Sunday, July 31, 2005

Biofuels - Biodiesel, Methane, Ethanol, Methanol, Woodgas, Hydrogen

Numerous links to information about lots of different biofuels.
Biofuels - Biodiesel, Methane, Ethanol, Methanol, Woodgas, Hydrogen
www.green-trust.org

E85 Fleet Toolkit: Publications

This is a government site with documents about E85.
E85 Fleet Toolkit: Publications
...publications related to general E85 information as well as information about E85 infrastructure.

July 2005 Biobased Fuels, Power and Products Newsletter

Feature Article:Senator Harkin Proposes Changes to the Biomass Research and Development Act of 2000
Current Issue

Alternative Fuels

A look at several different alternative fuels.
GREEN CAR JOURNAL ONLINE -- Alternative Fuels
by Bill Siuru, Jr. -- 2005
Today, it’s possible to drive on fuels created from a great variety of renewable sources including corn, soybeans, sugar beets, and even grasses. Hydrocarbon-based gasoline alternatives like natural gas and propane are also powering vehicles on our highways...

Ethanol or Gas?

Discussion of the increasing availability of flex fuel vehicles that can run on any mixture of Ethanol or gasoline, up to 85% Ethanol. We need more places to purchase the E85.
GREEN CAR JOURNAL ONLINE -- Ethanol or Gas?
by Bill Siuru, JR. -- 2005
Millions of clean-running alternative fuel vehicles are plying American roads, ready and waiting to fill their tanks with ethanol fuel. These are flexible-fuel vehicles, or FFVs, marketed by Ford, General Motors, DaimlerChrysler, Isuzu, Mazda, and Mercedes-Benz since the late 1990s. FFVs are so-named because they can operate seamlessly on any mixture of E85 (a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent unleaded gasoline) or straight unleaded gasoline from the same tank.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Biodiesel from Castor Oil Takes Less Energy

The Casor Bean grows easily, is drought tolerant, and researchers find it is easier to convert to biodiesel than other plant oils.Energy in a Castor Bean:
by Mario Osava -- tierramerica.net -- 2003
..."But its major market is beginning to open in the energy field, with the growth of biodiesel," says Napoleao Beltrao, who has spent the last 18 years studying the properties of castor oil at the state-run Brazilian Enterprise for Agricultural Research (EMBRAPA) at its labs in the northeastern city of Campina Grande, in Paraíba state.

"Castor oil is the best substance for producing biodiesel because it is the only one that is soluble in alcohol, and does not require heat and the consequent energy requirement of other vegetable oils in transforming them into fuel, Beltrao explained to Tierramarica."

Brazil's Dual Fuel Cars will burn up to 100% Ethanol

Brazil has a long history of building and using cars that run only on Ethanol, usually produced from sugarcane. The new Brazillian 'total flex' cars will be based on that technology, but be able to use any blend of ethanol and gasoline or 100% of either.Dual Fuel Cars Revive Brazil's Alcohol Industry:
by Mario Osava -- tierramerica.net -- 2005
There are nearly two million 'flex fuel' cars in the United States, but there the process 'is different because they use a mix with a maximum of 85 percent alcohol,' which obligates adding 15 percent gasoline, noted Joao Alvarez Filho, Volkswagen manager for engines and transmission.

The new Brazilian models can run on just gasoline, or 100 percent alcohol, or any proportion mix of the two, he said in a coversation with Tierramarica. The company prefers to call this innovation 'total flex', to reflect the true range of possibilities.

The Brazilian advantage was to develop the dual fuel-based on cars that run exclusively on alcohol, which the country has produced for more than 25 years, a pioneer in the technology.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Ethanol is Most Environmentally-Friendly of Fuel Cell Fuel Alternatives

Includes link to the RFA publication with details about using ethanol as a fuel for fuel cells.RFA - Press Release -- NEW RFA PUBLICATION HIGHLIGHTS POTENTIAL SYNERGIES FOR ETHANOL AND FUEL CELLS:
Renewable Fuels Association -- September 4, 2002
WASHINGTON, DC -The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) today released a white paper highlighting the potential synergies for ethanol and fuel cells. Ethanol is easily stored and dispensed in the current fueling system and generates fewer greenhouse gas-forming emissions than conventional fuels. Tests have demonstrated that ethanol is more efficient to reform than gasoline to provide hydrogen for fuel cells.

Growing Energy on the Farm: Biomass and Agriculture

Includes a nice list of links to resources for biomass and energy farming.Growing Energy on the Farm: Biomass and Agriculture:
Tripling U.S. use of biomass for energy could provide as much as $20 billion in new income for farmers and rural communities and reduce global warming emissions by the same amount as taking 70 million cars off the road.
Many farmers already produce biomass energy by growing corn to make ethanol. But biomass energy comes in many forms. Virtually all plants and organic wastes can be used to produce heat, power, or fuel.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

After Oil: Alternative energy slow to take hold

After Oil: Alternative energy slow to take hold - Oil & Energy - MSNBC.com:
by John W. Schoen, Senior Producer -- MSNBC -- July 28, 2005
Thirty years after the "oil shocks" of the 1970s signaled the end of cheap, reliable supplies of oil, the global economy is still dependant on petroleum. And despite billions of dollars in research grants and government subsidies, no alternative energy source has yet been developed to replace it.
Now, with oil prices at $60 a barrel and supplies tighter than they were 30 years ago, analysts, scientists and businesses working to develop alternatives say it will be decades, at least, before the global economy's reliance on oil can be broken.

Chevron Web SIte -- Discussion of Energy Issues

This Chevron SIte includes information on Energy use, supply, population, and environment. Includes a discussion board. Some sections take a while to load, but it's worth it.
Chevron - Will You Join Us - Home

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

E85 coming to Iowa gas stations

The Quad-City Times Newspaper --E85 coming to Iowa gas stations
By Ann McGlynn -- July 28, 2005
The use of ethanol in the state of Iowa is soaring, as the state launches an initiative that will require all gas retailers make their equipment compatible with the latest generation of ethanol: fuel that is 85 percent ethanol, 15 percent gas.

