A nice surprise in my morning Google Alerts on Friday, as FuelClinic is included in an article about 5 Veteran-Owned green businesses at Ecopreneurist.
Veteran’s Day usually involves lots of flag-waving, parades, and expressions of gratitude for military service… all well-deserved by those who dedicate a portion of their lives to the armed forces. We tend to focus on the concepts of national security and defense in these celebrations… but, equally as important, is the spirit of serving the greater good that these men and women often carry with them after separating from active duty…
Source: The American
The 20th century was the century of oil. Wars were fought over it, and the outcomes of the century’s biggest conflicts hinged on the stuff. In World War I, for instance, Churchill’s conversion of the British Navy to oil gave the crown’s ships supremacy over German vessels. In World War II, when the Nazis and Japanese each failed to secure supplies of oil, they were doomed. Later, President Ronald Reagan, CIA Director William Casey, and America’s Middle Eastern partners manipulated global oil production to bankrupt the Soviet Union and win the Cold War. In the first half of the century, oil policy served as the catalyst for military victory. In the second half, oil helped propel the greatest economic expansion in the history of the world, and liberated mankind from the tyranny of immobility.
All hail oil! But not too much, because the 21st century won’t be defined by oil. It is more likely to be defined by a different fossil fuel: natural gas…
…Natural gas may also change how we drive, and enable ordinary consumers to break oil’s monopoly on transportation. As my colleague, Peter Huber, notes in a recent Manhattan Institute report, “Gas-handling technologies [have] improved quite enough to make natural gas a practical alternative” to oil. After all, gas is cheaper than gasoline and diesel per unit of energy. That’s why large stationary power plants that used to run on oil switched to natural gas long ago.
The chief obstacle to developing a natural gas infrastructure capable of supplying service stations and highway rest stops is regulatory. If that is removed—and here we do need government action—we could expect to see trucks, buses, and cars running on natural gas in a relatively short period of time. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions would be considerable.
We may also see continued inroads of gas into the electricity-generating sector (which can also affect transportation as we move to hybrid and electric vehicles). Gas emits about half as much carbon per unit of energy as coal. With worries about long-term gas supplies allayed, expect regulators and utilities to favor construction of new gas-fired power plants over controversial coal plants, which are more expensive to build anyway. This same thing happened during the 1990s, and gas shot to a 20 percent share of America’s electricity economy as a result.
Read the whole thing… then add your comment below, or over at our Facebook page. What do you think – is LNG a viable transportation fuel, or will it always be relegated to highly controlled and well-maintained systems like power plants – venturing out on the roads only in bus fleets and corporate utility companies?
Fuelishness! Feed: Fuel Economy still the Next Big Thing; Study: Fuel Costs Must Double; Biofuel-Fed A-10 Warthogs; Oil Prices Continue 2-month Climb
- Still the next big thing: Fuel economy — “We’re all in a race again,” he said. “From the standpoint where we [as manufacturers] kept bringing out new products to meet emission targets, now we’ll be aggressively focusing on fuel economy.”
- Study: Fuel costs must (at least) double to reduce GHG emissions — The team concludes that the only way to change the status quo in America — to reduce GHGs 17% by 2020 — is to adopt a mix of stringent rules that substantially increase fuel costs and increase vehicle mileage. To do this, the Harvard study suggests starting with a $0.50 a gallon tax in year one and adding another half-buck tax a year until the tax reaches $3.36 per gallon in 2020.
- Air Force Debuts Biofuel-Guzzling Warthog — In a bid to reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels, the Pentagon has been looking to new energy alternatives. Under the Air Force’s current energy plan, the goal is to acquire 50 percent of the domestic aviation fuel from an alternative blend by 2016. Terry Yonkers, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and logistics, said in a statement the goal was to encourage a major shift in the way the service powers its aircraft. “Our goal is to reduce demand, increase supply and change the culture and mindset of our fuel consumption,” he said.
- Oil rises above $84, extending 2-month rally — Oil prices have jumped from $69 a barrel in early February on investor expectations that a gradual recovery in the U.S. economy this year will eventually boost crude consumption.
Alternative-fuels like bio-diesel (from algae) and ethanol/methanol (cellulosic ethanol) would allow us to quickly displace a great quantity of petroleum while continuing to utilize our existing distribution infrastructure.
