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August 28, 2005

FT Diesel

There has been lots of discussion lately and even some publicity of the idea of making diesel from Coal. This is the process the Germans used during the war basically because they couldn't get crude. Those engines were much more forgiving (would burn straight veg oil actually) than today's highly tuned diesels. Anyway, here are some pointers"
The current DOE stance on FT Diesel (does NOT qualify for EPAct credits).
One company (Rentech)'s response to the DOE.
Current list of qualifying EPAct fuels.
National Biodiesel Board's opposition to FTD.
All current FT diesel documents at DOE.

Looks like Biodiesel will remain the only plug compatible diesel fuel alternative for some time.

Posted by Martin at 7:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 25, 2005

Seattle garbage trucks all go bio

They had a pilot going and now all trucks will go bio. It doesn't say what %, I suspect 5%. The Seattle Times: Local News: Seattle's garbage trucks to clean up

Posted by Martin at 11:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

NREL NoX presentation

The most recent NREL presentation on NoX effects of biodiesel concludes: "There is considerable uncertainty regarding biodiesel impact on NoX emmissions. Additional research is required to fundamentally understand the cause of the NoX increase and to understand why engine and chassis tests give directionally different results. The main benefits of biodiesel use are the reductions in petroleum consumption and greenhouse gas emissions."

basically they have a vehicle test that shows a 5% reduction in NoX emmissions. They also see that Cetane additives lead to a significant reduction in NoX. So the jury is out. I expect the jury to come back in biodiesel's favor, especially soy or Canola biodiesel, maybe not Tallo.

Posted by Martin at 10:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 24, 2005

Yes Virginia you can run biodiesel in an airplane

Thanks to all who sent this along: Treehugger: Q & A : Biodiesel Airplanes?. I am looking to run 100% in one as soon as I make enough $$. I agree with the blend idea for now, but that is the cautious way to go. You can put heaters and so on into the tanks to make sure you don't have any issue. Any blend less than 50% you will never have a clogging issue anyway.

Posted by Martin at 1:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Shell buys minority stake in Choren

This is interesting financially and probably good for Choren: Green Car Congress: Shell Takes Minority Stake in Biomass-to-Liquids Producer CHOREN But BTL has a long way to go before it can be approved as an alternative fuel in AMerica. Diesel produced this way is NOT yet approved by the DOE as an alternative fuel. Here is the DOE study. Here is the money quote: "After collecting and evaluating pertinent data and conducting a workshop, DOE is unable to make a finding at this time that FTD (Fisher Tropsch Diesel) yields "substantial environmental benefits" within the meaning of section 301(2) of EPAct. A finding that a candidate fuel offers "substantial environmental benefits" is a necessary finding to designate a fuel as an "alternative fuel" under section 301(2). DOE will evaluate the data periodically to make future decisions with regard to FTD designation as an "alternative fuel."

So pretty much no fleet will use it since they don't get credit under EPAct. Since fleet mandates are the #1 driver of biodiesel in the US today, I would say FTD diesel is far off as an option in America.

Posted by Martin at 10:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mercedes ML 320 CDI beats Lexus RX 400hybrid

I have been saying all along that the hybrid numbers are funny. They are based on flat track driving. Not real world driving. When you add hills, the mileage goes WAY down because you are dragging around an extra motor and battery pack. This recent cross country test: Green Car Congress: Diesel Bests Hybrid in Cross-Country Fuel Consumption Test shows that a diesel SUV was 10% better mileage than the hybrid. Further proof of my assumption that in heavier vehicles the diesel, especially biodiesel, will be MUCH better than a hybrid. Go Mercedes!

Posted by Martin at 10:04 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Here is the new Cold Flow study

The NBB released it today: 20050728_Gen-354.pdf Cold Flow study. They were just studying 2% biodiesel (B2) in response to the Minnesota deal. conclusion: "Result from the test showed that the biodiesel must be kept at least 10 F above its cloud point to successfully blend with diesel fuels in cold climates."

I think this is an overly conservative conclusion. It also depends on the kind of biodiesel you use, Soy, canola, WVO, etc. The results would be different for each. It gets much colder in Minnesota than it does in Seattle, but I run 100% soy bio all winter with no problems.

Posted by Martin at 9:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 18, 2005

More on the flawed Pimentel study

The following is from:

Phillip Lampert, Executive Director
National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition
3118 Emerald Lane, Suite 100
Jefferson City, MO 65109
573-635-8445 office
573-690-1229 cell
573-635-5466 fax