Renewable Fuels Solution for Water and Electricity in India

Solutions for rural India- The Times of India
ANIL K RAJVANSHI -- JULY 27, 2005
The two most crippling problems of rural India — lack of electricity and clean drinking water — and their consequences on health and economy can be dealt with indigenously and simultaneously.
Village-level power plants that run on locally-produced renewable fuels like biogas, biodiesel, ethanol and pyrolysis oil can be set up

Chevron Speaks Up on Energy Depletion

RedNova News - Science - Chevron Speaks Up on Energy Depletion
July 27, 2005
Major oil companies have traditionally dismissed and downplayed concerns about depletion of the world's recoverable supply of oil.

"Don't worry," I've heard them say. "The world has enough oil to meet demand for another 100 years."

It's a logical response, if you're a big public oil company.

If investors thought depletion was looming, as many experts contend, the value of oil stocks would decline. If that happens, the value of your company plummets and your borrowing power begins to tailspin.

But attitudes are changing. One major oil company has acknowledged the depletion issue and is warning consumers of a forthcoming energy crisis.

Turning tallgrass to fuel grass

Science news: Turning tallgrass to fuel grass:
By Mike Krapfl -- Iowa State University -- April 2005
He's written a textbook about biorenewable resources.
He's been photographed in the Iowa tallgrass he's turning into fuel gas.
And he's leading an initiative launched in 2002 by Iowa State University President Gregory Geoffroy that's looking for ways to turn crops and plants into chemicals, fuels, fibers and energy

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Green fuels set for breakthrough

BBC NEWS | Business | Green fuels set for breakthrough
Myles Neligan -- BBC News Online -- July 13, 2004
Environmentally friendly substitutes for petrol and diesel, long championed by green campaigners, have been commercially available for years.

But their high price relative to fossil fuels, along with the expense and inconvenience of adapting cars to run on them, has so far prevented them from penetrating the mass market.

Now, there are signs that a surge of entrepreneurial activity in the alternative fuels sector, coupled with rising oil prices and ever more strident warnings over climate change, could be about to change all that.

Canadian Renewable Fuels Association

Solid news and information about renewable fuels.
Canadian Renewable Fuels Association

Kansas Ethanol Information Website

The leading source for Kansas Ethanol information, but also of interest to drivers everywhere. Includes information about the Ethanol energy balance from corn.
Kansas Ethanol Information Website

Ford Motor Company - Ethanol Vehicles

This is Ford's site all about Ethanol and Flex Fuel vehicles. This is important information for the driving public Ford Motor Company - Ethanol Vehicles
Benefits of Ethanol Vehicles

• Ethanol vehicles are called Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFV) due to their ability to run on Ethanol (E85), gasoline or any combination of the two fuels. E85 is a blend of 85 percent denatured ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.

• Today, Ethanol is produced mainly from corn, but can be made from virtually any starch feed stock such as sugar cane, wheat, or barley.

• Because Ethanol is produced from crops, it is a renewable fuel and reduces the United States' dependence on imported oil.

• The adaptable fuel is grown in popularity and there are approximately 100 refueling sites in North America, and a continually developing infrastructure.

• Ford FFVs automatically adjust for any mixture for a hassle-free and environmentally sound driving. Onboard sensors monitor the fuel mixture and the on-board computer adjusts spark timing and fuel flow to optimize performance.

• Flexible Fuel vehicles can be ordered and serviced through any North American Ford Dealership including those vehicles that meet California emission standards.

E85 Toolkit: Threaded Bulletin Board

Get in on the discussion about E85 Ethanol Fuel. People are talking about flex fuel vehicles, conversions, pricing, and all things E85.
E85 Toolkit: Threaded Bulletin Board
U.S. Department of Energy -- Alternative Fuels data Center

Group Promotes Community Based Renewable Power

Ontario Sustainable Energy Association:
Why Community Power?
In conventional energy systems, like that of Ontario, at least 75 cents of each energy dollar leaves the local economy. Community green power developments provide an excellent opportunity to help keep energy dollars at home while at the same time helping the environment by providing green power. Community green power projects can generate local jobs, favourable investment opportunities, benefits for local businesses, opportunities for education and greater capacity at the community level to bring about change.
People living locally know their communities best. An understanding of local environmental and economic issues is important in assessing the true costs of current sources of energy generation and opportunities for positive change. By participating in community power projects, momentum for change grows. The capacity of the community builds with new knowledge and networks form for future sustainable community projects.
Community power brings increased local control, knowledge and jobs while fuelling the local economy and creating opportunities for improving air quality in Ontario.

Kansas Energy Information Network

Comprehensive source of renewable energy news and information for Kansas
Kansas Energy Information Network

Monday, July 25, 2005

What happens if oil output 'peaks'? - Answer Desk - MSNBC.com

What happens if oil output 'peaks'? - Answer Desk - MSNBC.com
If the era of “cheap oil” is indeed over, we all have a lot of work to do. But here at the Answer Desk, we don’t believe that the game is over. There are a lot of very smart people out there working on solutions. As oil consumers, we all created this problem. The good news is that that means we all have the power to solve it.

Prospects for a Billion Ton Biomass Feedstock Supply

This site is a gateway to biomass research information developed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. They have an extensive program of biomass and bioenergy research. They have available a new PDF document entitled "Biomass as Feedstock for a Bioenergy and Bioproducts Industry: The Technical Feasibility of a Billion-Ton Annual Supply." It explores the potential for US biomass under 3 schemes: 1) current biomass available for energy 2) biomass potential with technical advances in growing existing crops 3) Biomass potential with technical advances and added cultivation of switchgrass and other crops suited to sustainable biomass production.
Bioenergy Information Network

Farmers Adjusting to Long-Term Higher Energy Costs

US Farmers have done much to reduce inputs even in an era of cheap oil. As petroleum becomes more expensive, conservation will be a necessity for the survival of farming operations.
Leopold Center - Taking a long look at short supplies - Spring 2001 newsletter:
Fred Kirschenmann -- Leopold Letter -- Spring 2001
Energy conservation may be one fruitful avenue for farmers to pursue in the immediate future. We all learned that we could dramatically reduce our energy use during the energy crisis of the 1970s. This strategy, more than anything, helped us survive temporary energy shortages. Of course, farmers can't just shut down their tractors. But we can reduce tillage, judiciously use petroleum-based inputs and adopt better management practices to decrease purchased inputs.
A 1993 North Dakota State University study comparing the performance of conventional, no-till and organic farms offered some interesting conclusions. It showed that when total energy flows were considered, no-till farms consumed 30 percent less energy than their conventional counterparts. Organic farms consumed 70 percent less energy than conventional farms, and yields were comparable for all three farms. No-till and organic management may not be for everyone, but this study supports the idea that farmers may be able to adopt practices that can curtail energy costs, conserve soil and water, and still produce optimum yields.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Geothermal in Bush's FY'06 Budget

February 2005 Geothermal-biz.com Newsletter

Kansas will need infrastructure to transmit wind energy

AP Wire | Kansas will need infrastructure to transmit wind energy
Associated Press -- Jul. 24, 2005
LAWRENCE, Kan. - Kansas has the wind needed to produce electricity, but officials say more transmission lines will be needed to deliver the power to other parts of the country.

