Making Your Own Fuel

Free Power Secrets

The Free Power Secrets program, developed by Reggie Hamel is a complete step-by-step guide showing you everything you need to know in order to start powering your car, tractor, truck, or anything else that has a motor on homemade alcohol fuel by the end of the week. You'll get video and PDF guides that will teach you step-by-step how to setup your own consistent gas source in the comfort of your home. It doesn't matter if you've never tried DIY projects before. Everything you need to learn can be find in this guide. You get access to a step by step free power secrets guide and video tutorials that allow you to make your own fuel for less than 70 cents a gallon. Although the system is simple and easy to implement, it may not be easy for everyone to do this, especially if you don't get the raw materials for alcohol production regularly. Therefore results may vary from case to case. More here...

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Evolution of Federal Policies Supporting Liquid Biofuels

Subsidization of ethanol production at the federal level began with the Energy Tax Act of 1978. That Act granted a 4 cents-per-gallon reduction in the federal motor fuels excise tax for gasohol, a blend of 10 ethanol and 90 gasoline, also called In 1988, federal legislation began addressing the consumption side of the alternative fuels market. The Alternative Motor Fuels Act passed that year provided credits to automakers in meeting their Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards when they produced cars capable of being fueled by alternative fuels (Duffield and Collins, 2006).5 Earning these credits did not require that the vehicles actually run on the alternative fuels, and because so few vehicles have (somewhat less than one percent of their mileage, according to a 2002 Report to Congress), the rule has been estimated to have increased domestic oil demand by 80,000 barrels a day (MacKenzie et al., 2005). Environmental concerns have also helped improve the market position of...

Review of the Economic Rewards and Risks of Ethanol Production

Abstract Ethanol production doubled in a very short period of time in the U.S. due to a combination of natural disasters, political tensions, and much more demand globally from petroleum. Responses to this expansion will span many sectors of society and the economy. As the Midwest gears up to rapidly add new ethanol manufacturing plants, the existing regional economy must accommodate the changes. There are issues for decision makers regarding existing agricultural activities, transportation and storage, regional economic impacts, the likelihood of growth in particular areas and decline in others, and the longer term economic, social, and environmental sustainability. Many of these issues will have to be considered and dealt with in a simultaneous fashion in a relatively short period of time. This chapter investigates sets of structural, industrial, and regional consequences associated with ethanol plant development in the Midwest, primarily, and in the nation, secondarily. The first...

The Longer Term Prospects for Rural Areas from Biofuels Development

The prospect of increased biofuels production presupposes an extension if not an acceleration in the uses of mechanical and chemical inputs into agricultural production as farmers shift production to accommodate the corn ethanol industry's rapid expansion of late. Simultaneously, the corn ethanol industry itself will expand preferring to develop highly efficient production systems closer to the 100 MGY per year range and larger, which also will require much less labor per gallon of production than is currently the industry average. Both of these assumptions do not portend a rural economic recovery, but rather a continuation if not an acceleration of the fundamental factors undermining most rural areas in the interior of the country limited and specialized labor demands in only a few dominant industries that are increasingly capital intensive and production systems that require, over time, fewer and fewer regionally supplied intermediate labor inputs. The longer term technical and...

Measuring and Mismeasuring Biofuels Economic Impacts

It is important to sort out the rhetoric of claimed economic benefits to be expected from biofuels development in the Midwest and the nation because there are tremendous amounts of public money at stake. In the very early stages of this modern boom in ethanol plant construction, politicians, farm commodity groups, and economic developers hailed the emerging industry as the right and proper evolution of modern agricultural production capacities coupled inexorably with technological breakthroughs and long overdue changes in the nation's energy policies. Amidst this enthusiasm, biofuels trade associations and some agricultural commodity groups reported in various venues that scores of thousands of jobs have been created across the Corn Belt and the nation. Some politicians and government agency representatives parroted those reports uncritically Midwestern state governments began to specifically and energetically apply government agency services in support of the boom, along with...

Fuel production from biomass generation of liquid biofuels

Anaerobic fermentation processes may also be used to produce liquid fuels from biological raw materials. An example is the ethanol production (4.152) from glucose, known as standard yeast fermentation in the beer, wine and liquor industries. It has to take place in steps, such that the ethanol is removed (by distillation or dehydrator application) whenever its concentration approaches a value (around 12 ) which would impede reproduction of the yeast culture. Conversion of fossilised biomass into liquid fuels was briefly mentioned at the beginning of section 4.8.2, in conjunction with the overview Figure 4.99 showing the conversion routes open for biofuel generation. Among the nonfood energy uses of biomass, there are several options leading to liquid fuels which may serve as a substitute for oil products. The survey of conversion processes given in Fig. 4.115 indicates liquid end products as the result of biochemical conversion either using fermentation bacteria or as the result of a...

Biofuels todays market

Fossil fuels Today, about 33 billion litres per year of biofuels is used commercially in North and South America, Europe and South Africa. As a whole, Europe has the largest biodiesel production capacity, estimated at 2.3 million litres per year in more than 40 dedicated installations, mostly in Germany, France, Italy and Austria. Germany is currently the largest producer, accounting for almost half of the global biodiesel production. World ethanol production rose to nearly 41 billion litres in 2004, of which 73 per cent was for fuel. The countries with the highest current use of fuel ethanol are Brazil (14.6 billion litres, corresponding to roughly 30 per cent of the country's non-diesel motor fuel use in 2004) and the US (14.3 billion litres). The two countries together are responsible for almost 70 per cent of total production, followed by China (9 per cent), India (4 per cent) and France.9

Putting Biofuels Job Change and Growth into Perspective in the Near Term

The interior economy of the U.S., to include its more rural areas, has not grown at anywhere near the pace as the remainder of the U.S. We also know that manufacturing in the interior of the U.S. has been hard-hit over the past decade. Ethanol production from corn is a form of chemical manufacturing. When we look at the overall value of manufacturing to any economy, two factors are paramount the number of jobs created and, of course, the associated earnings that workers convert There have been very strong declines in manufacturing jobs during the present decade. Nationally, between 2000 and 2005 the nation lost nearly 3 million manufacturing positions, about 18 percent were in non-metropolitan areas of the nation, areas that did not have a central city of 50,000 or more. The chemical manufacturing industry, of which ethanol production is a subset, lost almost 100,000 jobs over the same time period. In 2005 the average earnings of a U.S. manufacturing job considering all wages,...

Ethanol production from crops

Table 11.7 gives outline data of ethanol production and crop yield. Commercial operations relate to many other factors, including energy analysis (see Section 11.3.4 and Table 11.5) and economic analysis. We emphasise that the use of otherwise waste biomass residues for electricity production and factory process heat is crucial in these analyses. As a benchmark, global production of ethanol for fuel was over 20 billion litres in 2003 - a year of considerable political uncertainty affecting the international price of fossil oil.

The Complexities Of Biofuels

The issues surrounding biofuels are complex, and the opinions on them are widely varied, so we'll start with a brief overview of biofuels, and then explore some of the important questions. There are two main types of biofuel in use today ethanol and biodiesel. Figure 9.1 summarizes their production methods. Biodiesel

The Future of Biofuels

Biomass has a special role to play in the sustainable electricity supply systems of the future due to the fact that it is easily stored. Electricity generation based on biofuels, supported by adequate fuel distribution and fuel stores local to the generation plant, is fully dispatchable and thus can be used to compensate for the variations in the nondispatchable renewables and the system load. Whether there will be sufficient biofuels for this purpose will depend on the available land area for energy crop production in relation to the amount of balancing plant required. Biomass resources in most countries are large for example in the UK is has been estimated that up to 20 million tonnes could be available per annum. It is important to distinguish between first generation crops that have been developed for food (sugar beet, oil seed rape and wheat grain) that may be used for chemical conversion to biodiesel and bioethanol and second generation lignocellulosic (biomass) crops that can...

Palm Oil Methyl Esters As Diesel Substitute

Biodiesel has gained much attention in recent years due to increasing environmental awareness. Biodiesel is produced from renewable plant resources and thus does not contribute to the net increase of carbon dioxide. From 1996 to 2004, the biodiesel production capacity in the European Union (EU) has increased by a factor of four from 591,000 t to a total of 2.355 million t (Bockey, 2002 Bockey, 2004). Further utilization of biodiesel is anticipated due to the initiative of the respective authorities to promote biodiesel and the high cost of petroleum diesel. For example, by the end of 2005, at least 2 (about 3.1 million t) of fossil fuels will be replaced by biofuels (biodiesel, bioethanol, biogas, biomethanol, etc.) in all EU countries. This minimum target quantity has been set out in the EU commission action plan, and the proportion will be increased annually by 0.75 to reach 5.75 (about 17.5 million t) in the year 2010 (Bockey and Korbitz, 2002 Markolvitz, 2002 Schope and...

