Thursday, September 29, 2005

Ethanol From Cheese Factory Waste

RTE News - Ford, Maxol launch green fuel initiative:
Sept 27, 2005
"Irish motorists will be able to buy an environmentally friendly Ford Focus car from November. The car runs on bio-ethanol, a green fuel that will be available at Maxol stations.
Ford claims that the bio-ethanol fuel, a by-product from cheese making, produces 70% less carbon dioxide than petrol."

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Big Auto Makers Want Bush to Act on Energy

Planet Ark : Big Auto Makers Want Bush to Act on Energy - WSJ:
Sept 27, 2005
"As Hurricane Rita bore down last week on US Gulf Coast oil refineries, Ford Chairman and Chief Executive William Clay Ford Jr. sent a letter to President George W. Bush asking for an energy summit involving auto makers, suppliers, fuel providers, consumers and government officials"

Cheap As Chips: the Other Oil

RedNova News - Science - Cheap As Chips: the Other Oil:
Sept 26, 2005
"DAVID RENWICK is a man who can grin about the price of fuel. While the rest of New Zealand sweats about the cost of filling cars, Mr Renwick is offering diesel at 49 cents a litre, with no likelihood of an increase.
That's because his company, Envirocar, is making and selling biodiesel, a natural alternative to ordinary diesel.
Biodiesel is one of the organic alternatives to mineral-based fuel. These have long been possible but are gaining momentum for economic and environmental reasons. "

Where filling up an SUV costs $3 - Where filling up an SUV costs $3:
by Mike Caesar -- Sept 27, 2005
"But critics say Venezuela's highly subsidized gasoline, which retails for between 10 and 15 cents per gallon, and 7 cents for a gallon of diesel, is bad for the country.
Besides feeding perpetual traffic jams and worsening air pollution, they say the subsidy is a multibillion-dollar drain on the national budget, sapping money that could help schools, hospitals, or public transit, and transferring it to the wealthier classes, who own the cars. And they wonder how long leftist President Hugo Chavez can defy economic gravity."

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Is Oil Sands Production Losing Steam?

StockHouse Canada -- SHfn --
by Sean Mason -- September 27, 2005
"Soaring natural gas prices could create a problem for Canada's gas-dependant oil sands industry, such that even a modest improvement in how the gas is metered can have a dramatic impact on costs."

French Grain, Beet Areas for Ethanol Seen Surging

Planet Ark : French Grain, Beet Areas for Ethanol Seen Surging:
Sept 26, 2005
"PARIS - Grain and sugar beet areas used for ethanol production in France will surge this decade as biofuel demand grows in line with ambitious new government targets, analysts said. "

Shallow heated Rock: The power beneath our feet

The power beneath our feet -
by Tim Flannery -- Sept 26, 2005
"The heat had been generated by the natural radioactivity of the granite, which had been kept in place by a blanket of sediment nearly four kilometres thick. What really excited the geologists was that the granite was not in a region where the Earth's crust was being torn apart, but where it was being compressed. This led to horizontal, rather than vertical, fracturing of the rock. Even better, the rocks are bathed in superheated water under great pressure, and the horizontal fracturing meant that it could be readily recycled.
This one rock body in South Australia is estimated to contain enough heat to supply all Australia's power needs for 75 years, at a cost equivalent to that of brown coal, without the carbon dioxide emissions. So vast is the resource that distance to market is no object, for power can be pumped down the power line in such volume as to overcome any transmission losses."

Monday, September 26, 2005

GM Considers Diesel Eengines for New SUV's

AutoWeek - The Auto Enthusiast's Online Resource
by JASON STEIN | 9/26/05
"General Motors is considering diesel engines as an option on some models of its next-generation SUVs, GM's top truck executive says."

Fertilizer costs soar; farmers face tough decisions

Sept 23, 2005
"Farmers this fall will have to scrutinize their fertilizer purchases like never before due to recent price hikes that have pushed the cost of anhydrous ammonia to new highs.
Illinois Farm Bureau senior economist Mike Doherty said the cost of anhydrous ammonia already had increased by an estimated 25 percent this year. And that was prior to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita."

China Looks to Biomass Ethanol for Food Security

Planet Ark : Food Security Worries Could Limit China Biofuels:
Sept 26, 2005
"China's scientists hope that farming by-products like straw and corn stalks, or even forest residues, could offer a longer-term solution.
These are usually burnt, but contain cellulose that can be broken down into ethanol -- although currently it is too expensive to be commercially viable.
'Cellulose provides a renewable fuel option without concerns about food safety and land requirements,' said Li Shizhong, Professor at the Biomass Engineering Centre at the China Agricultural University."