Cost Competitive Electricity from Photovoltaic Concentrators Called Imminent

Cost Competitive Electricity from Photovoltaic Concentrators Called Imminent -- Auto Spectator
July 21, 2005
We have seen steady progress in photovoltaic concentrator technology. We are working with advanced multijunction PV cells that are approaching 38% efficiency, and even higher is possible over time. Our goal is to install PV concentrator systems at $3 per watt, which can happen soon at production rates of 10 megawatts per year. Once that happens, higher volumes are readily achieved," Hayden, Solar Program Coordinator at APS, said.

Missouri team finds race in solar car can be a challenge

Missouri team finds race in solar car can be a challenge
By CHUCK ADAMSON of the Tribune’s staff -- July 24, 2005
The car made of carbon fiber and Kevlar is about 17 feet long and 6 feet wide. It’s covered by 463 solar tiles, each about 5 inches square, that power a 5-horsepower motor.
The race speed limit is 65 mph, which the MU team can hit in sunny conditions.
MU Professor Richard Whelove, the faculty adviser on the project, said the team is doing extraordinarily well, given its budget.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Effective Microorganisms Could Improve Energy Balance for Biofuel Crops

Any system of energy production seeks to minimize inputs and maximize output in order to produce the best possible energy balance. With crops for biofuels, this means getting the best balance of fertilizer and other inputs inputs versus crop yield. The energy of the sun makes a positive energy balance possible, though much more energy is available than plant photosynthesis utilizes. The article below discusses a method of introducing an ideal population of beneficial microorganisms to the soil in order to maximize yields. Some of these microorganisms are photosynthetic or nitrogen fixing, capable of increasing yields and improving the energy balance with better utilization of available soil nutrients and atmospheric nitrogen. This could help make energy farming more viable.
BENEFICIAL AND EFFECTIVE MICROORGANISMS:
by Dr. Teruo Higa and Dr. James F. Parr -- 1994
...Although the potential utilization rate of solar energy by plants has been estimated theoretically at between 10 and 20%, the actual utilization rate is less than 1%. Even the utilization rate of C4 plants, such as sugar cane whose photosynthetic efficiency is very high, barely exceeds 6 or 7% during the maximum growth period. The utilization rate is normally less than 3% even for optimum crop yields.
Past studies have shown that photosynthetic efficiency of the chloroplasts of host crop plants cannot be increased much further; this means that their biomass production has reached a maximum level. Therefore, the best opportunity for increasing biomass production is to somehow utilize the visible light, which chloroplasts cannot presently use, and the infrared radiation; together, these comprise about 80% of the total solar energy. Also, we must explore ways of recycling organic energy contained in plant and animal residues through direct utilization of organic molecules by plants (Higa and Wididana, 1991a)...

Friday, July 22, 2005

Missouri's Largest Biodiesel Production Facility Announced

Missouri's Largest Biodiesel Production Facility Announced:
ADM Press Release -- admworld.com -- April 26, 2005
MEXICO, MO -- Mid-America Biofuels, LLC, has announced plans to build Missouri's first major biodiesel production plant in Mexico, MO. Mid-America Biofuels, LLC is a joint venture of Biofuels, LLC, a farmer-owned biodiesel business based in Jefferson City, MO; Ray-Carroll County Grain Growers, Richmond, MO; and MFA Oil Company, Columbia, MO...

The facility will have a nameplate capacity of 30 million gallons of biodiesel production per year and will use soybean oil as feedstock.
Biodiesel demand is growing rapidly, and we believe Missouri is the right place to produce biodiesel and fill that demand, said Warren Stemme, St. Charles-county farmer and president of Mid-America Biofuels...

This is excellent news for growers, processors, our economy and our environment, said Paul B. Mulhollem, President and Chief Operating Officer of ADM. This project demonstrates how farmers and processors can partner for growth and success while also extending our nation's energy supply. We are pleased to leverage the extensive experience and tremendous success that ADM has had in the biodiesel market in Europe. The anticipated extension of federal support will serve as a vital catalyst to develop demand for biodiesel in the United States.”
Biodiesel, produced from renewable fats and oils such as soybean oil, works in any diesel engine with few or no modifications. It offers enhanced lubricity and octane, plus similar horsepower and torque when compared to petroleum diesel...

Ethanol From Cornstalks and Switchgrass Could Come to Missouri

Ethanol production from cellulosic materials such as cornstalks, switchgrass, and fast growing trees could increase world ethanol output tremendously. Research initiatives like the one mentioned below are trying to perfect the technology to make the refining process viable. We will also need to develop optimum methods and crops for growing the feedstock to be made into ethanol.
New biotech firm considers move to Northwest:
Northwest Press Release -- nwmissouri.edu -- July 20, 2005
MARYVILLE, Mo. -- The Missouri Center of Excellence for Plant Biologics at Northwest Missouri State University is negotiating with a second biotechnology company considering a move to Maryville.
Edenspace Systems Corp., headquartered in Dulles, Va., uses living plants to create systems designed to improve human health, detoxify soil, improve water quality and otherwise enhance the environment...
The company is also involved in a biofuels initiative that has received funding through the U.S. Department of Energy. It is this effort that would move to the center, a bioscience business incubator under development on the Northwest campus...
Bruce W. Ferguson, Edenspace' chairman, president and chief executive officer, said Northwest is a promising candidate for the expansion, and that a final decision is likely within the next three months...
The company, said Ferguson, is experimenting with technologies that utilize a larger portion of plant biomass, including stalks and leaves. Such methods, he said, hold the key to more efficient biofuel production by increasing potential ethanol yields per acre of farmland.
Expanding the amount of usable biomass and reducing reliance on grains, he said, opens up the process to perennials, such as switchgrass, that don’t have to be replanted every year...

