London Slated to Fuel Up on Hydrogen

Air ProductsLondon roadways could be supporting hydrogen fuel technology soon. Air Products and Transport for London have signed an agreement to introduce hydrogen to London drivers and passengers by 2010.

This agreement includes the supply of hydrogen fuel and a dedicated fueling station for the 10 hydrogen powered buses, which form a central part of London’s hydrogen transport program. The hydrogen powered buses will be operating on London’s roads by 2010.

Air Products will provide Transport for London and the bus operator with access to the latest technology in hydrogen production, transportation, storage, compression and vehicle dispensing technology.

Air Products is the world’s largest supplier of merchant hydrogen, including distributing and handling hydrogen at Air Products’ own facilities, on the road, transported via pipeline, and at customer facilities. The company safely operates over 60 gaseous and liquid hydrogen production plants and seven hydrogen pipeline systems totaling over 300 miles. Air Products provides all modes of hydrogen supply — gaseous, liquid and onsite generation, as well as providing engineering expertise in hydrogen application integration.

Air Products has placed over 75 fueling stations on-stream in 12 countries, including for mass transit fueling in Beijing, China for buses to be used to shuttle athletes and visitors for the 2008 Olympic Games. In Europe, Air Products supplies hydrogen fueling equipment to various automotive companies as well as the Hellenic and German navies to regularly fuel their submarines.

Wind to Power Entire School District

eriehs.jpgThe Erie School District in Illinois is set to become the first school district in that state, and possibly the nation, to be powered entirely by wind energy.

This story on the Quad-Cities Online web site says construction could start next week after nearly two years of delays:

The most recent delay came last fall from a property owner who didn’t want the wind turbine blades traveling over his farm’s airspace.

The school district decided to move the location for its wind turbine. Mr. Ryan said it’s about 60 to 70 feet away from the original site. It remains on the middle school property.

“Progress is being made,” Mr. Ryan said. “They started digging a new foundation just the other day. The rebar and foundation material is scheduled to be in next week sometime.”

Mr. Ryan said the 230-foot tower will have 95-foot blades. He said Johnson Controls, Moline, is still overseeing the project. He said Johnson Controls agreed to assume the costs of moving the turbine. Once the turbine is up and running, officials estimate it will save the district an estimated $4.5 to $5.5 million in energy costs over the next 30 years.

Florida Keys Hosting Biodiesel Rally, Green Expo

glee_logo_2.gifFlorida is once again the focal point for alternative fuels and green living.

Tomorrow (March 22nd), the Florida Keys Green Living & Energy Education (GLEE) group hosts a rally that runs throughout the Keys:

gleerally.pngStarting in Key Largo and ending at the BioDiesel facility at Key West High School, the Biodiesel Rally will make 5 total stops to show local individuals, businesses and policy makers how easy, affordable and self-sufficient it is to use BioDiesel over Dino-Diesel.

The day has been set, but the details need your help. All diesel vehicles and vessels are invited to help determine where the rally should stop in the following communities.

Then, on May 9th-11th, the area will have the third GLEE Expo at Marathon High School:

GLEE is a three-day event offering practical solutions for people to learn about sustainable living, water and energy conservation, renewable energy, and green building, so they can lead healthier lifestyles, reduce business costs, improve their community and save energy, water and the earth.

The expo will include continuing education classes for professionals, as well as information for consumers and an exhibits (what would an expo be without exhibits?) area.

CaseStack Running on 99% Biodiesel

casestack.jpgCalifornia-based CaseStack, which offers logistics and supply shipping to small companies, is offering their services running on 99 percent biodiesel.

The company explains it’s part of their Green Initiative, put together because over-the-road trucks account for 5 percent of the country’s greenhouse emissions:

CaseStack founder and CEO Dan Sanker has made it his personal mission to help contribute to making the supply chain a little greener. Offering trucks running on ninety- nine percent biodiesel fuel (made from vegetable oils or animal fats) and building his business on diesel fuel-saving truckload consolidation programs, CaseStack is taking steps toward building a sustainable supply chain.

