Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Volvo starts production of ethanol-powered cars

Motoring - Volvo starts production of ethanol-powered cars -- 11/30/2005
"Volvo has begun production of FlexiFuel cars powered by engines running on E85 (85 percent ethanol / 15 percent petrol). The 92kW 1.8F engine will available on S40 and V50 models, initially only on the Swedish market.

Ethanol can be made from biomass such as wheat, sugar cane, corn or cellulose. When running on E85 bio-ethanol, emissions of fossil carbon dioxide are as little as 20 percent that of a petrol-fuelled car.

…BUT these figures relate to running on 100 percent petrol. Fuel consumption when running on E85 bio-ethanol is about 40 percent higher since ethanol contains less energy than petrol."

Another Peek at Peak Oil

Another Peek at Peak Oil Commentary -- 11/30/2005
"Brian Gorman recently took a look at BP's big investment in alternative energy. He suggested that the driving factors behind this investment are the desire for energy independence, consumer consciousness, and government support for alternative energy. From my perspective, when I see a major oil company investing $8 billion outside the oil patch, I think of peak oil."

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Search for U.S. Natural Gas Intensifies

For oil majors, U.S. is a gas - Oil and Gas - Energy - General:
"SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- The world's three largest energy companies are intensifying their hunt for natural gas in the U.S., reversing a years-long trend, according to a media report Tuesday."

Midwest is key player for Biofuels industry

Midwest is key player for Biofuels industry | WTN:
by Michael Rosen -- Wisconson Technology Network -- 11/28/2005
"Traditionally, some of the arguments against biofuels have been:
? The cost of creating theses fuels is much higher than traditional petroleum exploration, production and refining.
? More energy is needed to create a BTU of biofuel than biofuel itself produces.

However, these arguments have fallen by the wayside due to:
? The impact of biotechnology on crop yield productivity
? Improved biomass refinery methods
? The significant increase in the price of oil
? The continued rise in oil needs in the U.S. and the reliance on oil imports particularly from countries at odds with the U.S. (Venezuela, Iran, etc.)"

With woodchips in the burner, college cuts costs and pollution -

With woodchips in the burner, college cuts costs and pollution -
by Adam Gorlick, AP -- 11/27/2005
"Gardner, Mass -- Although some were worried that burning 1,000 tons of woodchips wouldn't generate enough energy to heat the 500,000-square-foot campus, their doubts melted away when the system worked and heating costs plunged with winter temperatures.
Instead of shelling out nearly a half million dollars for electric heat, the college paid a mere $31,000 for the woodchips. The savings is so great that school officials say the $2 million heating system conversion cost will pay for itself within 10 years.
At the same time, Mount Wachusett has so far reduced its greenhouse gas emissions -- a polluted mix mostly containing carbon dioxide -- by nearly 19 percent."

Ethanol booms

Ethanol booms:
KSTP TV -- Minneapolis (AP) -- 11/29/2005
"Ethanol plants that have long relied on a 51-cent per gallon excise tax credit to keep in business are becoming competitive and profitable. At the same time, producers are installing technologies to burn less natural gas in the production of the alternative fuel and cut emissions of global warming pollutants - a step that could muffle critics of ethanol."

Making sense of ethanol wars

JS Online: Making sense of ethanol wars:
by Brooke Coleman -- 11/27/2005
"Wisconsin is not the first state to propose mandatory ethanol blending in its regular-grade gasoline. But Madison has become the latest battleground in what could be termed the ethanol wars."

Monday, November 28, 2005

Time running out for oil, gas reserves - Journal Star News
Wiltowski said recent research shows the known oil reserves currently are peaking and will be depleted 30 to 40 years from now at the current rate of consumption. "It's a simple mathematical equation," he said. "Not rocket science

Is coal the answer? - Journal Star News
"Three coal gasification plants currently are proposed in Illinois; only three are operating in the nation. A 260 megawatt gasification plant in Florida currently uses Illinois Basin coal. The state government, coal companies and even utilities have banded together to lobby for an Illinois siting of the federally-subsidized near-zero emission coal plant of the future known as FutureGen."

