Wind energy is a popular alternative energy source… so popular that New York’s Attorney General wants to make sure it’s done legally.
This story from WRGB-TV in Albany, NY has details:
Cuomo announced Thursday a new Wind Industry Ethics Code to ensure that development of alternative energy continues in New York properly and legally.
“Wind power is an exciting industry for the state that will be a cornerstone of our energy future,” Cuomo said in a statement Thursday. “But it is important to make sure that this alternative energy sector develops in a way that maintains the public’s confidence, and that is what this new code of conduct does.”
Two companies have already signed on to the ethics code: Noble Environmental Power, based in Essex, Connecticut, and First Wind, based in Newton, Mass.
The attorney general has previously investigated whether wind-farm companies improperly sought land-use agreements with citizens and public officials, and whether those companies have tried to sway lawmakers into backing wind farm development with improper benefits.
The Wind Industry Ethics Code prohibits conflicts of interest between municipal officials and wind companies, and establishes new public disclosure requirements.
An eco-friendly filter could help purify biodiesel, no matter what is used as a feedstock.
This story from Biodiesel Magazine says Schroeder Biofuels out of Pennsylvania has introduced the Eco2Pure, a filter made of cellulose and is considered natural and sustainable:
“It has the powerful dry washing capability of a magnesol, but has the applicability of a column-based treatment,” said Jonathan Dugan, Schroeder biofuels product specialist.
“We’ve also built a system which we’ve applied to the Eco2Pure product – an industry proven technology, which allows for a producer to be able to tell hundreds of gallons before the Eco2Pure system is exhausted that it is going to be exhausted shortly, instead of producing lots of bad fuel and finding out afterwards,” Dugan said. “We think it is important if you want to produce spec fuel.” The system indicates expiration through pressure indication, flow measurement and particle counts.
The Eco2Pure system works by passing unwashed biodiesel through a fixed bed of purification media, cleaning the fuel and removing residues, fuel contaminants and soaps. “Each kilogram of the system is capable of purifying between 93 to 185 gallons of biodiesel, keeping the frequency of media replacement to a minimum,” Dugan said.
Schroeder Biofuels officials say the new filter will bring down biodiesel purification costs about two cents a gallon, capable of cleaning batches of biodiesel from homebrew to million-gallon operations.
According to Motor Trend and cars.com, the Ford Fusion will be E85 compatible in 2010. The midlevel Fusion with a 3.0L V-6 250 horsepower vehicle will have the flexible fuel engine. Ford spokesman Alan Hall said the V-6 Fusion will only be available with an automatic transmission.
The 2009 flexible fuel vehicles Ford offerings include nine models: Ford Crown Victoria, Ford E-Series Commercial Van, Ford Expedition, Ford F-150, Ford Lincoln Navigator, Lincoln Town Car, and Mercury Grand Marquis.
Ford, along with General Motors and Chrysler have all promised to produce half their lines as E85 compatible by the year 2012.
Although the specific fuel mileage and power specs of the 2010 Fusion have not been confirmed, both have been reported improved from previous models.
A Texas company is moving forward with technology that converts non-food biomass into chemicals that can be processed into ethanol and other renewable fuels.
Terrabon has developed and is currently licensing its MixAlco™ biomass conversion technology to commercial customers. The company will dedicate its research facility on November 7 in Bryan, Texas to test the scaled-up commercial feasibility of the MixAlco technology.
Terrabon CEO Gary Luce addressed the National Renewable Resource Laboratory’s (NREL) 21st Growth Forum meeting this week in Denver. “Terrabon’s MixAlco technology is a cost effective, sustainable solution to the urgent need to produce biofuels and bio-chemicals that satisfy the world’s appetite for renewable energy resources and reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil,” Luce said. “MixAlco, which was inspired by the digestive processes of the ordinary cow, is an advanced bio-refining process that employs carboxylic acid fermentation followed by downstream chemistry to convert biomass products such as municipal solid waste, sewage sludge, forest product residues and non-edible energy crops, into industrial chemicals and renewable gasoline.”
When completed, the new semi-works facility in Bryan will have the loading capacity of 400 dry tons of biomass, equal to a loading rate of five dry tons per day. The Company will use sorghum as the primary feedstock with the objective of producing organic salts and converting them to ketones, which can be converted to renewable gasoline. The MixAlco technology has already been successfully tested for the past three years at Terrabon’s pilot plant in College Station, Texas.