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Ethanol as much as Half the Cost of Gasoline in Brazil News - Sci-Tech - Sweet taste of success for sugar-fuelled cars:
by Andrew Downie -- Sept 25, 2005
"Rio De Janeiro -- The success is down to many factors, the principal one of which is price, experts said. Although the Flex engines use 25% more ethanol per mile than petrol, ethanol usually sells at between a third and half the price of petrol.
The ethanol is made from cane sugar and even motorists who were previously reluctant to take the plunge and buy a Flex say they have been won over by the savings. "

Friday, September 23, 2005

Rolling Out The Blobject

Peak Energy: Rolling Out The Blobject:
Sept 22, 2005
"Some reports have noted that diesel cars can be more efficient than hybrids, but this does ignore the longer term view - hybrids will eventually be able to be charged by electricity from mostly (or all) renewable sources and use a minimal amont of liquid fuel - whereas diesel engines will always run on diesel. In the meantime diesel hybrids would seem to be the best bet."

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Biofuels Take Root in Big Oil Country

Soya & Oilseed Industry News:
Sept 9, 2005
"So why is The Panda Group of Dallas breaking ground this summer on a 100-million gallon ethanol plant in Hereford, where unit rail cars by the hundreds haul in millions of bushels of corn to service feedyards and a new influx of dairies? One reason is the use of technology to take advantage of a continuous supply of cattle manure and cotton gin waste to fire the plant instead of high-priced natural gas.

And Panda will have an instant market for wet distillers' grain, which will be sold to area feedyards for blending into their fed-cattle ration."

Ethanol Energy Debate Continues

The Energy Blog: Ethanol Energy Debate Continues:
Sept 1, 2005
"The major parties in the continuing debate as to whether ethanol's energy efficiency is better than that of other fuels has completed its most recent round of arguments with Michael Wang's presentation. He concludes that ethanol is better because it uses less fossil fuel in its production than gasoline does."

NREL responds to flawed Pimentel study

Deep Green Crystals: NREL responds to flawed Pimentel study:
Sept 21, 2005
"In a recent report published in the Natural Resources Research Journal by Dr. Tad Patzek, professor of petroleum engineering at UC Berkeley[1], and Dr. David Pimentel, professor emeritus of insect ecology & agricultural sciences at Cornell University[2] titled Ethanol Production Using Corn, Switchgrass, and Wood; Biodiesel Production Using Soybean and Sunflower, they argue a negative net energy balance for ethanol and biodiesel production. Considering the growing literature on the subject, Pimentel and Patzek are largely in the minority. In fact, many experts in the field of biofuels are perplexed by the conclusions Pimentel and Patzek have been able to reach. Unfortunately, this recent publication has received considerable attention in the mainstream media with little attention paid to the reliability of the data. Therefore, the commentary for this issue of BCO will be dedicated to a discussion of the inconsistencies in this recent publication and was provided to EESI by John Sheehan, Senior Engineer in the National Bioenergy Center of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. "

Ethanol, Bio-diesel, & Biomass: Energy & Rural Employment for India

Indra's Drishtikona (Viewpoint): Indra's weblog: Individual Archive:
Sept 19, 2005
"Energy security is already one of the prime concerns of the country where we are dependent almost 80% on import. Rural unemployment is equally serious concern. Perhaps new researches in ethanol, bio-diesel, and biomass can solve both of the problems, if the government proceeds with the right policies and incentives for these alternative sources of energy."

Biodiesel From Ethanol Production Waste

The Energy Blog: Biodiesel From Ethanol Production Waste:
Sept 18, 2005
"The new technology extracts crude corn oil from the evaporation area of dry mill ethanol facilities. Of the 4 Billion Gallons of ethanol produced, there remains in excess of 300 million gallons of corn oil that is not being recovered. With a newly signed US Energy Bill that requires renewable fuel production in excess of 7.5 billion gallons annually by 2012 the volume of Corn Oil available will exceed 600 million gallons annually. "

Ford: Hybrid engines in half of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury lineup by 2010

Ford: Hybrid engines in half of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury lineup by 2010:
Detroit Free Press/ AP -- Sept 21, 2005
"Ford said the automaker will be able to produce 250,000 hybrids in the next five years, 10 times the number it produces now. It currently has two hybrid sport utility vehicles on the market."