Effects of Fossil Fuel Prices

The practical value of biomass energy ultimately depends on the costs of salable energy and biofuels to the end users. Consequently, many economic analyses have been performed on biomass production, conversion, and integrated biofuels systems. Conflicts usually abound when attempts are made to compare the results developed by two or more groups for the same biomass feedstock or biofuel because the methodologies are not the same. The assumptions made by each group are sometimes so different that valid comparisons cannot be made even when the same economic ground rules are employed. Comparative analyses, especially for hypothetical processes conducted by an individual or group of individuals working together, should be more indicative of the economic performance and ranking of biomass energy systems. However, several generalizations can be made that are quite important. The first is that fossil fuel prices are well documented and can be considered to be the primary competition for...

A snapshot history of biofuel

Since the earliest days, when an intrepid caveman rubbed some sticks together and discovered he could warm himself, and finally cook that hot meal he had been dying for, we have been burning biofuels. Wood has been a staple fuel for heating and cooking. You might think that this is bad news for biofuels, as it could be tricky squeezing large logs inside a small cylinder. Quite the contrary in fact, Otto's original plan was to use ethanol, which we have read about in this chapter. Ethanol is a biofuel. However, there is more to the story than that Biofuels got another boost when one Henry Ford designed his mass-production Model T car to run on ethanol Unfortunately now, our story takes a bit of a sinister turn. During the Second World War, with supplies of oil scarce, countries began to look at using biofuels to meet the war-effort's insatiable demand for energy. Unfortunately, after this time biofuels take a bit of a turn for the worse. Oil became cheap and biofuels disappeared into...

Ethanol Production Economic Opportunities and Offsets

In a mature and relatively stable commodity production and distribution system, large changes in one segment of that system have consequences for other aspects of agriculture, non-agriculture industries, the public, and households. Initially it is important to note that the placement of a modern biofuels plant in a rural economy will result in an expansion of net regional industrial production. In the short run there is a positive economic impact to be expected. The rapid run-up in ethanol plant development in the 2005 through 2007 period, however, has also had consequences in many other aspects of agriculture, the impacts of which are just starting to be understood. This section works through some of the regional economic opportunities and offsets that must be considered as this industry matures in the Midwest.

Strategies to Reduce the Impact of Fossil Fuel Energy on the Environment

The use of environmentally damaging fossil fuels as a primary energy source has proved to be a difficult issue for the United States to address. As previously discussed, oil-based fuels have some built-in convenience, density, and portability features that make them particularly easy to transport and especially suitable as a form of energy to power transportation activities. Nonetheless, the United States has taken some important measures to minimize the impact of fossil fuel energy on the environment.

The fundamental inefficiency of fossil fuels

Such considerations are more than purely theoretical. The logic is that of the national accounts, in which an increase in the money supply is equated to growth. Everybody acts as if reserves of fossil fuel and the Earth's capacity to absorb waste and emissions from power generation were unlimited. This is no formula for growth, but rather a twofold loss, of resources on the one hand and environmental quality on the other. Because nature is not an accountant and sends no invoices, the incalculably high cost of consuming fossil fuels is overlooked. Fossil fuels necessarily represent a departure from the variety and multifunctionality of their solar origins. The broad spectrum of solar irradiation, from ultraviolet to infrared, can be put to a variety of different uses, from light for the production of electricity to the use of infrared radiation for heating. By circulating a thin film of water over its sunny side, a solar cell can also be made to serve as a solar collector, raising its...

Liquid Fuel The Direct Methanol Fuel Cell

No doubt one of the most elegant solutions to the fueling problem would be to make fuel cells operate on a liquid fuel. This is particularly so for transportation and the portable sector. The direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC), a liquid- or vapor-fed PEM fuel cell operating on a methanol water mix and air, therefore deserves careful consideration. The main technological challenges are the formulation of better anode catalysts to lower the anode overpotentials (currently several hundred millivolts at practical current densities), and the improvement of membranes and cathode catalysts in order to overcome cathode poisoning and fuel losses by migration of methanol from anode to cathode. Current prototype DMFCs generate up to 0.2 Wcm-2 (based on the MEA area) of electric power, but not yet under practical operating conditions or with acceptable platinum loadings. However, the value is sufficiently close to what has been estimated to be competitive with conventional fuel cell systems...

IIIB The Israeli Microalgae Biodiesel Production Project

In the mid-1980s an algal mass culture project for biodiesel production was supported by the ASP in Israel (Arad 1984, 1985, 1986), as a cooperative project amo1ng the M eMnce gnogpsphic and Limnological Research Institute, with Dr. Ben-Amotz, who investigated lipid production at the laboratory and micropond scale after starting .dilutions. The culture was harvested with FeCh and alum using a expensive for biodiesel production. &

Palm Oil As Diesel Substitute

Many researchers have investigated the possibility of using vegetable oils (straight or blended) as a diesel substitute. A good account of their attempts was reported in the 1983 JAOCS Symposium on Vegetable Oils as Diesel Fuels (Klopfenstein and Walker, 1983 Pryde 1983 Strayer et al., 1983). The symposium revealed that vegetable oils have good potential as alternative fuels if some problems could be overcome satisfactorily. These include high viscosity, low volatility, and the reactivity (polymerization) of the unsaturated hydrocarbon chains if the oil is highly unsaturated. These will give rise to coking on the fuel injectors, carbon deposits, oil ring sticking, and thickening and gelling of the lubricating oil as a result of contamination with vegetable oil. Various blends of crude palm oil and palm oil products such as refined, bleached, and deodorized palm olein with medium fuel oil (MFO) and petroleum diesel, respectively, have been evaluated as boiler fuels and diesel...

The Direct Methanol Fuel Cell

Direct methanol fuel cells were developed by researchers at Shell (Williams et al., 1965) and ESSO (Tarmy and Ciprios, 1965) with aqueous acid electrolytes that would not react with the CO2 produced in the electrochemical reaction. Alkaline electrolytes were tested by researchers at Allis-Chalmers (Murray and Grimes, 1963), who expected the degradation of the electrolyte by carbonate formation but also recognized the better compatibility of materials. For methanol oxidation on the anode, catalysts based on alloys between noble metals were more effective than pure metal catalysts, and Binder et al. (1965) studied different combinations in both acid and alkaline electrolytes. In 1992, research was revived following the technical improvements of the solid polymer fuel cell, as scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory developed a direct methanol fuel cell using the same solid polymer electrolyte (Surampudi et al., 1994).

Biodiesel In Cambodia

It has inspired me to get involved with renewable energy projects in Northern California and around the world. Last year, I spent seven months working on a Jatropha-to-biodiesel project in a remote village near Angkor Wat, Cambodia. Despite a rapidly growing population and an increase in foreign investment, Cambodia is still a poor country with a very undeveloped infrastructure. The typical village family relies on a single 12-volt battery to power their home. Usually, one person in a village has a generator station where everyone will go to recharge or exchange their batteries. With the price of PV and other technology out of reach, my mission was to supply a village with Jatropha seeds and the knowledge to grow the fuel stock to make homegrown biodiesel for their generators. With my background as a greenhouse manager, I helped villagers and students develop a Jatropha nursery and plantation. We planted many hectares and built a structure to house...

How Fossil Fuels Have Affected Our Lives

Until the 19th century, human progress was limited by the amount of work that people could do in a day to feed themselves and their families. The economy was largely rural as a result. Beginning in the 19th century, people began to develop coal, oil and other stored energy sources to supplement solar energy. The results of plant and animal growth through solar energy, over huge areas and geologic time periods, coupled with violent geological upheaval, became available for human exploitation. Knowledge was required to develop machines capable of coupling these power inputs to human needs, and to be sure the great scientific work of the pioneers of thermodynamics and its application were critical. But what really changed the nature of how people lived on this planet was the several orders of magnitude increase of the energy sources that were available. There was, and continues to be, excess energy available to obtain more fossil fuels, to do research on how to exploit these fuels more...

Biofuel production

A number of fuels may be produced from biomass and residues derived from vegetable and animal production, or from forestry and dedicated energy crops, ranging from fuels for direct combustion over biogas (mainly methane mixed with carbon dioxide) to liquid biofuels such as ethanol or methanol, or gaseous fuels such as synthesis gas (a mixture of mainly carbon monoxide and hydrogen, also being an intermediate step in producing methanol) or pure hydrogen. The production of biofuels by thermochemical processes is based on high-temperature gasification and various cleaning and transformation processes (Jensen and Serensen, 1984 Nielsen and S0-rensen, 1998). Whether the biofuel production is by thermal or biological processes, the expected conversion efficiency is of the order of FE 50 (cf. Fig. 6.23). This is to be compounded with a factor describing the ability of the biofuel production industry to collect the necessary feedstock. This collection efficiency factor, which we call CF,...