Compressed air wind energy storage

Compressed air wind energy storage | | Energy and Peak Oil News
"Earlier in 2005, a Vancouver, B.C. company, Encore Clean Energy Inc., released news about a system it is working on that will allow wind energy producers to store energy in the form of compressed air in underground steel tanks or pipes, and release it through a special generator to create electricity when it is needed."

Finding new ways to fuel the farm

Grand Forks Herald | 11/01/2005 | AGRICULTURE: Finding new ways to fuel the farm:
by Mikkel Pates -- 11/1/2005
"FARGO - Should the United States ditch the commodity export business and shift all of its surplus corn and soybeans into the production of biofuels?
That was just one of the widely varying ideas put on the table at the second and final day of an ag summit in Fargo on Monday. The summit, titled '21st Century Farm Policy,' was sponsored by North Dakota State University and Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D."

Chasing efficiency - clock is ticking on production peak

Chasing efficiency - clock is ticking on production peak | | Energy and Peak Oil News:
by John Funk & Chris Seper, Cleveland Plain Dealer -- 11/27/2005
"Frequent price spikes followed by temporary declines in the coming years could easily blind the public to what is happening, said James Halloran, energy analyst with National City Private Client Group in Cleveland. They will believe what they hope -- that the problem has been solved.

'Conservation is fine as long as you don't have to change your lifestyle,' said Halloran. 'What people want is cheap energy, and they will not change until they are forced to.'

Revisiting old oil and gas fields with new production techniques, drilling deeper wells, producing oil from tar sands and synthesizing motor fuels from natural gas could delay real shortages, he said, and maybe buy enough time for new technologies to mature."

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Peak Oil resolution in U.S. House of Representatives

Peak Oil resolution in U.S. House of Representatives - Global Public Media:
"A peak oil bill has been filed in the House of Representatives with the support of the newly formed Peak Oil Caucus, founded by Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (Rep, MD) and a number of co-sponsors. The members of the caucus are James McGovern, Vern Ehlers, Tom Udall, Mark Udall, Raul Grijalva, Wayne Gilchrest, Jim Moran, Dennis Moore."

Friday, November 25, 2005

Saab 9-5 biopower delivers variable turbo boost on E85

GMInsideNews Forums - Liquor does it quicker!:
"Turbos push extra air into the cylinder, and higher octane allows a fuel to better endure the increased pressure. So Saab cranked up its fans and created the BioPower engine, the first commercially available ethanol turbo. A computer samples the fuel mixture and adjusts the boost pressure -- from 5.8 PSI for pure gasoline to 13.8 PSI for E85. Running straight gasoline, the engine produces 148 horsepower, but E85 jacks it up to 184, with no penalty in fuel economy. -- MATHEW PHENIX

From the July 2005 issue of Popular Science, page 22"

Saab 9-5 biopower gets better fuel economy on E85

Saab Global - Pressreleases:
"On the road, the 180 bhp/ 280 Nm Saab 9-5 BioPower running on E85 delivers sportier performance due to a significant 30 bhp lift in maximum power and 40 Nm more torque, compared to its gasoline-powered equivalent. Whilst fuel economy in SEK/km in city and mixed driving conditions is unlikely to show an improvement, testing indicates that a useful 15 per cent gain in fuel cost in SEK/km can be expected at cruising speeds because of a better combustion with higher efficiency."

Saab Announces UK Launch of 9-5 BiuoPower Flex-Fuel Model

Trollhattan Saab: Biopower UK Launch announced:
"As its name suggests, the Saab 9-5 BioPower not only offers purer power, but more of it. Because Saab's turbocharging technology and engine management systems make it possible to take advantage of bioethanol's higher octane rating, an impressive 20 per cent gain in brake horse power (bhp) and 16 per cent growth in torque can be enjoyed when the car runs on E85 compared to when running on regular petrol."

Saab 9-5 Biopower wins 'Popular Science' award.

SaabCentral Forums - 9-5 Biopower wins 'Popular Science' award.:
"The ethanol-powered Saab 9-5 2.0t BioPower has been honored with Popular Science magazine's 'Best of What's New' award, an annual ranking of 100 breakthrough products and technologies that represent a significant leap in their categories."

The Saab 9-5 2.0t BioPower will be featured in the December issue of Popular Science, the most widely read issue of the year. The vehicle also will be on display at the Popular Science ?Best of What's New? winners exhibition in Grand Central Terminal in New York City Nov. 8-10."

