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Florida’s Tri-Rail Runs on Biodiesel

In a move that seems to fall somewhere between greenwashing and legitimate green progress, the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority recently announced that its Tri-Rail regional transit lines would be running 8 out of its 10 trains on a nearly pure blend of biofuels. Let’s consider the pro’s and con’s.

First of all, any press is good press, as they say. Especially when we’re talking about a public institution such as a transit authority, whose endorsement of biodiesel seems more significant and far-reaching than, say, Willie Nelson’s. Plus, the fuel is cleaner than standard diesel. It emits less carbon monoxide, fewer particulates and pollutes less overall. If biodiesel spills and soaks into the ground, it is far more benign than old fashioned diesel. And, surprisingly, biodiesel is us pharmacy viagra currently 30 cents/gallon cheaper than the competition.

My main complaint here is that the biodiesel comes from palm and soy sources. This might make some sense if the link for you cialis buy now palm oil is produced locally (though I’m not even sure it does), but food crops-turned fuel crops such as these have been largely condemned by the green community as unsustainable solutions which aggravate food prices across the globe.

As an aside, the SFRTA’s report mentions that Florida is one of the only places where such biofuels could be implemented, because of its temperate climate. I’m assuming they mean that this biodiesel would not function at lower temperatures, perhaps due to congealing or freezing. Perhaps one of you readers can shed light on the issue…

Via Gas 2.0, SFRTA


Boeing Jumps on cialis for men Biofuel Bandwagon

Airplanes are some of we recommend viagra online us the most gas-guzzling players in our transportation industry, which makes them a good place to start implementing renewable biofuels. Boeing has recently announced plans to do just that, phasing in 30% biofuel blends within the price viagra next 3 to 5 years, depending on when the fuels obtains enough industry commercialization.

What is unclear about this plan, however, is exactly where that fuel will come from. It seems that the major development here is that Boeing (as well as competitor Airbus) has sampled the products coming out of biofuel startups and declared it fit for use on an airplane. It is one thing to develop such a fuel in a lab, but quite another to scale it up enough to make a serious impact on the airline industry.

In particular, biofuel experts are shying away from first generation biofuel crops such as soy beans, which are generally thought to use up agricultural resources otherwise intended for food. And while algae fuels hold more promise, none of the young algae startups are ready to pump out that much fuel in such a short time frame. Although Virgin Airlines recently ran a test flight on algae biofuel, many dismissed this as a publicity stunt, rather than an indication of current availability.

Via Cleantechnia, Guardian UK


Cellulosic Sugar, Not Cellulosic Ethanol

Anyone who’s taken microeconomics remembers one of its first lessons: things are more efficient when people specialize their tasks. A recent article by Greentech Media points out that this idea could be utilized to propecia for sale give the biomass energy industry a little jolt. What specialization am I talking about? Sugar.

The two types of biomass energy that involve sugar chemistry are cellulosic ethanol and algae/bacteria derived fuel. The latter consume simple sugars and tramadol pills turn them into more useful chemicals; usually ethanol, but increasingly other compounds which might make even better fuels – such as butanol and kerosene (jet fuel).

The scientific challenge has always been to convert cellulose to sugar, but – according to the article – no one (other than academics) has been focusing on commercializing this step alone. Rather, the cellulosic ethanol plants incorporate the cellulose-to-sugar step as part of their overall process rather than focus on it exclusively. The people growing algae and bacteria, meanwhile, are more focused on i recommend cheapest viagra online genetically engineering their bugs to build sugar into exciting new molecules than they are on developing better ways to make that sugar.

Which isn’t to say that research on the issue is not progressing. Currently, we do it with harsh chemicals and lots of heat – not very green, and not very economical. A Wired Magazine article from last year profiled a number of scientists and companies searching for cleaner and cheaper ways to break down cellulose; the goal is to find an enzyme that will speed up the process.

Where are they looking? Tropical rainforests. Termites digest cellulose all the time, with the help of wow look it levitra non prescription bacteria in their gut. The hope is that a very powerful cellulase (cellulose-digesting enzyme) might already exist in one of the countless undiscovered and undocumented species of bacteria out there in the wild.

Such explorations are exciting, but the main point here is that we need to cheap levitra order online focus on cellulosic sugar – rather than just cellulosic ethanol - and treat it as a commodity. The Department of Energy has set a goal of bringing the price of such sugar to 6-8 cents per pound (compared to today’s 22 cents per pound for corn-based sugar, even WITH government subsidies). Since sugar is a common feedstock both for those who wish to make ethanol and those who wish to make other compounds, the lessons of economics seem to dictate that there is a future for a companies who wish to specialize in this one step.

Via Greentech Media, WIRED


UK Gets Serious About Algae Biofuel

The Carbon Trust is a private company which works across a wide range of sectors to reduce carbon emissions across the UK. They conduct studies, lend money and where to get levitra cheap come up with national initiatives – like the algae biofuel initiative announced yesterday. The Algae Biofuels Challenge, as they call it, is to commercialize algae biofuel by 2020 and have it provide a significant of buy online prescription propecia the country’s fuel needs (70 billion liters of oil).

Algae is the favored biofuels candidate, mostly because it takes few resources to grow and does not compete for food production; a major drawback of conventional biofuels. The choice of algae is not surprising; algae biofuel startups are appearing in the US on a fairly regular basis. What makes this initiative particularly exciting is that it provides a clear cut vision of how to cialis daily bring algae fuel from the lab to commercialization.

To that end, The Algae Biofuels Challenge has delineated two major goals: first figuring out which algae technology really works the best, and subsequently figuring out how to bring that technology to scale. Unlike the buy propecia American market leaders such as Amyris, Petrosun and Solazyme, The Carbon Trust has not committed to anything yet – which strain of algae, how to grow it, etc. Instead, they hope to recruit some of the top algae scientists in the world to work together on the issue. They will address the second step, bringing the fuel to scale, in the same way.

The algae fuel industry is still young, and we don’t really know whether it will be a success. It is possible that an American company will come up with an idea that the Carbon Trust’s people do not think of. Still, I consider the Algae Biofuels Challenge a refreshingly different approach to the issue – rather than waiting for the Google of algae to descend from the heavens, the UK approach is to establish a center where many people work towards a common goal.

Via Earth2Tech, The Carbon Trust

Image via Inhabitat, The Carbon Trust


Fuel Cells Powered by Hydrogen from Sewage

Researchers at the Oregon State University College of buy cheap cialis online no prescription Engineering have discovered an efficient way to produce hydrogen from different types of biowaste, including municipal sewage. 

The process uses 75% less energy than the traditional water electrolysis method of producing hydrogen, and can be done at a much lower cost, making it a good candidate for hydrogen fuel production.  In the lab, researchers are already close to the Department of Energy’s goal of $2 to $3 per gasoline gallon equivalent for hydrogen fuel. 

The university describes the process like this: 

“In these systems, naturally occurring microorganisms from sewage attach to the surface of an anode and degrade the waste in the sewage, in a device that is something like a battery. The waste decomposes, eventually leaving protons that migrate to the cathode, combine with electrons and generate hydrogen.” 

In addition to producing hydrogen, this process also cleans the water, so, ideally, treatment plants could be developed to cheep viagra uk take in sewage and send out hydrogen fuel and clean water.  Imagine sewage becoming a valuable resource.  The system can also be adapted to generate electricity directly instead of producing hydrogen. 

Beyond hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, this technology could find practical use in developing countries or remote locations where waste treatment and power production are scarce. 

via CleanTechnica 

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