Thursday, July 31, 2008

Dominican complex plans ethanol and methane from sweet sorgum

Using Sweet sorghum as the main input, a Dominican agricultural complex plans to produce 100 million gallons of ethanol per year in addition to methane, hydrogen, and several types of livestock. Such an integrated system should be able to get more value from each ton of energy crop inputs. 
Firm announces $340 mn ethanol venture in Dominican Republic

Florida company tests sweet sorghum for sugar-based ethanol

A Florida company, Global Renewable Energy, is considering the kind of sorghum that produces lots of sugar-laden juice in the stems, similar to sugar cane. The ethanol would be made from this juice rather than grain. Ethanol is easier to make from these simple sugars, but the stems must be processed quickly after harvest because of spoilage. Refineries will need to be close to production fields. Florida's year-round growing season will be an advantage, and the sweet sorgum requires less water and fertilizer than does corn, the favorite ethanol feedstock currently.
Sebastian-based business hoping crop can play key role in ethanol production : Treasure Coast : TCPalm

New Pretreatment Technology Dramatically Increases Cellulosic Ethanol Yield

A new mild acid pretreatment process promises to increase sugar yields from cellulosic biomass by 10 times according to researchers at the University of Georgia. It also uses less harsh chemicals than previous processes and works for a wide variety of biomass materials.
New Biomass Technology Dramatically Increases Ethanol Yield From Grasses And Yard Waste

Monday, July 28, 2008

U.S. study: Livestock manure could be major power source

Researchers at the University of Texas found that biogas (mainly methane) from livestock manure could produce about 2.4% of U.S. electricity needs while reducing greenhouse gas emmissions. A useful fertilizer would be left as a byproduct. Currently, a large portion of livestock manure is wasted or even produces environmental contamination.
Cow power: the energy and emissions benefits of converting manure to biogas

Friday, July 25, 2008

Encouraging use of wasted heat

A tremendous amount of power is wasted in the form of heat from power plants. Changes in regulations related to retail pricing and emissions would likely encourage use of this heat resource through the market system. The rising cost of energy makes this more likely. Thomas Blakeslee's article linked below explains some of the details of these needed changes in regulations.
Heat is Power. Let's Stop Throwing it Away!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Native grasses build soil fertility

This news is very important to the food vs. fuel debate. A new study lends support to the idea that native grasses can improve the soil while providing biomass for biofuel production at the same time. Soils currently too exhausted for food production could be restored while providing biofuel feedstocks. With a long-term rotation, these soild could then be returned to food production. This would end the food vs fuel debate, and in fact would mean more biofuel production equals more food in the long run.
Switchgrass May Mean Better Soil

Sunday, July 20, 2008

KSU Reasearchers study Pelletizing for cellulosic ethanol

A major barrier for cellulosic ethanol from energy crops is transportation of huge volumes of biomass. KSU researchers want to find out whether pelletizing cellulosic biomass using proven technology could be an answer to this dilemma, reducing volume considerably. Pellets could also be handled with existing grain handling equipment, reducing infrastructure cost.
Kansas City infoZine News - Biofuels Proof of Concept Study on Producing Cellulosic Ethanol from Pelleted Forage Crops Nets K-State Team - USA

Friday, July 18, 2008

Increased biogas injection into Germany's natural gas grid

Improved injection technologies are helping the feasibility of putting upgraded biomethane into the natural gas system as a direct replacement for natural gas. this sdresses difficulties with moving biofuels to where they are needed. The article indicates Germany could soon provide 20% of natural gas needs from biogas.
Biogas Flows Through Germany's Grid Big Time

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Add Biogas to the T. Boone Pickens Plan

T. Boone Pickens propese massive wind farms to free up natural gas that is now used for generating electricity. Much of that natural gas would be used to fuel CNG (Compressed natural Gas) vehicles. These vehicles are proven and available already in some states. Honda makes one suitable for commuting. Driving cost is generally much less than gasoline.

My only suggestion would be to add biogas to the mix as a natural gas replacement. Biogas is mainly methane siphoned from landfills or produced by digestion of all kinds of organic materials, including sewage, livestock manure, and trash. We should be taking advantage of these resources!

More about the Pickens plan here:

FuturePundit: T. Boone Pickens: Wind For Electricity And Natural Gas For Cars

Monday, July 07, 2008

Biobutanol research makes progress

The Wall Street Journal reports on the current status of biobutanol research. It's still too expensive to be practical as a transportation fuel, but progress is being made toward getting costs down. Research is also confirming that biobutanol will be easier to transport by pipeline as compared to ethanol and it can be used at a greater proportion in non-flex vehicles.
Betting on a Biofuel -

Friday, July 04, 2008

New technology nets clean water byproduct from sugar cane ethanol production

Biorefineries using this new design will be able to capture water from the sugar cane rather than losing it to evaporation. This will make cane ethanol biorefineries into net producers of relatively clean water, reversing one of the concerns about biofuel production (water use). This process would not work for drier feedstocks such as corn kernels, but my guess is that it could be modified for feedstocks such as cane sorghum, sugar beets, and Jerusalem artichoke tops -- crops than can be grown across much of North America. This would be especially welcome in areas with lower rainfall.  

Dedini launches ethanol mill that produces water | Environment | Reuters

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Biofuels from abandoned farmlands

The Carnegie institute has released a study showing significant potential for biofuel production from feedstocks grown on land that has been worn out and abandoned around the world.
GRAINNET News and Information for the Grain, Milling, Feed, Seed and BioFuels Industry

Ottawa facility to turn waste to energy

Facility will convert 400 tonnes per day of city-generated trash to energy.
GRAINNET News and Information for the Grain, Milling, Feed, Seed and BioFuels Industry