Biofuels for the Mid-level Consumer

Pacific Natural Energy's BioBoxThe biofuels boom is leaving out a big piece of the consumer pie: mid-level consumers. Well, that’s what Pacific Natural Energy believes. PNE also believes it has the perfect “pie filling.” The energy company has introduced it’s BioBox Mobile Processor as the perfect, viable biodiesel solution for the middle men.

Everyone’s heard of the avid garage-based hobbyist brewing a biodiesel concoction to fuel his car. And it’s old news that oil conglomerates are investing in big biodiesel factories. Yet both approaches forget the largest segment for rapid expansion of biodiesel production and usage, the mid-market producer/user. That’s why most national restaurant chains haven’t jumped aboard the renewable-energy bandwagon and embraced biodiesel technologies – until now.

Recognizing a need for a more manageable and realistic approach to biodiesel production, the Los Angeles-based Pacific Natural Energy (PNE) has created the BioBox, a mobile processing plant that turns waste vegetable oil into high-quality biodiesel. Able to be located at or near the source of waste, the BioBox is the most efficient, functional mobile biodiesel processing unit made in America. Pacific Natural Energy is the only company offering a total turn-key solution that comes installed in cargo containers for the storage of methanol, waste vegetable oil and refined biodiesel. With the BioBox, those affiliated with waste, recycling and the restaurant industry finally have a way to make biodiesel.
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PG&E Commits to Long-Term Wind Power

Pacific Gas and Electric CompanyPacific Gas and Electric Company is embracing wind power with mucho gusto. The electric company has committed to a long-term power purchase agreement with enXco, purchasing 150 megawatts of wind energy through enXco’s Shiloh II project. This latest agreement bumps up PG&E’s contracted and delivered wind energy to 1,061 MW and will deliver about 510 GWh of wind energy to customers in northern and central California each year.

“Wind energy is one of many renewable sources PG&E is seeking as we increase the amount of clean energy provided to our customers,” said Fong Wan, vice president of Energy Procurement for PG&E. “Our 150 MW agreement with enXco is an important step towards PG&E exceeding 20 percent renewable electric power under contract or delivered by 2010.”

Located in Solano County, California, Shiloh II will be developed, constructed and operated by enXco, an affiliate of EdF Energies Nouvelles. Shiloh II will begin delivering renewable energy in December 2008.

Currently, 12 percent of the energy PG&E supplies qualifies as energy from renewable resources under California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) program. The electric company says it’s on track to exceed 20 percent of renewable electric power resources under contract or delivered by 2010.

Clean Air Green Tour Rounds Out 2007 Promotion

Clean Air TourJust five stops remain for the National Clean Air Green Tour. Covering over 50,000 miles in five months, the tour has been promoting green practices and has participated in the United Nations Billion Tree Campaign and the Adopt-a-Highway Programs along the way.

The last five stops will be made in Evans, GA on October 30th; Lexington, SC on October 31st; Mount Pleasant, SC on November 2nd; Savannah, GA on November 3rd and Jacksonville, FL on November 4th.

Green Vision Goes Online

GreenEnergyTV.comAlternative energy enthusiasts looking to see some renewable fuels in action can now access a vast array of demonstrations online. GreenEnergyTV.com describes itself as an Online Television Channel that allows millions of viewers worldwide to get plugged in to what’s going on with alternative energy.

Though having been launched only in January 2007, Green Energy TV now has viewers from 104 countries and 6 continents going to www.greenenergytv.com (Source: Google Analytics as of 10/07).

We know that people can and want to make a difference by showing and sharing with the world what they are doing to be green. We welcome companies, individuals, families, schools, kids, teachers and organizations to Upload & Watch videos on the site. It’s free to Upload & Watch videos. Our viewers can search and view the solutions that address their specific need. Videos are also sought from companies, inventors, colleges and universities with existing or breakthrough green energy technology that is waiting to be discovered and marketed to the world. We are a community and a network that is changing the world through Green Media coverage.

Videos we air include: Solar Energy, Wind Power, Hydro Power, Hydrogen, Fuels, Geothermal, Wave/Tidal Energy, Energy Conservation, Recycling, Hybrid vehicles, Organic, Green Building, Recycling, and more.