Ethanol-fuel vehicles have existed for decades, and have been used with great success in sugar-cane ethanol rich Brazil since the 1980’s. Known as “Flex-Fuel” this technology allows a greater combination of ethanol mixed with gasoline (up to 85% ethanol) to be used safely in a standard internal combustion engine, while adding as little as $100 to the cost per vehicle in upgraded fuel system parts. (The current estimate is that there are approx. 7.5 million Flex-Fuel vehicles on American roads today… you may be driving a Flex-Fuel vehicle and not know it.)
One of the biggest problems with Flex-Fuel and ethanol in general is the “decrease in MPG” blamed on ethanol “containing less energy” than an equal quantity of gasoline. You’ll suffer a loss in MPG (but a substantial gain in MPGG) by using ethanol-blends in Flex-Fuel engines because gasoline engines are not designed to take advantage of one of the particular strengths of alcohol-blended fuels – tolerance for higher compression ratio.
Engines designed to be fueled with higher-octane alcohol blends are designed with higher compression ratios, able to squeeze more energy out of the fuel, improving efficiency and producing a greater amount of power. Ricardo recently announced they have developed an engine that takes advantage of the physics, and have developed an ethanol-fueled engine with superior efficiencies…
Ricardo says this engine, which it dubbed the Ethanol Boost Direct Injection engine, or EBDI, is tuned to make the most out of ethanol’s properties where it has an edge on other fuels. Ethanol has a higher octane rating than diesel or gas, so it’s more likely to ignite at just the right point in the engine’s combustion cycle. Diesel and gasoline can sometimes ignite earlier or later than intended, causing knocking noises in the engine. Automakers compensate with knock detection systems, but those can cut an engine’s efficiency.
Ricardo will be testing this new engine in a heavy-duty GMC truck, expecting an 18% improvement in efficiency with the new ethanol-powered engine over the stock gasoline engine.
The engine runs best on a blend with gasoline that is 30% to 50% ethanol, but, Ricardo says, can run on anything from all gas to all ethanol. Ricardo is bringing a GMC Sierra 3500HD pickup to the Washington, D.C., auto show this week that will be outfitted with its V-6 ethanol engine. On gas, it says, the GMC truck gets about 12.7 miles per gallon. On all ethanol, it would get about 12.1 mpg, the company says. But with an optimum blend, it says the engine could get 15 mpg.
Join in the discussion by commenting here, or jumping over to our Facebook Community and add your thoughts!
Ford Motor Company, Progress Energy, Orange County & The University of Central Florida to debut Florida’s First Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)
Community Leaders to Address Electronic Transportation Needs & UCF & Orange County/Metro Orlando’s Sustainable Energy Initiatives
Orlando, FL — Ford Motor Company, Progress Energy, Orange County and the University of Central Florida have partnered to debut Florida’s first Ford Escape plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) at UCF’s Smart Solar Plug – In Research Facility on the Campus’ Memory Mall.
– Ford and Progress Energy are testing one of the industry’s first vehicle-to-electric grid communications and control systems, which enables electric vehicles to interface with the grid for optimal recharging.
-The new technology allows the vehicle operator to program when to recharge the vehicle, for how long and at what utility rate. For example, an operator could choose to charge only during off-peak hours when electricity is cheaper, or when the grid is using renewable energy.
– This unique vehicle, which can achieve up to 120 miles per gallon, will be tested in Florida by Progress Energy, through its partnership with Ford Motor Company. Media will have the opportunity to be among the first to test drive the vehicle. Interview key leaders in the sustainable energy community are also available.
– UCF’s Smart Solar Plug-In Research Facility includes parking spaces for four electric-powered vehicles. The roof canopy consists of 48 photovoltaic solar panels that convert the sun’s energy into electrical power. The system also can charge vehicles when it’s dark or cloudy outside.
Date: Tuesday, March 2, 2010, 11:00 AM
Location: University of Central Florida Solar Smart Grid Research Facility on the Campus’ Memory Mall adjacent to Parking Lot D
– Dr. John Hitt, President, UCF
– The Honorable Richard Crotty, Mayor, Orange County
– Dr. Marwan Simaan, Dean, UCF College of Engineering & Computer Science
– Greg Frenette, Manager, Global Electrified Fleets, Ford Motor Company
– Rob Caldwell, Vice President of Efficiency & Innovative Technology, Progress Energy
Fuelishness! Feed: Ford’s Focus on Eco-Driving; Pentagon’s Algae Fuel Research; Oil over $80; Lithium Supply for 1M Hybrids; ‘Stuck With Cars’ Discussion
- Ford’s new Focus on eco driving — It’s about being careful and not wasteful, both when it comes to the way a car runs and, indeed, how it is built in the first place and here Ford is reducing its carbon footprint with a range of sustainability initiatives.
