Thursday, August 21, 2008

Company plans to scale up production of gasoline from biomass

Texas Engineering Experiment Station and Byogy Renewables say they have developed an integrated biorefinery that will take in any biomass, including cellulosics, and produces a biofuel that can be a direct replacements for gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel. All this at a competitive price, they say. They expect to scale up production within 2 years.
GRAINNET News and Information for the Grain, Milling, Feed, Seed and BioFuels Industry

Syngas from biomass gasification to power lime kilns

The gasifier unit being perfected by Nexterra Energy Corp. could also provide thermal energy for pulp mills, ethanol biorefineries, and many other facilities with biomass, displacing natural gas or other fossil fuels.
GRAINNET News and Information for the Grain, Milling, Feed, Seed and BioFuels Industry

Google Invests $10 Million in Engineered Geothermal

Engineered geothermal does not rely on existing hot water sources. Rather, water is injected into the dry hot rocks that are much more common. Steam from recovered water drives turbines to produce electricity. Much of the water is recycled by re-injecting. The potentail looks very good for this technology.
Warm Globe: Google Invests $10 Million in Geothermal

Monday, August 18, 2008

Variable Compression for better fuel economy on ethanol

With a high compression engine to take advantage of high octane, fuel economy on ethanol can be near that of fuel economy on gasoline. But most flex fuel engines are designed for optimum fuel economy on gasoline. That's why they get much worse fuel economy on E85. A variable compression engine like the research model described below could run with optimum efficiency on ethanol and gasoline. This would be huge for motorists, reducing cost per mile driven and making ethanol much more competitive with gasoline. 
Lotus developing efficient two-stroke OMNIVORE engine - Autoblog: "This engine design is expected to significantly increase fuel efficiency for sustainable bio alcohol fuels. The architecture features an innovative variable compression ratio system and uses a two-stroke operating cycle with direct fuel injection."

Thursday, August 14, 2008

New catalyst for ethanol from syngas being developed

Researchers at Iowa State University are developing a catalyst that can be more selective in producing ethanol from syngas rather than other products. Through gasification, syngas can be produced from almost any organic material including waste materials. This technology ofr gasification is already in use and well developed. Syngas can be upgraded to replace natural gas or a catalyst can be used to convert syngas to ethanol.
GRAINNET News and Information for the Grain, Milling, Feed, Seed and BioFuels Industry: "“You can use the waste product from the distilling process or any number of other sources of biomass, such as switchgrass or wood pulp. Basically any carbon-based material can be converted into syngas.
'And once we have syngas, we can turn that into ethanol.”"

Friday, August 08, 2008

Agaves: more ethanol with less water

Here is yet another ethanol feedstock that seems to hold great promise without the need for cellulosic ethanol technology (though it does yield large amounts of cellulose in addition to simple sugars). According to the linked article, Agave could produce much more ethanol per acre per year than corn or sugarcane, with additional coproducts available as well. All this while using much less water and growing on soils poorly suited for corn or sugarcane crops or other food crops. Agave is mainly grown in very dry regions of Mexico, but should be able to thrive in similar climatic zones of the southwest United States. This is a crop high in simple sugars, very easily and processed into ethanol fuel.
Mexico & Agaves: Moving from Tequila to Ethanol: "High in sugar content, the project team estimates that varieties of Agave tequilana weber can yield up to 2,000 gallons of distilled ethanol per acre per year and from 12,000-18,000 gallons per acre per year if their cellulose is included, some 14 dry tons of feedstock per acre every year."

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Grass crossed with sugarcane might yield more ethanol then sugarcane

A central Florida landowner estimates huge rthanol yields per acre possible from a cross between African Elephant Grass and Sugarcane. Like sugarcane, this grass is high in simple sugars, so ethanol conversion would be inexpensive and not require advanced cellulosic ethanol techniques.
Retired Lakeland Minister Thinks Grass Can Be Used for Ethanol The Ledger Lakeland, FL

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Miscanthus Shows Great Potential as Ethanol Feedstock

Trials by Illinois researchers indicate the perennial grass known as Miscanthus could produce 2.5 times more biofuel energy per acre as compared to corn. This is with much less fertilization and erosion as compared to corn cropping. The variety used is sterile, and invasion of nearby fields has not been a problem in European and U.S. trials. Breeding for increased biomass could raise yields still more. Higher yields per acre will allow for shorter transportation distance for biomass to the biorefineries. This perennial grass will grow on marginal soils and actually improve soil fertility and carbon content over time. That's why long-term rotations with these grasses could actually improve food production over time. Land previously marginal for food production could be better for food production after a number of years in grass.
Miscanthus Shows Great Potential as Ethanol Feedstock

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Renergie supports repealing ethanol Import tariff

A Louisiana biofuel company focused on non-corn kernel feedstocks is arguing that ethanol import tariffs should be eliminated. They argue that more supply would permit and promote a building out of infrastructure for use of ethanol beyond 10% blending. Blender pumps, especially, would allow blending of gasoline and ethanol at various proportions. Also, imported ethanol would be valuable for U.S. coastal areas located far from the midwest ethanol production regions. Additional arguments are included in the linked article.

Why the Ethanol Import Tariff Should be Repealed � Renergie’s Weblog

Monday, August 04, 2008

Biogas power from U.S. cow manure

The linked article describes large scale biogas production in Texas and California. Biogas can be used to produce electricity or can be upgraded as a direct replacement for natural gas. This upgraded biogas can be injected into the natural gas pipeline grid. The Texas facility processes manure from a nearby farm and mixes it with food waste. The output is able to power a little more than one house for every cow. If you add up the confined livestock numbers in the U.S., you will quickly see that the power potential is astounding, not to mention the great reduction in pollution. In the process of extracting biogas, manure is transformed into a fertilizer that is much more valuable for farmers and far less polluting, less reactive than the original manure.
Power from cow poo heats homes — Plenty Magazine