Insider Secrets

Insider Secrets

Learn how the PROs are making money from the oil and energy market.

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Alternative Energy / Biofuels

  • Worse Than Fossil Fuels? Why Bioenergy Is Not Green

    An Interview with Princeton Research Scholar Tim SearchingerBioenergy’s role in the global economy is growing as governments promote renewable biofuels and biomass electricity to replace fossil fuels. But in recent years, mounting scientific evidence has shown that bioenergy is not, in fact, carbon-neutral: hidden emissions from land-use change actually make it worse than traditional fossil fuels. Given increasing competition for land and the need to reduce carbon emissions, Princeton Research Scholar Tim Searchinger argues that bioenergy is the wrong path. Photo: Sweeter Alternative The fundamental idea behind bioenergy is that it’s carbon-neutral because it releases the carbon that plants absorb…

  • Could This Be The Next Great Renewable Energy Source?

    Worldwide oil prices are subject to quite a bit of volatility and are often affected by political disputes and controversies. When we consider these facts, in conjunction with the amount of pollution generated by burning petroleum products for fuel, it's no surprise that scientists and governments are trying to explore alternative forms of energy. One of the newest, and seemingly most viable forms of clean energy, could be poised to outperform all of the existing options, including solar: algae biofuel. Algae are found throughout the Earth's oceans, where they employ photosynthetic processes to create energy using sunlight. Some types of…

  • Can Commercial Jets Be Fueled With Household Garbage?

    There have been several innovations in the field of alternative energy sources that have the potential to reduce our dependence on conventional fossil fuels, thereby reducing rising greenhouse emissions. Biofuel is one such alternative that is gaining popularity worldwide and receiving significant investment. Last week, a biofuel company called Fulcrum BioEnergy announced a $30 million deal with United Airlines to produce a bio jet fuel that is made entirely from the household garbage. Fulcrum BioEnergy is building its own factory in Nevada, near the location Tesla’s future gigafactory, and its production is slated to begin by the end of 2017.…

  • Has U.S. Ethanol Production Topped Out?

    It’s onward and stubbornly upward for the U.S. ethanol industry, which shows little sign of slowing after a record year in 2014. Weekly ethanol production matched its record high in the first week of June, equaling output from the week ending December 19, 2014. At 992,000 barrels per day (bpd), production is up 20,000 bpd from last week and more than 100,000 bpd since the beginning of May. Federal mandates like the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) – enacted in 2005 and expanded in 2007 – have turned the fuel additive into a $40 billion industry. Buoyed by high exports –…

  • Could This Renewable Fuel Kill The EV Market In One Fell Swoop?

     U.S. researchers are reporting breakthroughs in artificial photosynthesis that could result in a new source of renewable liquid fuels for cars, ships and planes. Renewable liquid fuels would be a welcome alternative to electricity for powering vehicles, because batteries are heavier than fuel and take up more space, which can work for cars but makes them impractical for planes or ships.Artificial photosynthesis seeks to mimic the action of plants in capturing energy from the sun to produce biomass by breaking down water and combining it with carbon dioxide.A team of scientists from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University…

  • Do Biofuels Still Have A Place In The Global Energy Mix?

    Less than a decade ago, biofuels were set to take the energy world by storm. They promised a low-carbon alternative to gasoline, while advances in algae technology were taking biofuels beyond the traditional soybeans and corn. In 2015, the contrast could not be starker. The new frontier of biofuel technology has all but disappeared off the energy agenda, while opposition to traditional biofuels has only grown. The overarching question now is whether biofuels have a place in a sustainable energy future and what role should they play? The debate over the negative impact of ethanol and soybean-based biodiesel is not…

  • How A Yeast Cell Could Transform The Biofuel Industry

    Researchers at the University of Texas have engineered a yeast cell that transforms sugar into biofuel to improve its yield and make it more competitive with conventional fuels. Building on its previous research developing the special strain of yeast, the team under Associate Professor Hal Alper combined metabolic engineering and directed evolution to identify and cultivate high-performing cells that produce 1.6 times as many fuel substitutes in a shorter time. “This significant improvement in our cell-based platform enables these cells to compete in the biofuels industry,” Alper said in announcing the development. “We have moved to concentration values that begin…

  • New Report Destroys Biofuel Claims

    Despite their promise over the past decade or so, biofuels have been found to be a very inefficient way to generate energy, are bad for the environment and even contribute to world hunger, according to a new report by the World Resources Institute (WRI). In fact none of these conclusions is new. Research into biofuels for years has focused on making them more potent. And no one has ever thought cutting down trees, for example, is good for the environment, even if more trees can be grown. And as for nutrition, who benefits more from corn: a hungry child or…

  • Ethanol Producers Poised To Gain From Oil Price Drop

    Energy stockholders have been watching in horror as their investments tank and those with a short time frame are considering cutting their losses, as the oil price rout looks certain to continue into 2015 and possibly beyond. But one area that could be poised to withstand the oil price carnage and might even toss out some gains for investors is the sector that produces an important, yet controversial element of gasoline: ethanol. As the prices of oil and gasoline have plummeted, so has ethanol, taking ethanol equities down with it. While that may seem like a good time to hit…

  • New Cellulosic Ethanol Plant Commercializes Renewable Fuel

    A new factory that hopes to break oil’s stranglehold over America’s transportation sector has just opened its doors in Iowa.The $275 million factory will churn out ethanol – a renewable fuel that can be blended directly with gasoline and used normally in cars and trucks. However, this factory won’t produce traditional ethanol, which is made from corn. Instead, it will use farm waste from left over corn stalks, husks, corncobs, and leaves. Dubbed Project Liberty, the new cellulosic ethanol factory in Iowa promises a “new era” for renewable fuels. It is the second commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant to be constructed…

Martin tiller