Saab 9-5 Biopower possibly being developed for U.S. market

Inside Line: Saab Won't Get a Version of the Pontiac Solstice -:
"The next Saab concept will be a 300-horsepower 9-5 BioPower sedan that will be powered by a 2.3-liter turbo engine and run on ethanol. It will be shown at the Los Angeles auto show and the Detroit auto show in January. Saab introduced a version of the 9-5 BioPower this year in Sweden and Germany.

Spenchian said the automaker is using the new concept to test consumer reaction. 'We could offer it within the next year and a half in the U.S.,' he said."

Peak Oil or not, we can no longer rely on cheap oil | Politics:
by Greg Gordon, N&O Washington Bureau -- 11/25/2005
"'Whatever you think about peak oil,' Woolsey said, 'you need to be concerned about the possibility that in the very near term at any point, ... regime change, government policy change or terrorist attacks could put a major, and perhaps even a long-duration spike on oil prices. ... We need to move away from oil in either case.'"

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Is UK oil output running on empty?

BBC NEWS | Business | Is UK oil output running on empty?:
by Adam Porter -- 11/22/2005
"'These declines do seem to be irreversible now,' says Deborah White, senior energy analyst at Societe Generale.
'In my experience, even when [oil] prices are extremely high and spending [on extraction] is extremely high, it has been virtually impossible to reduce decline rates below 3%.'"

Monday, November 21, 2005

How to Avoid Oil Wars, Terrorism, and Economic Collapse

How to Avoid Oil Wars, Terrorism, and Economic Collapse - by Richard Heinberg:
Museletter -- 8/2005
"The SAIC Report concludes that substantial mitigation of the economic, social, and political impacts of Peak Oil can come only from efforts both to increase energy supplies from alternative sources and to reduce demand for oil. With regard to the claim that efficiency measures will be enough to forestall dire impacts, Hirsch et al. note that, 'While greater end-use efficiency is essential, increased efficiency alone will be neither sufficient nor timely enough to solve the problem. Production of large amounts of substitute liquid fuels will be required.' Further, 'Mitigation will require a minimum of a decade of intense, expensive effort, because the scale of liquid fuels mitigation is inherently extremely large.' Hirsch, et al., also point out that 'The problems associated with world oil production peaking will not be temporary, and past 'energy crisis' experience will provide relatively little guidance.'"

Experts Debate if Ethanol is a Good Energy Buy

The Southern Illinoisan:
by Donna Farris, lee New Service -- 11/20/2005
"Other energy sources also have an energy balance. To create gasoline, which is a product of crude oil, it takes energy to explore for oil, extract oil from wells, transport it overseas and refine it.
All those processes added up make gasoline an energy loser because a gallon of gasoline contains 26 percent less energy than it takes to produce.
'Philosophically, we've decided that that's OK because we can't use crude oil in our cars,' Lamberty said.
'We're staring at $60 to $70-per-barrel oil. That means it's a lot easier for ethanol to compete on an equal basis.'"

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Senate group unveils oil-saving plan with biparstisan support

Incentives for alternatives such as cellulosic ethanol are increasingly supported by everyone, including those usually on the opposite sides of issues.
Senate group unveils oil-saving plan
by Josef Herbert, AP writer -- 11/16/2005

Farm Bureau president: Ethanol one bright spot in country's energy plight Story: Farm Bureau president: Ethanol one bright spot in country's energy plight:
by Scott Moyers -- 11/17/2005
"The one bright spot -- perhaps the only one, Kruse said -- is the recent rise of ethanol, a renewable fuel that is made from corn. He noted that a new ethanol plant that will produce 100 million gallons of ethanol a year is in the works for Southeast Missouri. "

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Experts discuss 'Peak Oil' at Denver conference

Durango Herald Online:
by Joe Hanel -- 11/12/2005
"Peak Oil doesn't mean the world is running out of oil, several speakers said. But it does mean the end of the buzz from cheap oil and increasing supplies.
'I have these discussions with my grandchildren,' said Henry Groppe, an energy consultant from Houston. 'They say, 'Gramps, are we going to run out of oil?' I say, 'No. Many years ago we ran out of $2 oil. Then we ran out of $10 oil. Then we ran out of $20 oil. And now we're running out of $40 oil.''
Oil closed at $57.53 a barrel Thursday, a three-month low.
U.S. oil production peaked in 1970. Speakers at the conference disagreed on when worldwide production might peak. Some said 2015; Groppe said it might have already happened. "