Some trains in South Florida will be running on a nearly pure mix of biodiesel.
This story from the Miami Herald says the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority’s commuter train system, Tri-Rail, is planning to run eight of its 10 locomotives on a 99-percent biodiesel blend:
Thanks to South Florida’s comparatively temperate climate, Tri-Rail is one of the few commuter rail systems in the country that can operate on such a pure blend of bio-fuel.
The nation’s top transit regulator praised the authority for taking an important step toward energy independence at a press conference Wednesday morning in West Palm Beach.
”The Federal Transit Administration is committed to encouraging the use of alternative fuels in the nation’s rail and bus systems,” said FTA Administrator James S. Simpson.
The article does point out that the trains use a bit more fuel when using biodiesel, but the biodiesel costs are significantly lower… making the green fuel a good deal for the environment and taxpayers.
More than 650 attendees and 50 speakers looked at the future of algae biodiesel at a recent conference in Seattle.
The Algae Biomass Summit, hosted by firms Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Byrne and Company, brought together those exploring the scientific and commercial advances of the field of the slimy green biodiesel feedstock. Our friends at Biodiesel Magazine covered the event sponsored by the Algal Biomass Organization and filed this report (and, of course, several others):
Mario Tredici from the department of agricultural biotechnology at the University of Florence in Italy said algae has many of the properties for a second green revolution that could help satisfy the world’s energy and food needs. However, algae have very specific culture requirements to produce near their theoretical potential. Changing light conditions as the density of cultures increase can limit the efficiency of the plants ability to convert sunlight into biomass. “Algae are not a miracle,” he said. “It must obey the laws of thermodynamics.” He does believe, with the proper technology and understanding of algae’s biology, that yields of 70 to 80 tons of algae can be produced per hectare (approximately 2.5 acres), producing 15 to 20 tons of oil and about twice that much protein.
The true value of algae will rely on the total amount of biomass not just the oil content, said Mark Tegan, chief executive officer of Inventure Chemical. Inventure processes biomass products into value-added products. Algae produce three distinct products – oil, carbohydrates and protein. Each component can be processed downstream into a variety of valuable products. “There is a lot of opportunity available in the chemical market,” Tegan said.
The coverage included discussions on how the current credit crisis might actually be good for the algae biodiesel business and the market potential of the feedstock and fuel.
It’s that time of year again… to start making plans to attend the National Biodiesel Board’s Conference & Expo! This year’s event takes place Feb. 1-4th, 2009, in San Francisco. While that is a while off, now is the time to sign up to save some serious money on your registration.
It’s an event you won’t want to miss!
Conference features include:
Gavin Newsom – Mayor, City and County of San Francisco
Pete Bethune and Bryan Peterson – Around the World on Biodiesel
Hear the harrowing tales from two men who led pioneering expeditions powered by Biodiesel!
Production, technical, fuel distribution, policy/regulations, and markets/users sessions
Exciting Networking Events
Super Bowl Party
Special California Wine Tasting & Jazz Reception
You can do your registration online by clicking here!
With the world’s existing supply of fossil fuels projected to last between 25-40 years, technologies for alternative fuels are now a critical component of a nationwide energy policy. Visionary solutions to the global energy crisis — from solar power to bio-fuels — will be unveiled at the Advanced Energy Conference on November 19 and 20 at the Hyatt Regency Windwatch in Hauppauge, NY.
The conference is expected to draw nearly 800 attendees including leading researchers in alternative fuels, top government officials, legislators, energy policy-makers, environmentalists, and leaders from the worlds of business, academia, and the not-for-profit sector. Among solutions to be explored related to increasing oil reserves are renewable energy such as solar, wind, bio-fuels and geothermal power.
The conference is being produced by the Advanced Energy Center in association with National Grid and LIPA. The Advanced Energy Center is a public-private partnership dedicated to the advancement of energy research and technology deployment. This is the second Annual Energy Conference produced by the Advanced Energy Center.
Shipping giant UPS has teamed up with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to put more eco-friendly delivery trucks on the road.