The company estimates that its retailer-driven consolidation program, which combines as many as 2-3 separate deliveries heading to the same distribution center into one truck, helps drastically reduce CO2 emmissions, road congestion and dock congestion. The consolidation program:

* Saves 5,800 pounds, per truck of CO2 from entering the atmosphere
* Cuts 268 gallons of diesel usage per consolidated truck
* Eliminates more than $536 in diesel fuel costs per consolidated truck

The company’s efforts are being recognized. Its Green Consolidation Program was a finalist in the 2007 American Business Awards.

Florida Plant Seeks Zoning Change

A Florida sugar company is seeking a zoning change in Palm Beach county to allow it to produce cellulosic ethanol.

Florida CrystalsAccording to an article in the Palm Beach Post, Florida Crystals Corp needs a zoning change that would allow cellulosic-ethanol plants – factories that produce ethanol from plant waste rather than corn – to be built in areas already zoned for industry.

“There’s an ethanol train coming,” said Gaston Cantens, vice president of sugar producer Florida Crystals Corp.

“Without language in the county’s zoning code that allows ethanol to be an end product, we are not even in the game,” Cantens said Tuesday during a meeting with the Palm Beach Post editorial board.

A demonstration cellulosic-ethanol plant is slated to be built by the University of Florida at Florida Crystals’ Okeelanta mill and refinery south of South Bay. That doesn’t require a zoning change, Cantens said. The plant, which is expected to produce 1 million to 2 million gallons a year, is being funded by a $20 million state grant awarded to the University of Florida this past June.

POET Prepares to Open Plant 23

POETPOET is preparing for the grand opening of its 23rd production facility next month in Alexandria, Indiana.

On April 17, POET will host a grand opening event for POET Biorefining – Alexandria which will include addresses from Lt. Governor Becky Skillman and Andy Miller, Director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture.

POET Biorefining – Alexandria will produce 65 million gallons of ethanol per year from more than 22 million bushels of corn from the area and provide around 40 jobs with an annual payroll of approximately $2 million. It will be the second ethanol plant opened by POET in Indiana while one additional plant is under construction near North Manchester. Once the Alexandria facility is operational, POET’s annual production capacity will be 1.33 billion gallons.

Half-Baked Ideas

Bakers are blaming ethanol for higher wheat prices and demanding changes in the ethanol policy to “Save Our Wheat,” but their claims are “half-baked,” according to ethanol industry officials.

“The idea ethanol production is the driving factor behind high wheat prices is half-baked,” said Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen. “American farmers increased their wheat production in 2007 at a time of poor harvests and surging demand around the globe. To single out the American ethanol producer ignores the facts.”

wheatLynn Schurman, president-elect of the Retail Bakers of America, was one of the “Band of Bakers” who marched on Washington last week urging agriculture officials and members of congress to take action against rising wheat prices that are straining small bakeries.

She is quoted by Minneapolis media as saying, “Right now less acreage is going into wheat because more people are growing corn and providing corn for the ethanol market.”

That statement is patently false. In fact, farmers planted more than 60 million acres of wheat last year, up more than 3 million acres from 2006. According to the year-end crop production report from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, 2007 saw the highest number of wheat acres planted in the past four years.

The American Bakers Association is calling on Congress and the Bush administration to implement it’s Three Point Plan to “alleviate the commodity crisis,” one point of which is “Elimination of the ethanol import tariff and temporary waiving of ethanol production limits.” (What they actually mean here is waiving the yearly renewable fuel standard requirements for ethanol production.)

However, that action will do nothing to address the two major factors driving the wheat market today, which are the consecutive droughts in Australia, a leading wheat producer and exporter, and growing global demand. A recent article in the New York Times noted, “Now [wheat] prices have more than tripled, partly because of a drought in Australia and bad harvests elsewhere and also because of unslaked global demand for crackers, bread and noodles. In seven of the last eight years, world wheat consumption has outpaced production. Stockpiles are at their lowest point in decades.”

It is true that wheat prices are higher, but it is incorrect to place the blame on ethanol causing farmers to switch from planting wheat to corn.