20 More E85 stations planned in Kansas

Wichita Eagle | 09/22/2005 | More E85 stations planned:
by Phyllis Jacobs Griekspoor
"The National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition has teamed up with United Bioenergy and the Kansas Corn Commission to raise the money to add at least 20 E85 fueling sites across the state over the next year, said Robert White, project director for the ethanol vehicle coalition."

Rita's oil punch could hit harder than Katrina

Rita's oil punch could hit harder than Katrina - Sep. 22, 2005:
CNN Money
"Weather and energy experts say that as bad as Hurricane Katrina hit the nation's supply of gasoline, Hurricane Rita could be worse.
Katrina damage was focused on offshore oil platforms and ports. Now the greater risk is to oil-refinery capacity, especially if Rita slams into Houston, Galveston and Port Arthur, Texas."

Before the oil runs out: How will this era end?

Before the oil runs out: How will this era end? |
by John Dillon -- Sept 20, 2005
"Part of the worry has to do with access. Of the original 6 trillion to 8 trillion barrels in the ground, the industry is capable of extracting only about half - 3 trillion to 4 trillion barrels. Lots of oil is locked in difficult underground formations that are hard, if not impossible, to exploit using current technology.
Moreover, those first 1 trillion barrels were among the easiest to reach. The days of easy gushers and overnight millionaires are long gone. Now the going gets harder."

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

ILSR Columns: Hybrids and biofuels would be a good fit for Minnesota

Powering a small engine in a plug-in hybrid electric would be a perfect application for e85 or hydrated ethanol.
ILSR Columns: Hybrids and biofuels would be a good fit for Minnesota:
by David Morris -- Sept 18, 2005
"All-electric vehicles still have performance shortcomings. Which is where the hybrid's backup engine comes in.
The engine should be capable of running on biofuels or petroleum in any proportion. The nation already boasts some 4 million flexible fueled vehicles (FFVs), several hundred thousand of them in Minnesota. The cost to the automaker of allowing an engine to run on any proportion of gasoline or biofuels is very low, about $140 per vehicle.
FFVs are only useful, of course, if pumps at gas stations contain high proportions of biofuels. Minnesota leads the nation, with almost 200 gas stations boasting at least one pump that offers 85 percent ethanol blends. Electric delivery systems, of course, already exist. Outlets can be found virtually everywhere.
On average, a flexible-fueled, plug-in hybrid vehicle would travel about 70 percent on electricity and about 30 percent on biofuels. Urban drivers could conceivably drive solely on electricity while rural residents might use biofuels to meet 75 percent of their driving needs.
The dramatic reduction in the need for engine fuel makes it possible for biofuels to become a genuine substitute for petroleum, rather than, as now, simply an additive to diesel or gasoline."

Monday, September 19, 2005

There Might Not be Enough Natural Gas at any Price

Energy prices likely to get worse:
by James Ulland, -- Sept 18, 2005
"Many expect that the shut-in gas will only slowly become available. At the current recovery rate, within a little more than three weeks, the industry's normal 'cushion' of gas that's stored for the winter will be exhausted, leaving an undesirably low level of gas stored for the winter home-heating season.
Natural gas is stored in the spring, summer and fall because winter demand exceeds the gas that can be produced on a daily basis. The stored gas normally is withdrawn starting about Nov. 1. If there is not enough stored gas, prices will skyrocket; and more importantly, there might not be enough gas at any price."

Energy firms push to build reactors as natural gas prices soar Energy firms push to build reactors as natural gas prices soar (9/26/05):
"Gas-fired plants are cheaper and faster to build than coal facilities, and they produce lower emissions. But with costs soaring, nuclear has been looking more economically attractive. 'Natural gas prices drive electric prices in the whole nation, and they don't look like they are going down anytime soon,' says Dan Keuter, Entergy's head of nuclear business development."

Utility company says prepare for record-high natural gas prices - The Quad-City Times Newspaper:
Sept 19, 2005
DES MOINES (AP) -- Residents should prepare for record-high natural gas prices this winter, officials with MidAmerican Energy say.
Spokeswoman Michelle Reuter said customers are being encouraged to plan ahead and look for ways to conserve energy this winter.
The cost of natural gas is expected to be as much as 40 percent more than last year, she said.
"We're in a period of unprecedented gas prices," said Jeff Gust, vice president of energy management for MidAmerican. "We're seeing prices we've never seen before."