IEA Bioenergy (2004) Biofuels for Transport, overview report by Task Group 39 (ed. D Stevens), International Energy Agency, Paris. On web at <> a good summary of current status. Keshgi, H.S., Prince, R.C. and Marland, G. (2000) The potential of biomass fuels in the context of global climate change Focus on transportation fuels, Annual Review of Energy and the Environment, 25, 199-244. Wide background, plus energy analysis of bioethanol in USA and Brazil. Moreira, J.R. and Goldemberg, J. (1999) The alcohol program, Energy Policy, 27, 229-245. The economics and energy balance of the Brazilian bioethanol program. See also Keshgi etal. (2000) and the relevant chapter in Johansson etal. (1993).

Bad biofuels

Well, all Evil Geniuses should be trying to form a balanced view of the arguments in the world they are trying to conquer. Let's take a look at the flip side of biofuels and assess why, maybe, they aren't going to save the world. Biofuels have an important role to play while we look for medium-term solutions to our energy problems. In the longer term, technologies such as the hydrogen economy and hydrogen fuel cells, could potentially meet our energy needs. However, in the short term, we need to look for transitional solutions that will allow us to shift from our dirty technologies, to more environmentally responsible technologies. Biofuels have a part to play in this transition. However, if we look at trying to meet all of our energy needs from biofuels, it becomes apparent that growing energy may not be desirable on a large scale. There is limited bio-productive land (by which we mean land with the ability to produce crops) in the world. We need some of this land to live on, we need...


At the moment, our cars run on gasoline and diesel from deep oil wells. Because we are fast running out of oil, we see the prices steadily creep up. Well, what if oil grew on trees. Well, it might not grow on trees, but biodiesel certainly comes close We can run compression ignition engines on a wide variety of vegetable oils directly, with a little modification. However, because these oils are quite thick (viscous), problems can be encountered if the fuel is cold. For this reason, we take ordinary fuel, and turn it into biofuel with a little chemical ingenuity. As plants produce their food using photosynthesis, biodiesel can be thought of, in a way, as liquid sunshine solar energy stored in the chemical bonds of plants, ready to be used at will.

Fossil Fuels

The generation of electric power from fossil fuels has seen continuing, and in some cases dramatic technical advances over the last 20-30 years. Technology improvements in fossil fuel combustion have been driven largely by the need to reduce emissions, by the need to conserve fossil fuel resources, and by the economics of the competitive marketplace. The importance of fossil fuel-fired electric generation to the world is undeniable more than 70 of all power in the U.S. is fossil fuel-based and worldwide the percentage is higher, and growing. Today most large power plants worldwide burn coal though many generating companies are adding natural gas plants, particularly where the cost of gas-fired generation, and the long-term supply of gas, appear favorable. This chapter reviews the current status and likely future deployment of competing generation technologies based on fossil fuels.

Use Of Fossil Fuels

The night sky of the earth taken by satellite 4 illustrates the tremendous amount of energy consumed by humans. In the United States, 6 of the world's population consumes around 25 of the world's energy resources and 50 of the mineral resources. It is physically impossible to continue to consume fossil fuels with exponential growth rates. The bell curve, also called the normal or Gaussian curve, will not be exact for predicting future production, as advanced technology will allow us to recover more of the fossil fuels and extend the time the resource is available. However, the end result is still the same. The actual production for oil (Figure 2.5) and natural gas (Figure 2.6) in Texas 7 corroborates the above Each fossil fuel industry touts the use of its product. The World Coal Institute is promoting the sustainable development of coal and conversion of coal to liquid fuels. In 2004 coal provided 26 of the primary energy for the world and 43 of global electricity. Production of coal...

The Incidences and Economic Benefits of Farmer Ownership are Waning

The majority of ethanol plants in Iowa, South Dakota, and Minnesota in the first part of this decade were considered to be farmer or otherwise cooperatively or locally owned. The structure of this relationship was such that corn producers as investors linked themselves to a value added production process for their commodity (Gallagher 2005). The reason for this vertical configuration was that transportation costs from some of the nation's best corn production areas ate away at much of the profits to be made from farming. The greater the production costs of shipping corn for export, for example, to the barge terminals on the Mississippi River in Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois, the lower the price received locally. Areas with a substantial commodity price basis penalty due to transport costs had strong incentives to convert grain to more profitable uses. Livestock feeding is one value added opportunity, and ethanol production is another. A local ethanol plant allowed area farmers to...

Bioenergy Promotion and the Overall Sustainability of Rural Economies

Alexander Mueller, concluded in 2007 that properly promoting biofuels could be an important tool for improving the well-being of rural people if governments take into account environmental and food security concerns. (FAO Newsroom 2007). The rural economic development potential of cellulosic systems is a complete unknown. Scientists and engineers can agree on many of the technical details and distributional requirements. Technical agreement notwithstanding, economics, however, require that the price of fuel must increase drastically before biomass can be efficiently and competitively processed. The only realistic contemporary laboratory for gauging the revitalization potential of modern biofuels is the current expansion in corn ethanol production in the U.S. and to a lesser extent biodiesel production from oil seeds (Tokgoz et al. 2007). And the market attributes of both of those examples are distorted via the range of subsidies underwriting the current pace of growth. There are heady...

Comparisons with Other Countries

The United States is by no means the only country that subsidizes ethanol production and consumption. Ethanol was heavily subsidized early in the development of Brazil's industry (from 1976 through 1998 see Boddey, 1993) although production is no longer directly subsidized, domestic consumption is still favored through

Deconstructing Ethanol Job Impact Claims in the Midwest

Next, a full two-thirds of the purported non-construction ethanol impact jobs were already in the economy whether there was or there was not an ethanol industry. The IRFA study used a set of final demand multipliers to estimate the remaining ethanol job and product impacts (BEA 1997). Final demand means that either the industry is producing for final consumption by households and institutional users within the region or it is producing for consumption by entities external to the region of production. The fundamental assumption in the use of a final demand multiplier and its interpretation, however, is that expansion in ethanol production creates, concomitantly and at fixed rates, expansions in all inter-industrial relations that industry has with all of its inputs suppliers. So the use of a final demand multiplier for a particular industry, like the organic chemical industry where ethanol production is located assumes that as that industry expands production, there are fixed-ratio...

The Policy and Practical Implications of Bloated Economic Impact Claims

The foregoing assessment assists in understanding the basic job growth potential of modern ethanol production and the possible magnitude of error common in estimating that potential. The gap between perception and reality is profound and procedurally troublesome because it has implications for public policy development. Modern industrial development benefits strongly from federal, state, and local government underwriting. New ethanol plants across the U.S. are reaping large amounts of risk-reducing tax credits, subsidies, and other kinds of public support. According to one recent study (Koplow 2007), U.S. subsidies in support of ethanol production ranged from 1.42 to 1.84 per gallon in 2006 considering all capital development, credits, and other support. Using the same criteria for comparison that study concluded that subsidies for petroleum averaged just 2.4 percent of those amounts (Brasher July 2007). In Iowa, newer plants are demanding and receiving up to 20 year local property...

Transition to Renewable Energy

The first priority of the US energy program should be for individuals, communities, and industries to conserve fossil fuel resources and reduce consumption. Other developed countries have proved that high productivity and a high standard of living can be achieved with the use of half the energy expenditure of the United States (Pimentel et al. 1999). In the United States, fossil energy subsidies of approximately 40 billion per year should be withdrawn and the savings invested in renewable energy research and education to encourage the development and implementation of renewable technologies. If the United States became a leader in the development of renewable energy technologies, then it would likely capture the world market for this industry (Shute 2001). The current subsidies for ethanol production total 6 billion per year (Koplow 2006). This means that the subsidies per gallon of ethanol are 60 times greater than the subsidies per gallon of gasoline

Subsidies per Unit Greenhouse Gas Displaced

A common claim by biofuels supporters is that ethanol will play an important role in facilitating the transition to a society with a low carbon footprint. To test how efficient existing policies are in getting us there, we examine the subsidy cost per metric ton of CO2-equivalent displaced, and then compare this cost with the value of carbon offsets on the world's two major climate exchanges in Chicago (CCX) and Europe (ECX). The results are shown in Table 4.3. the indirect impacts of biofuel production, and in particular the destruction of natural habitats (e.g. rainforests, savannah, or in some cases the exploitation of 'marginal' lands which are in active use, even at reduced productivity, by a range of communities, often poorer households and individuals) to expand agricultural land, may have larger environmental impacts than the direct effects. The indirect GHG emissions of biofuels produced from productive land that could otherwise support food production may be larger than the...