This story from CNN says UPS will order some new vehicles that uses technology developed by the feds, namely, a hydraulic hybrid system:
The Environmental Protection Agency holds many of the patents on the innovative technology, which was developed in an EPA fuel-emissions lab in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with the help of engineers from Eaton Corp., which designs hydraulics systems.
"This vehicle to my right may look like a brown package truck that you'd see every day in your neighborhood," said UPS Chief Operating Officer David Abney, standing beside a prototype of the hybrid truck at a news conference Monday. "But underneath the hood is a whole different kind of technology."
The trucks combine a diesel engine with a unique hydraulic propulsion system that replaces the conventional drivetrain and transmission. Using hydraulic pumps and storage tanks, the vehicle captures and stores energy the way a battery does on an electric hybrid car.
The motor converts pressure from the hydraulic fluid into rotating power for the wheels and uses stored energy to accelerate the vehicle, thereby recovering more than 70 percent of the energy normally wasted during braking.
The article goes on to say that the design is perfect for the stop-and-start driving UPS does in cities. The first truck will hit the road in Minneapolis soon after the first of the year.
A new report looks at the technology behind biodiesel production.
The Iowa-based Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) has released a new CAST Commentary—Convergence of Agriculture and Energy: III. Considerations in Biodiesel Production:
This new CAST Commentary reviews the technology of biodiesel production in the United States and outlines major issues and policy implications associated with its expanded production and use. Specific topics include:
· Introduction to biodiesel fuels, their current use and future needs for development
· Summary and illustration of the biofuel production process
· Overview of quality requirements and concerns
· General characteristics of biofuels; advantages and disadvantages compared with petroleum diesel
· Economics of biodiesel production—current supply and demand, role of the U.S. government, existing and potential feedstocks, production costs, and technological advances
· Balance of energy—both energy requirements for production and potential energy output
· Conclusion, glossary, and complete reference list
“Biodiesel is developing into a widely accepted alternative fuel,” says Task Force Chair Dr. Jon Van Gerpen, University of Idaho, Moscow. “Quality concerns have been addressed, and most fuel today integrates easily into the existing diesel fuel infrastructure. Further expansion of the industry will require new or larger sources of vegetable oils and animal fats that can be produced at prices that allow biodiesel to compete with petroleum-based diesel fuel.”
The commentary will be presented at the National Farmers Union and the National Coalition for Food and Agriculture Research in Washington, D.C. You can get a free copy of the commentary at the CAST web site, www.cast-science.org.
The Illinois Corn Growers Association today unveiled two landmark studies on ethanol that conclude production of the biofuel leaves a smaller carbon footprint than gasoline and has substantial room for growth without affecting corn supply to the food and feed sectors.
Dr. Steffen Mueller, principal research economist at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Energy Resources Center, studied the carbon footprint of the Illinois River Energy facility near Rochelle, Illinois which produces 55 million gallons of ethanol annually.
“We looked at the global warming and land use impact of corn ethanol produced at the Illinois River Energy ethanol plant — which is a modern, natural gas fueled facility — on a full life-cycle basis,” said Mueller. “We found conclusively that the global warming impact of the modern ethanol plant is 40 percent lower than gasoline. This is a sizable reduction from numbers currently being used by public agencies and in the public debate. The study also documents the significant net energy benefits of ethanol when compared to gasoline. And, additional opportunities exist to expand that margin even more through technological improvements and on farm changes in corn production that reduce green house gas emissions. Furthermore, corn supply for the ethanol plant was primarily met through yield increases in the surrounding area and, as documented with satellite imagery, without conversion of non agricultural land to corn.”
The study by Ross Korves, economic policy analyst at ProExporter Network, analyzed the consequences of a technology-driven revolution that is occurring throughout America agriculture which would see average corn production increase from 155 bushels an acre today to 289 bushels over the next two decades. The study suggests that sufficient amounts of corn will be available to increase ethanol production from the current level of 7.1 billion gallons last year to 33 billion gallons by 2030 with current technology. The study also factors in increased future demand for corn from both export and livestock (feed) sectors. Korves also looked at the environmental impact of ethanol production, predicting that the global warming impact (GWI) of the average ethanol plant would decline dramatically through increased efficiencies in coming years.
