Tuesday, February 16th, 2010
In a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Virginia and published in Environmental Science & Technology, the authors claim that algae causes more harm to the environment than traditional biofuel crops like corn.
However, in this study, the researchers used algae production data from at least a decade ago.
In response, Andres Clarens the lead author of the study said he used the most recent data that he could, which was about 10 years old. Algae biofuel companies keep their research a closely guarded secret, he said.
Wednesday, February 10th, 2010
Biodiesel refers to a vegetable oil or animal fat based diesel fuel consisting of long chain alkyl is typically made by chemically these oils with an alcohol. Biodiesel is meant to be used in standard diesel engines and is thus distinct from the vegetable and waste oils used to fuel converted diesel engines. Biodiesel can be used alone, or blended with petrodiesel.
There was a recent White House announcement calling for expanded production of biofuels (36 billion gallons by 2022, to be exact).
But producing more biofuels is only part of the equation when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and our reliance on petroleum carbon based fuels. Vehicles must be ready and sometimes converted to this usage.
Enterprise Holdings just announced that it will convert its entire fleet of Alamo Rent A Car, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and National Car Rental airport shuttle buses to biodiesel by spring of this year. That’s more than 600 buses throughout more than 50 North American markets.
Tuesday, February 9th, 2010
The U.S. biofuels story is a mix of interrelated elements: energy security (lessening dependence on Middle Eastern oil), ethanol, a clean energy economy…and China.
Traditionally, the geopolitical reality plays out like this: the United States relies on politically sensitive Middle Eastern petroleum, which makes the U.S. particularly sensitive to oil price volatility, which in turn, compels the U.S. to invest money and human capital in guaranteeing supply.
But as a major corn producer, the United States commits corn resources to biofuels in the name of moving towards energy independence, price security, and a clean energy economy. Meanwhile, China is industrializing, making a lot of money in the process, and beginning to suck up a rapidly growing percentage of the global supply of crude oil.
Friday, February 5th, 2010
Researchers in the Middle East are developing a technology they say will convert saltwater-tolerant crops into jet fuel, creating a biofuel that doesn’t consume huge amounts of fresh water or take land away from food crops.
The Masdar Institute in the United Arab Emirates is creating a demonstration farm that will use a system called integrated seawater agriculture, in which seawater would be transported via canal to a desert-based farm that combines fish and shrimp farming with cultivation of mangrove trees and salicornia, whose seeds can be converted into fuel.
Thursday, February 4th, 2010
President Obama is supporting an ambitious plan to increase biofuel production in the U.S. and to develop 5 to 10 demonstration projects to capture carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants and store the CO2 underground.
Unveiling a policy to develop biofuels not only from corn but also from farm and forest waste and switch grass, Obama said his administration will strive to meet a Congressional target of producing 36 billion gallons of ethanol and advanced biofuels by 2022.
Thursday, February 4th, 2010
On December 17th 2009 the Sapsan (Russian for Peregrine Falcon) high-speed train made its maiden voyage from Moscow to St. Petersburg in 3 hours and 45 minutes.
Nothing has ground America’s collective gears worse than losing to the “Ruskies” for the majority of the past century, so this development could provide the spark needed to ratchet up speed rail development in the United States as a matter of national pride.
When Sputnik slung Yuri Gagarin into orbit, the United States launched into the space race with the Apollo missions. America prides itself on its tech capabilities, which makes it even more puzzling why the high speed rail resistance has held out for so long and why we are behind the Russians in this regard.
The Sapsan is the latest and greatest of Russian rail, and adds to the heritage the zheleznya doroga (meaning railway, or literally “iron road”).
Thursday, January 28th, 2010
With so much volatility in the price of oil over the last decade, who can blame the airline industry for “going big” these past couple months and placing bets on emerging renewable jet fuel companies?
The list of deals is long: AltAir signing an MOU with 14 airlines to supply camelina-based fuel, BioJet and Great Plains working together to develop their own green fuel derived from camelina, Kingfisher Airlines working with three companies on R&D for renewable jet fuel, and Qatar Airways leading a consortium to investigate potential biofuels, just to name a few.
Monday, January 25th, 2010
Shai Agassi (left) and the team at Better Place have done it again: almost two years to the day after announcing its first car partnership and its first country deployment in Israel, Better Place today announced that it has signed an agreement with an HSBC-led investor consortium for new equity financing of $350 million. The deal marks one of the largest clean-tech investments in history and values Better Place at $1.25 billion.
This Series B equity financing round features participation from new investors including HSBC, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, and Lazard Asset Management. These investors will join existing Series A investors including Israel Corp., VantagePoint Venture Partners, Ofer Hi-Tech Holdings, Morgan Stanley Principal Investments, Maniv Energy Capital, and Israel Cleantech Ventures, among others, as shareholders of Better Place. For HSBC, which led the round with an investment of $125 million, the deal represents one of the largest financial investments of its kind by HSBC.
As part of the deal, Kevin Adeson, HSBC Head of Global Capital Financing, will join the Better Place Board of Directors, and HSBC will own approximately 10% of the company’s shares. (more…)
Monday, January 25th, 2010
The 107 million tons of grain that went to U.S. ethanol distilleries in 2009 was enough to feed 330 million people for one year at average world consumption levels. More than a quarter of the total U.S. grain crop was turned into ethanol to fuel cars last year. With 200 ethanol distilleries in the country set up to transform food into fuel, the amount of grain processed has tripled since 2004.
The United States looms large in the world food economy: it is far and away the world’s leading grain exporter, exporting more than Argentina, Australia, Canada, and Russia combined. In a globalized food economy, increased demand for food to fuel American vehicles puts additional pressure on world food supplies. (more…)
Thursday, January 21st, 2010
Electric cars are a green movement that is finally moving. Shunted to the side as the public indulged its love affair with gas-guzzling SUVs and four-wheel-drive trucks, history has finally caught up with the plug-in vehicle.
The North American International Auto Show in Detroit is the domestic auto industry’s biggest annual showcase, and the new models have traditionally been brought out in a son et lumière of dancing girls, deafening music, and dry ice smoke. The few green cars that made it this far were usually for display only — very few actually made it to showrooms.
But not this year. It’s become a race to market for green cars, and soon you’ll be able to buy many of the electric vehicles that were on display last week in Detroit. The auto show featured one hybrid and battery electric car introduction after another. Although the only truly road-worthy, plug-in electric vehicle you can buy today is the $109,000 Tesla Roadster, by the end of 2010 it will be joined by such contenders as the Nissan Leaf, Coda sedan, and the Think City. (more…)