Propane Powers Metro Cars

Metro CarsMichigan-based Metro Cars is converting the majority of it’s fleet to operate on propane fuel as part of its new Propane Initiative. The self-described leader of transportation in Michigan has also received an award for its propane conversion.

Because of their innovative use of propane to fuel their vehicles, Metro Cars has received the prestigious 2007 PROPANE Exceptional Energy Fleet Award; one of only THREE companies in the country to receive this award. Dan Ret, Chief Operating Officer stated that Metro Cars started the Propane Initiative not to win awards, but because it’s the right thing to do.

“As the largest and one of the most prestigious transportation companies in Michigan and North America, Metro Cars has always been on the cutting-edge of technology,” said Ret.

Metro Cars is committed to the preservation of Michigan’s environment. That’s why they are converting their fleet of luxury sedans and airport shuttles to clean propane technology.

Kansas State Researchers to Study “Biofuels Revolution”

U.S. Department of EnergyThe U.S. Department of Energy has awarded Kansas State University a three-year grant to study the impact of alternative fuels. K-State researchers are receiving nearly $700,000 to study the social, cultural and economic impacts of the “biofuels revolution” on rural communities in Kansas and Iowa.

The $696,827 grant comes from the department’s Ethical, Legal and Societal Implications of Research on Alternative Bioenergy Technologies, Synthetic Genomes or Nanotechnologies program. The researchers from K-State’s department of sociology, anthropology and social work are: Theresa Selfa, assistant professor; Laszlo Kulcsar, assistant professor; Gerad Middendorf, associate professor; and Richard Goe, professor. They are joined by Carmen Bain, assistant professor of sociology at Iowa State University.

Kansas State University“There has been very little research into the social dimensions of the bioeconomy,” said Selfa, who is the grant’s principal investigator. “We are among a small number of social science researchers examining this topic, which is why this grant is very important.”

As the United States works to reduce its dependence on foreign oil and expand the development of alternative fuels, ethanol plants are springing up in rural communities across the Midwest, including those in Kansas and Iowa. Although such plants often are touted as economic and population drivers, Selfa said that the social and economic costs and benefits haven’t been assessed with in-depth case study research. The project will examine four Kansas communities and two Iowa communities to see whether claims that ethanol plants will revitalize the towns hold true.

Wind, Biomass Fuel Michigan’s The Ark

The ArkA concert venue in Michigan is using various forms of renewable energy when it puts on a show. The Ark has partnered with DTE Energy and is operating on DTE’s GreenCurrents renewable energy program.

November will be Green Energy month at The Ark. During November, all electricity used at the concert venue will be offset by renewable power provided under DTE Energy. Additionally, anyone who enrolls in GreenCurrents at The Ark in November will receive a free music CD, or a ticket to an upcoming Ark performance.

DTE EnergyGreenCurrents is a voluntary program that enables DTE Energy’s electric customers to “green up” their power with renewable energy created from sustainable sources like the wind and biomass. For as little as $2.50 extra a month, GreenCurrents customers can help improve the environment and support the development of new renewable energy projects in Michigan.

Located in Ann Arbor, The Ark is a non-profit organization that hosts more than 300 live performances a year, including 28 shows that are scheduled for November. Green Energy month at The Ark will kick off Oct. 30 with a free concert featuring Detroit band Zebula Avenue.

US Ethanol Introduces Biofuel Station in Washington State

Use Ethanol LLCThe first USETHANOL Biofuel Station is will be running its pumps beginning next Monday, October 29, 2007. Consumers will be able to fill up with biofuels at the station in Longview, WA after the official opening at 11:00 am PDT.

A Grand Opening Celebration and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony will be held at the new Biofuel Station with executives of US Ethanol, LLC and Wilcox & Flegel Oil Co. on hand. Local and state government officials will be invited along with numerous representatives of the Longview/Kelso and Vancouver business communities.

The USETHANOL Biofuel Station is believed to be the first such station in Western Washington and will kick off the establishment of at least twenty five locations along the I-5 corridor in Washington and Oregon at which USETHANOL(TM)’s branded E85 product will be available to motorists who own flexible fuel vehicles.