Study predicts spending surge for offshore wind energy

This story mentions prototype wave and tidal energy projects as well as wind.
Oil & Gas Journal - Study predicts spending surge for offshore wind energy:
By OGJ editors -- July 20, 2005
HOUSTON -- Offshore wind energy installations, mainly off Europe, will attract $13.6 billion in investment during the next 5 years, predicted analysts Douglas-Westwood Ltd. in a market study published in mid-July.
The report says the offshore wind energy industry is set for strong, government-backed growth. It forecasts installations totaling 7,700 Mw -- about the energy equivalent of 7 nuclear power stations.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Software Entrepreneur Finds New Career in Biodiesel

RedNova News - Software Entrepreneur Finds New Career in Biodiesel
July 18
Martin Tobias and his new business partner, John Plaza, were driving around downtown Seattle last week when a bus went by, blasting exhaust fumes into the air.

"Smell that?" Tobias said. "That's diesel."

A few minutes later, Plaza parked his Chevy pickup at a curb in Pioneer Square to demonstrate what a vehicle fueled by biodiesel smells like. Rising from the exhaust pipe was an aroma similar to popcorn.

It's also the smell of a new career for Tobias, who in May became chief executive of Seattle Biodiesel, a small company in South Seattle that sells an alternative fuel for diesel engines.

Corn-based E85 fuel runs cleaner, cheaper than gas

The Southern Illinoisan -- Corn-based E85 fuel runs cleaner, cheaper than gas
by ANDREA HAHN -- THE SOUTHERN -- July 22, 2005
METROPOLIS - It's made from a renewable resource - one of which Illinois has an ample supply. It burns more cleanly and efficiently than gasoline and is a performance enhancer.

But probably the best thing about E85 fuel is that it's more than 30 cents cheaper per gallon than gasoline...

While Kitts admitted to being a little skeptical about anything "new and improved" in the automobile industry, what he found with E85 fuel made him a believer...

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Solar Heated Housing Developments Around the World

Common Ground - When the gas runs out
by Guy Dauncey -- July 2005
In Okotoks, Alberta, a 52 unit solar-heated subdivision will be finished this fall: the first in North America. The heat will be gathered on the garage roofs and pumped underground, to be retrieved in winter. It’s expensive, but it’s doable, and with mass production, the price of solar heaters will come down.

Crowder solar home is now a campus fixture

Joplin Independent:Crowder solar home is now a campus fixture

Colleges Compete in Solar Decathalon

The Sky's the Limit: Marketing Solar Energy for the New Millennium
by Erin Brown -- edcmag.com -- Sept 5, 2002
The DOE started this program to highlight the role of solar energy in the home situation. The decathlon is a competition among universities to build homes which are entirely powered by solar energy,” said Todd Foley

Wind Generator in the Yard for 21 Years

Northwest Indiana News: Windmills whirr out dollars
by Keith Benman -- nwtimes.com -- July 10, 2005
In NWI, saving a buck outweighs saving the earth

By installing the wind generator behind his home, Roy Dickinson had put himself at the forefront of America's renewable energy movement.

Wind Generators Designed for Cities and Oceans

To reach their full potential, Wind generators need to be designed into buildings and other structures. The "Aerogenerator" may be the perfect fit for offshore applications.
Guardian Unlimited | A turn for the better:
by Steve Rose -- July 18, 2005
Wind turbines are ugly and no one wants to live near one. Right? Wrong. Steve Rose on the new architects of spin

Think of wind power and the first image to spring to mind is most likely a giant, three-bladed propeller spinning atop a slim tower, probably in a rural area. Chances are that's actually the only image that springs to mind - and that's a problem. To renewable-energy supporters, the wind turbine symbolises the hope of a green, clean future, but to opponents, they might as well be Martian tripods from War of the Worlds, advancing inexorably across our precious countryside...

The debate is clearly as much about the aesthetics of wind power as the politics and practicalities but, at present, wind turbines barely rank above electricity pylons in terms of aesthetic consideration. Members of the design community are beginning to rise to the challenge, however, either by finding better places to put wind turbines or by making them better looking.
One of the most striking new projects rethinks the idea of the turbine entirely. It is called an Aerogenerator...

Missouri College Builds 100% Solar Powered Homes

Energy conservation lessons from Denmark.
Professor: Energy efficiency needed:
Wes Johnson -- News-Leader.com -- July 15, 2005
Crowder College expert tells task force of huge gains made by Denmark in conserving.
The statistic Art Boyt shared Thursday night was sobering.
During a recent trip to Denmark, Boyt, a Crowder College professor and director of the Missouri Alternative and Renewable Energy Center, said he took a close look at a large wind-power turbine.

The giant machine generated enough electricity to serve 3,000 Danish homes, a Danish engineer told him.

"He was shocked when I told him it would only serve 1,000 U.S. homes," Boyt said.

The point: Americans can do a lot to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and buildings and still live a comfortable lifestyle...

Crowder College already has built two homes that are powered 100 percent by the sun. Boyt said the MARET center will take that concept even further by developing a retirement community on campus where all the homes and even the cars are powered by the sun.

Book Suggests Strategies to Deal With Peak Oil

PEAK OIL PARADIGM SHIFT
www.pressbox.co.uk -- Tue Jul 12 2005
...examines the need to re-think and re-tool the world's energy model in the face of a rising demand for oil that is becoming increasingly more difficult for oil producers to supply. Written by Bilaal Abdullah, an Electrical and Software Engineer from oil-producing Trinidad and Tobago, with many years of working and consulting in the oil industry, the book examines the possible effects of Peak Oil on developed, developing and underdeveloped countries and the implications for geo-politics, economic development, climate and lifestyle changes. Having made the case that the Peak Oil phase of petroleum (and natural gas) production is imminent, the author examines the likely effects of oil scarcity on the critical chokepoints of electricity generation, transportation and agriculture. He then reviews the practical methods of diversifying the world's energy mix on a region by region basis...

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Wal-Mart Tests Going Green In Texas

This new Wal-Mart store incorporates several new energy saving building features that are worth a look.
Wal-Mart Unveils McKinney Experiment
nbc5i.com -- July 19, 2005
DALLAS -- The largest retailer in the world is going green, and the revolution is starting in North Texas as Wal-Mart throws open the doors on what it calls the "McKinney Experiment."
It's a super center store designed to be environmentally friendly.
From the minute a customer drives into the parking lot, they can see this store is different. There are a number of large trees that were transplanted instead of being cut down, and part of the lot is covered with a giant sunscreen.
Both provide shade, which helps reduce the amount of heat large parking lots can generate...