- Pentagon Researcher Promises Cheap Biofuel for Jets — Pentagon officials have been talking for years about weaning their jets off of fossil fuels. Now they say they’re only months away from producing a cheap fuel made from algae — for less than $3 a gallon.
- Oil above $80 as traders eye low interest rates — Oil prices rose above $80 a barrel Monday in Asia, extending a three-week rally as investors expect the U.S. central bank to keep interest rates near zero to help fuel economic growth, which would boost crude consumption.
- Energy for Electric Vehicles Dealt a Blow by Bolivian Lithium Production — Unfortunately for those who are expecting electric cars to spring out of the woodwork in the next few years (remembering that the President’s plan calls for 1 million plug-in hybrids by 2015) Mitsubishi estimates that the world will need 500,000 tons per year at full ramp up. The Salar di Uyuni deposit in Bolivia holds at least 9 million tons, although the country has, in total, perhaps as much as 73 million tons.
- Stuck With Cars — Every weekday, tens of millions of Americans get into vehicles that are full of passenger space which won’t be used, with engines capable of horsepower and speeds that won’t be attained, holding fuel tanks that could power the car for distances that won’t be traveled. The result of all this over-engineering is that cars cost way more than a vehicle for daily commuting need cost, and they consume way more energy than a vehicle for daily commuting need consume.
Take a look at this graph of average gas prices courtesy of GasBuddy.com and you’ll see that prices continue to rebound from the “crash” of 2008… which shouldn’t be a shock to anyone.
Not much has changed as far as our “oil addiction” since the “crash”. Looking back, it seems that Cash for Clunkers was the only national attempt at dealing with oil’s monopoly since the collapse, and the merits of that program as an energy policy are laughable.
It took a global economic collapse to undercut the oil gouging, something we can not afford to repeat. (I continue to assert that the uncertainty of affordable fuels contributed to the economic tsunami that brought world markets to their knees that summer.)
What are we going to do to shift oil from a strategic political and economic weapon to just “another” commodity that must compete with alternative sources?
1. I’ve long been a proponent of Flex-Fuel vehicles, since they offer the simple option to use purely petroleum based gasoline or alternative alcohol-blended (up to 85%) gasoline replacement fuels. Manufacturers “promised” to add Flex-Fuel capabilities into much of their fleets by 2010, yet most only add the systems to the most inefficient models, taking “credit” for making their fleet more efficient instead. Having Flex-Fuel vehicles on the road in great numbers will be an incentive for stations to carry more alcohol-blends, and at the same time allow motorists to travel far and wide without worry that they won’t find a filling station specific to their vehicle while the network of supply is created by the opportunity to serve this demand.
2. Small efficient diesel engines are hot sellers in Europe – 50% of all new car sales across the pond are diesels. Why? Because they are clean, quiet, powerful, last a long time, and get upwards of 65 to 80 MPG every day of the week. Plus you can fuel them with bio-diesel, and reduce the amount of petroleum based diesel fuel. Again, you can travel far and wide, taking advantage of bio-diesel when available – an incentive for stations to carry the product. Since bio-diesel is made closer to home, distribution is cheaper, jobs are created locally, and competition controls costs.
3. Hybrids are great technology for getting slightly better mileage from a gallon of gas – but they are all still 100% petroleum-dependent. Flex-Fuel Electric or Diesel Electric hybrids would allow motorists to offset even more of their oil addiction to alternatives, not just kick the can down the road a little further.
4. 100% electric vehicles are still not a replacement for the family car in most cases. High costs, limited range, and long recharging times limit options and create a situation where drivers must change habits (and hardware) to participate. Plus there is the battery problem, making exotic metal ore addiction the replacement for oil addiction.