IIA Collection and Screening of Microalgae Conclusions andRecommendations

The collectioB and screening effort resulted in a large number of strains that had many characteristics deemed important for a biodiesel production organism. In reviewing the many procedures used by ASP researchers, however, it is clear that a more consistent screening protocol might have yielded results that could be compared more meaningfully. Although these types of standard protocols were being developed near the end of the collectioB and screening effort, they were not consistently used. Furthermore, because an optimized microalgal-based biofuel production process was never fully developed, the screening protocols could not be based on an actual process. Therefore, whether the screening criteria used in the ASP were accurate predictors of good performance in a biodiesel production facility is not really known. For example, lipid productivity over a given amount of time is one of the most important factors in a production process. There were bo clear guidelines as to whether lipid...

Support for RD on the Production Side

Federal spending on biofuels R& D hovered between 50 and 100 million a year between 1978 and 1998 (Gielecki et al., 2001). The U.S. Office of Technology Assessment reported that direct research on ethanol within the DOE was less than 15 million per year between 1978 and 1980 (OTA, 1979). It is notable that the federal government started the Bioenergy Feedstock Development Program at Oak

Aggregate Support to Ethanol

To develop a better sense of how all of the individual subsidy programs affect the overall environment for ethanol, we have compiled a number of aggregate measures of support. The aggregate data provide important insights into a variety of policy questions, ranging from the financial cost of the support policies to taxpayers and consumers, to estimates of the costs of achieving particular policy goals. Among arguments put forth in support of biofuel subsidies are that they help the country to diversify from fossil fuels in general, and petroleum in particular and that they have a better environmental profile than fossil fuels.

Subsidies Related to Consumption

Numerous federal and state subsidies support investment in infrastructure used to transport, store, distribute and dispense ethanol. A separate set of policies underwrites the purchase or conversion of vehicles capable of using alternative fuels. The emergence of ethanol FFVs on the market provided a means for federal and state agencies to meet federal requirements for alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) established in the Energy Policy Act of 1992. These requirements stipulated that

Laboratory Studies

Eukaryotic algae, like all photosynthetic organisms, efficiently convert solar energy into biomass. The algal research program at SERI was designed as a long-term basic research effort to adapt or use photosynthesis and related metabolic pathways to produce renewable fuels and chemicals. Research at SERI under the Aquatic Species Program (Biodiesel) has focused on ways to increase the yield of oil from microalgae for cost-effective liquid fuel production. Initially, a large component of the research performed both by subcontractors and by SERI researchers was the collection of microalgal strains from saline environments in the desert southwest of the United States (a region targeted as a feasible location for large-scale microalgal culture), marine environments, and established culture collections. These organisms were then screened and numerous species were identified as candidates for biodiesel production this research was described in Sections II.A. and II.B. of this report.

Payments Based on Current Output

At the federal level, the Small Producer Tax Credit, introduced in 1990, grants ethanol and biodiesel plants that produce less than 60 mgpy a 10-cents-per-gallon income-tax credit on the first 15 million gallons they produce (a maximum of 1.5 million per plant each year). Using industry data on plant nameplate capacity, we Output-linked payments via the USDA's Bioenergy Program until recently paid an additional bounty per gallon of ethanol or biodiesel produced, with higher bounties for new production. These operated through grants rather than tax credits, but were otherwise fairly similar in structure and impact.

Ethanol and Energy Inputs

The average costs in terms of energy and dollars for a large modern corn ethanol plant are listed in Table 1.4. In the fermentation distillation process, the corn is finely ground and approximately 15 L of water are added per 2.69 kg of ground corn. After fermentation, to obtain a liter of 95 pure ethanol from the 8 ethanol and 92 water mixture, the 1L of ethanol must be extracted from the approximately 13 L of the ethanol water mixture. To be mixed with gasoline, the 95 ethanol must be

Homemade Reflector Grid

In less developed countries, it's not fossil fuels that are being burned, but wood. In Ethiopia, 500,000 acres (2,023 km2) of forests are cut each year. The wood is used for fuel and construction, and the cleared land is used for farming. Studies conducted by the United Nations (UN) show that 50 percent of the rain forests being destroyed are used for cooking fuel.

Grain Storage Processing and Distribution Systems Will Change

Is not conveyed through local grain elevator systems or moved outbound via rail as historically had been the situation. So in the initial stages of ethanol plant development, gains to farmers and the expansion of ethanol production must be assessed in light of a reduction in gross receipts and reduced efficiencies on investments in all grain handling systems. As the industry matures and as competition for corn requires greater grain origination and distribution skills and efficiencies, the nation's elevator systems may come to play an integral role in moving corn into ethanol plants, but the extent and effectiveness of the sector remains to be demonstrated. In the near term, the rapid diversion of grain stocks into ethanol plants has impinged on the profitability of traditional grain handlers. The rail transportation rolling stock that evolved to move corn is ill-suited to moving either ethanol or the byproducts of ethanol. Ethanol is primarily transported in truck and rail tankers,...

Iiid Nrel Studies of Flue Gas CO Utilization by Microalgae

The last major engineering-related activity carried out by the ASP was a PETC-funded study, both laboratory and process design, for microalgae biodiesel production using power plant flue gases. The general arguments for use of microalgae in CO2 mitigation, from high productivity to relatively low water use were reviewed in several reports (Brown et al. 1991 Chelf et al. 1991). The authors concluded that the SOx and NOx impurities in flue gas would likely not have a major effect on algal cultures, and, indeed, that the NOx could not even provide the N requirements of the Tol tdireso iistoatevtMt ifldfe agasgsammhife iuseyl Bob cm toffoaigaeasestuiB exaElpsg tNeg cam IIr d0 rpr5cSiS for microalgae biodiesel production using power plant flue gases (Kadam 1994, 1995). The analysis was based on the production of essentially pure (liquified) CO2 from the flue gases of a 500-MW power plant, using conventional amine scrubbing processes, and its supply to a 100-km remote microalgae production...

Subsidies to Factors of Production

Value-adding factors in biofuel production include capital, labor, land and other natural resources. Surprisingly, even labor related to biofuels production does not escape subsidization. The state of Washington, for example, allows labor employed to build biofuels production capacity, or to make biodiesel or biodiesel feedstock, to pay a reduced rate on the state's business and occupation tax.15 Support for Capital Used in Manufacturing Biofuels Scores of incentive programs have been targeted at reducing the capital cost of ethanol plants. Many of these are specific to ethanol (or ethanol and biodiesel), though others are open to a broader variety of alternative fuels. Government subsidies are often directed to encourage capital formation in a specific segment of the supply chain. 15 Rates on manufacturing of ethanol and biodiesel fuel are the lowest of all categories, and less than one-third the normal rate on manufacturing activities. See WA DOR (2007). Production equipment...

Higher Feed and Input Costs for Other Corn Consumers

The high reliance on corn inputs by the livestock sector is ostensibly offset by the production of distillers' grains at the ethanol plants. Distillers' grains are the high protein residue left after the ethanol fermentation process is completed. Distillers' grains can be fed in varying degrees to livestock, ranging from 30 to 40 percent of diet to feeder cattle down to 10-20 percent for dairy cows, swine, or poultry. No matter the supply and price of distillers' grains and the mix of rations employed, feeders will still have to include some corn input costs in the mix. American cattle producers appear to be cautious about the rapid growth in the ethanol industry and have recently argued against an expansion in federal ethanol production subsidies beyond current levels (NCBA 2007), with increased corn prices as the rationale.

Proposed Cellulosic Ethanol Refineries

Figure 2.14 ranks the rather imaginary claims of 5 out of 6 award recipients. For calibration, after 87 years of development and optimization, the actual energy efficiency of Sasol's Fischer-Tropsch coal-to-liquid fuels plants is about 42 (Steynberg and Nel, 2004). The average energy efficiency of the highly optimized corn ethanol refineries is 37 (not counting grain coproducts as fuels). An average petroleum refinery is about 88 energy-efficient.11 For details, see (Patzek, 2006a,b,c) The DOE USDA report by Perlack et al. (2005) has led to the claims by an influential venture capitalist, Mr. Vinod Khosla (2006), of being able to produce 130 billion gallons of ethanol from 1.4 billion tons of biomass (dmb), apparently at a 52 thermodynamic efficiency. 9 The HHV of ethanol out divided by the HHV of biomass in. No fossil fuels inputs into the plants and the raw materials they use are accounted for. To see how very different the new fossil-energy-free world will be, let's compare power...


