in place.”~ Edward de Bono

    de Bono’s position doesn’t take into account situations where there is really no problem at all, where a large and/or complex problem exists that cannot be completely resolved no matter what is done (like global warming and climate change) and situations where many problems exist that could all be dealt with at once, (again like global warming and climate change) but progress is being stymied since many still perceive themselves to be benefitting from the old order and won't even acknowledge that changes must be undertaken for the good of all.. ~ Les Blevins

    The EPA and the Utilities Are “Both on the Wrong Track,” Say Experts

    02/18/2015 | Aaron Larson

    Len Hering spoke to attendees at the Energy, Utility & Environment Conference in San Diego, Calif. Source: POWER/Aaron Larson

    “I honestly believe they’re on the wrong track, clean and simple,” Hering said, suggesting that the transition needs to happen at “five times the pace that these folks are talking about.”

    “The truth is, distributed generation is the answer, and the chaos that’s needed in the utility sector is needed today,” adding “If the energy companies can’t figure out how to get there from here, we’re going to figure it out on our own.”

    And Hering isn’t the only one pointing out the trend toward distributed generation.

    “The utilities have had their world turned upside down as a result of the installation of rooftop solar systems by their customers,” said Greg Odegard, principal of GO Global Environmental.

    Odegard pointed out that the two largest electricity suppliers in Arizona have started to fight back. Arizona Public Service proposed a $50 to $100 per month fixed fee for rooftop solar customers last year, but the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) only allowed a $5 fee to ultimately be levied.

    Salt River Project (SRP)—the other big player in Arizona—is attempting to attack solar users from another angle. It proposed a change to the net metering credit, which would base the credit on wholesale rates rather than retail rates, and proposed a demand charge for use of the grid regardless of the electricity consumed.

    SRP doesn’t need ACC approval because it is a government agency. It has a 10-member board that simply needs to approve the proposal for it to go into effect, and Odegard said they seem pretty happy with the measures, so it could just be a matter of time before it is implemented.

    The net result, according to Odegard, would be a $50 per month rate increase for each SRP rooftop solar owner.

    Some utilities see distributed generation a bit differently. According to a utility survey cited by Odegard, 31% of respondents said they saw distributed energy resources, like rooftop solar, as their biggest growth opportunity over the next five years.

    “There is a sense within the utility industry that things are definitely going to change,” Odegard said, but he suggested that many utilities still don’t seem to know what to do with that knowledge.

    —Aaron Larson, associate editor (@AaronL_Power, @POWERmagazine)

    "To try and fail is at least to learn.

    To fail to try is to suffer the loss of what might have been."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin 1706 - 1790 ~

    "We're the first generation to feel the impact of climate change, and the last that can do something about it. We only get one planet. There's no Plan B."

    ~ President Barack Obama

    “The Americans will always do the right thing… after they’ve exhausted all the alternatives.” – Sir Winston Churchill

    "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."

    - R. Buckmister Fuller

    “There are risks and costs to any program of action, but they can be far less than the long range risks and costs of inaction”

    ~ President John F. Kennedy

    - “Biofuels will play an important role in America’s clean energy portfolio,” “These projects will allow us to decrease our dependence on foreign oil, support the growth of the biofuels industry and create jobs here at home.”

    ~ Energy Secretary Steven Chu

    "It is in our vital interest to diversify America's energy supply — and the way forward is through technology.”

    - President George W. Bush, 2007 State of the Union Address

    Dealing with our energy trilemma of affordability availability and sustainability.


    Over the next 20-30 years we will see major changes in where our energy comes from, how we store it, and how we use it as we tackle the energy trilemma of affordability, availability and sustainability. These changes are being driven by environmental and social pressures and the choices we make now will affect us all and our environment into the future.

    We would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to answer the questions in the Atkins Energy Survey, which asked for views on the current energy challenges, potential energy mix of 2030 and important factors driving change in the energy sector.

    Your valuable input will feed into our Future Proofing Energy program that will run throughout 2015 and 2016 and includes a series of electronically published thought leadership pieces together with a mix of events and targeted research activities. The series will explore the water-energy-food nexus, environmental risks, energy resilient cities, geo-engineering, energy storage, transport, customers and a range of energy sources. By looking ahead, we can plan, design and enable a secure, resilient energy system that works with our future environment.

    So without further delay, here are some of the headline results.

    The Atkins Energy Survey revealed…

    On safeguarding our future energy supply:

    • Around 24% of businesses have no strategy or plan in place to deal with future changes, challenges and opportunities around energy

    • Around 75% of respondents are very concerned about climate change, but only around 41% believe the organizations they work for are equally concerned.

    On diversifying our energy supply:

    • On average, responders want around 65% of their energy to come from renewables by 2030 – but think that only 30% actually will.

    On driving change in the energy sector:

    • Cost of production was considered by far the most important factor driving change in the energy sector, according to respondents, with resource availability a distant second. Political will was considered the least important factor.

    • Reducing demand was voted as the best method of increasing energy security while minimising negative environmental impacts - but this was only a whisker ahead of increasing efficiency.

    Next Steps:

    In the first quarter of 2015, we will incorporate the survey results into the analysis of the changing nature of energy and the environment, and their interactive future.

    We will also look to work with respondents that are keen to collaborate with us as we undertake our leadership program, Future Proofing Energy - stay tuned!

