• Category Archives: Biofuels

    Grow Diesel in your backyard

    The rage in biofuels is set to get heated up even more, a University of Northern Colorado researcher has received the go ahead to study the tropical copaiba tree’s (which is also known as the diesel tree) oil producing seeds in order to understand if theses genes can be put into other plants or trees. The idea isn’t a new one since we all know that ethanol is grown and now used on a small scale as an alternative fuel. The difference with this idea is to get more trees or even grass to produce oleoresin, the use of oleoresin as a substitute for diesel isn’t new. I wonder if diesel is such an environmentally friendly solution. After all it is the reason cities smog levels are on the rise.

    Posted in Biofuels on August 7, 2008
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    Police in Phillipines using McDonald’s cooking oil to tank up

    After frying cutlets and fries oil from McDonald’s in Philippines is used by the Makati Police Department in Manila to run their cars. Currently under evaluation but if the six month study is a a success, then 60 percent diesel and 40 percent McDonald’s cooking oil could become the standard fuel used by the Makati Police force. According to the Manila Times, the PNP-Bio Diesel Program will save the police department $22 each time the fill-up as compared to current gas-prices. That equivalent to more than $11,000 a year when spread across 10 police cars.

    Posted in Biofuels on July 31, 2008
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    Brazil sugarcane workers are soon to feel the corporate axe

    Brazil sugarcane workers are soon to feel the corporate axe, Brazilian Sugar Cane Industry Association (UNICA) said 80% of the 500,000 jobs would be gone within three years and admitted that moving to a tractor-based system would cause pain and upheaval for its migrant workforce. Behind the move to phase out sugar cane cutters are tales of exploitation that have damaged the image of Brazilian biofuels in big importing countries such as Sweden and potentially in Britain, where the government has mandated that 2.5% of all petrol come from biofuels. The condition of sugar workers was rarely noticed when the commodity was exported for sugar but the position has changed now that Brazil is the world’s second-largest exporter of sugar-based ethanol to use as a biofuel in petrol. Sugar cane cutters who have been working Brazil’s land since 1525, when Portuguese colonialists first experimented with growing the crop, are to make way for mechanization. Manual labor is also blamed for poor environmental practices such as crop wastage and the burning of stubble.

    Posted in Biofuels on June 7, 2008
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    Garbage could be the new Bio-Fuel

    biofuel_logo.jpg Environmentalists today want giant corporations to look for alternative energy resources in trash. Until now, looking for bio fuel meant that precious food crops could become scarce since corporations would want to make the most from it. The best alternative suggested is in converting garbage into bio-fuel, taking care that agricultural waste is only used. Startups like US based Mascoma and Coskata and in Brazil by Brenco and KiOR have already set up refineries that refine waste products like corn stover and sugarcane bagassedo. Coskata’s first biorefineries will use currently available feedstock — wood chips, sugarcane waste and municipal trash. The company estimates that municipal waste could be used to produce 8-10 billion gallons of fuel annually. Industrial waste gases off of steel mills could provide another 10 billion gallons, those gases are exactly what Coskata’s microbes could eat. They’re burning bug food. Coskata is actively approaching steel producers to turn those gases into fuel.

    Posted in Biofuels on May 26, 2008
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    Brazil & US to produce Biodiesel

    Brazil has been the world’s largest producer of ethanol from sugar cane for nearly three decades and the country has more than 30,000 filling stations that market the biofuel. U.S. Company Amyris Biotechnologies and Brazilian sugar and ethanol group Crystalsev have formed a joint venture to produce and sell the first commercial diesel made from sugar cane instead of oilseeds like soy and canola. In sugar cane, Melo said, “Brazil has the most sustainable and economic raw material,” adding the new diesel will be competitive as long as crude oil remains above $60 a barrel. The first commercial production unit will be built in partnership with one of Brazil’s most advanced sugar and ethanol mills, Santa Elisa — owned by Crystalsev’s major shareholder, Santelisa Vale — in Sao Paulo state. The mill will supply 2 million tonnes of cane a year to the plant, which is expected to come on-line in 2010 and produce 10 million gallons of biodiesel in the first year of operation. Total production within the first five years of operation is expected to reach 1 billion gallons, including the first plant and other units to be built. Amyris is negotiating with Brazil’s National Petroleum Agency to get permission to market the new product. Brazil launched in January a biodiesel program that now mandates a 2 percent blend in all retail diesel. The blend will rise to 3 percent on July 1 and to 5 percent by 2013. Brazil is the world’s largest cane ethanol producer and is forecast to harvest a record cane crop of about 550 million tonnes this season.

    Posted in Biofuels on April 28, 2008
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