Wind power costly, Canaccord finds

The Globe and Mail: Wind power costly, Canaccord finds
By ALLAN ROBINSON -- July 18, 2005
Wind power sounds like a cheap way to generate electricity, but it isn't when the cost of capital is included and investors are looking for a return on that investment, according to report released Monday by Canaccord Capital Corp.

Chemical of the Week -- Ethanol

Chemical of the Week -- Ethanol
The word alcohol derives from Arabic al-kuhul, which denotes a fine powder of antimony used as an eye makeup. Alcohol originally referred to any fine powder, but medieval alchemists later applied the term to the refined products of distillation, and this led to the current usage.

Where Will the World Get its Next Energy Fix?

Where on Earth can our energy-hungry society turn to replace oil, coal, and natural gas?
by Michael Parfit -- nationalgeographic.com -- August 2005
The euphoria of energy freedom is addictive. Don't get me wrong; I love fossil fuels. I live on an island that happens to have no utilities, but otherwise my wife and I have a normal American life. We don't want propane refrigerators, kerosene lamps, or composting toilets. We want a lot of electrical outlets and a cappuccino maker. But when I turn on those panels, wow!

Anti-Ethanol Study Roasted

Colorado experts doubt authors' methods :
By Gargi Chakrabarty -- Rocky Mountain News -- July 19, 2005
Colorado experts on Monday debunked a new study that says alternative fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel burn more energy than they produce.
The study, by researchers at Cornell University and the University of California-Berkeley, said 29 percent more fossil energy, such as oil or natural gas, is required to turn corn into ethanol than the amount of energy the process produces.

The study also said it takes 27 percent more energy to turn soybeans into biodiesel fuel and more than double the energy produced is needed to do the same with sunflower plants.
'Ethanol production in the United States does not benefit the nation's energy security, its agriculture, the economy or the environment,' said the study by Cornell's David Pimentel and Berkeley's Tad Patzek. They conclude the country would be better off investing in solar, wind and hydrogen energy.
Those results raise important issues for Colorado, where investors are pumping millions of dollars into two new ethanol plants in Weld County and a new biodiesel refinery in Monte Vista...

Pimentel and Patzek included in the study such factors as the energy used in producing the crop, costs that were not used in other studies that supported ethanol production.
The study also omitted $3 billion in state and federal government subsidies that go toward ethanol production in the United States each year, payments that mask the true costs"...

Turning New York's Wood into the Energy of the Future

Turning New York's Wood into the Energy of the Future
SUNY -- January 13, 2005
We know our sources of fossil fuel aren't going to last forever," Dr. Thomas Amidon said. "The new Biorefinery process will allow us to substitute a sustainable energy source: wood."
During the last few years, Amidon collaborated with students ranging from a home-schooled high school student to ESF doctoral candidates to devise a new and subtler method for separating wood into its components.
Chief among those components is cellulose, the polysaccharide (sugar) that is the single strongest, most widely used component of woody plants. In the context of a paper mill, cellulose becomes pulp for use in making paper. The second largest component of hardwood trees is the polysaccharide xylan, which is primarily dissolved in the pulping process.
"The real value in that sugar," Amidon said, "was never exploited. Once fermented, the sugar xylan can produce ethanol, which can be used in cars instead of, or in combination with, traditional gasoline."
Although the energy factor is the focus of attention now, as the state steps up its development of alternative fuel sources, there is a second benefit to the process. In addition to extracting sugar from the wood, scientists can separate out the wood's acetic acid, which is used primarily in manufacturing. A major use of acetic acid is the manufacturing of polyvinyl acetate, a plastic used in many aspects of home construction, and many other consumer products. The commercial value of acetic acid is nearly three times that of ethanol: 45 cents per pound as opposed to 18 cents per pound.

US Biodiesel and Ag Groups Try to Block Palm Oil

Green Car Congress: US Biodiesel and Ag Groups Try to Block Palm Oil
July 17, 2005 -- Original Source, Des Moines Register
The Des Moines Register reports that the American Soybean Association and the National Biodiesel Board are attempting to have the IRS explicitly exclude palm oil from the list of virgin oils to which the new biodiesel tax credit applies.
The two groups are concerned about the potential for lower-cost palm oil, imported from Malaysia and Indonesia, to encroach into the US market. Fediol, the EU’s vegetable oil federation, recently speculated that palm oil could supply up to 20% of the EU’s biodiesel needs by 2010. (Earlier post.)

There’s little indication that palm oil is headed here for fuel use anytime soon, and there are questions about how well it would work in fuel. Still, palm oil now costs several cents a pound less than soybean oil, and that has farmers worried.

Building a Biodiesel Plant? Expert Advice Available

Bargain biodiesel advice:
by Dan Looker, Farm Business Editor -- Agriculture.com -- July 18, 2005
Thinking about plunking thousands into a new biodiesel plant? You can become an informed investor. Visit www.AscendantPartners.com, a Web site formed by three former CoBank staffers with a lot of experience in financing start-up ethanol and biodiesel plants.
Part of the site offers free information. For $495 you can get a prefeasiblity study on par with pricey consulting, except that it's not site-specific. 'Before you spend $40,000 to do a feasibility study, it makes sense to see if it's even possible,' says Mark Warren, one of the site's founders.
'We see the biodiesel industry in the same place the ethanol industry was 10 years ago,' Warren told Agriculture Online. 'There's a lot of misinformation about the industry. And the information is fragmented. What this does is put it all under one roof.'

Sunday, July 17, 2005

The Day of Biofuels Arrives in Canada

Another proposed Ethanol plant would utilize alternative feedstock, straw, extending the potential of biofuels.

Report – Stirrings in the Corn Fields Ethanol
Canadian Renewable Fuels Association
Even in backward Britain a smallish biodiesel plant has just come on stream, and another as big as Europe's biggest is being built. And after long research a Canadian firm has plans for a full-scale ethanol plant that will replace today's grain or sugar feedstock with straw.

Output is still tiny compared with that of mineral fuels. But the day of the biofuel has arrived.

Over-Dependence on Oil Drives Alternative Market in Ireland

Over-dependence on oil drives alternative market
by Ken Griffin -- July 17, 2005
The spiralling cost of oil is one of the most significant threats to economic growth that Ireland now faces. Our reliance on oil and gas for heating, transport and power generation has left many businesses vulnerable to even the slightest price rise...