Delaware Company Opening “Go Green” Convenience Stores

altfuelsdist1.jpgA company from Delaware has announced plans to build and operate 1,000 convenience stores on the East Coast, featuring alternative fuels, especially E85 ethanol and biodiesel.

This story posted on the Convenience Stores Decisions web site says Alternative Fuel Distributors of Wilmington wants to have all the stores in operation in three years and the first 100 open by the first part of next year:

The stores, according to the plan, would all be company owned and would be marketed under the “Go Green Station” retail brand. It estimates that E-85 gasoline is expected to sell for $2.25 to $2.50 per gallon, as opposed to the projected $4 per gallon for regular gas.

Alternative Fuel Distributors will create an IPO to fund the venture. The company was organized in June 2007 to “develop, construct own and operate convenience stores dedicated to supplying alternative fuels to retail customers,” it said in a news release.

Current plans call for the ownership and operation of alternative fuel terminals in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland to supply fuels to company-owned convenience stores and wholesale customers from Washington, D.C. to New York.

The move would nearly double the number of E85 stations in the entire country as there are just 1,500 in the whole United States (compared to about 150,000 gas stations in America). It would also dramatically increase the number of E85 outlets between New York and Richmond… just 20 of those right now.

Bond Market Woes Delaying Biodiesel Plants

reglogo11.gifThe crisis on Wall Street is having an impact on biofuel production in this country. Iowa-based Renewable Energy Group is delaying building two biodiesel plants, one in Louisiana and one in Kansas, because of the recent trouble in the bond market.

This story in the New Orleans Times-Picayune says the 60 million gallon plant in St. Rose, Louisiana says delays by a former governor in that state helped lead to the problem as well:

The Renewable Energy Group had hoped to use Gulf Opportunity Zone financing to build its $80 million plant at the International Matex Tank Terminals site in St. Rose, but company officials said in a statement that a delay in getting approval for the GO Zone funding resulted in the company being unable to obtain suitable financing.

Construction on the plant began in June, but company officials said the timing of the GO Zone financing, which gives accelerated depreciation to capital investments, was critical to the project.

“Regrettably, our later than expected entry into the bond market prevented us from securing the necessary debt financing to finish the project,” said Jeff Stroberg, chairman and chief executive officer of the company in a statement.

REG was approved for $100 million dollars of Go Zone Bonds last May, but said that then-Gov. Kathleen Blanco did not sign off on the financing until September. By the time the bonds were brought to market, the company officials said the project was unable to get suitable financing.

In Kansas, REG has had to delay another 60 million gallon plant near Emporia, as reported in the Emporia Gazette:

The company cited tightening of credit markets, the difficulty to find funding for biofuels projects and rising commodity prices.

“Our inability to finalize our funding has caused us to stop construction while we wait for the credit markets to improve and search for new financing,” REG Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Stroburg said in the release.

Company officials say while they are disappointed in the delays, they remain committed to building the plants.

New Web Site Offers New Way to Buy Biodiesel

fillmorefuels.gifA new web site launched earlier this year offers a new way to buy biodiesel., developed by biodiesel enthusiast Wesley Fillmore, offers everyone from hobbyists to commercial producers a forum to offer their biodiesel for sale in an auction-like environment. In addition, buyers can find potential sellers in their area:

According to the Annual Energy Outlook released by the Energy Information Administration in 2007, consumption of biodiesel is expected to reach .4 billion gallons by 2030. Fillmore Fuels is the first on-line community dedicated to biodiesel fuel and related products, and the consumers, hobbyists and commercial producers interested in purchasing and selling them. This new auction site brings buyers and sellers together to engage in on-line commerce and to address pertinent issues related to the industry. Since gaining momentum, the renewable fuel industry has faced a number of critical issues, including regional pricing. By creating a dynamic environment in which buyers can find the products they need at prices they can afford, Fillmore Fuels hopes to help mitigate this problem. While the value of biodiesel fuel varies by region, consistent and competitive pricing is essential to the growth of the market.

“With profit margins at a minimum, the ability to resort to more affordable feedstock when available is priceless, and Fillmore Fuels provides this option,” says Wesley Fillmore, President. “In addition, it provides a means for local farmers, restaurants, and producers to sell their virgin vegetable oils or WVO to the highest bidder, thus increasing their profit margins and limiting the middle man and cost.”