Kuwait's biggest field starts to run out of oil

Kuwait's biggest field starts to run out of oil | | Energy and Peak Oil News:
AME Info -- 11/14/2005
"The implications for the global economy are indeed serious. If the world oil supply begins to run dry then the upward pressure on oil prices will be inexorable. For the oil producers this will come as a compensation for declining output, and cushion them against an economic collapse.
However, the oil consumers then face a major energy crisis. Industrialized economies are still far too dependent on oil. And the pricing mechanism of declining oil reserves will press them into further diversification of energy supplies, particularly nuclear, wind and solar power. "

The Case For Ethanol

The Case For Ethanol -
by Brian Jennings, American Coalition for Ethanol -- 11/16/2005
"There is no panacea, no silver bullet solution that will fix our system overnight. But there is one important step already being taken: a growing supply of homegrown, clean-burning, high-performance, renewable fuel that can operate in every single automobile on the road today--ethanol.
While no new oil refineries have been built in the U.S. in nearly three decades, new ethanol-production facilities are coming online at a rate of almost two per month. Today, 92 ethanol plants are operating across the country with a total production capacity of 4 billion gallons of fuel annually. Two dozen more plants are now under construction to provide an additional billion gallons of ethanol."

Sugar In The Tank

Sugar In The Tank -
by David Adams -- 11/16/2005
"SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - A group of U.S. Senators visited Brazil in August to take a look at the country's ethanol industry. 'It was a real eye-opener. I was just amazed what we learned,' said Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla).
What most impressed the delegation was the choice Brazilians have at the pump. Since the 1973 oil embargo, Brazil has battled to achieve energy independence, replacing gasoline with ethanol, an alcohol distilled from sugarcane."

Virgin Airways boss eyes cellulosic ethanol for fleet fuel

Virgin Airways boss eyes plants for fleet fuel - Green Machines -
Reuters -- 11/16/05
"DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Tired of skyrocketing jet fuel prices, Virgin Atlantic Airways boss Richard Branson said on Wednesday he plans to turn his back on hydrocarbons and use plant waste to power his fleet.
'We are looking for alternative fuel sources. We are going to start building cellulosic ethanol plants (to make) fuel that is derived from the waste product of the plant,' he told Reuters in an interview in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates."

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Biofuels seen as way to ease prices, foreign dependence

The Southern Illinoisan
"MFA is one of the farmer-owned cooperatives that have invested with Biofuels LLC, a farmer-investor group that is building a new biodiesel plant in Mexico, Mo. The facility will have the capacity to make 30 million gallons of biodiesel a year from soybean oil."

High pump prices fuel interest in cellulosic ethanol

High pump prices fuel interest in renewable altenatives
Southwest farm Press -- Nov 14, 2005 -- By Caroline Booth Lara
"Switchgrass, a fast-growing perennial warm-season native grass with a wide geographic distribution, is one of the most promising energy biomass sources because of its adaptability, hardiness, longevity and high biomass production."

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Energy From Agriculture

Farm Foundation
"Sound economic research findings and first-hand energy production experience will be featured at the Energy from Agriculture Conference, Dec.14-15, 2005, at the Marriott St. Louis Airport, St. Louis, Mo.
Presented by Farm Foundation and USDA?s Office of Energy Policy and New Uses, this conference will provide farmers and ranchers, rural community leaders, energy executives and state and regional government officials with practical, science-based information on agriculture?s role in energy production.
USDA's Office of Rural Development and Natural Resources Conservation Service are helping to sponsor this event."

Chicago to build first ethanol-hydrogen fueling station

Waste News | Waste Management/Recycling/Landfill Headlines:
"Nov. 10 -- The city of Chicago plans to build the world's first ethanol-to-hydrogen fueling station thanks in part to $2 million funding included in the federal Energy and Water Appropriations Bill, according to members of the Illinois congressional delegation."

