Green Bean counting

Via Gristmill.

Chicago, like several other cities, has a Green Permit Program (PDF) that grants faster building permits for green buildings. Erik Olsen, the program’s administrator, gets to scrutinize every single green building in the entire city. Luckily for us, Erik recently started GreenBean, a blog profiling the blueprints that cross his desk.

So far, he’s posted eight building profiles, including two single-family houses (both in my neighborhood — must be my aura), high-rise offices, and the rehab of a YMCA into subsidized housing. For each, he notes the level of green-ness, unusual green techniques used, and perhaps a little back story about quirky geothermal wells or an underappreciated project manager who pushed the green angle.

MIT Vehicle Design Summit Wraps

Read the full post at Green Car Congress.

Students from 21 universities around the world gathered at MIT this summer for the MIT Vehicle Design Summit, which concluded on 13 August. The students designed and built prototype commuter vehicles that exploit human power, biofuels, solar technologies and fuel cells to travel at least 500 miles per gallon of fuel. (Earlier post.)

Argentina's air force tests and develops "bio-jetfuel"

Read the full post at Biopact.

Not long ago, we reported about progress made in the development of biofuels for airplanes, the last great green fuel challenge, and today, Argentina’s Air Force not only announced its plan to develop “biokerosene”, but actually demonstrated its use.

An in-depth look at China's ambitious biofuels program

Read the full post at Biopact.

According to an USDA attache report released yesterday, China is setting itself more and more ambitious biofuels targets in order to reduce its dependence on imported oil. Currently the awakening giant produces around 920,000 tonnes of ethanol per year, making it the world’s third largest producer. China plans to boost this amount to nearly 4 million tonnes by 2010, the report says.

Big investors are turning to biofuels

Read the full post at Biopact.

A few months ago, a George Soros associate said that investments in ethanol feedstocks such as sugar and grain will outperform all other forms of investment, even those in booming oil stocks and commodities, for the next 10 to 15 years. Later, Bill Gates announced he is investing massively in a U.S. ethanol company, and Virgin’s Richard Branson made similar statements.

These high profile investors and entrepreneurs are just the tip of the iceberg, though. More anonymously, large institutional investors and hedge funds are turning to agricultural commodities that are considered to be feedstocks for biodiesel and ethanol, seeing robust growth potential in rising global demand for biofuels.

Energy crops may soak up methane water

Read the full post at Biopact.

Earlier we reported about several studies, tests and projects dealing with the bioremediation of brownfields and mining sites using biofuel crops. Such energy crops can be planted on polluted sites to prevent erosion, remove pollutants from the soil, stop the spread of small toxic particles through the air and to clean up ground water. After having done their work, the crops can be harvested and used as a feedstock for biofuels.

Now a company in northern Wyoming is conducting tests to see if growing hybrid poplar trees might be a good way to use water produced from coal-bed methane wells. The study of the process known as “phytoremediation” is being conducted by water resource management group CBM Associates and methane producer Windsor Energy Group.

'Home brew' at Cal Poly

Read the full article in the Pasadena Star-News.

An imaginative eye might confuse the appleseed reactor with a latter-day moonshine still while others simply look at the contraption and see an old water heater.

The reactor, however, is much more than that.

Cal Poly Pomona faculty and students use the reactor at the John T. Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies to make biodiesel.

Fair's greasy, oily leftovers turned into biodiesel fuel

Read the full story in the Douglas County (OR) News-Review.

If you thought the greasy, fat-saturated food at the Douglas County Fair was only good for instant gratification and delayed indigestion, think again.

Whether curly fries, fried bread or fried ravioli, fair food requires one main ingredient: cooking oil. And one Roseburg man has big plans for the leftovers.

Greasing the skids for biodiesel cars

Read the full article in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Mostly Minnesota-grown and -pressed soybeans are the main ingredient in B99, a biodiesel fuel flowing now from the “Pump ‘n’ Munch” station at 63rd and Lyndale in Richfield, the first gas station in the metro area to offer the homegrown fuel.

Biodiesel Touted as Alternative to Pure Petroleum-Based Diesel

Read the full press release.

Country music legend Willie Nelson and biological engineer San Fernando have a lot in common.

The common link between the singer and the Mississippi State University professor is biodiesel, a fuel for diesel engines produced by blending petroleum diesel with refined vegetable oil. Nelson is promoting biodiesel as an alternative to pure petroleum-based diesel and as a way to support U.S. farmers. Fernando is researching ways to make production of the fuel easier and more cost-effective.