Saturday, July 16, 2005

The Air Car -- Runs on Compressed Air!

This sounds too good to be true -- a car that runs on compressed air is going into production.

The air car
Press Release from MDI
The MDI car can reach a speed of 68 mph and has a road coverage of roughly 124 miles -some 8 hours of travel- which is more than double the road coverage of an electric car. When recharging the tank, the car needs to be connected to the mains (220V) for 3 to 4 hours or attached to an air pump in a petrol station for only 2 minutes.

Economy and the ecological benefits are the main advantages for the client since the car´s maintenance cost is 10 times less than that of a petrol-run car, costing 1 pound for the car to travel for up to 8 hours or to cover 124 miles in an Urban area.

Toyota and BP May Partner to Research Biofuels

It seems the major players are taking notice of biofuels. Mentions the possibility of deriving biofuels from waste biomass and non-intensive crops grown for fuel.

Green Car Congress: Toyota and BP May Partner to Research Biofuels
July 15, 2005

Iowa Cornstalks and Switchgrass Possible Ethanol Feedstocks

It seems the biggest advantage to using swtichgrass would be the elimination of tillage, soil erosion, and yearly planting. This needs more investigation along with the cornstalk idea, which would not take away from food production acres.

The next generation of ethanol: Use cornstalks
by Ed Woolsey -- DemoinesRegister.com -- July 16, 2005
...But an even more promising future is possible if we make ethanol from the cellulose components of plants - cornstalks, straw and other fibrous plant material. Technology currently exists to make more than 80 gallons of ethanol from each ton of plant material. The obvious initial plant material would be cornstalks. If we took 1 ton of stalks from every acre of Iowa's 12.7 million acres of corn ground and convert it to ethanol, we could produce another billion gallons and still leave enough stalks on the ground to maintain the soil...

Organic Farms Produce Same Yields As Conventional Farms

This Cornell University study examines the results from a 22 year farming trial conducted by the Rodale institute, comparing conventional and organic farming. The favorable results for organic farming could point the way to a more sustainable energy farming system, utilizing various crops as feedstocks for ethanol and biodiesel. Farming methods need to preserve topsoil and soil fertility over the long run in order to produce truly renewable biofuel.

Organic Farms Produce Same Yields As Conventional Farms
July 14, 2005
ITHACA, N.Y. -- Organic farming produces the same yields of corn and soybeans as does conventional farming, but uses 30 percent less energy, less water and no pesticides, a review of a 22-year farming trial study concludes.

Friday, July 15, 2005

sustainablog: Defending Biofuels

sustainablog: Defending Biofuels:
July 06, 2005
With the rash of recent reports claiming that biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel aren't all they're promised, members of the Sustainable Blogosphere are questioning the questioners...

State helps finance study on Kansas biodiesel plant

State helps finance study on biodiesel plant LJWorld.com: "
by Mark Fagan -- Lawrence Journal-World -- July 7, 2005
Efforts to build a $20 million biodiesel production plant in Douglas County are picking up state support. The Kansas Department of Commerce has agreed to help finance a feasibility study for a proposed plant, said Lynn Parman, vice president for economic development at the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce. The department is providing $40,000 through its value-added loan program. Leaders of the chamber's New Horizons Agriculture Alliance hope to build a
plant that could employ more than three dozen people and pump out 20 million gallons of fuel each year.

Biodiesel Great for Truckers and Farmers

An extensive and article on biodiesel marketing and use by truckers in the US, but from a UK perspective.

Biodiesel is Willie's Surprise Drivetime Hit: "
Andrew Gumbel -- the lndependent/UK -- July 9

Carl's Corner, Texas -- Carl Cornelius isn't just interested in offering truckers a place to fill up their 18-wheelers and hang their hats for a while along the long, lonely highways of northern Texas. He is intent on starting a revolution. Carl is the irrepressibly colorful owner and impresario of Carl's Corner, a truck stop 60 miles south of Dallas that has been drawing drivers for more than 20 years with its lavishly welcoming restaurant...
Now he has a new attraction to offer: biodiesel fuel. The idea of powering trucks and cars with vegetable oils and animal fats may not
be new in Europe, but in the United States - especially a United States
uncomfortably aware of its dependence on Middle Eastern oil in the wake of the 11 September attacks - it is both a novelty and a cause of growing excitement. Truckers who have tried it love it because it is cheaper than petroleum diesel, gives them better mileage and cleans out their engines. Farmers are excited because it offers them the prospect of a brand new market for their products - especially now that concern over mad cow disease threatens to restrict or cut off food-related uses of animal...

Journal article considers peak oil factors not accounted for in Hubbert's model

Using Hubbert's model with added factors, this author predicts a world production peak by 2025.

Hubbert's Model: Uses, Meanings, and Limits-2:

The mathematical model of M.K. Hubbert successfully predicted the peak of oil production in the US even though the logistic growth curve on which it is based cannot account for the physical, political, and economic factors that govern actual production. The first part of this article introduced a number of those factors, which will be elaborated here to demonstrate their influence on
applicability of the model (OGJ, June 6, 2005, p. 22).
These and other limitations-including the uncertain nature of resource estimates-must guide use of Hubbert's model in production forecasts...

Some forecasters19 20 21 have used proprietary reserves data in conjunction with Hubbert's model or derivatives of this model to estimate future world oil production trends. It is now possible to
use publicly available resource estimates based on the best available science and technology14 and different modeling approaches to estimate a peak year for world oil production.22 23 24 All of these approaches indicate that one should expect a peak in conventional world oil production due to resource constraints alone by 2025 or earlier. Non-OPEC production should peak due to resource
constraints much earlier, between 2010 and 2015.

However, producer cooperation is a critical requirement for the validity of all of these models. Given the political factors associated with current world oil production, it is essential that anyone interested in future production make some attempt to evaluate the likelihood of continued cooperation as an increasing number of
producing basins reach maturity and begin to decline. It seems increasingly clear that this factor, not resource-constrained production, will actually determine the time period in which petroleum supply will not match demand...