    If you would like to find out more information on this leadership series contact Nathan Richardson


    AAEC is All about Enabling Conversion and Utilization of Locally Available Biomass Resources Including Wood Wastes, Municipal Wastes, Agricultural Biomass and Fossil Fuels in markedly more efficient and cleaner power generation and biofuels production.

    We have a battle to win and we need new tools of battle because we live a world with increasing concerns about our nation’s economic health and our natural environment and about global warming and about the vast amounts of resources we continually consume and the vast amounts of wastes we create.

    No longer is it acceptable to continually saddle our economy with producing and trucking vast amounts of municipal wastes to landfills and taxing residents and businesses with paying tipping fees to dispose of it, and then, once the landfills are filled, to open up new landfills and continue this extremely wasteful process. This is an inadequate and increasingly expensive approach to an ongoing problem that cries out for a permanent and comprehensive solution that doesn’t drain the economy and force cuts to numerous programs the people have developed over time to deal with ongoing problems such as unemployment, health issues, hunger and crime.

    Scaleable biomass and waste conversion via gasification enables a community to adopt a permanent and localized solution to many ongoing problems of municipal waste management. Waste gasification technology is quickly becoming a larger part of a comprehensive solution for cleaner localized clean energy production. Improved MSW management, is also becoming a more sustainable and environmentally responsible contributor to the triple bottom line for institutions of all sizes like schools, companies, communities and other types of organized entities such as towns, cities, counties and even states.

    The phrase “the triple bottom line” was first coined in 1994 by John Elkington, the founder of a British consultancy called SustainAbility. His argument was that companies should be preparing three different bottom lines. One is the traditional measure of corporate profit—the “bottom line” of the profit and loss account. The second is the bottom line of a company's “people account” a measure of how socially responsible an organization has been throughout its operations. The third is the bottom line of the company's “planet” protection account, in other words a measure of how environmentally responsible it has been. The triple bottom line (TBL) thus consists of three Ps: profit, people and planet. It aims to measure the financial, social and environmental performance of an entity over time. Entities that adopt a progressive TBL improvement program are taking a full account of the huge full cost involved in doing business in the modern world. We have to do battle with and end our outdated ways of doing things.

    Welcome to AAEC’s SG Gasification

    Somewhat like a multi-function food processor, a Kansas invention is in reality a multi-fuel and multi-process capable fuels processor, and AAEC President Les Blevins is looking for a few backers and investors for his technology.

    A blender or food processor is a kitchen appliance that one can use to produce results of their choice. Depending on what one puts into the blender and what button is pushed it can produce a nutritious drink made of veggies or a tastier ‘smoothie’ drink made of juice, fruits and yogurt.

    The AAEC Sequential Grates fuels conversion technology is similar in concept in that its users (homes, towns and cities) can get widely varying results depending on exactly what fuels are being processed and what fuel conversion or processing option button is chosen.

    Like a food processor or blender; the AAEC Sequential Grates ™ fuels processing technology has an opening at the top and several operational choices for selecting the desired fuels conversion process and end products. Available fuel conversion processes run from the choice of clean coal use via gasification at one end of the scale to advanced thermal biomass and waste conversion modes at the other end. End products available are cleaner heat power, chemicals and biofuels.

    Les Blevins believes the best way for creating jobs and keeping the social and economic and environmental cost of fossil fuels in line; and keeping our lid on carbon emissions; may be for us to begin making more of our heat, power and transportation fuels by using our own locally abundant low-carbon biomass and waste resources in our own localized clean energy conversion systems based on AAEC’s Sequential Grates ™ system.

    For more information please contact;

    Les Blevins,

    President Advanced Alternative Energy

    1207 N 1800 Rd. Lawrence, KS 66049

    Ph: 785-842-1943

    Community Supported Energy Offers a Third Way

    by Greg Pahl, Vermont Biofuels Association, Co-Founder

    We have the necessary resources to meet most of our energy needs in the future with renewable energy. Until fairly recently one key strategy has, for the most part, been overlooked in North America. This innovative strategy involves the cooperative and collaborative installation and ownership of advanced renewable energy projects at the local, community level.

    CSE projects are somewhat similar to Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). The main difference, however, is that instead of investing in potatoes, carrots, or cucumbers, with CSE, local residents invest in energy projects that provide greater energy security and a wide variety of other benefits.

    When applied to wind power for example, this strategy falls in between the large-scale commercial wind farm and the small-scale residential wind turbine, and has been described as "The Third Way." This middle strategy, also referred to as Community Supported Wind, relies on somewhat smaller scale projects that are developed, sited and owned by members of the local community rather than out-of-state corporate entities.

    Community Supported Wind could fill a huge gap in the present wind power sector. And this approach is not limited to wind power, but can be applied to virtually any type of local renewable energy project such as solar thermal or photovoltaic panels, biogas digesters, a variety of biofuels production facilities, geothermal or geoelectric projects, and small-scale hydro.

    When applied to a wide variety of renewable energy technologies, this strategy is sometimes known as Community Supported Energy (CSE). CSE projects are somewhat similar to Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). The main difference, however, is that instead of investing in potatoes, carrots, or cucumbers, with CSE, local residents invest in energy projects that provide greater energy security and a wide variety of other benefits.

