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.
Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama outlined a strategy to boost biofuels production on Wednesday, seeking to nudge the country toward energy independence while balancing the environmental costs of grain-based motor fuels.
The move is part of the administration’s effort to gain more votes for a climate bill stalled in the Senate that will seek to boost production of clean, low-carbon energy and help the country reduce its dependence on imported fossil fuels.
The climate bill faces further hurdles after the election last month in Massachusetts that gave Republicans a Senate seat long held by Democrats, depriving the president’s party of 60 votes that could overcome procedural hurdles.
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.
Saturday, January 9th, 2010
Based on the rash of predictions for cleantech in 2010 from investors, consultants and media (see the full list at the end of this post), I’ve pulled together a “trend of trends” list below that attempts to synthesis the broader, over-arching themes. As always, I’m amazed that water isn’t on the top of every list, every year, although there are some positive signs on that front. So here are the 12 things that filtered to the top: (more…)
Friday, January 8th, 2010
While news from the airline industry isn’t exactly positive these days, there is a one bright spot for the environment: in December 15 major airlines from the U.S., Canada, Germany, and Mexico signed a memoranda of understanding (MOU) with two U.S. producers of alternative aviation fuels .
Several airlines have already flown test flights using biofuels or synthetic fuel, and a January 2009 Department of Energy study found a “significant,” 5-12 percent reduction of greenhouse gases over the life cycle of alternative fuel compared with traditional airline fuel. These domestically produced renewable fuels are not only expected to be more environmentally friendly but also will create more jobs and increase the United States’ overall energy independence. (more…)
Friday, October 2nd, 2009
Biofuels offer a unique opportunity for the developing world. Almost 80 percent of the remaining land that has cultivation potential resides in South America and Africa, according to research supported by the United Nations.
However, without a standard method for determining the impact of biofuels on the environment, international bodies like the U.N. will tread carefully when discussing the role of bioenergy in mitigating the effects of climate change, despite the potential economic benefits for the developing world.
The future of bioenergy from algae and bioengineered feedstocks is an exciting and promising opportunity for life science to take a larger role in sustaining our energy needs.
Wednesday, September 30th, 2009
Thank billions in government funding for helping to lift clean technology investment in the third quarter, said the Cleantech Group and Deloitte in a report Wednesday.
The quarterly analysis reiterated that the recession has kicked but not killed investments in this sector, which remain down 42 percent from the third quarter of 2008. Biotech and IT combined receive less funding than clean tech, which continues its climb from the second quarter, the report noted.
“The two largest venture deals (Solyndra and Tesla Motors) and the largest IPO (A123Systems) this quarter were all recipients of U.S. government funding,” said Cleantech Group managing director Dallas Kachan in a statement.
Tuesday, September 15th, 2009
Iraqi officials have endorsed a plan to convert dates into biofuel, an innovative project they hope will boost a once-thriving agriculture economy burdened by years of drought, government sanctions and war.
A United Arab Emirates-based company will produce bioethanol from the dates that farmers can no longer use because they are rotting, said Faroun Ahmed Hussein, head of Iraq’s date palm board.
The nation produces about 350,000 tons of dates annually, but consumes only about 150,000 tons.