Our analysis illustrates not only that subsidies to ethanol are pervasive and large, but that they are not a particularly efficient means to achieve many of the policy objectives for which they have been justified. These subsidies are the result of many independent decisions at different levels of government, resulting in policies that are often poorly coordinated and targeted. Hundreds of government programs have been created to support virtually every stage of production and consumption relating to ethanol, from the growing of the crops that are used for feedstock to the vehicles that consume the biofuels. In many locations, producers have been able to tap into multiple sources of subsidies. Because the bulk of subsidies are tied to output and output is increasing at double-digit rates of growth, the cost of these programs will continue to climb. Production is subsidized at the federal level even though consumption of it is mandated through the RFS. Ethanol production is supported...

Volume Linked Support

Market price support (MPS) refers to financial transfers to producers from consumers arising from policy measures that support production by creating a gap between domestic market prices and border prices of the commodity (OECD, 2001). It can be considered the residual support element resulting from the interaction of any number of policies. Three policies play a significant role in supporting market prices for biofuels in the United States tariffs, blending mandates, and tax credits and exemptions (de Gorter and Just, 2007). Ideally, MPS is measured by comparing actual prices obtained in a market with an appropriate reference price. Because the nature of the information on tax credits is much more concrete than that available on prices, for the purpose of this exercise we treat tax credits separately from the effects of tariffs and blending mandates. These latter two are described briefly below. Renewable fuels standards As noted above, federal RFS targets of 4 bgpy in 2006, rising...


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European engine manufacturers have had very positive experience using rapeseed oil-derived biodiesel. In the U.S., engine manufacturers have expressed tentative support for blends of soy-derived biodiesel of up to 20 . See Alternative Fuels Committee of the Engine Manufacturers Association (1995) Biodiesel Fuels and Their Use in Diesel Engine Applications Engine Manufacturers' Association, Chicago, IL. Graboski, M. McCormick, R. (1994) Final Report Emissions from Biodiesel Blends and Neat Biodiesel from a 1991 Model Series 60 Engine Operating at High Altitude. Colorado Institute for High Altitude Fuels and Engine Research. Subcontractor's report to National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden,CO. FEV Engine Technology, Inc. (1994) Emissions and Performance Characteristics of the Navistar T444E DI Diesel Engine Fueled with Blends of Biodiesel and Low Sulfur Diesel Fuel Phase I final Report. Contractor's report to the National Biodiesel Board, Jefferson City, MO. Fosseen Manufacturing...


Topics range from the future of natural gas and conventional fossil fuels to in-depth examinations of energy efficiency and the potential of fuel cells. Several essays focus on the much-speculated hydrogen economy, its viability, and the hurdles still to be overcome. Here are a few highlights of the essays.


This assessment of renewable energy technologies confirms that these techniques have the potential to provide the nation with alternatives to meet nearly half of future U.S. energy needs. To develop this potential, the United States would have to commit to the development and implementation of non-fossil fuel technologies and energy conservation. People in the U.S. would have to reduce their current energy consumption by more than 50 and this is entirely possible. Eventually we will be forced to reduce energy consumption. The implementation of renewable energy technologies now would reduce many of the current environmental problems associated with fossil fuel production and use.

Problems with Change

By extrapolating human population growth between 1650 and 1920 to 2007, one estimates 2.2 billion people who today could live mostly on plant carbon, but use some coal, oil, and natural gas. Therefore it is reasonable to say that today 4.5 billion people4 owe their existence to the Haber-Bosch ammonia process and the fossil fuel-driven, fundamentally unstable Green Revolution, as well as to vaccines and antibiotics. Agrofuels are a direct outgrowth of the Green Revolution, which may be viewed, see Appendix 2, as a short-lived but violent disturbance of terrestrial ecosystems on the Earth.

Automotive Tips

After running your first tank of biodiesel, you will have to change your fuel filter. Biodiesel cleans out all the petroleum sludge in your fuel system, which can then clog up the filters. While you're at the parts store, you might as well buy two filters you'd be surprised how dirty petroleum diesel is I recommend buying a little clear glass filter with a removable element that can be cleaned using biodiesel. Install this filter in front of the engine's stock filters. Once the filters are cleaned, you probably won't have to clean them again for quite a long time as long as you don't use petroleum diesel again. Older diesel engines from the late 70s and earlier are equipped with rubber hoses and seals. Over time, the methanol in the biodiesel will dissolve these parts. But in newer engines the hoses are synthetic and are not affected by methanol. The rubber parts in older engines can be easily replaced with synthetic parts. Like petroleum diesel, biodiesel will gel in colder weather,...

About our Authors

Dias de Oliveira graduated in 1997 as an Agronomic Engineer at University of Sao Paulo-Brazil, working as an undergrad student with GIS and Remote Sensing. In 2001 he started his Master's Degree at Washington State University -Richland - USA, concluding his work in 2004. During this time he did research on hazardous materials at the Hanford site, and developed his thesis on energy balance, carbon dioxide emissions and environmental impacts of ethanol production. Currently he works as consultant for an environmental company in Brazil and is about to start his PhD studies. Doug Koplow is the founder of Earth Track in Cambridge, MA (www.earthtrack. net), an organization focused on making the scope and cost of environmentally harmful subsidies more visible. The author of Biofuels - At What Cost Government support for ethanol and biodiesel in the United States (Global Subsidies Initiative, Geneva 2006 and 2007), Doug has worked on natural resource subsidy issues for nearly...


Included in this section are summaries of the research conducted by various subcontractors within the ASP who contributed to the collection, screening, and characterization of microalgal strains for potential use in biofuel production facilities. Initially, a variety of strain isolation and screening procedures were carried out by the various research groups, as there was no established protocol. This lack of uniformity in the screening protocols made comparing the results from one laboratory with those of another difficult, and meant that the criteria for selecting the beve rstrsuhs cdffacidsbpawteeip athd itebbeattrefes .colAtctton aamscrimtinhowovferPithis if cedeograpg aCdcoge(Oolieo ting and S(UIKbffiirlcf SCrebiBspuosUfth,e di asCby'egllcBSi ng eiBdlvBi M ifocB tivltyi western Mee dhat AdgdM dbeab rBifcCi(C lig ao sha instfe migrant .w aters in Arizona, New Mexico, California, Nevada, Utah, and Texas were obtained through the efforts of Dr. Milt Sommerfeld's laboratory at...

Pending Legislation

Despite a growing awareness of both the fiscal and environmental concerns about biofuels, legislative support has not abated. As of October 2007, the most aggressive proposed reforms (both contained in the tax section of the 2007 Farm Bill) involve reducing the excise tax credit by 5 cents per gallon (less than 10 ) once the existing mandate is reached. None of the major bills would phase out the tax credits under high oil prices (when biofuels are more competitive) or remove an existing loophole that allows claimants to exclude the tax credits from their taxable income, further increasing the cost of the provision. Several major bills under consideration by Congress, including a large proposed Energy Bill and the 2007 Farm Bill, seek to increase levels of support for biofuels, particularly ethanol. By increasing the national mandatory consumption requirement (the Renewable Fuels Standard), for example, lawmakers hope to reduce risks to the industry of a sustained market downturn. The...

IVB Conclusions

The overall conclusion from this review of 2 decades of DOE and ASP R& D in microalgal mass culture for biodiesel and other renewable fuels, is that this technology still requires relatively long-term R& D for practical realization. The initial, rather optimistic, cost and performance projections have not been met, or The expectation for the economics of alternative fuels is a moving and uncertain target. Energy prices have been falling in real terms for more than 20 years, since the last oil-shock of the late 1970s. Competing within current market realities is not plausible for most renewable energy technologies. Indeed, electric industry deregulation is removing price supports for such technologies as wood, wind, and geothermal power. The price of fossil fuels will probably start to reflect at least some of their externalities costs, including air pollution and greenhouse gases, and plauexalm pe nhe cose pe naOytax. of soma MQ eCOiohasubesin ablggestude .b aHodvonea ,...

Resource Sustainability

One of the key features of biomass is that the energy expended in growing it, i.e. planting, watering, use of chemicals and pesticides to enhance yield, harvesting, drying etc., is not negligible. Specifically for ethanol production used as fuel for transport, the refineries themselves are fired by fossil fuels to ferment the crop and to purify ethanol from the product of fermentation. A US Department of Agriculture report found that the energy from corn bio-ethanol was a mere 8 in excess of the input production energy and a recent paper in Science 15 found that the energy ratio was net-positive when the energy savings from 'co-products' for cattle feed were included. Efforts are now being made to produce bioethanol from cellu-losic crops and not from fermentation. This promises to produce twice the amount of ethanol per hectare of crop. Large scale biofuel production is not only energy intensive but it could have an adverse environmental and social impact. Such development requires...