Panda Announces Cow Manure Powered Ethanol Plant in Kansas

Panda Announces Cow Manure Powered Ethanol Plant in Kansas:
"DALLAS, Sept. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Panda Energy announced today that it
would build a 100 million gallon fuel ethanol plant in Haskell County, Kansas.
The plant will use a billion pounds of cattle manure each year as a renewable
fuel to power the plant's operations. The $120 million facility will refine US
corn and milo into fuel ethanol that will be blended with gasoline to produce
a clean, low cost fuel for America's cars and trucks. The ethanol produced in
this plant will replace the need to import 100 million gallons of gasoline
each year."

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Gas Prices Help Drive Down SUV Resale Value

Gas Prices Help Drive Down SUV Resale Value:
by Sara Kehaulani Goo & Dan Morse, Washington Post -- Sept 14, 2005
Robin Rynn, a mother of two who lives in Columbia, said she was dismayed that the dealer gave her so little for her Ford Expedition when she traded it in last week -- about a third less than she expected.
'They told us nobody's buying them. They said, 'We've never had this many,' ' Rynn said. She looked at buying a hybrid SUV but decided that the wait was too long and that it was too expensive. Instead, she got a Lincoln Aviator, a large SUV but not the largest, which retails for $41,000. She said she could not bring herself to buy a minivan or a wagon. 'I feel like my life is over when I buy a van,' she said. 'I've become what I never wanted to be in my life.'

Saudi oil shock ahead

Saudi oil shock ahead - September 11, 2005 - Petroleum News:
by Rose Ragsdale
Simmons said energy economists are reluctant to even entertain the notion that Saudi oil output is past its peak because they really don't understand the difference between oil supply peaking and running out of oil.
"I continue to remind people that the difference is as profound as someone saying, 'I'm getting a little bit hungry,' and someone saying, 'I have about two more minutes to live before I starve to death,'" Simmons said. "We will never run out of oil, in our lifetime, our children's lifetime, our grandchildren's lifetime. But by 2030 we could easily have a world that can only produce 10 or 15 or 20 million barrels per day, and the shortfall from what we thought we were going to produce is only a modest 100 million barrels per day. So this is really a major, major, major global issue."
Compounding the problem is that every energy supply model used by economists today starts with the assumption that Saudi oil is plentiful, Simmons said. "What's interesting is that we've based all of this assumption on no data," he explained.

Global trade vulnerable to high oil

The Globe and Mail: Global trade vulnerable to high oil:
by Heather Scoffield -- Sept 9, 2005
"The price of oil is poised to climb so high that it may dramatically change the dynamic of global trade and force companies to look closer to home for imports and exports, says a new paper by CIBC economists.
North American traders will be lured back to Mexico and Latin America and away from China and Asia, at least for some types of goods, as oil makes shipping costs prohibitive, say Jeff Rubin and Benjamin Tal, economists at CIBC World Markets."

Oil Spike Sends New England to Wood

Oil Spike Sends New England to Wood:
by David A. Fahrenthold, Washington Post -- Sept 11, 2005
"LYNDEBOROUGH, N.H. -- There are plenty of ways to tell that the market for firewood has taken off here. Wood-burning stoves are selling out in stores, the price of split wood has jumped past $200 a cord and would-be woodsmen are filling up classes on lumberjack skills."

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Is the World Running Out of Oil? Yes and No

RedNova News - Science - Is the World Running Out of Oil? Yes and No:
Sept 11, 2005
"'We're halfway through the hydrocarbon era,' my old friend Boone Pickens has been saying for the last couple of years. You may know Pickens as a corporate raider of the 1980s, but he has spent his life in the oil patch. A geologist by training, Pickens founded an oil exploration company, Mesa Petroleum, at the age of 26 and ran it for the next 40 years. Now, at the age of 77, he works the oil patch in a different way, running a pair of energy-oriented hedge funds in Dallas. "

Global Oil Firms Must Dance to Producers' Tune for Oil

Reuters Business Channel |
by Maryelle Demongeot -- Sept 12, 2005
"SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Oil majors such as BP (BP.L: Quote, Profile, Research) and Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) are by most accounts the most efficient, effective and experienced producers of crude in the world.
But that does not seem to be enough anymore.
Oil-rich countries reasserting control over their prized possessions now demand much more than competency or finance. They want an investor to help build their nation, a company whose corporate personality they warm to, or a partner of choice that can help realize their global ambitions, analysts say."