Products available at the USETHANOL(TM) Biofuel Station include E85, unleaded regular, unleaded premium and B5 biodiesel. The unleaded gasoline products will contain ten percent ethanol by volume.

Whole Foods Awarded for Harnessing Wind Power

Whole Foods MarketThe world’s self-proclaimed leader in natural and organic grocery sales has earned special recognition form the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA has awarded Whole Foods Market its Green Power Partner of the Year award for the second consecutive year, recognizing the grocer’s leadership in accelerating the development of new renewable energy capacity nationwide.

This is the fourth consecutive year Whole Foods Market has been recognized with a Green Power Leadership Award by EPA, after being recognized initially in 2004 for the company’s growing commitment to green power purchasing.

EPA Green Power LeadershipIn 2007, Whole Foods Market is being recognized for increasing its green power purchasing to include more than 509 million kilowatt-hours of wind-based renewable energy credits. This is enough renewable energy to offset 100 percent of the electricity used in all of its stores, facilities, bake houses, distribution centers, regional offices and global headquarters in the U.S. and Canada. Whole Foods Market is the only FORTUNE 500 Company to offset 100 percent of its electricity use with renewable energy credits.

The release also mentions Whole Food’s committed effort to reduce its carbon footprint by fueling the grocer’s trucks with biodiesel at four of the company’s nine distribution centers.

Coal: A Tried and True But Viable Energy Option?

Americans for Balanced Energy ChoicesCoal-based electricity is emerging as a qualified energy source for one concerned group as the nation heightens its energy awareness. The Americans for Balanced Energy Choices have taken it upon themselves to promote a not-so-new energy option, saying sometimes the old way is the better way.

With energy security issues weighing heavily on the minds of Americans by foreign oil prices topping $90 a barrel for the first time, Americans for Balanced Energy Choices (ABEC) today launched a new campaign to raise the public’s awareness of the inherent benefits of coal-based electricity.

The America’s Power campaign reminds consumers that 50 percent of their electricity comes from coal, and strives to ensure the development of energy and environmental policies that will allow the American public to enjoy the benefits of affordable, secure and reliable electricity well into the future. The campaign also reinforces the goal of ensuring ultra-low/near-zero emissions, including the capture and storage of greenhouse gases.

ABEC’s new campaign comes at a time when energy issues are at the forefront of presidential, national and state policy discussions. As ABEC demonstrated in the report “The Rising Burden of Energy Costs on American Families, 1997-2007″ the country’s poorest families will spend nearly 46 percent of their income on energy and transportation costs. These concerns are prompting policy makers across the nation to take a new look at coal’s role in meeting America’s growing demand for affordable and reliable energy.

Oregon Setting Standards for Ethanol Production

Do you know what is one of the best things about blog-style news sites? It gives the editors the freedom to not only spark feedback from readers, but to share that feedback with the rest of the site’s subscribers. One subscriber, Tim, pointed out the how ethanol is moving forward in Oregon. I thought that both what he found and what he had to say are every bit of post worthy:

What do democratic Oregon Governor Kulongoski, republican Congressman Greg Walden, an Eastern Oregon Wheat farmer and a barge operator have in common? They were all among the 500 people in Boardman, Oregon on October 5th celebrating the grand opening of Pacific Ethanol’s state-of-the-art biorefinery, Oregon’s first opportunity to produce its own motor fuel. This video shows how renewable fuels are breaking down old political barriers between urban and rural America.

Oregon is doing renewable fuels right–having passed a landmark legislative package that ensures market access; creates incentives for local feedstocks; and encourages efficient production and investment in new technology. The policy is already translating into on-the-ground investment. Oregon provides a great model for other states across the country looking to reap the economic and environmental benefits of renewable fuels.

Ethanol Becomes Bigger Priority for Novozymes Inc.