    Many Advantages

    A cooperative or community owned energy project offers many advantages. It stimulates the local economy by creating new jobs and new business opportunities for the community while simultaneously expanding the tax base and generating new income for local residents. A locally owned energy project also generates support from the community by getting people directly involved.

    Another advantage of community energy projects is that they can be owned cooperatively or collectively through a variety of legal mechanisms. Ownership strategies can include limited liability corporations (LLCs), cooperatives, school districts, municipal utilities or other municipal entities, or combinations of these models. Sometimes a partnership with an existing utility can be mutually beneficial.

    An excellent example of this approach is the prominent, commercial-scale wind turbine located on Toronto's (Ontario) harbor front that is 50 percent owned by WindShare, a 427-member cooperative of local residents, while the other half is owned by Toronto Hydro Energy Services. While the appropriate model will differ from project to project and from state to state (or province), depending on a wide range of variables, what these strategies all have in common is some form of community ownership and group benefit.

    The main point is to identify the project as belonging to the community, which may avoid (or at least minimize) the usual conflicts between local residents and developers, whose large-scale, commercial proposals are often viewed as primarily benefiting absentee owners. Local ownership is the key ingredient that transforms what would otherwise be just another corporate energy project into an engine for greater energy security that directly benefits its owners -- the members of the community.

    Community Supported Energy projects offer yet another advantage; they retain a greater amount of income in the local area and increase the economic benefits substantially over projects owned by out-of-area developers, according to a study conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for the Government Accountability Office. NREL compared the effect of large corporate wind farms owned out of area with similar projects owned locally. The study found local ownership yielded an average of $4 million in local income annually, over three times more than the $1.3 million produced with out-of-area control, while job creation was more than twice as large in the local model.*

    With these benefits, why aren't there more CSE projects? For one thing it's a relatively new concept in America, although it's a well-established strategy in many European nations. In Denmark and Germany -- world leaders in wind energy development -- many commercial-scale wind turbines are installed as single units or in small clusters distributed across the countryside, or sometimes in or near urban areas. And many of these turbines are either owned by the farmers on whose land the turbine stands, or by groups of local residents.

    This idea has spread to many other EU nations as well and is beginning to catch on in Canada and the United States, especially in states like Minnesota and Iowa, where dozens of community owned wind farms are sprouting up.

    One of the best examples is MinWind, located near Luverne, Minnesota. The original project, which began in 2000, consisted of four 950-kilowatt turbines owned by 66 local farmers. The project was so successful that seven additional turbines were added in 2004. The second group of turbines is owned by approximately 200 local investors.

    One of the main reasons for this success has been Minnesota's progressive promotion and support of locally owned wind projects and other renewable energy initiatives. The main barrier to wide-scale implementation of Community Supported Energy in most other states, however, is a regulatory environment and process that does virtually nothing to encourage these types of projects. For the most part, CSE isn't even on the radar screen of most regulators, and the typical high cost of the approval process (often $100,000 to $500,000 or more) halts most community based initiatives before they even get started.

    What's more, federal energy production tax credits (PTC) for wind farms, for example, favor large-scale corporate projects that are well beyond the means of local communities. This situation needs to change, and it needs to change soon, because all viable forms of renewable energy, regardless of their size, need to be supported and encouraged if we are going to meet the substantial energy challenges of the next few decades.

    One of the best regulatory models in North America at the present time is the new Standard Offer Contracts in Ontario. Announced early in 2006, the new Standard Offer Contracts (Advanced Renewable Tariffs) are an historic step towards a sustainable energy future. Standard Offer Contracts allow homeowners, landowners, farmers, co-operatives, schools, municipalities and others to install renewable energy projects up to 10 megawatts in size and to sell the power to the grid for a fixed price for 20 years.

    The Ontario Standard Offer Contracts provide a powerful model that other provinces and states should consider when developing their own renewable energy laws and regulations.

    Community-based energy strategies generally place the renewable energy facility as close as possible to where it is needed. In the case of electricity generation, this reduces the need for additional, ugly and expensive high-tension power lines, while simultaneously improving the stability of the electricity network. One or two good sized wind turbines, for example, could provide much of the power needed for a school, business or manufacturing facility.

    A cluster of medium-to-large-sized turbines could power a whole neighborhood or a small community. Add a significant number of rooftop solar panels, small-scale hydroelectric plants, ground-source heat pumps, and a local cooperative bio-fuels facility or two for biodiesel and ethanol production, and you begin to assemble a picture of greater energy security that provides for a significant proportion of your community's energy needs while generating income, all from local resources.

    The people employed to operate and maintain these facilities keeps them working (and spending) in their local communities, and eliminates the need for them to commute somewhere else to get to their jobs. The result is energy creation and conservation at the same time. And if the renewable energy facilities power other job-creating activities, such as local manufacture of essential products, you end up boosting the local economy while creating even more jobs. It's a win-win-win proposition.

    The energy challenges we face are enormous, consequently the response needs to be sized to match. Community Supported Energy offers the potential of making substantial progress on a large scale while directly engaging (and benefiting) a major segment of the population. CSE is an idea whose time has definitely arrived, and I am convinced that if this strategy were to be adopted across the nation that it could provide a huge boost to local economies everywhere while offering greater energy security and price stability.

    The opportunities for locally based renewables are enormous. Almost every city and town in the country has the potential for one or more CSE project. Perhaps you can get one started in your community.