5. Conservation (aka: eco-driving) is first-aid remedy immediately available for free (better than free when you consider the money savings) available to everyone right now. With modest changes to your driving habits, you can increase your fuel mileage 5% to over 25% no matter what you prefer to drive (including Hummers and Hybrids). And while “ecodriving” sounds like “hypermiling” to some people, in fact eco-driving is easy, courteous, and safer driving. It does require you to pay attention to operating your car (shouldn’t you be?), but relieves you from the urge to compete against those other drivers around you, and instead compete against the gas pump.
In the end, as we approach the future still addicted to oil we limit our geopolitical power and remain at the mercy of markets we do not have much control over politically. We have been at war for years thanks to oil, with no end in sight. While our planets poorest nations are prime real-estate for several bio-fuel industries that could lead them from poverty to prosperity, the “powers that be” lobby and maneuver to protect their monopoly on your mobility.
What are you doing to make progress? What do you see as our future?
Levallois City Council approved plans for the organization of the first GP Elec Levallois.
The Grand Prix and surrounding events will take place on the 4, 5, and 6 of June 2010. It will be an amazing showcase of electric vehicles. Levallois city council approved Mobygreen’s plans for the event after months of planning and preparation in secret.
The course will take high-powered TESLA cars and electric racing prototypes around a 3km course (1.8 miles) through the city. The course has 8 bends, a tunnel, and an 800 meter straight.
The cars- although high powered- will be quiet, making the event free of sound pollution and something completely new for the public. Their cheers will be louder than the cars’ engines.
In the spirit of an old-fashioned grand prix it is completely free to the public. Spectators will have the chance to see the cars up close after each race.
The Grand Prix will host a Sustainable Mobility Salon in the city’s square, where the public will be able to learn more about electric vehicles, environmental concerns, and innovations in transportation. The salon will have events for children and adults, including electric go-karts, children cars, and an eco-educational garden.
GP Elec is a free, eco-friendly event.
To find out more, visit the website at www.gp-elec.com
Levallois is located in the north-western suburbs of Paris, France. The city has a strong relationship with industry, as seen by the gear wheel on its coat-of-arms. The history of Levallois is inseparable of that of the automobile. The establishment of companies such as Clement-Bayard, Delage, and Chapron gave way to the importance of auto manufacturing
in the city. The Citroen ‘2cv’which will remain legendary, forever etched into automobile history, was produced for 40 years in Levallois. Today, the City of Levallois supports strong message of environmental protection-including all sectors of the automobile industry.
The company’s name embodies its driving force- to deliver ‘green mobility.’ The two founders, Franck Moritz, a young entrepreneur, 33 years old, whose concern for the environment manifests in his business ; and Phillipe Poincloux, 57 years old ,entrepreneur and Team Manager of Team Luc Alphand Aventures, strive to raise awareness of environmentally-friendly development.
For more information, download complete press release.
by Lincoln Pavia, The MelhorAr Project
The better that the economy of a country is, the greater the demand will be for transportation and the larger the impact will be on the public transportation service and the emission of CO2, with obvious repercussions on the traffic of towns and cities.
The MelhorAr (Improve Air) Project of Sustainable Mobility arose from the need to develop a culture concerned with managing the demand for mobility in a sustainable manner in order to reduce the use of individual transportation, responsible for 70% of the occupation of the earth and for the problems arising from this option such as pollution and investments in modal infrastructure, as well as to discuss alternative, more sustainable means for cities.
Evaluating the current models of mobility of the large global urban centers, the MelhorAr Project opted to develop projects focusing on the corporate market, responsible for a large part of the transportation in cities, both of workers and of the distribution of consumer goods. This work model is unique throughout the world, as most consultancies perform with governments.
Nowadays the projects of sustainable mobility are still for the public sector, especially in Europe, where the main focus is on modal integration (interconnection between modes of transport) as a means of encouraging people to walk or cycle in order to reduce the pressure on public transportation. In developing countries where a large part of the population does not earn enough to use public transportation, the option for these cases is to get about on foot. However, to the extent that the economy becomes stronger in developing countries, these people end up opting for individual means of transport, as a large part of the public transportation does not cater efficiently for this new public of the layers D and E. Moreover, the most serious problem is the nonexistence of modal connections, so that people travel most of their route using a single mode. The challenge now in our country is to increase the options of collective means of travel without burdening towns and cities with works of infrastructure and investments in transportation which increase the social, economic and environmental impacts. In developed countries (G8), people usually choose to displacement by car, increasing pollution and affecting the quality of life of the population. Making life unbearable in the city.
