Friday, May 30, 2008

Concentrator photovoltaics solar energy breakthrough

IBM is working on a system that would concentrate the sun'd energy on a smaller area, thus requiring less PV cells and other equipment. This could make large scale power production more feasible.
IBM Research Could Lead to Reduced Costs in Solar Farm Technology

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Renewable Gasoline produced from Algae

Sapphire Energy announced production of a renewable gasoline from algae. This is not biodiesel or ethanol. It is a gasoline than can replace petroleum-based gasoline in any application and would be fully compatible with the petroleum pipeline system, unlike ethanol. They say their modular system can be easily scaled up and it works with water unsuitable for crop irrigation or drinking and on land unsuitable for food crops.
GRAINNET News and Information for the Grain, Milling, Feed, Seed and BioFuels Industry

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Volvo plug-In hybrid concept includes flex-fuel engine

The ReCharge Volvo concept car is a plug-in hybrid with motors in the wheels, eliminating the need for a drivetrain. This increases efficiency. In addition, the small flex-fuel engine serves only to recharge batteries. This means it can run at a constant rpm and be tuned for optimum efficiency and fewest harmful emissions when running on ethanol fuel. This is perhaps the best application for biofuels such as ethanol.
Volvo ReCharge Plug-In Hybrid Concept Car Review and Specs |

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Rice husk generator brings power to villages

Two University students have started a business that brings electricity to rural communities in India through gasification of rice husks. The idea could expand to other parts of the world.
Powering Villages from Rice Husks

Monday, May 12, 2008

Biofuels at Landfills

Scientific American posted this article about making ethanol from trash that would normally go to landfills. Methane escaping from landfills can be used to power the ethanol biorefinery.
Trash-Based Biofuels: From Landfill to Full Tank of Gas: Scientific American

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Automated home ethanol production appliance available

Perhaps home production of fuel for your vehicle is getting easier. A California comany is taking orders for an automated home ethanol production and dispensing unit. The feedstock is sugar or alcoholic beverages. The company claims a production cost of $1.00 per gallon. They will work with sugar distributors for supplying customers with the feedstock. Tax rebates are available to offset purchase cost. Learn more at the company web site:

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Ethanol from barley planned for new biorefineries

Not only does barley thrive outside the corn belt, but it can be grown on millions of acres of fallow ground in the winter in the U.S. Southeast without irrigation. That way it would not compete with food crops and in fact would tend to improve the soil (build organic matter) and lessen soil erosion. Biorefineries in the U.S. southeast would also be able to supply ethanol to customers in the southeast with much less transportation cost as compared to shipping ethanol from the midwest corn belt.
GRAINNET News and Information for the Grain, Milling, Feed, Seed and BioFuels Industry

Biofuels from bacteria

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have managed to develop a cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae, but not a true algae) that produces glucose and cellulose. The glucose and cellulose can be harvested without destroying the cyanobacteria. The cellulose is in a form that is easily made into biofuels such as ethanol. This could be a step toward producing much more biofuels on much less land, and on land unsuitable for food crops.
New Source for Biofuels Discovered by Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin | The University of Texas at Austin

Monday, May 05, 2008

Portable biorefinery turns trash into electricity

This sounds really cool. Purdue University scientists developed this system to solve two problemes at once for the military--disposal of trash and production of electricity where needed. The system produces ethanol and biogas (similar to natural gas). Both fuels are then burned in a specially designed generator. Such a setup could be designed to burn hydrated ethanol, which is considerably easier to produce than the anhydrous ethanol currently being used in U.S. automobiles. The article linked below does not address this aspect, but I assume it has something to do with the ability to design a small, portable system.
<p>Scientists develop portable generator that turns trash into electricity </p>

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Ethanol lowers overall cost of gasoline

The small portion of the food price increase that is due to ethanol production appears to be offset by a lowering of fuel prices according to this article:
Ethanol production saving consumers money