Month: October 2006

Shell Eco-Marathon Returns to US

Read the full post at Green Car Congress.

The Shell Eco-marathon is coming back to the US as the Shell Eco-marathon Americas. The Eco-marathon concept started as the Shell Mileage Marathon in 1939 after a friendly wager between employees of Shell Oil’s research laboratory in Wood River, Illinois, as to whose car could get the better fuel mileage.

EPA Approves Diversa’s Purifine Enzyme for Biodiesel Production

Read the full post at Green Car Congress.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved Diversa Corporation’s Purifine enzyme for non-food applications, including its use in increasing the efficiency of oilseed processing for the production of biodiesel.

NextEnergy to Provide Additional Michigan Gas Retailers with Incentives to Sell Biofuels

Read the full post at Green Car Congress.

NextEnergy, Michigan’s alternative energy accelerator will offer cash incentives to Michigan gas station retailers to install or convert fueling equipment to ethanol (E85) and/or biodiesel (B20).

GM and Jay Leno Show Biodiesel-Fueled, Turbine-Powered Concept Car

Read the full post at Green Car Congress.

General Motors Advanced Design Studio and Jay Leno and his garage’s team have designed a biodiesel-fueled, turbine-powered concept car they call the “Eco-Jet.” Leno and Ed Welburn, GM vice president of Global Design, introduced the car at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show.

Company from Ecuador develops cold-tolerant palm biodiesel

Read the full post at Biopact.

Ecuadorian company La Fabril SA, one of the largest producers of biodiesel from palm oil in the world and currently the largest exporter of biodiesel into the United States, announced today that it is commercially producing a biodiesel product made from palm oil that has a sub-zero Celsius cloud point.

GrameenPhone to use biofuels too

Read the full post at Biopact.

One of the most interesting stories of the past few days has been the announcement by majors from the telecoms industry that they will be using biofuels as energy source to power base stations in order to bring mobile phone coverage to the developing world. Ericsson and the GSM Association (GSMA) stated they had started a pilot project in Nigeria, where only one in fifty people has access to a phone and only one in five has access to electricity.

Ultra-strong nanocrystals from biomass make plastic 3,000 times stronger – integrating biofuel production and nanotech

Read the full post at Biopact.

The green future will be one where biomass streams are refined into a myriad of products ranging from fuels, to high-tech fibres, bioplastics and specialty chemicals. This will make the economics of biofuels production much more viable.

This vision of an integrated and sustainable ‘bioeconomy’ is becoming ever more realistic because different scientific fields are merging and overlapping. Researchers at the State University of New York (SUNY) College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), for example, are developing ways to use cellulose from wood to strengthen plastics, providing a lightweight component that has the added advantage of being biodegradable. Their future aim: to integrate the process with the production of next-generation ethanol.

India's bright green idea: compressed biogas for cars

Read the full post at Biopact.

We have been making the case for the use of compressed biogas (CBG) as an automotive fuel for a long time now. A recent EU well-to-wheel study showed that of over 70 different automotive fuels and fuel paths, biogas is by far the most environmentally friendly and yielding considerably more well-to-tank energy than any other biofuel including second generation fuels like cellulosic ethanol, methanol or BTL-diesel (earlier post). Biogas can be produced in a decentralised manner from a wide range of organic waste streams (municipal, agricultural or industrial waste) making feedstock supplies highly dynamic. But more and more producers are using dedicated energy crops (such as sorghum and sudan grass, or specially bred biogas ‘super’ maize and hybrid grasses) to increase yields. The anaerobic fermentation of biogas maize, for example, yields some 4000 liters of petro-diesel equivalent energy. In Europe, several countries are betting big on using CBG, with Sweden, Norway, Germany and Austria all recently opening CBG pumps for cars. Three car manufacturers have CBG-compatible vehicles on the market, often in a bi- or tri-fuel configuration (earlier post).

Meanwhile, several developing countries have demonstrated that it is possible to introduce compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles on a massive scale. Pakistan for example succeeded in getting over 1 million CNG cars on the road, in a crash-program that lasted two years and that consisted of building compressor outlets and tank stations (earlier post).

In a very important development, India is now going a step further and is taking concrete action towards realising the vision of using compressed biogas to fuel its rapidly growing car fleet. Over 70% of the world’s longterm (2030) growth in demand for automotive fuels will come from rapidly developing countries like India, which is why this news is so important. If a country like India succeeds in proving the viability of CBG, then other countries in the Global South will follow (see the argumentation on this mechanism in professor John Mathews’ Biofuels Manifesto).

Market for palm oil set to explode on biofuels growth

Read the full post at Biopact.

Despite rising criticism by Euro-MP’s and environmentalists on the environmental damages brought about by oil palm plantations (earlier post), there are no international rules or barriers on producing and trading the green gold. Palm oil is the most competitive biodiesel feedstock, and survives oil prices as low as US$50/55. This is why palm oil futures in Malaysia, the world’s biggest supplier of the commodity, are set to explode, according to Thomas Mielke, editor-in-chief of Oil World.

The bioeconomy at work: Brain and Degussa sign deal on novel biopolymer producing microorganisms

Read the full post at Biopact.

The rapidly growing ‘bioeconomy’ aims to replace petroleum-based products by biodegradable and renewable alternatives. Research efforts and applications result in products with a large market potential such as 100% petroleum free tires or safe and healthy natural rubber flooring for green hospitals, to ultra-high strength bioplastics or specialty chemicals for use in niche markets, many of which will be based on crops from the tropics (such as Vernonia). Advances in green chemistry and biorefining will eventually lead to an integrated complex similar to that of the petro-chemical industry: biomass streams enter as raw materials, and liquid and gaseous fuels, bioenergy, and hundreds of different intermediates and finished products leave the biorefinery.

German biotech company BRAIN AG and Degussa AG, a world leading specialty chemicals multinational, successfully completed a collaborative research and development project in this field. Aim of the cooperation is the supply of novel microorganisms for the production of novel bioplastics based on sugar beets, sugar cane and other renewable primary products. Following this strategy Degussa aspires to achieve an independency of petrochemical raw materials. In addition, environmentally compatible production processes will be developed. The project is financially supported by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) in its program for sustainable bioproduction (“Nachhaltige Bioproduktion”).

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