The most urgent challenge is to execute an inventory count of the emissions of public and private collective transportation. It is true that while most emissions come from individual means of transport, the automotive industry is already investing millions of dollars in building more economical, hybrid and electrical models and adapting their engines to cleaner fuels, although the traffic will continue to increase. In the collective transportation sector, we do not yet have an inventory count of emissions of the journeys made. The Public Sector will have to do its homework executing an inventory count of its fleet of buses, trains subway trains, etc. The metropolitan train and subway companies will be increasing their capacity of attending to the public by increasing their networks, which will generate a greater emission of CO2 as the Brazilian and others countries generation of power depends upon thermoelectric stations. The pertinent question is how much power will these increases require? Countries has the capacity to build hydroelectric and thermoelectric stations, but will they be sufficient to cover the demand of new consumers, electric cars, collective electrical transportation?
How will the private sector of collective transportation be able to complement this demand with a quick, cheap, more efficient and sustainable public transportation?
This morning we published a press release regarding the 2nd place finish in the ITS Congestion Challenge. I wasn’t really sure that a second place finish would be news worthy, but after seeking the advice of a few colleagues, I decided it wasn’t a bad idea.
I decided to highlight one of the most interesting bits in the release with a comment from Mr. Lincoln Paiva from Brazil who found FuelClinic at the ITS Congestion Challenge, and wants to work together to take advantage of our new “clean cities” derivative product currently under development.
One such silver lining is a partnership with Believe Sustainability in Brazil, who is interested in using FuelClinic to help reduce carbon emissions from transportation in São Paulo, one of the world’s largest and heavily populated cities.
“We are researching more sustainable ways to reduce the pressure of individual transport in the chaotic traffic in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro” said Lincoln Paiva, CEO of Believe Sustainability and Organizer of Improve Air (http://projetomelhorar.com.br/) Project Sustainable Mobility. “FuelClinic would provide a system that can help change the concept people have regarding the use of the car.”
Brazil is truly energy independent, with sugar-cane ethanol being plentiful, our little promotional video needed a few updates – including translation into Portuguese, and swapping out the “transportation relies on oil 98%” with a “20% of CO2 is produced by transportation”. Mr. Paiva wanted to use the animation during a conference he was speaking at, so we decided to produce a 2nd version.
Here’s the Portuguese version:
Fuelishness! Feed: Lessons in Fuel-Efficient Driving; Txting and driving film; New battery could change the world; Ethanol faces challenges ahead
- Lessons in Fuel-Efficient Driving — One of the interesting features of our Prius is that it keeps a running tab on your current gas mileage. You can see both the mileage at any given moment or the average over your trip. Having such easy access to this information while you’re driving subtly teaches you how to drive more efficiently. Here are a few things we’ve learned.
- This film that will stop you txting and driving — Gwent police is proud to have helped Brynmawr filmmaker Peter Watkins- Hughes in the production, which stars local drama students Jenny Davies as Cassie, and Amy Ingram and Laura Quantick as her friends, Emm and Jules. The film is a sequel to a previous documentary called ‘Lucky Luke’, made 14 years ago, which showed the devastating consequences of joy riding. It is hoped the film will become part of the core schools programme across Wales and ultimately the UK.
- New battery could change world, one house at a time — It promises to nudge the world to a paradigm shift as big as the switch from centralized mainframe computers in the 1980s to personal laptops. But this time the mainframe is America’s antiquated electrical grid; and the switch is to personal power stations in millions of individual homes.
- Ethanol faces challenges ahead — New technologies, supporting infrastructures, and greater demand will be needed to meet the country’s ambitious mandate to increase biofuel use.
In another astonishing set-back in efforts to fix our oil addiction, one piece of legislation in the new energy bill that would allow a competing fuel product a real toe-hold in the global transportation fuel industry, has been watered down to insignificance.