Renewable energies in transport Alternatives to fossilbased fuels

Renewable energies can be used in various forms and in different sectors for different purposes. For transport purposes there are in general three options the transfer of solar radiation (or other RE) through, for example, solar thermal power plants into hydrogen, the transfer of RE into electricity which is directly used as 'fuel', or the conversion of biomass into liquid or gaseous fluids. As the hydrogen path is still too expensive and various technical problems still need to be solved, and the electricity path does not fulfil transport requirements, biofuels are highlighted in all discussion on alternative fuels. The most widely used biofuel is ethanol, accounting for more than 90 per cent of total biofuel production. Ethanol is produced by fermenting sugar, such as from sugar cane or sugar beet, or by converting corn starches (and other starchy feedstocks) into sugar before fermentation. Ethanol can either be blended with gasoline in low concentrations without any engine...

References for Appendix B

Biofuels Industry. Proceedings of the International Renewable Energy Conference. September 1988. 8. U.S. Department of Agriculture, The National Advisory Panel on Cost Effectiveness of Fuel Ethanol Production. Fuel Ethanol Cost Effectiveness Study. November 1987. 15. U.S. Department of Energy, Biofuels and Municipal Waste Technology Division. Five Year Research Plan. (Draft July 1989). Unpublished.

Potential Contribution

The potential biomass energy resource base in the United States is very large, particularly if extensive production of biofuels crops is undertaken. As indicated in Table B-2, the total can exceed 55 quads under certain assumptions. In addition, as forestry productivity increases, depending on other demands for wood, existing forest land could provide an additional quantity. The biomass resources available today have been estimated to total about 14 quads, consisting of available wood and wood wastes, agricultural and food processing residues and by-products (including ethanol), and MSW, but excluding cultivated energy crops, wood designated for other uses, and grain not now used in ethanol production. The potentially available contributions from each of the technologies, including biofuels, if totaled with others, obviously would exceed the resources available. In addition, there are other, non-energy potential uses for many of the resources. The projections of the contributions of...

Outlook for US Energy Consumption and Prices in the Midterm

Impacts of High World Oil Prices on Oil Imports . Impacts of High World Oil Prices on Domestic Unconventional Liquids Supply . Impacts of High World Oil Prices on Ethanol Production . LNG Imports are the Source of Natural Gas Supply Most Affected in the Price Cases . Natural Gas Wellhead Prices . Petroleum Demand Is Significantly Lower in the High-Price Case . EPAct2005 Accelerates the Early Adoption of Hybrid Vehicles . High Oil and Gas Prices Increase Coal-Based Generation

Production and costs of renewables

Given these price levels, renewable energies are becoming increasingly competitive. The most successful example is ethanol production in Brazil. The Proalcool Programme is, worldwide, the largest application, and initially was promoted by massive government support. Recent experience shows that even though government subsidies have been cut, ethanol prices are close to being competitive with petrol. The break-even was reached at the beginning of the decade, when oil prices began to rise while ethanol continually became cheaper (see Figure 1.2 in Chapter 1) due to economies of scale entailed by increased production. Table 3.2 shows that in 2003 the cost of biofuel production based on sugar cane in Brazil was competitive with that of petrol. Given the expected oil price level of at least US 42 bbl, ethanol will be economical in the long run. The biodiesel case is different, as Table 3.3 shows. With oil price levels at their 2004 levels, biodiesel has not yet achieved competitiveness. In...

Conversion of Biomass to Liquid Fuels

Currently, the cost of ethanol produced from com in the United States is about 1.28 gallon, with the com feedstock representing roughly half of this cost. (Revenues from animal feed co-products include about half the total costs.) At this cost, ethanol production would not be competitive with gasoline in the absence of federal and state tax credits. In the last decade, laboratory research, utilizing biotechnology and genetic engineering, has reduced the estimated cost of cellulose-derived ethanol to about 1.35 gallon. Current research plans, based on the use of enzymatic hydrolysis technology, suggest that a goal of 0.60 gallon may be achievable as early as 1998 for ethanol from cellulosic and hemicellulosic feedstocks. This cost would be competitive with the projected prices of gasoline without tax credits.

Perspectives from Other Forecasts and Analyses B Resources

The only significant difference between this white paper and the Meridian report is in the area of land for energy crops and ethanol from com. Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) estimates that 192 million acres may be available for energy crops by 2030 with yields of 9 tons per acre per year or about 26 quads year of sustainable biomass energy supplies161. Ethanol from corn has potential for much greater production than the current 850 million gallons (0.07 quad). The Meridian report shows a reserve of about 0.116 quad. Scientists at the Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI) estimate that 5 billion gallons of ethanol per year (0.4 quad), or more, could be produced from corn 7 . The National Advisory Panel on Cost Effectiveness for Fuel Ethanol Production estimates that up to 3.4 billion gallons year could be produced by 1992 under a rapid growth scenario181. Additional amounts of corn could be processed into ethanol (and animal feed co-products) if the significant impact on the...

Strategies to Lessen Foreign Oil Dependence

Elements of the president's Advanced Energy Initiative, announced in his January 31, 2005, State of the Union address, were also intended to manage the U.S. foreign oil dependence issue. In the January 31 speech, Bush promised alternative energy breakthroughs and investments in new technologies that would help the nation replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025.39 A centerpiece of the president's new strategy was ethanol. In 2006 ethanol that was derived from corn, which currently accounts for only a tiny fraction of fuel supply in the United States, required U.S. subsidies for its production. The Advanced Energy Initiative contained plans to subsidize ethanol production even further. This was also a matter of contention in the United States, as critics said that the amount of land and water and level of energy required to produce ethanol make it useful as only an add-on fuel to complement primary, nonrenewable oil. Others suggest that the...

Bioenergy in relation to agriculture and forestry

Introduced financial incentives for its farmers to set aside land from food production, and either to maintain it unproductively or for biomass for energy. Such policies retain the social benefits of an economically active rural population while also bringing the environmental benefits, described below, of substituting biofuels for fossil fuels. Utilising waste biomass increases the productivity of agriculture and forestry. This is especially so for the acceptable disposal of otherwise undesirable outputs, e.g. biodigestion of manure from intensive piggeries, so the integrated system brings both economic and environmental benefits. As emphasised in Section 11.1, successful biofuel production utilises already concentrated flows of biomass, such as offcuts and sawdust from sawmilling, straw from crops, manure from penned animals and sewage from municipal works. Biofuel processes that depend first upon transporting and then upon concentrating diffuse biomass resources are unlikely to be...

Why Use Renewable Energy

Today we cook food, fuel cars, and heat homes primarily by burning fossil fuels that were created over millions of years. Using coal, oil, and natural gas is a convenient way to meet our energy needs, but these fuels are in limited supply. They are being used far more rapidly than they were created, and they will eventually run out. In addition, a significant portion of the country's nuclear capacity will likely be retired by 2020. At the same time that our nuclear capacity drops and fossil fuel supplies decline, our need for electricity will grow. U.S. electric generation capacity needs are projected to increase by 33 during the next 20 years (Energy Information Administration). Renewable energy can help fill this gap. Even if we had an unlimited supply of fossil fuels, renewable energy is attractive because it is better for the environment. Burning fossil fuels sends greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These gases trap the sun's heat in the atmosphere, contributing to global...

The Future Of Transportation

After all the data and models and projections on biofuels, what one really wants to know is What is the future of transportation Our long-term view, given the decline in petroleum and the limits of growing biofuel feedstock for fuel, is that the future of transportation must be electric. Plug-in cars, inner-city and long-distance rail, electric buses, even electric and wind-assisted boats can meet nearly all of our transportation needs (except for air travel). And we believe it's feasible that all of that electricity could be produced from renewable sources. Switching over to an all-electric transportation regime will take many decades. For as long as we have relatively available fossil fuels assuming we are in fact about 17 years away from peak energy in 2025 we believe we can still build new electric infrastructure fairly rapidly. After that, it's going to get progressively harder and more expensive, and require alternative sources of energy. This is where we believe the role of...