Novozymes Inc.An article from The Sacramento Business Journal has spotlighted a company that’s shifting some gears and making more room for research in ethanol production. Celia Lamb reports that Novozymes Inc., part of Davis biotechnology company – a company that focuses on industrial enzyme research – is investing in additional space and personnel to boost it’s resources for ethanol exploration. Here’s a portion of that article:

Davis biotechnology company Novozymes Inc. plans to add about 35 scientists and a 20,000-square-foot laboratory building by the end of 2009.

It’s part of a bigger U.S. expansion for parent company Novozymes A/S, based in Denmark. The parent company, which has $1.5 billion in annual revenue and 4,500 employees nationwide, is riding a wave of technological advancements and increasing demand in the industrial enzyme business.

In the past few years, it has expanded its research focus to include developing enzymes to break down plant cellulose and make ethanol fuel. The company is increasing the number of scientists working on that technology, company president Ejner Bech Jensen said.

Indy Recognizes It’s Role in Ethanol Awareness

I am IndyAwareness for ethanol is rippling throughout the American consumer market. Industry leaders across the board attest to that. And it’s the IndyCar Series that is identified as one of the big catalysts that caused those waves of awareness to ripple and spread. Dave Lewandowski wrote an article on IndyCar.com, identifying the Series’ use of ethanol as one of motorsports major technological milestones.

Ray Harroun’s introduction of the rear view mirror in winning the 1911 Indianapolis 500 was the first in a long list of motorsports technological advances related to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indy Racing League that have translated to passenger vehicles worldwide.

In 2007, the IndyCar Series chalked up another by becoming the standard bearer for the “Greening of Racing” when 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol flowed through its Honda Indy V-8 engines. In a sense, IndyCar Series cars are the true cars of tomorrow.

Worldwide media attention has focused on the first motorsports series to utilize an environmentally friendly, renewable and American-made fuel source throughout the diverse 17-race schedule. That it performed flawlessly in one of the most demanding environments in racing is equally significant for consumers.

The article goes on to explain how much the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council has played a role in making ethanol the official fuel of the IndyCar Series, calling EPIC “the driving force behind the switch to a cleaner, greener renewable fuel in the IndyCar Series.”

Ethanol Moves Up the Ranks in American Le Mans Series

e-podcastEthanol is gaining more ground in the motor sports arena and more leagues are getting on board with ethanol-enriched fuel. The American Le Mans Series is now the second racing league to officially commit to a fuel based largely from ethanol. The ALMS has committed to upgrading its official fuel of the series from an E10 fuel blend to an E85 blend for 2008.

This edition features comments from interviews conducted just days before the Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta.

The “Fill up, Feel Good” podcast is available to download by subscription (see our sidebar link) or you can listen to it by clicking here (5:30 MP3 File): epic-podcast-10-19-07.mp3

The Fill Up, Feel Good theme music is “Tribute to Joe Satriani” by Alan Renkl, thanks to the Podsafe Music Network.

“Fill up, Feel Good” is sponsored by the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council.

BioDiesel Powers Tracy Lyons ‘Mercury Rising Tour’

Great RaceIt seems even entertainers can’t escape the momentum behind the growing renewable and alternative energy movement. Singer-songwriter Tracy Lyons is launching her ‘Mercury Rising Tour,’ a tour that will highlight alternative and clean energy technologies. Her tour will also operate on biodiesel.

Singer-songwriter, veteran environmental activist and National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) advocate Tracy Lyons launches her 2007-2008 Mercury Rising Tour on October 25 with a concert at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington. Lyons’ vision for the tour is to draw additional attention to the issues of global warming, alternative/clean energy solutions and the negative effects that pollution has on our health. A longtime spokesperson for clean and sustainable energy technologies, Tracy Lyons’ call to action regarding environmentalism first came through health issues that she personally experienced related to toxicity poisoning from heavy metals including mercury and lead.

The Eco-Stage for Tracy Lyons’ Mercury Rising Tour will be powered off the grid by environmentally-friendly bio-diesel and will feature a state-of-the-art hydrogen fuel cell. As well, information will be provided on the latest clean energy technologies and education about critical initiatives driving environmental action. The tour’s carbon footprint will be offset by the purchase of carbon credits for anything that can’t be accomplished directly using clean energy technologies.