BioTown, USA in Mid-America

FOCUS - BioTown, USA in Mid-America:
by Stewaer Truelsen -- 10/17/2005
"According to Morehouse, one reason Reynolds was chosen to be the first BioTown is its location near major highways and its proximity to Purdue University. There also are more than 150,000 hogs in a 15-mile radius of Reynolds. Phase 1 of the plan is built around ethanol and soy biodiesel, but Phases 2 and 3 will explore turning livestock waste into electricity, natural gas and other products through anaerobic digestion and manure gasification.
In addition to the energy benefits, all the technologies being employed and planned for in the BioTown are environmentally friendly. The systems to turn livestock waste into energy also reduce odors. In the end, the whole town's energy needs could be met from biorenewable fuels."

Biotown USA Residents to Receive Free GM Vehicles

Newsroom - Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick:
"Phases 2 and 3 of the BioTown, USA project include potential plans to transform animal waste from area livestock farms into electricity and natural gas. Set in a rural area, there are more than 150,000 hogs within a 15 mile radius of Reynolds, as well as several sources of organic waste products, making it an ideal location for a digester, manure gasifier or some similar type of technology to turn manure and biomass into energy for the homes and businesses in Reynolds. A consultant has been hired by ISDA to analyze which system would be most appropriate for Reynolds in Phase 2 of the BioTown, USA project.

BioTown, USA is a project of ISDA. In mid-May ISDA rolled out its strategic plan, Possibilities Unbound: The Plan for 2025, Indiana Agriculture's Strategic Plan. This document describes the Department's focus and guiding principles for the next several years. The plan contains seven strategies to grow Indiana agriculture; one of the seven strategies is bioenergy. The action plan for this strategy calls for the development of a pilot community that meets all of its energy needs through biorenewable resources.
Source: Indiana State Department of Agriculture"

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Running on Empty - BUSINESS:
by Steve Raabe -- 11/8/2005
"Theories abound on when oil production will reach a peak. Some analysts say this year; others say untapped sources will fuel supplies for years."

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Four big questions for Big Oil

Four big questions for Big Oil - Nov. 8, 2005:
"NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - The oil industry's top executives Wednesday head into dangerous public relations territory when they appear at a joint Senate committee hearing on energy prices and profits."

Swedish Housing Cooperative uses shallow geothemal heating

Ground source heat pumps are the most promising technology for reducing the cost of heating and cooling buildings.
Inventing for the sustainable planet: Swedish Tenant Owner Cooperative starts oil break with geothemal heating
"This is how the system works: heat energy is drawn from a drilled hole in the bedrock. The hole contains a collector pipe filled with liquid (70 percent water, 30 percent ethanol). The liquid is circulated via a heat pump and down the hole. The heat is then transferred into the water borne central heating and hot water system."

Monday, November 07, 2005

Autos continue to tank

Econbrowser: Autos continue to tank:
"What's hot? Toyota's fuel-stingy hybrid Prius, whose sales were up 68% compared to October 2004. What's not? American gas-guzzling SUV's, down over 50%. Sales of all vehicles combined were down 25% for GM and Ford."

E85 Hybrids: The Next Big Step

Hybrid Cars - What's Next for Hybrids? E85 Hybrids.:
by Chris Ellis
"What makes real sense is the upgrading of current hybrid offerings to become 'flexible fuel hybrids', and full support from manufacturers that all new hybrid models will run on any mix of gasoline and E85. Less than $200 is added to the production cost of a conventional gasoline vehicle in upgrading it to handle E85. Congress, realizing that we are confronted by Global Warming, Peak Oil, and Energy Insecurity, has put the necessary ethanol pump-priming into the new Energy Policy Act.
The argument basically runs as follows. Take the current annual U.S. consumption of gasoline. Assume that 'aggressive hybridization' cuts it by a quarter (mainly in city driving), and that a further quarter is cut by better aerodynamics and engine downsizing (enabled by hybridization), mainly in freeway driving. Now take a further slice out for plug-in electric drives, and assume that the U.S can continue to source at least 25 percent of its gasoline internally. That leaves an ethanol target of less than a quarter of current gasoline consumption to make the U.S. 'gasoline independent' again. The United States Departments of Agriculture and Energy have recently produced a joint report which confirms that producing this quantity of ethanol is readily achievable without impinging on the current food producing capacity of the United States."