Biodiesel plants cheaper to build than than Ethanol

Biodiesel industry taking off:
by Andy Bell -- Delta Farm Press -- July 14, 2005
A cross-section of representatives from legislators, offices, oil companies, and Farm Bureau and soybean producers from several states met recently to discuss new developments at the first USDA sanctioned biodiesel plant in Mississippi. Jimmy Chiles, chief operating officer of the refinery Biodiesel of Mississippi Inc., Nettleton, Miss., told the audience that biodiesel-derived from plant oil and particularly soybean oil, is currently profitable for producers and suppliers, as well as less expensive than petroleum for truckers, farmers and other users. Its economic advantage is due in large part to the federal government, which offers a $1 tax credit reimbursement for every gallon of biodiesel burned, as a well as an additional blending credit that pays 20 cents a gallon up to a 20 percent biodiesel blend (or $4 for 100 gallons of B20 mix)...

Under the bio-energy program, part of the 2002 farm act legislation, $150 billion (currently $100 billion) — has been earmarked toward subsidizing bio-energy plants. However, that program could expire by September 2006, placing potential investors in the industry in an unfavorable position.

William Tacker, owner of the refinery in Nettleton, which produces 60,000 gallons of biodiesel daily, said most experts and officials seeking to boost alternative fuel sources are focusing on ethanol plants.But, he said, for the cost of every ethanol plant built, five biodiesel refineries (at a cost of about $3 million each) can be constructed. “Financially, you can build a refinery and pay for it in one month,” he said. “But money management is the problem.
“If you go to the bank to borrow money on a government program that could go out next year, the banker is not too happy.”

Due primarily to the high cost of crude oil and environmental friendly advantages of burning biodiesel, demand remains high.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

House to Run on Solar Energy Stored as Hydrogen

One man's castle runs on hydrogen - MSNBC.com:
by Maggie Galehouse -- Associated Press -- May 30, 2005
Phoenix -- Beaulieu's home will trap sunlight in solar panels and convert it to electricity. That electricity will run a washing machine-size appliance called an electrolyzer, which separates water into hydrogen and oxygen.
The hydrogen will be trapped in high-pressure tanks and run through an electric generator, producing a clean electricity that keeps lights, computers, ceiling fans -- whatever the family needs -- humming.
The solar panels will soak up tens of thousands of watts of energy during the day and store it for evening, when the family needs more power.

General Electric Making Major Investments in Renewable Energy

The Greening of GE
By Peter Fairley
Alternative energy, once the province of do-it-yourselfers and scrappy technology developers,is suddenly Big Business

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Biodiesel fuels soybean farmers' hopes for future

Biodiesel fuels soybean farmers' hopes for future
By Marcus Wohlsen -- The Courier-Journal -- July 5, 2005
SIMPSONVILLE, Ky. -- Though traditionally used for food, many of the soybeans harvested in Kentucky and Indiana this year will likely end up as biodiesel, an increasingly popular alternative fuel that can be made from nearly any kind of fat, animal or vegetable.

Peer-Reviewed Study Examines Biodiesel's Energy Balance

RenewableEnergyAccess.com What is Biodiesel's Energy Balance?
July 12, 2005
Independent third-party, peer-reviewed studies show biodiesel has the highest energy balance of ANY fuel. A prominent USDA/DOE study shows for every unit of fossil fuel used to make biodiesel, 3.2 units of energy are gained in energy output. That's a 320% increase and includes soybean planting, harvesting, fuel production and transportation.

Makeover almost complete on ISU biodiesel plant

Radio Iowa: Makeover almost complete on ISU biodiesel plant
by Darwin Danielson -- July 12, 2005
Work is almost complete on a makeover of the biodiesel plant at the Iowa State University Iowa Energy Center in Nevada. The center is a teaching and research facility for alternative fuels and manager Norm Olson says the upgrade will improve they way they make bio-diesel fuel.

New fuel cell converts biofuels to hydrogen on the go

Looks like a cool motorcycle at least, but could its new hydrogen fuel cell be a major breakthrough? It's worth following, and could have advantages connected with emissions and ability to use a number of different biofuels. Perhaps this technology will really shine in other power applications, depending on the efficiency of the biofuel to hydrogen conversion process.

Cheap and clean: Emissions neutral vehicle getting rave reviews:
by Jeremy Loome -- Edmonton Sun -- July 10, 2005

Harry Bradbury's new toy is a motorcycle that could run on sunflower oil, is nearly silent at 80 kmh and produces no emissions save drinkable water. It looks like something from a James Bond movie, minus the front-mounted machine guns. Bradbury is the CEO of Intelligent Energy, creator of the ENV (it's pronounced 'envy') motorcycle. The ENV gets its name from being an Emissions-Neutral Vehicle. It earns the title by running on hydrogen removed from bio fuels - anything from hemp oil to ethanol...

'It's going to be disruptive in the ways big business deals with oil and gas, particularly in the area that oil and gas would least like to hear, which is pure economics. It's much cheaper and completely clean.'

The bike is sleek, sporty and makes about as much noise as the fan on a PC. It's been ridden extensively by the British press, to raves.
It will retail, he expects, for about $7,500 and be available in North America by 2007...
The secret is the bike's hydrogen fuel cell, which Bradbury calls the world's most compact. It can even be removed and used to power other items.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Environmental Lifestyle Becoming Mainstream

Simple Choices - upstateHOUSE
BY SUSAN PIPERATO -- July 2005
The environmental movement may have taken shape over 40 years ago, but until recently living an environmentally conscious lifestyle was perceived as eccentric—the practice of long-haired hippies, woolly-headed intellectuals, and intransigent revolutionaries who either failed or refused to fit into mainstream society.

These days, people from all walks of life are becoming
sustainable by building smaller homes; building greener homes; buying energy-efficient appliances; investing in renewable energy; buying locally grown, organic produce and supporting the local community and businesses; purchasing fair-trade goods; and driving cars that are fuel misers or eschew fossil fuels entirely.

More and more people are waking up to the fact that our economy and ecosystem are not sustainable, and that changes must be made to bring us back into balance.

Earth, Sun, Wind: How to Power Your Home with Renewable Energy

Earth, Sun, Wind
by Lorrie Klosterman -- upstateHOUSE -- July, 2005
By now, everyone should know the litany of reasons why shifting to renewable energy sources is a must. In New York State about 70 percent of power comes from burning coal, oil, and natural gas, which will only get more expensive as supplies dwindle.

Interest in ethanol plants continues to grow

AP Wire -- Interest in ethanol plants continues to grow
July 10, 2005
LIBERAL, Kan. - The large number of cattle in southwest Kansas makes it a prime area for ethanol production, according to a consultant hired to study the feasibility of an ethanol plant in Seward County.