    *Renewable Energy; Wind Power's Contribution to Electric Power Generation and Impact on Farms and Rural Communities, General Accounting Office, September, 2004, 82, 83,

    Greg Pahl is a Weybridge, Vermont writer and co-founder of the Vermont Biofuels Association as well as the Addison County Relocalization Network. This article contains excerpts from his new book: The Citizen-Powered Energy Handbook: Community Solutions to a Global Crisis. The book's primary focus is on Community Supported Energy.

    » Vermont Biofuels Association



    One man's trash... is potentially a city’s energy-rich biomass

    The idea sounds so outrageous that one is tempted to dub it wishful thinking-To make an entire town "energy independent" within the near future.

    City managers would love to create electricity and biofuels using biomass as a feedstock and fuel. What kind of biomass? All kinds. The waste that goes into the county landfill. Tree clippings and yard waste from the residential section. Locally derived corn husks, switchgrass, storm, flood and construction debris, old scrap tires, sewage sludge. Just about everything a city has to pay out taxpayer money to dispose of.

    Virtually any organic waste that can be rounded up from within a 20-25 mile distance from town that people would have to pay to get rid of or let rot can be converted to power or biofuels..

    After extensive research, a Kansas company conceptualized and developed a new technology based project that would cost a fair sized city about $10 million. It would generate about one to two megawatts of electricity for sale into the local electric grid, enough to power about 1,500 to 1,800 households, and would also yield 3 million gallons a year of biofuels.

    As long as the price of motor fuels stays above $2.25 a gallon (it's about $3.00 right now) and the price of crude stays above $38 per barrel (it's currently over $85), Les Blevins of Advanced Alternative Energy he says, projects will be profitable.

    “Government shouldn't be wasting peoples' money” says Blevins. We're taking garbage and burying it in the ground." “That doesn't make sense”, Blevins says when the trash and garbage is loaded with BTUs that could be converted into electricity and liquid fuels.

    Blevins is working to ensure that when a reliable supply of biomass is available, as is the situation in almost every town and city in North America, the innovative new concept CHP plant

    his firm can install would prove very effective in solving the community’s waste management, energy security and generation, as well as their carbon footprint reduction goals are achieved.

    A public or private-sector entity could take ownership of a local project, and lobby for federal loan guarantees to reduce the risk for investors.

    This entity would negotiate terms that would allow them to re-sell the electricity to the city or area residents who sign up for less than what their local utility charges.

    "If residents are paying 5.9 cents per kilowatt," Blevins says, "let's bring that down to about 3.9 cents."

    The AAEC gasification technology is ready to be demonstrated and go forward, although it will require engineering to accommodate a city’s particular range of waste products

    The AAEC process entails heating the waste materials to a high temperature in the absence of oxygen - as high as 2,000 degrees - later cooling it to around 98 degrees or less. The material would not burn, it would gasify, leaving about 4 or 5 percent of the original volume as residue to dispose of.

    Waste heat from the cooling would be used to generate the electricity, while the organic compounds in the gases would be converted into cellulosic ethanol or other biofuels.

    There are implications for our nation’s energy policy, too. The environmental community is pushing a Renewable Portfolio Standards bill that would require electric utilities to generate around 12 percent of their power from renewable energy sources by 2020.

    Municipal projects built near load centers or landfills could make a significant contribution to that 12-percent goal.

    Small-scale projects like the Blevins proposes, are consistent with a "distributed generation" approach to organizing the electric power grid.

    In theory, an electric grid incorporating of many smaller power producers located much closer to their consumers is more stable and less vulnerable to disruptive blackouts than a system depending upon massive power plants linked by equally massive and inefficient long-run transmission lines.

    Les Blevins, Jr.


    Sequential Grates System

    Les Blevins and Sequential Grates multi-fuel, multi-process biorefining system. Patented in USA and under further development.

    Les Blevins Jr. was born and raised in Kansas.

    His background is in the mechanical trades, and he is currently developing innovative concepts to address multiple energy and environmental problems through offering scaleable, clean distributed energy technology with an emphasis on practicality and economy.

    Blevins believes humans and the environment are on a collision course. Our activities are inflicting harsh and irreversible damage on the environment and on critical resources. Many of humanity’s current practices put at serious risk the future that we all wish for humanity to unprecedented degrees.

    Les believes new innovations in fuels processing systems can bring about the needed improvements - and that more than ever fundamental changes are urgent this decade if we are to avoid the life altering collision our present course will bring about. Our practices may so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner we now know ever again if we don’t make immediate changes.

    Les Blevins became concerned about the future during the middle 1970,s upon reading in the news about oil issues and reading reports on then President Jimmy Carter’s position on fossil fuels, the likely effects of our growing energy consumption of fossil fuels on the environment and on international politics.

    Blevins believes advancements in energy generation and conservation can play a major role in solving the problem. And he favors developing improved combustion, pyrolysis and gasification methods, and in implementing these new concept systems in distributed and On-site installations as the best means to better utilize very diverse biomass sources, better manage solid, liquid and gaseous wastes, and produce from these a new source of heat, power, liquid fuels such as ethanol and biodeisel, and methane and hydrogen gas.

    Blevins decided to look at what he could do to advance the scope of human knowledge on how humanity could address these complex issues. He subsequently decided to look into the possibility that he could best contribute by researching fuels conversion systems designed to reduce dependence on fossil fuels by utilizing diverse low value and widely available biomass and wastes as fuel instead. Thus Les perceived the need for improved biomass conversion technology in the 1970s.

    This led to the invention and development of a furnace capable of using bulky biomass fuels such as small square and large round bales of agricultural byproducts like straws, stems, stalks, husks and leaves as well as dedicated biomass fuel crops such as grasses like elephant and switchgrass, miscanthus, sugar cane bagasse etc. The Blevins system can also use several processes in the conversion of these into liquid fuels as well. These processes include direct combustion, pyrolysis and gasification.

    Advanced Alternative Energy is developing an advanced system technology for utilizing a wider range of renewable biomass forms in space heating, heating industrial processes, for use in power generation, and in production of biofuels and other valuable products to help achieve sustainability.

    Gasification is the preferred process;

    Unlike combustion processes, gasification is an oxygen-starved process that converts solid fuels (biomass, coal, etc.) into gaseous fuels (Hydrogen and Carbon Monoxide). Gasification is uniquely capable of producing not only heat and power, but also can be used with downstream catalysts to convert the syngas to liquid fuels and chemicals (diesel, ethanol, methanol); and, to hydrogen gas for fuel cell applications.

    When using biomass feedstocks, which are considered ‘carbon-neutral’ (i.e. no net added carbon emissions), gasification technology can concurrently mitigate wastes (i.e. municipal, industrial and agricultural) while producing renewable energy. When using coal feedstocks, gasification technology can achieve greater efficiencies compared to combustions processes while removing trace contaminants from the gas prior to combustion of the syngas.

    This approach offers multiple benefits to society such as reduced demand for finite fossil fuels and in turn lower market prices for such fuels, reduced emissions of carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas, additional cash crops for our farmers and landowners, which would in turn benefit the farm sector and assist rural areas maintain economic viability.

    Les Blevins, seeing increased government dedication to using the technological approach to addressing the nation’s oil addiction, and fixing the climate, and seeing the recently completed Oak Ridge National Laboratory report outlining a national bioenergy strategy, indications that one billion dry tons of biomass, meaning any organic matter that is currently available on a sustainable basis for displacement of up to 30 % of our nation’s petroleum consumption as transportation fuel, now plans to seek funding from the government and from investors for comprehensive technology development, testing and validation of the AAEC patented fuels conversion system.

    These funding sources combined with the technology validation process are expected to transform Advanced Alternative Energy Co., from a purely R&D organization to a viable commercial business entity.

    Success in AAEC finding funding would insure AAEC is able to play a major role in achieving an increase in ethanol and other liquid fuels production that would see US transportation fuels from agricultural biomass and wastes increase to 20 percent by 2030 and electrical power from clean coal processes also increase to 20 percent by 2030, 30 percent by 2040 and 40 percent by 2050. In fact, depending on several factors, if the company is able to commercialize its new and highly scaleable biomass conversion technology, AAEC could be providing biomass conversion systems that could provide similar amounts of renewable energy in many developing countries which would improve our chances of successfully addressing climate change in time to avoid a catastrophe.

    For more information contact

    Les Blevins Advanced Alternative Energy

    1207 N 1800 Rd., Lawrence, KS 66049

    Tele: 785-842-1943 Fax: 785-842-0909



    See these additional websites;

    "Basically, the technology for disposing of waste hasn't caught up with the technology of producing it."

    ~ Senator Al Gore 1992 ‘Earth In The Balance’ pg. 148

    The AAEC-SG Patented Fuels Conversion Unit (depicted in red below) is an automatically fed biomass combustion and gasification unit capable of ingesting most forms of bulky biomass and waste based fuels with little if any fuels pre-sorting and pre-processing needed.

    About AAEC’s Patented Fuels Conversion Technology

    Unlike the conventional waste to energy plants, which are mass burn or incineration units, the AAEC conversion process is a thermal treatment process. It is a high or low heat process which burns the wastes in an oxygen deprived chamber to produce a synthetic gas (syngas). The syngas is cooled, cleaned and converted to electricity via a turbine or generator. The syngas can also be converted into a liquid transportation fuel like ethanol or diesel, via a catalyst, i.e. Fischer Tropsch method.

    This process produces far less emissions than the mass burn technology, usually about 1/10, and these are well within the limits of the US EPA and State environmental quality standards. Unlike the mass burn plants, there are no huge smokestacks spewing smoke and noxious emissions.

    The conversion technology of waste gasification has been successfully proven on a commercial scale in Europe and Japan. It is a far more efficient – as well as less polluting technology – and typically produces up to three times as much electricity as conventional waste-energy plants with much lower emissions. As such it can be economically deployed in communities with smaller populations, as are scattered over most areas of the world and it can also be scaled up for larger cities. Heat, power, chemicals, biofuels and agri-char are the desired end products.

    AAEC is seeking partners and alliances in the commercialization of this new concept fuels conversion system. Contact Les Blevins at for more information.


    Low-Cost and Free Fuels Useable in the AAEC “BlackJack” Multi-Fuel and Multi-Process Furnace/Gasifier/Pyrolyser

    Fossil fuels are being depleted and our over dependence on them is causing rapid degradation of vast landscapes, pollution and acidification of the world's oceans, streams and lakes, global warming and climate changes, and many other serious economic and environmental problems, as well as disrupting world peace. And the world’s attention is increasingly turning to plant-based energy sources, including food and fiber crop residues, lumber industry byproducts, invasive species, municipal solid wastes, scrap tires and other special wastes, manufacturing industry byproducts, bulky biomass from plantations of fast-growing trees, giant miscanthus and other energy crops, rural, urban and suburban tree and yard wastes, storm, flood and demolition debris, all of which could be used as feedstocks for power generation, thermal heating and for the production of biochar and transportation fuels. And these could all back up solar or wind energy when the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow allowing nations to quickly back away from their over dependence on fossil fuels.

    One advantage of AAEC’s BlackJack Furnace is that it allows the use of diverse lower cost biomass and waste fuels derived from locally available sources as well as conventional fossil fuels. Some of the fuels that can be used for small to large scale applications are; wood from forest thinning, storm, flood, or demolition operations, scrap lumber, low grade wood from dead or dying trees or from trees not normally considered suitable for firewood such as cottonwood, elm and pine. For small scale applications, crotches, stumps or hard to split woods all work very well due to larger door openings and combustion chambers with firebrick lining.

    Forestry and lumber mill wastes such as forestry thinnings and lumber mill slabs, wood shavings and sawdust can be used right along with other wastes such as waste paper, scrap wood and agricultural based byproducts.

    Dedicated energy crops like short rotation coppice (willow, poplar, alder, ash, hazel, silver birch, sweet chestnut and sycamore), miscanthus, switch grass, reed canary grass, prairie cord grass, rye grass, straw, woodfuel from forestry, arboricultural tree management and processing and other energy crops.

    Agriculture-byproducts that are "baleable" can be used, such as corn stalks, wheat straw, bean stems, baled weeds, etc. Small square bales will fit into the firebox furnace whole and firebox furnaces large enough for the large round ag bale can be supplied on special order and large or small bales can also be fed "stoked" automatically with our automatic bale feeder system. (under development).

    Broken pallets or scrap from construction, demolition or manufacturing can be used as well as used roofing, carpet, furniture, scrap tires, plastic shelving etc. Other unconventional fuels such as waste oils can be used by adding a low-tech waste oil burner systems or a high-tech atomizing waste oil burner.

    When needed conventional fuels can also be used by the addition of coal, gas or fuel oil burners for an additional heat source in the much cleaner conversion known as gasification.

    For more information contact:

    Les Blevins President

    Advanced Alternative Energy

    1207 N 1800 Rd., Lawrence, KS 66049

    Ph 785-842-1943


    Could biochar be used for fixing the world’s mounting ills?

    Carbon based “Biochar” improves soil structure and nutrient retention capacity and can be made from carbon extracted from the earth’s atmosphere via photosynthesis which occurs naturally.

    Biochar is a product of a bio-conversion technology that can turn otherwise compostable organic leftovers to a form of carbon that when put back into the soil holds moisture and nutrients better, and even do so indefinitely. Composting is slow and isn’t very efficient in comparison to biochar production.

    Biochar production can release energy on its own for producing electrical power and can sustain the conversion process in the absence of oxygen and it can also produce transportation biofuels or renewable biochar for sequestration of carbon in depleted farm soils as opposed to releasing the carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It can also create heat that can also be very useful.

    Agrichar or biochar production is the practice of growing crops or harvesting dead or living trees for producing biochar for agricultural use. I like the idea of using the same ground to enrich itself permanently. Even if it didn't grow any crops very well before it will go on to produce maximum yields of most anything and it takes a lot less fertilizer and water from irrigation or rainfall.

    It seems someone should be making small biochar production models commercially. Making it relatively small would be best for the common man who would like to demonstrate far superior gardening and home heating because something small is more portable, safer, user friendly, and it can be seen, experienced and popularized by the consumer. Also larger more fuel flexible and process flexible units could be manufactured for and marketed to villages, towns, communities, counties and even provinces.

    I'm confident this technology will change the world. The application itself provides the intuitive education on how to live sustainably. Once people learn how to really live off the land they will have a basic ability to take relatively little and sustain their own nutritional needs in places that previously had poor soil. This is a much bigger deal for countries other than the USA. It could mean no more slash and burn. It can reverse the trend from using up plant life to putting it back again, preserving our wildlife.

    Biochar: for taking carbon from the atmosphere and using it to unlock the world’s food growing potential

    By Katrin

    As our planet faces a raft of pressing issues from shrinking energy resources, rapid human induced climate change to food and fresh water shortages, now would seem like a good time for some foresight, creativity, innovation - and a little risk-taking.

    By Dr Michelle Morrison, principal environmental scientist with Wardell Armstrong

    No single solution will be the panacea to all our problems. We’re going to need to use as many good ideas as we can. Just one of these could be the production of biochar using biomass feedstocks – combining as it does a number of very distinct benefits.

    First, as a very stable form of carbon, biochar can provide a reliable means of sequestration – potentially locking away carbon in the soil for hundreds or even thousands of years, rather than allowing it to be released quickly back into the atmosphere.

    Secondly, it could be used to improve soil structure and nutrient retention capacity which can help plants to grow – whether in poor quality tropical or desert soils, or brownfield land closer to home. And thirdly, the pyrolysis of biomass creates a syn(thetic) gas that can be combusted to produce renewable energy in the form of electricity and heat.