Some say Katrina's aftermath is glimpse of world's energy future - Some say Katrina's aftermath is glimpse of world's energy future:
by Mella McEwen -- Sept 11, 2005
"Brown figures that the world consumes the equivalent of 1 billion barrels of oil -- nuclear and fossil fuels combined -- every five days and every 30 days consumes the equivalent of the entire reserves of the East Texas oil field. Such consumption levels, he stressed, is utterly unsustainable.
'People need to realize we're about to enter a terminal decline in oil production,' he said, resulting in painfully high energy prices. While oil producers will benefit, economies will be hard-hit by those high prices."

Company Converts Diesels to Run on Straight Vegetable Oil

Not just a future idea -- they are doing conversions now.
"We modify almost all chamber diesel engines as well as VW/Audi TDI direct-injection diesel engines and VW/Audi 3-cylinder unit-injector diesel engines for operation on straight vegetable oil, using a ONE-TANK SYSTEM (except those equipped with Lucas/CAV injection pumps).
In addition we upgrade most diesel cars, including the ones above and those of other manufacturers and other injection systems, for operation on straight vegetable oil, using a TWO-TANK SYSTEM, where diesel fuel starts and warms the engine before it is switched over to straight vegetable oil."

BioTown USA Unveiled

WANE-TV: BioTown USA Unveiled:
News Release, Office of the Governor -- Sept 13, 2005
"REYNOLDS, Ind. (September 13, 2005) Governor Mitch Daniels today unveiled Indiana's inaugural effort toward creating communities where all energy needs are met through use of biorenewable resources. Reynolds, the first BioTown, USA, will showcase the feasibility of existing and future technologies in utilizing agricultural products and their by-products as fuel, electricity and heating sources."

Monday, September 12, 2005

Seven Questions: The Future of Oil

Foreign Policy: Seven Questions: The Future of Oil -- Sept 2005
"We also need to embrace the concept of distributed work. In most of our non-manufacturing commercial jobs, we assume that it’s better to have a lot of people working at the same site, even though it’s not necessary. By allowing people to work at home and keep their job, all they have to do is invest in communications such as video conferencing, the internet, and cell phones. We have to also change the way we distribute food. An amazing amount of the global food supply is transcontinental and produced by energy-intensive large-scale agriculture. Whole Foods, a successful grocery retailer, has basically created organic farming near each store it builds. The produce is less energy intensive to grow and ship."

Sunday, September 11, 2005

E85 Gasilne Can Save Drivers at the Pump

STLtoday - News - Metro East:
by Michael Shaw, St. Louis Post Dispatch -- Sept 2005
"WATERLOO -Like most owners of a 2003 Ford Taurus, Chip Bieber didn't know his car could accept fuel that was made mostly from ethanol - or even that such fuel existed.
That changed last summer, when a filling station near where he works in Waterloo began promoting E-85, an alternative fuel that is 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Bieber began filling up with the alternative fuel then, when savings averaged about a dime a gallon.
One year and a huge run-up in oil prices later, E-85 is selling between $2.50 and $2.69 a gallon, a discount of 20 to 60 cents compared to regular unleaded gasoline; Bieber is smiling."

Friday, September 09, 2005

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Tall grasses set to power Europe

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Tall grasses set to power Europe:
by Jonathan Amos -- September 7, 2005
"Biomass crops have always been viewed as something that can only make a tiny contribution to mitigating rising carbon dioxide," said Professor Long.
"The point we want to make is that it could actually make a major contribution and it doesn't require big technological breakthroughs to do that."

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Demand pushing up price of E85 alternative fuel

Terre Haute, Indiana News :: :: Demand pushing up price of alternative fuel:
by John Chambers -- Sept 8, 2005
"Demand for E85 and other fuels has increased nationally, driving the ethanol alternative in line with the price of unleaded gasoline."

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Fuel efficiency E85 comparison in IL State Taurus fleet

7.7 Vehicle and Road Maintenance - FFVs & HEVs:

"Ethanol FFVs have been used in Illinois since 1992, according to the state's fleet manager, Barbara Bonansinga. As of 1998, the department had purchased nearly 600 FFVs, representing 19% of the passenger vehicles in the state fleet. Based on vehicles driven 80,000 miles, the department has found that most repair costs for FFVs are similar to those for conventional vehicles. The average fuel efficiency for a conventional Taurus vehicle was 25.5 miles per gallon while a Taurus FFV averaged 23.5 miles per gallon. To date, the cars have received high marks for driving, engine-wear, and maintenance and repair. "

SAAB 9-5 Flex Fuel Gets the Most out of E85 The Everclearmobile:
June 11, 2005
"Conventional wisdom holds that ethanol is less desirable as a motor fuel because of its lower energy density; to get the same performance, you'll end up with fewer miles per gallon. The Saab, however, tunes itself to get maximum value out of grain alcohol: while the engine produces a respectable 148 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque on gasoline, feeding it a mix of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, which costs about 25 percent less than straight gasoline in Sweden, yields 180 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque, with about the same mileage. (Performance figures from Automobile Magazine, July '05.)"