Several Studies Contradict Pimentel Ethanol Findings (7-19-05) The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) disputes a study conducted by Cornell University's David Pimentel and University of California, Berkeley, professor Tad Patzek that states ethanol has a net energy balance loss of 29 percent. In fact, ethanol has a substantial net energy gain of at least 67 percent, according to one study.
Pimentel has been routinely discredited by a growing body of government and academic research, including studies by the Departments of Agriculture and Energy, the Colorado School of Mines, Michigan State University, Agri-Food Canada and others.
NCGA President Leon Corzine called the Pimentel study a last-ditch effort to derail the Congress' positive momentum toward an 8-billion-gallon renewable fuels standard.
"This is the goal line stand by the opposition," he said. "We have worked extremely hard to get the energy bill where it is today and show the nation the importance of the 8-billion-gallon renewable fuels standard. We have people that have been in opposition and they continue to be. It's the fourth quarter and we're pushing the RFS over the goal line. Their goal line stand is very predictable."
"It's abundantly clear that both corn ethanol and cellulose ethanol displace crude oil and save liquid fuels," said Bruce Dale, professor of chemical engineering at Michigan State University. "Dr. Pimentel's net energy argument is bogus. What counts is whether we can displace imported oil, and ethanol certainly does so."
Corzine said Pimentel and Patzek are the only researchers since 1995 who have found ethanol to have a negative energy balance. In fact, the nine other energy balance studies conducted since 1995 all found net energy gains of at least 25 percent. NCGA called into question the credibility of Pimentel and Patzek.
"Maybe the problem is Pimentel is an entomologist instead of an engineer,"
Corzine said, adding that Patzek was a longtime employee of Shell Oil Company and founder of the UC Oil Consortium, which has counted BP, Chevron USA, Mobil USA, Shell and Unocal among its members. Patzek also is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, making his ethanol energy balance analysis hardly impartial, Corzine said.
"It's interesting to note that Mr. Pimentel now has ties--direct ties--to the petroleum industry," Corzine said. "We continue to offer the chance for debate and we continue to get no response from Mr. Pimentel. The facts are on our side and we will get the energy bill passed by the end of the month."
Leading academics also discredited the work of Pimentel and Patzek. "In terms of finer details, Pimentel and Patzek use old data, improper data, and their methods of data analysis are wrong. For example, they don't give proper energy credits to dried distillers grain, a coproduct of ethanol production" Dale said. "There is an internationally accepted standard method of doing such life cycle studies. Drs. Pimentel and Patzek don't come close to meeting the standards. Their studies don't meet the International Standards Organization test of transparency-they don't clearly state where their data comes from nor do they clearly state their assumptions. They cite themselves rather than independent sources for important data all the time.
And they don't submit their work for verification in recognized, peer-reviewed life cycle journals.
"I invite Dr. Pimentel to submit and publish his work in the International Journal of Life Cycle Analysis journal as we have done with our study on ethanol net energy."
In June 2004, the U.S. Department of Agriculture updated its 2002 analysis of the issue and determined that the net energy balance of ethanol production is 1.67 to 1. For every 100 BTUs of energy used to make ethanol,
167 BTUs of ethanol is produced. In 2002, USDA had concluded that the ratio was 1.35 to 1. The USDA findings have been confirmed by additional studies conducted by the University of Nebraska and Argonne National Laboratory.
These figures take into account the energy required to plant, grow and harvest corn-as well as the energy required to manufacture and to distribute ethanol.
The net energy balance of ethanol production continues to improve because ethanol production is becoming more efficient. For example, one bushel of corn now yields at least 2.8 gallons of ethanol-up from 2.5 gallons just a few years ago.
Dale said researchers ought to be focusing on energy quality, rather than continuing to debate over Btus lost or gained.
"Every single energy conversion system we have-whether it is coal to make electricity, crude oil to make gasoline, solar cells to make electricity-they all have negative energy overall if you take everything into account.. That's the laws of thermodynamics," Dale said. "But what we do is trade off a loss of energy quantity for increased energy quality. We can't light our homes with coal, so we lose some energy in coal to make the remaining energy more useful as electricity. Likewise we convert corn, using natural gas and coal, to make a valuable liquid fuel, ethanol, which clearly reduces our need for imported oil."

Posted by Martin at 1:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

India company makes small scale automatic biodiesel refinery

this came acorss the groups today. ELECTROCONTROL INTRODUCES FOR THE FIRST TIME IN INDIA LOW COST. Never used it. They don't mention what happens to the glycerin. Nor what is inside. Looks like a simple one container pot with a heater and a mixing wand in it. No mention of if it makes standard biodiesel or not. I was also VERY surprised to read that Jatropha has to grow for 5 YEARS before producing enough seed. Then it is a bush and I bet you destroy it in harvesting so you need to wait another 5 years? That sounds funny.