    Polarised debate

    A lot of the recent discussion of biochar as a method of carbon capture and storage has been focused on agricultural applications, and the debate has been polarized between pro and anti-camps. Some proponents may have over-hyped its benefits with unsubstantiated claims, while some detractors have damned the technology as they foresee massive land grabs with untold environmental and human health impacts. The truth, of course, lies somewhere in between.

    So what exactly is biochar? Like charcoal, it’s a form of black carbon. But unlike charcoal (which is produced primarily for use as a fuel) biochar is the term used for char generated as a by-product or product of biomass pyrolysis, with the potential for applications other than fuel.

    Biochar is the carbon-rich by-product that’s produced when biomass (such as wood waste, agricultural crop residues, coconut husks and so on) is heated (pyrolyzed) in the absence of oxygen, causing its thermal degradation into a synthetic gas and a char. This is different from incineration, which involves the combustion of materials in the presence of oxygen to produce CO2, other gases and ash with little or no organic carbon content.

    Like its close cousins ‘activated carbon’ and ‘carbon black’, biochar has a number of chemical and physical characteristics which could prove very beneficial across a number of applications. A large surface area, porous structure and particle size distribution are three of the properties which have a marked influence on how biochar behaves in soil.

    Pyrolysis technology itself is not new. It’s been used in the chemical industry for the production of syn-oils as precursors to certain chemicals and syn-fuels, in the plastics industry for the conversion of ethylene dichloride to vinyl chloride for the production of PVC, for the conversion of coal to coke, and the cracking of heavy hydrocarbons to lighter ones. What is novel is the application of the technology specifically for the production of char.

    Combining soil improvement, carbon sequestration and renewable energy

    Recent studies have shown that adding biochar to soils can in certain situations improve nutrient retention, water-holding capacity and cation exchange capacity (the ability to hold on to other charged particles such as metals), as well as reducing emissions of other greenhouse gases from soils and holding the carbon in the soil for centuries.

    So in addition to potentially improving crop growth, soil productivity and structure, there’s also the potential for sequestering the carbon (which was originally taken up by the plant biomass as CO2 when it was growing) by converting it into biochar and burying it.

    This is because biochar is largely resistant to microbial attack - soil bacteria get their food and energy from the breakdown of soil organic matter, “eating” their way through it and releasing greenhouse gases as by-products into the atmosphere.

    And there’s yet another potential benefit of biochar – the production of renewable energy. The pyrolysis of biomass creates a syn(thetic) gas, , that can be combusted to produce electricity and heat. Some can be used to maintain the pyrolysis process, while the rest is exported for external use. The amount will depend on the conditions of pyrolysis. Low-temperature pyrolysis can yield bio-oils which can be used as fuels or processed to produce chemicals. As the temperature increases, less oil and more biochar is generated.. Eventually, at high temperatures with the introduction of a limited quantity of air, gasification takes place – creating mainly syngas with some ash and little or no organic biochar carbon. So there’s a sliding scale of biochar/energy production which is controlled largely by temperature.

    Interest in biochar originated from stories of lost civilizations in the Amazon. Initially, scientists didn’t believe that large and sophisticated communities could be supported by the poor quality, acidic soils of the river basin. But the discovery of the Terra Preta (Dark Earth) soils in tracts of land in the Amazon basin, a metre or so beneath the surface, showed that manmade char (biochar), derived from the slow burning of wood and other organic wastes, was a key component in improving the poor quality tropical soil’s productivity. In fact, it’s still productive today and still able to support agriculture some thousands of years later.

    The argument for incorporating biochar into agronomy in certain arid/semi-arid/tropical areas looks like a “no brainer” - providing a relatively simple and cheap answer to problems of soil fertility, soil structure, water retention and hence soil productivity. There are some caveats, however. The diverse nature of biochar feedstocks, the physical and chemical conditions within the pyrolysis plant and the eventual application can result in different biochar characteristics and therefore different results.

    But in theory, biochar production could be applied to many different organic feedstocks with some adjustment of the operating conditions. The versatility of the technology means that it can be applied to biomass products and/or biomass wastes. If the operation takes in waste biomass, it will be subject to the appropriate environmental permitting regulations and may fall under the Waste Incineration Directive in the UK.

    Other applications could include using biochar as a soil forming material, combined with others for the restoration of brownfield land - acting as an ameliorant for contamination through its capacity to adsorb pollutants, as well as a soil improver.

    What about the application of biochar technology in the waste resource management sector? Pure biomass feedstocks such as tree cuttings, forestry and crop residues, heather and even diseased plants should all be usable. Some wastes, of course, might contain contaminant levels which render the biochar unsuitable for application to land as a soil improver or pollution ameliorant. But it may yet be possible to bury this contaminated biochar deep beneath the surface in a landfill cell or disused mine void. This would still result both in reduced volumes of waste going to landfill and in the useful sequestration of carbon, preventing its release to the atmosphere for many years.

    The scale of application can also be wide. Small scale family, community or farming projects – especially in developing countries – could benefit from investments in low capex equipment/plant for creating biochar for soil improvement, coupled with localised energy production. But much larger organisations could exploit the technology too – for example as an integral part of Birmingham City Council’s 2026 project to reduce the city’s energy requirements by 60%, by 2026.