What seems to be the signature energy legislation of the 111th Congress, the American Clean Energy and Security Act, (also known as the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill) which recently emerged from the Energy & Commerce Committee of the House of Representatives, does virtually nothing to shield the economy from the collapse a reemerging oil crisis would cause…
…The bill’s “cash for clunkers” program which gives consumers credit for purchasing an-oh-so-slightly more fuel-efficient car – for example $3,500 for replacing a SUV or pickup truck with a model just one mile per gallon more efficient – may help drive stockpiles of unsold Detroit cars off the lots but in terms of oil dependence it is equally meaningless…
…The one provision that could have made a difference, an Open Fuel Standard to ensure most new cars are flexible-fueled – capable of running on a variety of alcohol fuels in addition to gasoline – was watered down to meaninglessness by the Committee. Such a standard, which would add less than $100 to the cost of a new car, could have enabled drivers to choose a fuel alternative at the pump if and when gasoline prices rise sharply again…
Listen to what Congressman Elliot Engle, D-NY who serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee, has to say about it a few weeks ago:
Consumer choice is good. Consumer choice leads to competition in markets. Competition in markets generally leads to healthy economics, where prices react predictably and are generally balanced by the consumers willingness to switch sources in order to find better value.
In transportation there is currently no real choice for fuel beyond oil – oil quite literally owns transportation. Ninety-eight percent of it – a strong monopoly. Allowing other alcohol-blended fuels to compete directly with oil would disrupt the oil monopoly with transportation, help clean up the environment, and create vital local economies all over the planet.
It’s time for choice in auto-fuels. What are your thoughts on the subject?
Fuelishness! Feed: Oil firms above $60; Venezuela builds oil rig with China; The end of the gas guzzler; Will transform US auto fleet; Safety could suffer
- Oil firms above $60 – Oil prices have been on an upward trend since mid-April on equity-led rallies. They have recovered from below $33 in December after a plunge from record highs above $147 in July.
- Venezuela set to build first oil rig with China – China buys 300,000 barrels of Venezuelan crude every day, and is eager for more from the Latin American country as part of its global quest for a diverse range of energy supplies.
- The end of the great American gas guzzler – President Barack Obama will unveil new fuel efficiency standards today in an effort to limit the release of greenhouse gases by cars and trucks.
- Obama’s new rules will transform US auto fleet – The new rules would bring new cars and trucks sold in the United States to an average of 35.5 miles per gallon, about 10 mpg more than today’s standards. Passenger cars will be required to get 39 mpg, light trucks 30 mpg.
- Safety could suffer if we boost mileage by making cars smaller – The National Academy of Sciences, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Congressional Budget Office and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have separately concluded in multiple studies dating back about 20 years that fuel-economy standards force automakers to build more small cars, which has led to thousands more deaths in crashes annually.
Let’s get real about alternative energy
By David MacKay
We need to introduce simple arithmetic into our discussions of energy. We need to understand how much energy our chosen lifestyles consume. We need to decide where we want that energy to come from, and we need to get on with building energy systems of sufficient size to match our desired consumption. Our failure to talk straight about the numbers is allowing people to persist in wishful thinking. Assuming we are serious about getting off fossil fuels, the scale of building required should not be underestimated. Small actions alone will not deliver a solution. The author goes on to break down the numbers associated with American and European energy usage, along with the numbers associated with energy production from renewables. Focusing attention on the numbers may make it possible to develop honest and constructive conversations about energy. It’s not going to be easy to make an energy plan that adds up, but it is possible. We need to get building.
David MacKay is a professor of physics at the University of Cambridge. He is the author of the book “Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air.”
Fuelishness Marathon! – Part 4: Cellulosic Ethanol Could Have “Unintended” Environmental Consequences; $25 Billion For Green Cars;
- MIT Study Says Cellulosic Ethanol Could Have “Unintended” Environmental Consequences : Producing cellulosic ethanol from non-food feedstocks has been studied extensively at a local scale, but it’s difficult to estimate the environmental impacts on larger, heterogeneous regions. In this study, researchers evaluated two potential consequences of diverting usable land to biofuel production: either existing agricultural operations are intensified, or large areas of natural forest are cleared to increase cropland.
- $25 Billion Federal Loan Fund For Green Car Manufacturing Still Untapped : The program wasn’t funded until September 2008, and DOE reports that 43 of the initial applications landed during the final three days leading up to a Dec. 31, 2008 deadline.
- 1936 Chevy Sedan gets the electric car conversion treatment [w/video] : Shade tree mechanics. A 1936 Chevy Sedan. Down home narrator vibe. Yup, this video from a local TV station in Oklahoma has got everything you might be looking for to prove that electric cars are as American as apple pie.