“The GWI of the average ethanol plant is expected to decline 27 percent by 2030,” said Korves. “By that year, the GWI of corn ethanol processed in a plant using a biomass combined heat and power system will be less than one-third of the GWI of gasoline.”
The Illinois Corn Growers Association also announced that the state has become a technological and commercial leader in corn-based ethanol.
The City of Birmingham, Alabama will test a transit bus that will run on hydrogen next year.
This story from the Birmingham (AL) News says it’s the work of a University of Alabama-Birmingham engineering team, along with Auburn University… among others:
“This testing in Birmingham gives us a chance to evaluate the fuel cell in a unique, real world setting,” said Fouad Fouad, UAB team leader and chair of the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering.
“We want to monitor the bus’s performance in our brutally hot and humid summers and the fuel cell’s ability to power the bus over the city’s hills and terrain,” Fouad said. “Only after studying these elements can we decide whether the hydrogen fuel cell is a viable option.”
The bus will be operated and maintained by the Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority. It will be compared to regular diesel and natural gas buses in the fleet.
The project is funded through a congressional earmark from U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby to research alternative fuels and hydrogen as an energy source.
The article goes on to say that the first phase of the test will use to small hydrogen fuel cells to run the bus, working up to a larger cell.
Students from the University of Colorado are spreading the good news of biodiesel… and going mobile to do it.
This story from the Colorado Daily says the CU Biodiesel program is using donated, used restaurant cooking oil in a production facility that is contained in a trailer:
“I’ve taught everyone from post-graduate students to second-graders how to brew their own biodiesel,” said CU senior Mike West, director of education for CU Biodiesel. “That’s the whole point of the project — to show people how easy it is to brew biodiesel.”
The project West is referring to is a self-contained biodiesel trailer called ESTER, short for “fatty acid methylester,” or scientific name for biodiesel…
According to CU junior Josh Jaffe, director of outreach for CU Biodiesel, both byproducts of the conversion go right back to the benefit of CU causes. The biodiesel is used by the Buff buses to transport students and the glycerine is donated to the CU Recycling Center to be used as a fertilizing agent for composting.
“This is going to be CU’s in-house, or in-parking lot, biodiesel production facility,” Jaffe said of ESTER, which began construction three years ago through a $46,000 grant from the CU Environmental Center.
The trailer is capable of producing 500 gallons of biodiesel a month, but more importantly, can go to schools to teach more people how to brew their own biodiesel.
CU is also holding a contest to come up with a winning design for the trailer. Students with ideas are invited to download a blank form and submit their ideas by November 19th at www.cubiodiesel.org.
Iowa State University has received an $885,000 U.S. Department of Energy grant to see how small particles can be used to help make biodiesel production bigger.
This story from Biodiesel Magazine says the school’s Ames Laboratory is researching how nanoscale particles can be used to get chemical compounds (triglycerides, neutral lipids, and fatty acids) from microalgae for biodiesel production.
According to Kerry Gibson, a media relations staff member at Ames Lab, ISU just completed a research project that successfully used chemically-coated, honeycomb-like silica nanoscale particles to penetrate plant cell walls to deliver molecules to the cells. The biodiesel research project will attempt to use the nanoscale particles to penetrate the cell walls of microalgae to harvest chemicals from the algae to produce biodiesel without destroying the organisms. “It’s basically nanofarming,” Gibson said.
The lab will need to get another nearly $250,000 in funding for the three-year project, which is being headed by Victor Lin, Ames Lab chemist and ISU chemical and biological science program director.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) is now using blue logo signs to inform motorists about the availability of E85 and/or biodiesel along interstate highways.
“The BIOFUEL logo program complements and supports Governor Bredesen’s Biofuel Green Island Corridor project, which provides competitive grants to help retail station owners convert or install storage tanks and dispensers to sell E85 and/or B20 to the public,” noted Ed Cole of TDOT.
“We encourage more eligible stations to advertise their E85 and B20 pumps on interstate signs,” said Alan Jones, Manager of TDOT’s Environmental Policy Office.
For participating stations, TDOT will install a highly visible BIOFUEL marker above mainline Gas logo boards and off-ramp signs at the interchange. To qualify, sites must meet location requirements of the logo sign program.
To learn more about this initiative, go to http://www.biotenn.org.