Company officials also point out that buyers are able to ask sellers questions about their fuel, making them better informed consumers.

Check ‘em out, and let us know what you think!

Ag Day Celebrates Food, Fiber and Fuel Chain

National Agriculture DayToday is the first day of spring and the traditional celebration of National Agriculture Day.

This is the 35th anniversary of National Ag Day and this year, the Ag Council of America unveiled the new “Food/Fiber/Biofuel Chain” poster. The poster shows all of the industries involved in the production, processing, and distribution of feeding, clothing and fueling the American consumer. In total, 21 million people in the U.S. are now employed to support the 301 million consumers in the country.

It’s interesting to note that one farmer now supplies food for about 144 people in the United States and abroad compared with just 25.8 people in 1960. In addition, that farmer is now able to supply some of our fuel needs in the form of ethanol and biodiesel – while still feeding the world.

Advancements in crop technology, equipment technology and information management, coupled with the old-fashioned ingenuity of American farmers, have made this possible and will continue meet the challenge of working to feed, clothe and fuel a growing world population.

Cellulosic Venture Capitol

Range FuelsRange Fuels has been held up as the poster child for commercializing cellulosic ethanol and the company has now raised $100 million to build a 100-million-gallon-a-year plant in Georgia. Range Fuels has also received a US Department of Energy grant and other venture funding in an effort to get the plant up and producing at least 20 million gallons of ethanol from wood this year.

NYT Business
also reports that another cellulosic company, Mascoma, raised $50 million in a third round of venture funding.

The latest funding for Range Fuels means that at least three start-ups focused on cellulosic ethanol have now amassed financing greater than $100 million.

Marathon to Make 16 Midwest Terminals E10 Only

Several Midwest terminals for Marathon Oil will carry only E10 blended fuel starting May 1.

MarathonAccording to the company, Marathon Oil Corporation will switch to 100 percent ethanol-blended fuel at 16 Midwest terminals located in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. Specific locations are Indianapolis (86th Street) and Muncie, Ind.; Louisville (Algonquin), Ky.; Detroit (Refinery Rack), Romulus, Niles (South), Bay City, Flint, Lansing and Jackson, Mich.; Brecksville, Lima, Oregon, Lebanon and Cincinnati, Ohio; and Milwaukee(Granville), Wis.

“Marathon is proud to announce that it will convert to 100 percent ethanol blended gasoline at these terminals,” said Mary Ellen Peters, Marathon’s senior vice president, Marketing. “Ethanol blended fuels help us meet the changing needs of our customers. It also supports our nation’s renewable fuels goals, which were recently increased by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 to nine billion gallons of renewable fuel in 2008 and 36.0 billion gallons by 2022.”

Ohio Company Gets Grant to Move Feedstocks

An Ohio biofuels maker will receive a $50,000 state grant to help it make biodiesel.

This story from the Springfield (OH) News-Sun says Liberty Fuels of Ohio, LLC is getting the money from the Ohio Rail Development Commission:

widener.jpgThe funding will help Liberty purchase equipment to improve its ability to move and/or load and unload train cars, according to the release. By utilizing existing railroad, Liberty will have a greater ability to use different feed stocks to produce biodiesel, the statement continued.

“By committing these funds to Liberty Fuels of Ohio, the Ohio Rail Development Commission has demonstrated that Ohio welcomes new business and technology into our economy,” said [state Rep. Chris Widener (R-Springfield)]

Safely Moving Ethanol

CSXSeveral ethanol producers are among the winners of the 14th annual CSXT Chemical Safety Excellence Award which reflects commitment to rail car maintenance and safety as well as continuous safe tank car loading.

To be eligible for the award, companies must ship 600 or more railcars per year on CSXT and have zero non-accidental releases during the year.

Among the ethanol industry winners for 2007: Ace Ethanol; Archer Daniels Midland Company; Glacial Lakes Energy; Global Ethanol; Granite Falls Energy; Lincolnway Energy LLC; Poet; US Bioenergy; and Verasun Energy Corporation.