Corn-husk use studied for ethanol

Chicago Tribune | Corn-husk use studied for ethanol:
by Erin Massey -- Sept 5, 2005
'Research ebbs and flows with the cost of petroleum,' said Michael Cotta, research leader of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's fermentation biotechnology research unit in Peoria. 'It increased during the World War II oil [shortage] and again in the 1970s.'
Its importance has returned, thanks to the spike in gas prices.
Cotta's focus is biomass, or fuel made from crop waste. He's pursuing the idea that corn husks would be cheaper and more plentiful than corn in producing ethanol for fuel.

Improvements in production make ethanol viable fuel

Lincoln Journal Star:
by Dan Walters, professor of soil science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln -- Sept 7, 2005
"So why is the energy balance in the Pimentel and Patzek study so different than the others? The difference lies in the baseline data used to construct the energy balance. Much of the key information used in their study is decades old and does not reflect today's improvements in energy-use efficiency and ethanol conversion technologies.
Significant changes over the past several decades in the efficiencies of corn production and ethanol conversion affect the overall energy balance of corn ethanol.
For example, nitrogen fertilizer is the biggest part of the farm energy budget and accounts for 30 percent to 50 percent of all the energy consumed in the production of corn. Yet the efficiency of nitrogen use by the crop has increased by 33 percent since 1980 and has lowered the on-farm energy input for corn production.
Today's modern ethanol plant includes myriad technological improvements that have resulted in a nearly 30 percent increase energy efficiency in the processing of corn grain to ethanol since 1990. The conversion rate of grain to ethanol at the plant has also increased from 2.5 gallons per bushel of grain in 1990 to better than 2.75 gallons per bushel today. With the introduction of new corn hybrids, the conversion rate is projected to increase to 3 gallons per bushel in the very near future."

Endless Saudi oil: miracle or mirage?

Oil & Gas Financial Journal - Endless Saudi oil: miracle or mirage?:
by Don Stowers --
Simmons says that if he is right about Saudi oil production and the official rebuttal is wrong, no other country or supplier is capable of making up the loss in production if output is lost. He adds that advanced oilfield technology may be keeping well productivity high, but questions if this is sustainable or if technology is accelerating the last easily produced oil.
'If Ghawar experiences significant production declines, Saudi Arabia's oil output will have peaked,' said Simmons. He added that if Saudi Arabia's "oil miracle" begins to fade, the world has no "Plan B" prepared.

Large Scale Stirling Solar Electricity

A Sunshine Deal:
by Tim Gnatek -- Sept 6, 2005
"A neutral observer has also given the Stirling solar design a good review. 'This is a very high efficiency system,' says Frank Wilkins, solar thermal team leader in the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. 'It's modular and has low water consumption, which is critical in desert areas. Of all the solar energies of the moment, this is at the top...You have to figure, this exercise is going to get [Stirling Energy Systems] more competitive in the energy market,' Wilkins says. "

Gas vs. Diesel vs. Hybrid Power

Diesel are probably the best choice for saving money on fuel while retaining interior space, horsepower and torque. They could surge in the US market once the the new low sulfur standard for diesel fuel goes into effect, mitigating a major drawback -- emissions.
Gas vs. Diesel vs. Hybrid Power - MSN Autos:
by Ann Job --
"...But even if drivers maximize their fuel savings and get the full 13-mpg benefit in the Hybrid, they'd need about 16 years of 15,000-mile annual travel before the gasoline savings--estimated at $2.25 a gallon--would recoup the $4,300 extra they paid for the Hybrid over the Civic LX.
On-road testing by Popular Mechanics magazine--comparing a Civic Hybrid with a higher-priced, uplevel Civic EX--showed a similar result. Magazine officials took the cars on a cross-country run and concluded the Hybrid saved about a penny a gallon in fuel costs.
Thus, buyers of the Hybrid would need to travel 144,000 miles--about 9.5 years at the 15,000-mile-a-year national average rate--to recoup the approximately $2,000 price difference in these cars, Popular Mechanics said...
The diesel Passat's fuel economy rating is 27/38 mpg, for a combined 32.5 mpg, and compares with 21/30, for a combined 25.5 mpg, in the gasoline four-cylinder Passat with automatic transmission.
Thus, if drivers maximized the diesel's fuel economy and got the 7 extra miles per gallon, it would take about four years to recoup the approximately $1,200 extra cost for the Passat's diesel engine."