Tiger Truck First in Class to Offer E85 Capability

Tiger Truck Is First to Deliver Off-Road Multi-Fuels:
"DALLAS, Nov. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- For the first time, single users and large fleet operators of off-road vehicles now have a true multi-fuel choice. Tiger Truck is the first in its class to receive EPA approval for its E85-compliant engine. The US Department of Energy defines E85 as fuel having 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. It burns cleaner and comes from US agricultural output to reduce our dependency on foreign oil. Tiger Truck gives unprecedented choice to vehicle buyers of being powered by gasoline, E85, all-electric, electric hybrid or E85 hybrid."

Missour's Fourth Ethanol Plant Breaks Ground
"The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) today welcomes Missouri Ethanol, LLC, as the fourth ethanol plant to be built in Missouri. The facility, located near Laddonia, MO, will produce 45 million gallons of ethanol annually while utilizing 17 million bushels of corn from local producers."

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Policy Paper Supports Biofuels for National Security

Committee on the Present Danger:
by George P. Shultz & James Woolsey
"Old or misstated data are sometimes cited for the proposition that huge amounts of land would have to be introduced into cultivation or taken away from food production in order to have such biomass available for cellulosic ethanol production. This is incorrect. The National Commission on Energy Policy reported in December that, if fleet mileage in the U.S. rises to 40 mpg -- somewhat below the current European Union fleet average for new vehicles of 42 mpg and well below the current Japanese average of 47 mpg ? then as switchgrass yields improve modestly to around 10 tons/acre it would take only 30 million acres of land to produce sufficient cellulosic ethanol to fuel half the U.S. passenger fleet. (ETES pp. 76-77). By way of calibration, this would essentially eliminate the need for oil imports for passenger vehicle fuel and would require only the amount of land now in the soil bank (the Conservation Reserve Program ('CRP') on which such soil-restoring crops as switchgrass are already being grown. Practically speaking, one would probably use for ethanol production only a little over half of the soil bank lands and add to this some portion of the plants now grown as animal feed crops (for example, on the 70 million acres that now grow soybeans for animal feed). In short, the U.S .and many other countries should easily find sufficient land available for enough energy crop cultivation to make a substantial dent in oil use. (Id.)
There is also a common and erroneous impression that ethanol generally requires as much energy to produce as one obtains from using it and that its use does not substantially reduce global warming gas emissions. The production and use of ethanol merely recycles in a different way the CO2 that has been fixed by plants in the photosynthesis process. It does not release carbon that would otherwise stay stored undergro"

Closed Loop Ethanol Refinery Powered by Cattle Manure

Press Release 10.27.05:
"The system incorporates a dairy or feedlot, an ethanol production process, and an anaerobic digester into a self-sustaining, closed-loop system. The manure from the livestock is handled by an on-site waste management facility and turned into biogas. This biogas powers the ethanol production process, eliminating fossil fuel costs. Wet distillers grain � a co-product of the ethanol production process � is fed to the livestock, completing the loop.

The E3 BioFuels Complex has been designed around the existing Mead Cattle Company feedlot, which has a capacity for 30,000 head of cattle. The ethanol production component was tailored to fit the size of the feedlot and will produce approximately 24 million gallons of fuel-grade ethanol annually. The ethanol plant will process more than 8 million bushels of corn annually and produce 100,000 tons of wet distillers grain."

Sustainable Triad: Peak oil: our gift to our children

Sustainable Triad: Peak oil: our gift to our children:
by Peter Kauber -- 9/16/2005
"I have been studying the "peak oil" controversy for approximately a year. As I progressed through the published work of authors whose credentials were beyond reproach, I became increasingly uneasy about our energy future. But until now, I continued to view peak oil as a controversy, not an inevitability. I have come to see that I can no longer "wait for things to play out."

The tipping point for me was a presentation made at Duke University on Tuesday (9/13/05) by Dr. Robert Hirsch, a scientist who has served at very high levels in multiple energy fields--oil and gas, nuclear, renewables. There was no hesitation on Dr. Hirsch's part regarding what we face. Unless we're extremely lucky, and peak oil is 20 or more years down the pike, we are going to experience a crash. What Dr. Hirsch had discovered, in the course of completing a research contract for the Department of Energy, is that there are no feasible approaches to avoiding huge liquid fuel shortfalls unless a mitigation strategy is undertaken, as a crash program, at least 20 years prior to the oil production peak. And most reputable predictors are saying that the peak will come well before 20 years from now."