Posted by Martin at 1:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 15, 2005

King County Journal article on Biodiesel at Grange

Good coverage of biodiesel trends in the northwest. kingcountyjournal.com - Growing market for fuel - `Old-time' Grange does brisk business in new biodiesel

Posted by Martin at 11:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

New biodiesel pump selling seattle biodiesel

Over in Issaquah WA. Grange

Posted by Martin at 11:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

New list of biodiesel resources

Thanks Girl Mark for putting alot of good resources in one place! Online Biodiesel Resources - Collaborative Biodiesel Tutorial

Posted by Martin at 10:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 12, 2005

IRS clarifies biodiesel tax guidance

Here are some of the clarifications:

Brownfield: IRS clears up Biodiesel Tax Incentive

• Clarification of what constitutes a “Biodiesel Mixture” (one gallon of diesel fuel blended into 999 gallons of biodiesel, or “B99.9”).
• Clarification that a biodiesel mixture includes both dyed and un-dyed fuel. This means the incentive will apply in the heating oil market as well as the off-road market.
• Clarification of the biodiesel certification process for sales of biodiesel through a reseller. This creates a mechanism so that the tax incentive claimant may obtain the required biodiesel certificate directly from the biodiesel producer or indirectly from a biodiesel reseller.
• Provisions for commingling of biodiesel and agri-biodiesel.
• Clarification on eligible feedstocks for agri-biodiesel (palm and fish oil will qualify for agri-biodiesel incentive).
• Clarifications on applicable forms to claim credit and credit calculation.

Posted by Martin at 9:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More data on how the Pimentel/Patzek study is flawed

We will here more of this. Trucking industry trying to block the mandate of biodiesel due to costs. That industry is in a real mess. No one is makeing money. Making biodiesel the boogeyman is a convenient excuse for not addressing their own real problems. Their problem is that they haul things on a fixed price and don't have much ability to pass fuel costs along to their customers. That is a structural problem in the trucking industry not a biodiesel problem.

The Trucking industry is all too happy to quote junk science to get their point across. Here is more detail on how the study is flawed:

Today's Trucking: News

According to the NBB, researchers pointed out several other flaws with the Pimentel/Patzek study's assumptions, including:

--It does not give biodiesel credit for the valuable production of glycerin, a coproduct to biodiesel.

--The study uses energy data for growing soybeans from 15 years ago when 2002 data is readily available.

-- It includes the energy used to manufacture construction materials for biodiesel plants and farm equipment. "While most researchers recognize that there is energy embodied in these materials, the amount is generally not included in such studies," the report states.

Posted by Martin at 9:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 5, 2005

biodiesel geek reading

Picked up two books at the Seattle Library today. Handy how they put all the books on a similar subject together. Found stuff I would never have otherwise found. Bedtime reading this weekend will be: Fuels and chemicals from oilseeds: Technology and policy options (AAAS selected symposium) and The Petroleum Industry: A Nontechnical Guide

Posted by Martin at 7:38 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

biodiesel geek reading

Picked up two books at the Seattle Library today. Handy how they put all the books on a similar subject together. Found stuff I would never have otherwise found. Bedtime reading this weekend will be: Fuels and chemicals from oilseeds: Technology and policy options (AAAS selected symposium) and The Petroleum Industry: A Nontechnical Guide

Posted by Martin at 7:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 3, 2005

Oregon Governor appeals for biofuels compromise

Looks like the governor is giving it one more shot. Here is his letter to legislators.

Here is a letter from Governor Kulongoski, addressed to the leadership of the Senate and House, urging them to come to agreement on HB 3481, the biofuels bill.

Dear President Courtney and Speaker Minnis:
I write this letter to urge both the Senate and House to pass important biofuelslegislation this session. I have been working with the legislature to see that Oregon hasthe opportunity to become a leader in the biofuels industry and, in doing so, secure newliving-wage jobs and create economic options in urban and rural areas.
In July, I had the opportunity to open Oregon's first commercialbiofuel production facility. I hope it will be the first of several biofuels productionfacilities in the state. There are several new facilities planned but developers and fundersare looking to the legislature to show leadership and deliver clear policy that Oregoniansare committed to expanding the industry and improving the environment.
Unfortunately, it appears that no agreement will be reached on biofuels legislationwithout the inclusion of some form of an extension of the pollution control tax credit program.In light of what is at stake, and the tremendous step forward the state can takewith passage ofbiofuels - including related renewable energy and sustainability legislation -I encourage you to reach an agreement on a limited extension of thePollution Control Tax Credit. This would focus the credit more narrowly on incentivesfor installing pollution control devices that are either voluntary, or where Oregon haslegal requirements that exceed what is required by federal law.

I hope that both sides can come to a middle ground on a deal that will grow jobs,help protect the environment and serve Oregonians across the state.

Posted by Martin at 1:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Biofuels bill dies in Oregon

Politics has killed another good idea. The democrats and republicans couldn't agree in conference committe so nothing happens this session despite the fact that the Senate and House passed largely similar bills with only small differences of a political nature. It looks like tax credits for environmental systems installed by businesses killed it. Nothing to do with biofuels. It was a hanger-on ammendment of pork to the Republican business owners that killed a good bill and Oregon's lead with a renewable fuel standard. Bummer

From: "Rep Anderson" Date: August 3, 2005 1:18:03 AM PDTSubject: Biofuels Bill Hb 3481Due to the inability of two of the Senate Members of the Conference Committee to agree on the Tax Credits and Renewable Fuel Mandate portions and the Administrative Rules in Section 40 of the -B Version, the Biofuels Bill appears to be dead for this Session. If you wish, you might contact the Office of the Governor to encourage his Staff to seek his help.Frustratedly,Rep Anderson

Posted by Martin at 10:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack