follow us like us subscribe contact us

Alternative Energy / Biofuels

  • US Restaurants Join Anti-Ethanol Mandate Rally

    The ethanol industry, already reeling from a draft plan for cuts in the ethanol mandate for this year, will now face more pressure as everyone from conservatives and environmental activists to restaurant chains pool their resources to lobby for more cuts.In November, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposal to reduce the ethanol and biofuels mandate for 2014 and now a new coalition of the unlikely, which includes industry groups, the Clean Air Task Force and even the National Council of Chain Restaurants (NCCR) are pushing lawmakers to ensure more cuts. For restaurant chains such as Pizza Hut and…

  • Producers Panic as Ethanol Mandate Loses Support

    Ethanol producers are panicking amid speculation that the ethanol mandate could be drastically reduced or scrapped entirely this year as the biofuel loses its allure and bipartisan allies and former friends team up against it.December saw California Democrat Dianne Feinstein—a renewable fuel champion--coordinate efforts with Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn to come up with a Senate bill to get rid of ethanol from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), citing fears that corn-based fuel production mandates will harm livestock producers.In November, Washington proposed cutting the biofuels mandate for 2014 by 16% to 15.21 billion gallons. This would be the first cut in…

  • Algae's Momentum Gaining but it's no Oil Revolution

    A deal between refiner Phillips 66 and Sapphire Energy to develop green crude was lauded by advocates as the dawn and the emergence of a new renewable form of domestic oil. With a production target of around 65,000 barrels per day by 2025, however, the celebration may be premature. Phillips 66 and green crude pioneer Sapphire Energy, Inc., agreed to work together to develop crude oil derived from algae to the commercial level. Both sides said they'd work to expand on Sapphire's test program to show green crude can be refined using traditional methods. Sapphire Chief Executive Officer Cynthia Warner said the…

  • European Car Manufacturers and Oil Companies Join to Create a Biofuel Roadmap

    A consortium of six major car manufacturers and oil companies in Europe – Volkswagen, Daimler, Honda, Neste Oil, OMV and Shell – has today published a “biofuel roadmap” for the EU to 2030. The roadmap, prepared by technical consultancy E4tech, may be seen as an attempt by the industry to transcend the current deadlock between the European Parliament and EU Member States over new biofuels legislation, which is crippling biofuel investment. The roadmap provides, for the first time, a comprehensive long-term plan for EU-wide biofuel policy that connects the fuels and auto industries and that, according to these industries, would…

  • Research Unlocks Algae Biofuel Potential

    Along with camelina and jatropha, marine algae is a front runner in the search for a renewable feedstock for production of commercial quantities of biofuel.While marine algae produce lipid oils, fat molecules that store energy needed for fuel production, the process occurs when they are nutritionally starved, which also stunts their growth. When well-nourished, the algae do grow well, but produce carbohydrates instead of the desired lipids for conversion to fuel.But, in a breakthrough with potentially massive implications for production of commercial quantities of biofuel, researchers at the renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego…

  • Washington Gives in to Pressure and Cuts Biofuel Mandate

    After months of intense lobbying from rival quarters, Washington has proposed cutting the biofuels mandate for 2014 by 16% to 15.21 billion gallons.This would be the first cut in biofuels requirements, which were ideally set to grow each year with incremental increases in renewable fuel targets laid out in a 2007 law. For renewable fuel targets, this represents a major setback because not only is 15.21 billion gallons for 2014 much less than the originally intended 18.15 billion gallons, it is also less than this year’s mandate of 16.55 billion gallons. Though the proposed cut is not as low as…

  • Brazil Grapples with Biofuel Supply Glut

    Brazil is eyeing a 5% increase in biodiesel requirements in January 2014 and up to a 10% increase in biodiesel requirements for 2020 as the country deals with a supply glut. The blend rate for biodiesel with regular diesel may rise to 7% before 2020, in line with a gradual increase working up to 2020. In 2008, Brazil mandated distributors to blend 2% biodiesel with diesel, forecasting a 5% rate in 2013. However, unexpectedly high production has forced a rethink of the requirements, especially with biodiesel growth suspected to increase 40%. Brazil’s crop monitoring agency, Conab, forecasts a record year…

  • Rocky Mountain Tree-Killers, The New Biomass

    A variety of beetle that has killed off millions of acres of trees in the Rocky Mountains is now being tapped as a possible new elixir for converting biomass into high-grade gasoline. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded nearly $10 million to a consortium of academic, industry and government organizations to research how trees killed by insects in the Rockies could contribute to sustainable feedstock for bioenergy. Since the mid-1990s, we seen pine and spruce bark beetle infestations threatening over 42 million acres of forest in the US, says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack—and the changing climate may exacerbate…

  • Germany Looks to Straw for Home Heating

    Researchers from Germany are pushing the use of straw to provide power to as many as 2.8 million homes and heat up to 4.5 million homes, and while they don’t expect to turn straw into energy gold overnight, getting back to the basic could change the way we think about biomass and waste. The researchers estimate that out of a total of 30 million tons of cereal straw produced annually in Germany, between 8 and 13 million tons could be used to produce enough energy or fuel to provide 1.7-2.8 million average households with electricity and 2.8-4.5 million households with…

  • EU Kills Bill to Limit Food-Based Biofuels

    The European Union Parliament’s environment committee has shot down a proposal to limit the use of food-based fuel crops, voting to deny a negotiating mandate to Corinne LePage, the French Liberal MEP in charge of the proposal.The draft legislation would have put a 6% limit on the share of Europe’s transport fuel that such crops could make up by 2020. A procedural vote requiring a two-thirds qualified majority, fell by two votes.The European Commission has proposed to cap the use of ‘first generation' biofuel suspected of causing indirect land use change (ILUC) and generating more greenhouse gas emissions than it…