Other chemical impacts

The most vital aspect for the optimum combustion of any fuel is to control temperature and input of oxygen, usually as air. The aim with biomass and biofuel combustion, as with all fuels, is to have emissions with minimum particulates (unburnt and partially burnt material), with fully oxidised carbon to CO2 and not CO or CH4, and with minimum oxides of nitrogen which usually result from excessive temperature of the air. Therefore, in practice, the combustion should be confined to a relatively small space at almost white hot temperature this volume has to be fed with air and fresh fuel. In addition, only fully burnt ash should remain (at best this is a fine powder that moves almost as a liquid). Useful heat is extracted by radiation from the combustion and by conduction from the flue gases through a heat exchanger, usually to water. Combustion of biofuels in engines, including turbines, has similar basic requirements, but occurs with much greater sophistication. Such combustion is...

Governance by authority

Energy resource conditions and constraints. This could be achieved by, for example, mandating for biofuel blending (Portland), using only biofuels with specified characteristics for cold weather use (Halifax), imposing a cap-and-trade system on large businesses (Tokyo), incorporating the trading of green electricity and or heat certificates within a climate policy, or exceeding the national standards set for solar water heaters in regions of the country more likely to experience freezing conditions or hail damage.

New Society Publishers

Biodiesel Power The Passion, the People, and the Politics of tho Newt Renewable Fuel With unbelievable commitment, acerbic wit. and a bona fide love for the down-home roots of the biofuel movement, Lylc Estill has chronicled (like no other) the complcx and often entertaining dynamics of the burgeoning world of biodtcsd. S 495 This adventure story for children of all ages features Rock. an cco-rap singer, who converts smelly diesel car Tiny into a biodiesel vehicle. Powered with soybean od.Tiny s exhaust now smells like yummy French fries llf We need sustainable solutions to our transportation needs. This article focuses on two biofuels that are commercially available in the United States biodiesel and ethanol. green fuels that we burn. There are studies on both sides. The reality is that we cannot continue to rely solely on fossil fuels. Biofuels are an alternative that we can use today. For fossil fuel, a well must be drilled and the crude oil pumped out of the ground. It's then...

Contributions to National Goals

The use of liquid biofuels could provide several benefits to the United States. Foremost would be an added measure of energy security by increasing energy self-sufficiency and substantially lessening dependence on foreign oil. The reduction of imports could result in an annual balance-of-payments savings of up to 100 billion while creating a domestic biofuels industry that would provide jobs, economic growth, additional tax revenue, and a potential export market. Additionally, liquid fuels from biomass can benefit the environment by recycling rather than adding C02 to the atmosphere, making biofuels a desirable option for reducing the impact of potential global warming. Expanded use of biomass in other applications would have similar effects in improving the environment and, to he extent imported petroleum is effectively replaced, in improving energy security and the balance of payments.

Thermal Use of Biomass

The use of biomass for thermal purposes, including industrial cogeneration, is the principal use of biomass for energy production today. Industrial consumption of wood wastes for process heat and cogeneration uses totals about 1.8 quads and building heat uses, almost entirely residential consumption, totals about 1 quad. Based on forecasted increases in the prices of fossil fuels and electricity, process heat (including cogeneration) use may increase to 3.8 quads by 2030, and building heat (again primarily residential use) to 2.2 quads. By 2030, the available economic biofuels resources would be largely utilized, requiring the production of energy crops if significant increases in biomass or biofuels usage are desired.

Thermochemical conversion

By thermo-chemical conversion processes (such as gasification, pyrolysis, and carbonisation) solid biofuels are transformed into solid, liquid, and or gaseous secondary energy carriers primarily using heat B-1 . Gasification. Within a thermo-chemical gasification solid biofuels are preferably converted into a gaseous energy carrier. For this purpose an oxygen-containing gasification agent (such as air) is added under-stoichiometrically to convert e.g. the carbon of the biofuels into carbon monoxide, and thus into gaseous energy carriers. Simultaneously, the process heat required to run this process is provided by partial combustion of parts of the used solid biofuels. The produced low-caloric fuel gas is suitable for heat provision by means of burners as well as for power respectively a combined heat and power generation by gas engines or turbines respectively fuel cells. The produced gas may alternatively also be further converted into liquid or gaseous secondary energy carriers...

Conversion into final or useful energy

The easiest way is to burn lignocelluloses biomass directly within a furnace after mechanical preparation (such as chipping or pressing). However, for numerous other promising applications (such as fuel provision for car or truck engines or highly efficient power generation within a gas turbine) it is recommended or even required to first convert biomass into a liquid or gaseous secondary energy carrier. The actual conversion into final or useful energy is thus performed after one or several of the following biofuel properties have been specifically enhanced energy density, handling, storage and transportation properties, environmental performance and energetic exploitation, potential to substitute fossil energy carriers, disposability of residues, by-products, and waste.

Bioenergy and Transportation

Bioenergy is regarded as one of the key options to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to substitute fossil fuels 1,2 . Although there are many renewable energy technologies emerging for large-scale electricity production with low or no GHG emissions, the transport sector is almost entirely based on fossil fuels, and has fewer alternatives. Transportation represents some 27 of the world's secondary energy consumption (21 of primary), and is almost exclusively fueled by petroleum oil 3,4 . Biofuels can play an important role in addressing both the GHG emissions of transport and the dependency on petroleum oil. A few main routes can be distinguished to produce biofuels extraction of vegetable oils, fermentation of sugars to alcohol, gasification and chemical synthesis, and direct liquefaction. These can lead to a variety of fuels methanol, ethanol, hydrogen, synthetic diesel, biodiesel, and bio-oil, all with very different properties, as described in 4 . With the exception of...

Japan In Bio Chp Move

EUROPE'S LARGEST BIOFUELS CONGRESS y EXHIBITION He will be speaking on biofuels trends in Africa - could this lead to energy independence and could this in turn help to Make Poverty History Attend this event and ensure you Meet the Biofuels World Network and debate with every major player in the biofuels world Cain exclusive access to the inaugural Sustainable Biofuels Awards evening

Potential Contributions by Sector

Improvements in emission control catalysts and their costs, as well as other aspects of biomass combustion technology, will make wood burning more attractive than in the BAU Scenario. However, the advances in biofuels technologies will result in competition for biomass supplies, particularly the larger sources of wood and other biomass wastes. Given the forecasted prices of oil and gas, the economic incentives will be strong to use biomass wastes as feedstocks rather than as fuel, particularly where coal may be the competitor. In the BAU Scenario, virtually all forest products and food processing industries are assumed to have met their own energy needs with the available waste and by-product materials. By 2030, only 1.9 additional quads of energy are likely to be supplied to residential and industrial consumers of biomass fuel. Gasification of MSW and Other Biomass. Acceleration of R,D& D of gasification technology would increase the application of the...

Solar tower power stations

Within solar tower power plants (also called central receiver systems) mirrors tracking the course of the sun in two axes, so-called heliostats (Greek term for immobile sun), reflect the direct solar radiation onto a receiver, centrally positioned on a tower. There, radiation energy is converted into heat and transferred to a heat transfer medium (e.g. air, liquid salt, water steam). This heat drives a conventional thermal engine. To ensure constant parameters and a constant flow of the working medium also at times of varying solar radiation, either a heat storage can be incorporated into the system or additional firing using e.g. fossil fuels (like natural gas) or renewable energy (like biofuels) can be used. Such systems are described in detail below.

Conclusions for international development cooperation

Human disease and the societal costs caused by the transport sector. But if serious predictions come true (for example, the price of oil remains at high levels of between US 40 and US 60 bbl) or further political targets are implemented (such as the European Directive on biofuels), renewable energies such as ethanol and biodiesel will come to play a more important role in transport. However, in each case energy efficiency should be paid special attention. Currently, many developing countries are fascinated by biofuels, as they might have positive impacts on their economy and social situation. In industrialized countries the production capacities of fossil fuels as well as the potential of renewables can only satisfy a small share of the energy demand in transport. Therefore, developing countries expect to have the option of producing biofuels for export. As, ultimately, farmers have to produce and sell plants, this might have positive effects on rural development, where poverty...

Percent Renewable Energy Systems

The second study went a step further, especially with regard to energy conservation and the design of a coherent transportation solution. The study suggested the implementation of energy conservation measures at a high level, and, as a consequence, energy demands decreased compared to the first study. On the other hand, the transportation technologies applied in the second study were much more differentiated and included the combination of electric vehicles as well as biofuel technologies, which increased the energy demand compared to the first study.

Energy Transmission

Transport of energy may of course be in the form of transportation of fuels to the site of conversion. With regard to renewable energy resources, such transport is useful in connection with biomass-derived energy, either by transporting the biological materials themselves or by conversion into biofuels (cf. section 4.8) which may be more convenient to move. For most other types of renewable energy, the resource itself cannot be moved (possible exceptions may exist, such as diverting a river flow to the place of hydropower utilisation). Instead, an initial conversion process may be performed, and the emerging energy form transmitted to the load areas, where it may be used directly or subjected to a second conversion process before delivery to the actual users.