Irish Farmers Looking to Grow More Crops for Biofuel

IOL: Farmers in plea over biofuel production
Ireland On Line -- July 11, 2005
The Government was today urged to take immediate action to develop a sustainable Irish bioenergy industry, with agriculture as the major player. Irish Farmers Association (IFA) president John Dillon said the rising cost of oil and strengthening US dollar created an urgent need to develop an alternative to importing expensive fossil fuels.

Farmers need a more sustainable and stable outlet for their crops into the future and are prepared to grow dedicated energy crops for the purpose of biofuel production.

Brazil biofuel strategy pays off as gas prices soar

Could a similar transition happen in the US?

Brazil biofuel strategy pays off as gas prices soar - washingtonpost.com
by Dan Morgan -- Updated June 18, 2005

PRADOPOLIS, Brazil - Outside the cavernous Sao Martinho refinery, the air smells of molasses as a quarter-mile-long caravan of trucks piled high with sugar cane waits to unload cargo, signs that the world's largest sugar harvest is moving into high gear.

Such bumper sugar crops have often meant worldwide gluts, low prices and headaches for politicians in the more than 100 countries where sugar cane is grown, but not this year in Brazil. About half the cane brought here will be made into ethanol as part of a 30-year gamble to substitute fuels made from crops for imported oil. As international oil prices soar, that bet has put Brazil at the forefront of a 'biofuels' movement in which many countries view sugar cane, corn, soybeans, beets, cornstalks and native grasses as cleaner, money-saving substitutes for oil produced in politically unstable countries. Ethanol is higher in power-producing octane than most gasoline and
can reduce tailpipe emissions of carbon monoxide and harmful particulates.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Ford Leads with Bio-Ethanol Powered Cars for Europe

Ford Leads with Bio-Ethanol Powered Cars for Europe
Auto Spectator: SWEDEN/EUROPE: July 8, 2005

Ford was the first manufacturer to market a low CO 2 bio-ethanol powered car in Europe in 2001
* New generation 1.8-litre Ford Focus Flexi-Fuel model is launched in Sweden along with, for the first time, the Focus C-MAX Flexi-Fuel
* These Flexi-Fuel cars demonstrate Ford's commitment to market
environmentally friendly, yet highly affordable technologies
* Close co-operation between Ford, the bio-fuel industry and the Swedish government makes sustainable mobility a realistic goal

Planet Ark : Thai Demand for Ethanol-Mixed Gasoline Rising Fast

Planet Ark : Thai Demand for Ethanol-Mixed Gasoline Rising Fast
Reuters News Service -- THAILAND: July 11, 2005

BANGKOK - Ethanol-mixed gasoline now accounts for a quarter of premium gasoline consumption in Thailand, two years after its commercial launch, Energy Minister Viset Choopiban said on Friday.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Oil's not well, so let's find alternative (before time runs out)

Oil's not well, so let's find alternative
by Ike Awgu -- ottawasun.com -- July 7, 2005
To ward off this catastrophe, our governments and private industry must find a cheap and alternative source of transportation energy. Thankfully progress is being made, and almost monthly we hear new positive things about alternatives to fossil fuels. Our time to find these alternatives however, like our supply of
oil, will eventually run out.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

California Legislation would require builders to offer solar heating, cooling

Calif. planning green power revolution - Yahoo! News
By John Ritter -- USA TODAY -- Jul 6, 2005

A "One Million Solar Roofs" bill moving through the Legislature with Schwarzenegger's support would require builders to offer solar heating and cooling systems to new homebuyers. The goal is to jump-start the solar industry and bring costs down.

Ethanol 40% of Fuel Sold in Brazil

Biofuels can Power Cars of the Future
by Danielle Murray -- July 5, 2005

At the fuel pumps in São Paulo, customers have a choice: gas or alcohol? Since the mid-1970s, Brazil has worked to replace imported gasoline with ethanol, an alcohol distilled from locally grown sugarcane. Today ethanol accounts for 40 per cent of the fuel sold in Brazil. Danielle Murray reports on the potential of this new form of green energy.

Biofuel Crops seen Aiding Scottish Cereals Sector

Biofuel Crops Seen Aiding Scottish Cereals Sector
by Ian MacKenzie -- planetark.com -- June 28, 2005
EDINBURGH - Biofuel crops could boost Scotland's cereal sector and help the government meet tough environmental goals, the president of Scotland's National
Farmers Union, John Kinnaird, said.

"The cereal sector is under a great deal of pressure, and yet at the same time there is a huge opportunity in the production of...biofuels," Kinnaird told Reuters in a weekend interview at the Royal Highland Show.

Goodland project will produce power, ethanol, biodiesel

AP Wire 07/06/2005 Goodland project will produce power, ethanol, biodiesel

Investors in northwest Kansas hope to fire up the region's economy with a power plant and two fuel processing plants that will use some of each other's products.

Green diesel: New process makes fuel from plants

Green diesel: New process makes fuel from plants
June 03, 2005; physorg.com

College of Engineering researchers have discovered a new way to make a diesel-like liquid fuel from carbohydrates commonly found in plants.

Reporting in the June 3 issue of the Journal Science, Steenbock Professor James Dumesic and colleagues detail a four-phase catalytic reactor in which corn and other biomass-derived carbohydrates can be converted to sulfur-free liquid alkanes resulting in an ideal additive for diesel transportation fuel.
Co-researchers include chemical and biological engineering graduate students
George Huber, Juben Chheda and Chris Barrett.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Bananas among world's new energy sources

Bananas among world's new energy sources : Mail & Guardian Online
Lawrence Bartlett -- Sydney, Australia -- July 05, 2005

University of Queensland engineering lecturer Bill Clarke said he hit upon the unusual power source when Australian banana growers approached him looking for ways to make use of vast quantities of waste bananas.

Australian Banana Growers' Council spokesperson Tony Heidrich said last week that a banana-power station capable of processing 6 000 tonnes of waste annually would produce the energy equivalent of 222 000 litres of diesel fuel. And the junior partner in Australia's ruling coalition, the National Party, which mainly represents rural Australians, is pressing for the use of ethanol blends in petrol to be made compulsory.

Ethanol, or ethyl-alcohol, is made from agricultural products such as corn, barley and wheat. But real-life applications of alternative energy sources remain curiosities in an oil-obsessed world.

Sunday, July 03, 2005