Giant grasses could replace fossil fuels for generating electricity

Britain, UK news from The Times and The Sunday Times - Times Online
By Nigel Hawkes -- September 07, 2005
"WITHIN the next ten years, fields across Europe and North America could be dense with the dancing fronds of elephant grass, a crop with a serious chance of replacing coal and oil in electricity generation.

Trials have shown that the plant flourishes on most arable land, requires no fertiliser, suffers no pests or diseases and produces huge volumes of material that can be harvested using existing technology and burned in power stations.

New trials of Miscanthus giganteus in Illinois show that giving over just 10 per cent of the arable land to the grass-like plants could produce more than 60 tons of dry matter per hectare — enough to provide half of the state’s electricity, including the city of Chicago."

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Peak Oil Crisis: Pulse & Glide

Falls Church News-Press
Spt 2005
"Two weeks ago, five guys took a stock Toyota Prius and drove it for 1398 miles on one tank (12.78 gallons) of gas –- about 110 miles per gallon. Considering that a stock Prius going with the Interstate flow gets about 53 mpg and that a even a careful eco-driver going 55 mph can only get eke out something over 60 mpg, there might just be a lesson here. How did they do it?

“Pulse and Glide” is a technique worked out by Prius enthusiasts in which the car is first gently accelerated to 40 mph then permitted to coast back down to 30 mph while keeping the Prius’s electricity generator disengaged."

Monday, September 05, 2005

Underground Tank Expense Limiting E85 Availabiltiy - Archived News Search
By JULIE BIRKEDAL -- Sept 4, 2005
“They’re holding E85 to a different standard. You can have diesel fuel and gasoline in these tanks, but you can’t have E85 without certification,” Meyers said.“The DNR is trying to ensure there won’t be any leaks or spills.”

State DNR specifications include a lengthy checklist, said Christi Vander Voort, Iowa E85 coordinator for the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition.
“This has put the Iowa installers in a bind,” Vander Voort said. “It absolutely has put the program almost to a halt.”
Only two new stations have been added in 2005, she said.

Ford Focus Flexi-Fuel Coming to the UK

Sept 5, 2005
"Ford has announced the supply of the first 40 Flexi-Fuel Focus models powered by bioethanol."

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Korean made hybrid Car runs on compressed air, electrcity - Car that runs on compressed air - Mar 30, 2005:
'You could say our car has two hearts pumping. That is, we have separate motors running at different times, both at the time when they can perform most efficiently.'
Cho also said the system could reduce the cost of vehicle production by about 20 percent, because there was no need to build a cooling system, fuel tank, spark plugs or silencers.

Fuel cells turn to alcohol

Fuel cells turn to alcohol (February 2004) - News - PhysicsWeb:"The team believe that it should be possible to produce five molecules of hydrogen for every molecule of ethanol - rather than four as at present - once the process has been optimised. Electricity from a perfect fuel cell would cost only $0.04 per kilowatt-hour says the team, and the first applications could include small remote and portable devices."

New Technology extracts Hydrogen from "Wet" Ethanol

Direct injection of "wet" ethanol in standard engines could provide a market for this cheaper ethanol until fuel cell vehicles using the same fuel are perfected.
"Independence Way" by Sam Jaffe:
July/Aug 2004
"...There is, however, a better way of storing the hydrogen needed for fuel cells: in ethanol, each molecule of which bundles six hydrogen atoms, two carbon atoms, and one oxygen atom into a package far more compact than gaseous hydrogen. Until recently, no one could figure out how to unbundle the ethanol molecules in an energy-efficient way. But Lanny Schmidt, a chemical engineer at the University of Minnesota, may now have found a silver bullet. He has developed a glass tube containing a series of metal plates about the size of a Bic lighter. Made out of the exotic metals rhodium and cerium, these plates can suck the hydrogen out of ethanol and feed it into a fuel cell. (Ironically, Schmidt had been looking for a catalyst that would strip hydrogen from plain old gasoline, but the ethanol turned out to work even better.) 'We can produce about 85 percent pure hydrogen right now,' he says. 'And there's no reason to believe that we can't push that up to another 10 percent.'
The working prototype of Schmidt's ethanol 'reconstituter' costs about five dollars, so it's cheap technology. And just as important, the reconstituter works even if the ethanol is 'wet,' or has a high water content. Schmidt estimates that over half of the energy used to produce fuel-grade ethanol for internal combustion engines is consumed in squeezing out that last five percent of water content. 'If you don't have to refine that out,' Schmidt points out, 'you save a lot of energy and money'--on top of the energy and money saved by using non-food crops to produce cellulosic ethanol."

