Posts tagged “EPA”
There was a recent article in MIT Technology review called What’s Holding Biofuels Back? There is a relatively simple answer to the question that I will delve into below, but the short answer to “What’s holding biofuels back?” is that we placed unreasonable expectations on them to begin with, and they have simply failed to meet those unreasonable expectations. People would think it was unreasonable if Congress mandated a cure for the common cold within 5 years, but they don’t think twice when Congress mandates the creation of a cellulosic ethanol industry within 5 years. Yet either scenario requires technical breakthroughs that are not assured. The article notes that the cellulosic ethanol mandate for 2010 in the U.S. was cut… Continue»
Wouldn’t it be great if you had a bank account that automatically filled back up no matter how much you spent? You could just ignore how much you spent. Amazingly, the bioenergy industry has succeeded so far in convincing legislators here in the U.S. and around the world that bioenergy offers just such a carbon account. According to the industry, we only need to look at the carbon that biomass absorbs, not the carbon emissions it releases. The industry has convinced policymakers that no matter how much carbon is “spent” when biomass is burned for energy, there will magically be enough income in the form of regrowth to cover all expenses. Because of this magic, the industry would have us… Continue»
A study commissioned by MA Department of Energy Resources and released last week reaches the conclusion that burning trees to make electricity is worse for the climate than burning coal at least through 2050. In fact, the study by the Manomet Center for Conservation Science finds that between the release of carbon when trees are burned and the slow reabsorption as the trees regrow, that this source of biopower would increase emissions by 3% compared to coal power over 40 years. This will come as a shocker to some, but it really shouldn’t. Wood contains less energy per pound of carbon and forests, especially in the northeast grow slowly. So when we burn a tree, we’re releasing more carbon and… Continue»
The DOE and EPA are taking to steps to bolster the reputation of their ENERGY STAR logo.
Update 8-18-10: For those linking in from the earth2tech article on Range Fuels, that inaccurately reflects my comments on Range. My criticism was not that they added methanol to the mix. To the contrary, I think biomass to methanol is a promising, long-term route to biofuels. My criticisms of Range are on the basis of what they promised versus what they are delivering, as documented below. When I first began my career, a wise old-timer gave me a piece of advice that I took to heart. He said “When you are planning and executing a project, it is important for you to do what you say you are going to do. People are going to make investment decisions on the… Continue»
I am freshly arrived back on the U.S. mainland, with a couple of stops before I head back to Hawaii. I have been reading about energy developments during my travels, and finally wrote something on the flight from Europe yesterday. What has prompted me to write was a report that was recently issued by The President’s Biofuels Interagency Working Group: Growing America’s Fuel As I read through this report on the status of advanced biofuels, I couldn’t help but think that this appeared to have been written by an optimistic cheerleader rather than by someone conducting a sober assessment of the situation. It contains very little of “Here is why we have fallen more than 90% short of our targets.”… Continue»
By now you have probably heard that the EPA has postponed issuing guidelines on whether to allow ethanol blends of higher than 10% into the gasoline pool. Going up to 15% ethanol blends would allow ethanol producers to put a lot more of their product into the market, which is currently bumping up against the limits of the current 10% ethanol blend allowance. Ethanol producers and proponents have assured us that the higher blends will not damage engines. Small engine makers and boaters are very worried that the higher blends will damage their engines. In fact oil companies, having been mandated to use ethanol, are now facing a class action lawsuit over ethanol blends damaging boat motors. Even the auto… Continue»
In a move that wasn’t really a surprise, today the EPA announced that they are not yet ready to approve ethanol blends above E10 for automobiles: EPA Notifies Industry Group on Status of Ethanol Waiver Request WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that it expects to make a final determination in mid-2010 regarding whether to increase the allowable ethanol content in fuel. In a letter sent today to Growth Energy – a bio fuels industry association that had asked EPA to grant a waiver that would allow for the use of up to 15 percent of ethanol in gasoline – the agency said that while not all tests have been completed, the results of two tests… Continue»
According to the EPA, they are putting together a new rule set that would reduce the amount of metal waste dumped into water supplies.
Last year when the Renewable Fuel Standard was established, the ethanol mandate was increased to 36 billion gallons per year. A big portion of that was to be cellulosic ethanol, but there had to be a demonstrated greenhouse gas reduction in order for cellulosic ethanol to qualify for the subsidy. The EPA was tasked with putting together rules to quantify the greenhouse gas reduction. If you are like me, you see an immediate problem. The EPA is a governmental agency, and the executive branch of the government is pushing the mandate. There are a lot of people with a vested interest in seeing the EPA adopt generous accounting rules. In fact, in February of 2008 I wrote: Who is going… Continue»