Friday, November 04, 2005

Sir Richard Branson to Build Cellulosic Ethanol Refineries

It looks as if one of the world's leading business luminaries sees potential in cellulosic ethanol. | 10/19/2005 | Virgin Group's leader eyes Florida:
by Jim Wyss
"If being the father of space tourism isn't enough, Branson is also taking on another problem -- the global fuel crisis. After recently telling MSNBC that he wanted to build an oil refinery, Branson said he has modified his thinking to focus on environmentally friendly cellulosic ethanol refineries. The plants would use cutting-edge technology to turn staple grains into fuel.
''[The technology] is in its infancy but if it succeeds, and I think it will -- it will basically replace conventional oil and we'll actually have a clean world one day,'' he said. ``So yes, we're going into the oil industry but we plan to go into it in a way that we believe will drive down the price of oil but equally help the environment.''
A team of technicians is currently scouring the Equator for ideal sites to set up three to four cellulosic ethanol plants within the next year to 18 months, he said."

Cows make fuel for biogas train

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Cows make fuel for biogas train:
by Tim Franks -- 10/24/2005
"Yes, he says, the train between Linkoping and Vastervik will cost 20% more to run on methane than on the usual diesel. But the oil price is going up and up, and in any case, Swedes care about being able to pick our mushrooms and their fruit.
Nor is it just trains. In Linkoping, the 65-strong bus fleet is powered by biogas. Indeed the city boasts that it was the first in the world to try out its buses on methane."

Midwest Farmers Struggle with High Energy Prices

Rockford's Newspaper Rock River Times | rockford illinois news information:
by Joe Baker -- 11/4/2005
"Jimmy Westerfeld, president of the McLennan County, Texas Farm Bureau, said farmers in his area are very worried. 'Many of us will not be able to farm this year or the next,' he said. 'The doubling and tripling of fuel and petrochemical prices are the last link in a chain of bad economic events.'"

Ford and Verasun Announce Partnership to Increase E85 Availability

VE85 - 85% Ethanol from VeraSun Energy for Flex Fuel Vehicles:
"The Ford/VeraSun partnership will concentrate on growing the E85 infrastructure in 2006. The initiative will serve to convert existing fuel pumps to VeraSun's branded E85 - VE85 - in existing retail outlets. A consumer awareness campaign to promote the benefits and use of E85 will also be launched. Local retail outlets and Ford dealerships will be asked to participate in the campaign."

Thursday, November 03, 2005

An interview with peak-oil provocateur Matthew Simmon

An interview with peak-oil provocateur Matthew Simmons | By Amanda Griscom Little | Grist Magazine | Main Dish | 03 Nov 2005
"There are some 220 million cars currently on the road in the U.S. alone. The problem with that concept, which so many people think is the way you end the energy war, is it will take 30 years to turn over the entire vehicle fleet. We don't have 15 or 20 years, much less 30.

We need to think on a grander scale. We have to find, for instance, far more energy-efficient methods of transporting products by rail and ship rather than trucks. We have to liberate the workforce from office-based jobs and let them work in their village, through the modern technology of emails and faxes and video conferencing. We have to address the distribution of food: Much of the food in supermarkets today comes from at least a continent or two away. We need to return to local farms. And we have to attack globalization: As energy prices soar, manufacturing things close to home will begin to make sense again."

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

New Concept for Home Solar Electricity uses Concentrator

Green and Gold Energy
New Concept Solar Electricity uses Rooftop Concentrator
"To execute this strategy, our Australian Design Award winning development team are developing our first Solar Appliance, the visually striking, innovative and ground breaking SunBall™. Incorporating a high efficiency (>30%) solar energy concentrator, automatic dawn to dusk Max kWh Tracking™ internal 2 axis tracking system and Cool PV™ low operational PV cell temperature. Extensive testing will be done to ensure 25+ years of life, high reliability, ease of installation / servicing. Once these characteristics are achieved, the SunBall™ Solar Appliance will be released to solar resellers and installers through a “hands on” two way training and support program designed to ensure complete customer satisfaction and a strong focus on maximum kWh energy delivery."