Bio-Based Corn Plant to Produce Polymers, Plastics with Less Energy

Bio-Based Corn Plant to Produce Polymers, Plastics and More:
The production of Bio-PDO� consumes 30-40 percent less energy than petroleum-based PDO (on a per pound basis). Production of 100 million pounds of Bio-PDO� in the Loudon plant will save the equivalent of 10 million gallons of gasoline per year.

'The world is in a position today where we can no longer afford to rely solely on oil and oil-derived products to sustain us,' DuPont's Holliday said. 'Biology-based solutions offer us the opportunity to transform economies by creating new, high-performance bio-materials that use less energy to manufacture, are preferred by our customers and are better for the long-term health of our economy and the environment.'

Dayton pushes ethanol with a windshield wash and a smile

Duluth News Tribune | 09/01/2005 | Dayton pushes ethanol with a windshield wash and a smile:
by Scott Thistle
"...But today U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minn., was at the Holiday Station near Duluth's Spirit Mountain doing just that. An added bonus was the price of the gas he was pumping, the corn-derived ethanol or E85: just $1.99 a gallon, or about $1.20 cheaper than what regular unleaded gasoline was going for."

Crowd Praises Ethanol Plant Arrival

Northwest Indiana News:
Susan Erller -- Sept 2, 2005
Some in the crowd responded by saying 'Amen' when Ron Gick, president of Iroquois' board of directors, said the nation would benefit from less reliance on fossil fuel.

'The U.S. needs to be more independent and do a lot more renewable fuels,' Gick said.

The $66 million plant will have capacity to process up to 14.3 million bushels of corn a year into 40 million gallons of fuel-grade ethanol, a clean burning renewable fuel that has been touted as an alternative to Middle Eastern oil.

A fit of (oil) peak

A balanced and realistic look at Peak Oil and what it means for our lives.
A fit of (oil) peak - The Boston Globe:
Chip Giller -- Sept 1, 2005
"The last few months have seen a surge of stories on so-called ''peak oil.' That's the moment when we're pulling as much oil out of the ground as we'll ever be able to pump. Supply hits its peak and begins an inexorable decline, regardless of demand. Hurricane Katrina has shown what kind of damage short-term supply disruptions can do; peak oil represents long-term and permanent supply disruption.
But peak oil is not a matter of economics or politics. It's cold, hard geology." News & Commentary News & Commentary:

"Sept. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Canada, the largest supplier of crude oil to the U.S., may increase output from Alberta's oil sands sixfold in the next 25 years as record oil prices spur investment in the province, a government energy adviser said.
Alberta may increase output from the oil sands to 6 million barrels a day in 2030 from about 1 million barrels a day at present, said Claude Drzymala, a senior energy adviser at the Canadian Department of Industry."

Friday, September 02, 2005

Ethanol to the Rescue?

Charlotte Observer | 09/02/2005 | Ethanol to the rescue?
"We don't expect to run out" of ethanol fuel, said Ray Thomas, owner of Thomas Petroleum Co. in Shelby, which will install the ethanol-gasoline blend pumps. "We're just trying to get them running as quick as we can."

The pumps feature a special high-grade ethanol blend called E-85. While cheaper, it can be used only on certain "flexible-fuel" vehicles because it contains 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Flexible-fuel vehicles are produced by several automakers. A decal inside the fuel door sometimes indicates if E-85 is safe to use.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Gas Station Runs Out of E85 fuel, $1.44 cheaper

Rockford gas station runs out of E85 fuel:
Rockford Register Star -- Sept 1, 2005
"One of the Rock River Valley's two suppliers of E85 gasoline ran dry Thursday morning following higher-than normal sales for the relatively inexpensive ethanol-based fuel. A worker at Sandy 66 Shop N Wash, 4545 Sandy Hollow Road, said more E85 is expected tomorrow morning.

Before the 10,000-gallon-tank ran dry, the fuel was $1.89 per gallon.

The Grand Prix station at 7997 Forest Hills Road in Loves Park began selling E85 fuel on Tuesday and still has a supply. It is selling for $1.85 while regular unleaded is now up to $3.29."