    A great deal of research is currently underway into risks to the environment and human health of biochar application, its longevity in the soil, its physico-chemical properties, and potential agronomical and agricultural benefits.

    But there are still fundamental questions to be answered before legislation and policy can be drafted. Can biochar from different feedstocks be characterised? Can certain biochars be “matched” with application scenarios, or are there too many variables? What’s the energy and mass balance over the entire life cycle of the production of biochar, and how does it compare with other renewable technologies? If biochar is buried to sequester carbon, what is its longevity in the soil? And what’s the cost/benefit analysis?

    The UK Biochar Research Centre is at the forefront of multi- and interdisciplinary research into biochar, and is seeking to create a UK hub which can feed into the work already done elsewhere and help to answer these questions. As a consultancy business with a broad and expanding portfolio of work in energy and climate change, Wardell Armstrong is working closely with the UKBRC on a number of projects, providing consultancy on policy and legislative requirements for the implementation of biochar projects.

    Much of the commercial focus so far has been on energy production - not a surprise given the incentives offered to the renewable energy sector and energy users. The only current mechanism that exists to provide an incentive for carbon sequestration is the Clean Development Mechanism. Biochar projects in developing countries can apply for registration under the CDM. However, production is unlikely to reach its commercial potential in the UK and other industrialised countries unless a similar commercial incentive is in place which rewards carbon sequestration.

    Biochar in the future

    If the potential of biochar as one of the ways of alleviating climate change and food shortages is to be realised, there needs to be a concerted application of the technology at a number of scales.

    Its great appeal is that it can be applied across a broad range of projects - everything from individuals and small businesses using small scale, low capital equipment, to large scale, high specification plants. Many different biomass feedstocks could be used - organic waste materials such as Waste Water Treatment Works biosolids, waste wood, crop residues and forestry residues or proprietary crops such as short rotation coppice. Depending on the requirements of a particular project, the technology could be optimised for biochar, bio-oil or syngas production by altering the pyrolysis conditions. The biochar could be applied to land as a soil improver, for land restoration, for long-term sequestration, or for contamination remediation.

    But none of this must come at the expense of the environment or indigenous peoples. The spectre of unethical “land grabbing” and deforestation for biomass production should be fiercely guarded against to prevent the environmental and socio-economic impacts which accompanied the first wave of biofuel production from happening again.

    As long as these risks can be legislated against and avoided, biochar could be an extremely useful and timely tool in combination with other measures for more sustainable living. We could do worse than support its progress.


    “It is critical that we do everything we can to reduce our dependence on petroleum based fuels. Turning waste products into energy is good for the economy, local job creation and our environment."

    ~ Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

    "Basically, the technology for disposing of waste hasn't caught up with the technology of producing it."

    ~ Senator Al Gore 1992 ‘Earth In The Balance’ pg. 148

    “The country that harnesses the power of clean, renewable

    energy will lead the 21st century.”

    ~ President Barack Obama

    “A fundamental rule in technology says that whatever can be done

    will be done” ~ Andy Grove, Co-founder of Intel

    An Innovative Alternative Energy Technology that can produce Biochar and many other high value products.

    Les Blevins was born in Kansas in the late 1930s. His background has been in the mechanical trades as a machinist, mechanic, welder and maintenance technician, which comprised his primary employment from 1957 to 2001. Since 1980 he has been developing an innovative fuel conversion concept to address multiple energy and environmental problems with a strong emphasis on simplicity, practicality and economy. His first patent was granted in 1983 his most recent in 1993.

    Blevins believes humans and the environment have long been on a collision course and that our fuels burning is inflicting damage on the global environment and on our critical resources. Many of humanity’s current practices put at serious risk the future we all wish for human society. The advent of human induced rapid global warming, increasingly evident since 1980, and the impact this is having on the world’s oceans are the result of our unwise reliance on fossil fuels rather than our abundant renewable energy resources.

    Blevins believes fundamental changes are urgent this decade if we are to avoid the collision our present course will bring about. Our bad practices are now so rapidly altering the world that it will very likely be unable to sustain life in the manner we now know ever again.

    Blevins believes advancements in energy efficiency, energy generation and energy conservation can play a major role in solving the problem. And he favors developing improved fuels conversion methods, and in implementing these new concept systems in distributed and On-site installations as the very best means to utilize diverse biomass resources, better manage diverse wastes, and produce from these new sources of heat, power, chemicals, biochar and liquid fuels like ethanol, alcohol, biodiesel, and methane and hydrogen gas.

    In the 1970’s he noticed a lack of suitable biomass fuels conversion systems designed for fuels that seemingly existed in great abundance, such as diverse low-value agricultural biomass and various routinely wasted biomass materials.

    Blevins decided to research and develop new fuels conversion systems. He designed a furnace to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, by instead utilizing a diverse range of low value and widely available biomass and wastes as fuel.

    This led to the development of an air or water heating furnace in 1979 that Les installed next to and connected to his rural home near Lawrence, Kansas. He used, tested and refined the new concept furnace over the next 12 years (1980 to 1992) to enable combustion, gasification and pyrolysis processes.

    The novel AAEC fuels combustion, gasification and pyrolysis system is deemed to have the following unique

    #1 – 12 January, 2018 at 8:57 am

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