IEA warns of 50% oil price rise by 2030 / International economy / Oil for food - IEA warns of 50% oil price rise by 2030
By Carola Hoyos in London -- Financial Times -- 11/2/2005
The International Energy Agency, the oil sector monitoring body, on Wednesday said that oil prices by 2030 would be 50 per cent higher than today if Saudi Arabia did not muster the political will to invest billions of dollars in new production.

Coconut oil gets engines running

New Zealand news on Coconut oil gets engines running:
by Alisha Skerrett -- 11/1/2005
"A Samoan-born Auckland university student Dominic Schwalger has discovered coconut oil will run a diesel engine.
He hopes his discovery will be used in the islands to improve people's lives.
'I hope it will be useful for people in rural villages. I hope they take it up and use the oil for diesel generators and water pumps,' he says."

Prospects for Cellulosic Ethanol Attract D.C. Supporters

AutoWeek - The Auto Enthusiast's Online Resource:
by Harry Stoffer -- 11/2/2005
"Evidence is growing, though, that ethanol can be made efficiently with genetically engineered enzymes applied to nonfood crops and plant waste. These include cornstalks, rice and wheat straw, sugar beet waste and even byproducts of beer making, proponents say.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., plans legislation that would require carmakers to build more flexible-fuel vehicles. Lieberman cites Brazil's success with ethanol made from sugar cane."

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Cellulosic Ethanol Prospects for Japan

The Japan Times Online
By MASAYOSHI MINATO -- 11/2/2005
It is more difficult to extract ethanol from lumber than from agricultural products, but the company has succeeded in developing a system that can produce some 200 liters of ethanol from 1 ton of lumber using a genetic engineering technology introduced by a U.S. company.

"This (new system) has led to the possibility of commercializing ethanol at a per-ton production cost of about 50, yen although the production cost will differ depending on how we procure and transport the waste lumber," said Masanori Sato, a group leader at the company's biomass business promotion headquarters.

Representatives of bioenergy firms discuss benefits of technology to lumber industry

Converting waste to ethanol could decrease cost and increase environmental benefits. Story: Representatives of bioenergy firms discuss benefits of technology to lumber industry:
by Matt Sanders -- 11/1/2005
"Ensyn's biomass conversion system quickly converts wood waste with 10 percent moisture or less, such as sawdust, to a variety of products from food additives to fuels. With few emissions and little solid waste, the process is a relatively clean way to generate energy, Boulard said.
Phoenix's system is slightly different, using a variety of biomass sources, from tires to sewage to garbage to wood, to produce synthetic gas to replace natural gas or catalytically converted to ethanol and methanol.
Unlike a proposed ethanol plant in Cape Girardeau that would require a fermentation system, the Ensyn and Phoenix conversion systems quickly become self-sustaining shortly after being put online."

E85 and lots of wind: ways to beat Big Oil

MISSOURI VALLEY TIMES - NEWS - News - 10/31/2005 - Farming and your Freedom - E85 and lots of wind: ways to beat Big Oil
by Pete Graham, Editor
"Farmers are ready to provide clean, reasonably-priced energy for the long-term. All they need is the protective economic climate necessary to develop those fuels and infrastructures to get them to consumers. It ain't cheap, but it will, ultimately, beat going head-to-head with China and India for the world's diminishing supply of petroleum."

Ethanol from potato waste

Ethanol potato waste - Vincent Corporation:
"We recently visited an interesting ethanol plant in Idaho. It is one of two owned by the J. R. Simplot Company that uses potato peel waste as a raw material.
The potato peel is a zero value waste from nearby potato processing plants. These plants peel the potatoes as part of the production of french fries, instant potatoes and similar products. The resultant waste is hauled to the ethanol plant."

Italian waste-to-energy plant to be expanded

Oil & Gas Journal - Italian waste-to-energy plant to be expanded:
by OGJ editors -- 10/28/05
"The existing plant processes 200,000 tons/year of municipal solid waste (MSW), converting 60% of the MSW into refuse-derived fuel (RDF), which is combusted to generate 15 Mw of power. "