Thermal Combustion of Biomass

Direct combustion in air is the principal mechanism currently used to convert biomass into useful energy. The heat and or steam produced is used to generate electricity or thermal requirements for industrial processes, building heating, cooking, or district heating in municipalities. The thermal combustion of biomass for cooking, space heating, or the production of process heat, either directly or in the form of steam, may be attractive where biofuels are available at economic prices or, particularly in rural areas, where the fuel may be available for gathering by the consumer. Small-scale use, such as for home cooking and fireplace use, is usually very inefficient. High-efficiency cooking stoves, home heating stoves, and fireplace systems have been developed and are widely available. Larger furnaces and boilers have been designed and are available for burning various types of biomass such as wood, wood wastes, chips, black liquor from pulping operations, food industry wastes, and...

The National Premiums Scenario Contribution Potential

Tables B-6, B-7, and B-8 show the estimates of biomass market penetration, by region, during the 1988 to 2030 time period for electric, buildings, and industrial sectors, respectively, for the BAU, R,D& D Intensification, and National Premiums cases. Table B-9 shows the market penetration for accelerated R,D& D for transportation uses of biomass by region. Table B-10 shows the potential contributions of biofuels for the BAU, R,D& D Intensification, and National Premiums Scenarios.

Heating and cooling policies

Historically, renewable heating has not received as much policy support as renewable electricity or biofuels for transport. This disparity is, at least in part, due to a lack of legislative tools and policies designed to support the market development of specific heating and cooling technologies. Here cities can play an active role, since renewable energy heating and cooling (REHC) services are usually provided by locally based businesses because the heat cool generated cannot easily be fed back into an extensive distribution grid, as is common practice with renewable electricity. Renewable energy technologies available for meeting heating and cooling demands in many locations currently lack cost competitiveness with conventional systems that are based on relatively cheap electricity, gas or coal (IEA, 2007a). Public support is therefore necessary to ensure growth in deployment. Policies that support REHC may be inherently different from those which address renewable electricity...

Institutional Factors

Most institutional factors would benefit the advancement of biofuels. Federal and state governments have developed regulatory, tax, trade, and other options to support the development of the current ethanol market. That market cannot survive without continued support, yet its survival is essential to provide a bridge to the completion of research for the use of nongrain biomass as a source of ethanol that can compete in an unsubsidized marketplace. Driving the initiation of regulatory options to advance the use of oxygenated fuels is the immediate problem of increased greenhouse gases, acid rain, and other environmental pollutants. Loan guarantees, trade barriers, tax incentives, and subsidies would also promote biofuels. However, additional regulation for wood burning, primarily for wood stoves and fireplaces, could inhibit expansion of biomass use for residential purposes.

Overview Impacts of the AEO High Price Case

Numerous technology and supply options for producing petroleum product substitutes are currently economically viable at prices well under 75 per barrel including oil sands from Canada, coal-to-liquids which the Germans and South Africans used heavily (Fischer-Tropsch technology), and oil shale which was economic at about 75 per barrel using the 1980's underground mining and surface retorting process. New processes using a true in situ process are targeted to be economic at under 45 per barrel. Stranded natural gas, that is, natural gas without a currently accessible market like gas in portions of Alaska and Nigeria, could be used to economically produce high-quality petroleum products at well under 45 per barrel if the stranded natural gas price is less than 1 per thousand ft.3. Biofuels for ethanol and bio-diesel are also likely to grow if high world oil prices are sustained. Finally, ultra-heavy oil, a product currently shunned by most refineries, could be economic at prices well...

Practical application

3.21 CHP plants burning biomass as a fuel are not common in the UK. The BedZED development in South London (Box 2D) has a small biomass gasification plant at its centre. Some technical problems have been experienced, primarily with gas cleaning (Figure 3-III), but the indications are that these problems are short-term. Also, the scheme being developed by Leicester City Council (paragraph 3.9) is likely to include 6MWe of biodiesel-powered CHP in its later stages. There are other examples of CHP plants using biomass or biofuels, but use of the technology in the UK is far behind deployment in other Northern European Countries.

Gasification of Biomass

Large-scale market penetration of biomass-derived methane production, aside from the small-scale localized sources, will depend not only on production at costs competitive with natural gas at projected well-head prices, but the ability to economically integrate biomass-derived production into the existing gas delivery system. With achievement of the research and development (R& D) cost goals, biomass-derived methane could supply 10 or more of gas use in favorable resource areas by 2010. The projected cost of methane produced from biomass- 3.50 MilBtu-at a feedstock cost of 2.00 MilBtu-would make biomass-derived methane attractive versus conventional natural gas supplies after 2000. Conversion of MSW into methane for delivery to local gas systems would be attractive and is assumed to occur in some markets, particularly the coastal areas distant from the gas fields. However, large-scale production of biomass for gasification would compete with the use of that same biomass for liquid...

Focus of Accelerated RDD

The focus of accelerated R,D& D should be on a few key areas. Principal among these are studies to accelerate the kinetics and efficiency of technologies to convert woody feedstocks to alcohols. Although the major beneficiary of feedstock research is likely to be biofuels conversion technologies, accelerated economic production of herbaceous and woody crops would expand markets for biomass in power generation and process heat The costs must be brought to the 2.00 MilBtu level as early as possible. At the same time, reliability of the feedstock production must be demonstrated if farmers and land owners are to commit large land areas to long-term production of energy crops. Monoculture herbaceous and woody energy crops must be produced on a large scale The production of electricity and heat from biomass resources is currently commercial. Little additional research is needed in the existing technology. Any achievements in advanced fossil fuel generation technologies should be studied...

A global energy scenario

Figure 6.80 shows the surplus and deficit of potential liquid biofuels derived from agriculture and silviculture, relative to the energy demand for transportation. The assumed fraction of biofuels used in this way is 48.5 (chosen such that the global average demand is covered), the remaining is considered going into industrial uses such as medium-temperature process heat, where it is assumed used with 90 efficiency. When constructing the demand scenario, we left it open to what extent electric vehicles would be used, but the availability of liquid biofuels is such

Table B Concluded Potential Contribution of Biomass Energy Supplies by Technology and End

Buildings, industrial, and biofuels applications also compete for these resources. The resources include energy crops, wood and wood wastes, MSW, and landfill contents. Electric power, industrial, and biofuels applications also compete for these resources. The resources include energy crops plus wood and wood wastes. Electric power, buildings, and biofuels applications also compete for these resources. The resources include energy crops plus wood and wood wastes.

The Bottom Line On

Significantly curtailed, because there is no way that all the other alternative liquid fuels (such as biofuels, coal-to-liquids, gas-to-liquids, etc.) can make up such a volume of fuel. In fact, on average, every calorie of food we consume in the United States requires 10 calories of fossil-fuel energy to create and bring to our tables.26 Given the outlook for oil and natural gas, this is a dangerous dependence. Given their intimate connection, then, it should be no surprise that as the prices of oil and gas have shot up over the last few years, so have the prices for grain, as shown in Figures 8.10 and 8.11. Paradoxically, part of what has caused grain prices to spike up is that we are shifting part of the fuel burden away from petroleum and over to domestic biofuels. That sudden, recent spike in wheat prices in Figure 8.11 is over the same period of time that subsidies for biofuels were implemented, causing many farmers to switch over to the market-ready biofuel crops of corn and...

Description of the Technology

Biomass is a term that includes all energy materials that emanate from biological sources, whether they are wood or wood wastes, residue of wood-processing industries, food industry waste products, sewage or municipal solid waste (MSW), herbaceous or other biological materials cultivated as energy crops, or other biological materials. (For descriptive purposes of this white paper, biofules are liquid fuels produced from biomass feedstocks.) Biomass is a major current and prospective source of energy. The key feature of the biomass technology is recycling of the carbon in the biological processes. Unlike the burning of fossil fuels, combustion of biomass merely recycles the carbon fixed by photosynthesis in the growth phase. The use of biomass or biofuels as a source of energy for space heating, process heat, electricity production, transportation fuels, or as an intermediate gaseous fuel is attractive not only for economic reasons (where the fuel is readily available at low cost), but...

Resource RecoverableMaximum

Conventional wood resources consist of wood in excess of the needs of the traditional forest products industry. These resources are available from thinning of commercial stands or from clear-cutting to allow planting of improved stands. This is an enormous resource if managed properly. In the United States, it is estimated that this resource currently amounts to 6.5 quads annually, not including the potential from unutilized lands that might be dedicated to future biofuels production.

Guide to Alternative Fuels

Guide to Alternative Fuels

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