Fuelishness! Marathon – Part 3: What is cellulosic ethanol; Algae Farming; Most Efficient Way to Travel 350 Miles
- What is cellulosic ethanol and how does it fit with green cars? : There is a lot of controversy surrounding biofuels. Various studies have shown that crop-based biofuels contribute to global warming more than they help prevent it, that ethanol is no better than gasoline, and that South East Asian rainforests are suffering for biofuels, to name just three. The most dramatic recent claim was that ethanol was the worst type of renewable energy.
- Algae Sizzle and Algae Steak : Bionavitas “Light Rod” idea called Light Immersion Technology that looks like a giant tapered optical fiber that places light at depth into algae cultures. Ingenious as ideas go, with a near stunning amount of coverage on Wednesday the idea might get some financial and research legs. What has been left out is the details about the light. The photos seem to leave out the top of the rod or fiber or just show a shaft, whose top area sets the amount of light; no matter how deep it is distributed. The idea solves a problem in algae culturing, getting light deep so that the culture isn’t just a thin layer at the sunlit surface.
- How Many Gallons of Fuel Does it Take to Travel 350 Miles? : GOOD Magazine, in collaboration with Robert A. Di Leso, Jr., explores fuel use by various modes of transportation. In what is essentially a fancied up bar chart, we see how many gallons of fuel it takes for a passenger to travel 350 miles by cruise ship, Amtrak, Boeing 737, Sedan, hybrid, etc. A couple of non-fuel modes of transportation are included as well using caloric conversions. It’ll take about 48 Whoppers with cheese to walk 350 miles. Good to know, especially since I was planning on walking 350 miles today. Totally kidding. I’m walking 360. Like a circle.
Today’s economic doom-and-gloom pallet cleanser; a start-up biodiesel manufacturing company in El Paso Texas who just bought additional equipment to triple their biodiesel output, because they have more demand than they can currently meet.
Global Alternative Fuels, LLC of El Paso, Tex. has purchased an additional 10 million gallons of [biodiesel] capacity. Added to the existing 5 million gallon plant, Global Alternative Fuels is working to meet regional demand for sustainably produced biodiesel.
“El Paso is in a desert area, so we chose Greenline’s waterless biodiesel platform for our initial 5 million gallon plant,” said Carlos Guzman, Co-founder, President & COO of Global Alternative Fuels, LLC. “Once we discovered that 5 million gallons would not be enough to meet demand in our area, we asked Greenline to add another 10 million gallons of capacity…”
Global Alternative Fuels started producing biodiesel on January 3rd of this year and already has a need to increase capacity. “We have a buyer for every drop of fuel we make,” said Guzman. So, Greenline has begun work on increasing plant capacity to 15 million gallons and adding a feedstock blending unit. “The Greenline feedstock blending unit allows us to utilize multiple sustainable feedstocks including locally sourced animal tallow and Iowa soybean oil,” said Guzman.
Wow. That’s refreshing. :)
Last year I had a quick conversation with Bob Casper, President of POET Ethanol Products, after a conference where he had said that the ethanol industry in America was about to meet the current 10% blend-wall mandate, providing all the fuel the market could use, while continuing to improve efficiencies and producing more fuel with fewer resources.
I asked him what his single greatest challenge is, and he told me that the industry was about to have excess capacity, without any real FFV progress, the blend-wall for non-FFV vehicle fuel needed to be raised to 12% or 15% in order to create room for the industry to continue to grow, to encourage continued innovation and investment.
One of the challenges of increasing the blend-wall is certifying that the existing equipment like pumps, tanks, and dispensing machines can operate without problems due to the higher alcohol content. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) creates standards for this kind of equipment, and recently announced it will support the sale of E15 in existing approved 87-regular gasoline systems.
Underwriters Laboratories (UL) says it will support the sale of 15% ethanol blends through “legacy” dispensers, as long as those pumps meet current UL standards for the sale of 87-regular gasoline. The decision by the Chicago-based standards-setting group is a major coup for marketers and ethanol suppliers, who have pushed for UL approval of higher blend sales. UL has tested pumps up to a 15% blend but until now has said it will only give its stamp of approval to dispensers cleared for 10% ethanol fuel, the current limit for non-flex fuel vehicles under the Clean Air Act.
There are other challenges, from auto manufacturer warranties, to congressional action still needed, to consumers potentially noticing reduced mileage from using a greater percentage of alcohol in their low-compression gasoline engines. (While “miles-per-gallon” may slip, the “miles-per-gallon-of-gasoline” will increase significantly.)