Posts tagged “renewable diesel”
Occasionally I am deluged with inquiries about a particular news story. That happened this week. As the inquiries mounted, I decided I better address the story. After I saw one more gushing, uncritical report on CNN, I knew a reality check was in order.
This week German car manufacturer Audi announced they can economically produce carbon-neutral automotive fuel from ingredients found in the atmosphere:
That article’s subtitle is “Carbon-neutral diesel is now a reality.” The article explains:
German car manufacturer Audi has reportedly invented a carbon-neutral diesel fuel, made solely from water, carbon dioxide and renewable energy sources. And the crystal clear ‘e-diesel’ is already being used to power the Audi A8 owned by the country’s Federal Minister of Education and Research, Johanna Wanka.
There is also an explanatory graphic that goes along with the story, and that’s where a few people might begin to ask some critical questions about this process: CONTINUE»
Domestic Biodiesel Production Plummets One of my Top 10 Energy Stories of 2009 involved the actions taken by the EU against U.S. biodiesel producers. U.S. tax dollars had been generously subsidizing biodiesel that was being exported out of the U.S. European producers couldn’t compete against the subsidized imports, so the EU effectively cut off the imports by imposing five-year tariffs on U.S. biodiesel. This was a big blow to U.S. biodiesel producers, and was one of the factors leading to a disastrous 2009 for U.S. biodiesel production. How disastrous was 2009? Per the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), here are the statistics from the past 6 years of biodiesel production: 2004: 25 million gallons 2005: 75 million gallons 2006: 250 million… Continue»
The previous post provided an introduction to Jatropha curcas, a tropical, oil-producing shrub. In this essay I want to get into why I believe there is great potential for jatropha to make an impact on the world’s energy supply. I will also explain the hurdles that need to be overcome. Jatropha Curcas in India (Photo courtesy of Tree Oils India Limited.) The Potential Jatropha has many qualities that make it an attractive biofuel option. One, it is tolerant of dry conditions and marginal soils. This is a big plus, because it opens up areas for cultivation that would otherwise be unsuitable. The type of land with great potential is land that is being degraded, or turned into desert. Desertification is… Continue»
Given the recent news that biodiesel has caused buses in Minnesota to malfunction in cold weather, I thought this would be a good time to review the differences between diesel, biodiesel, and green diesel. In order to explain the key issues, I am going to excerpt from the chapter on renewable diesel that I wrote for Biofuels, Solar and Wind as Renewable Energy Systems: Benefits and Risks. First, what happened in Minnesota? Biodiesel fuel woes close Bloomington schools All schools in the Bloomington School District will be closed today after state-required biodiesel fuel clogged in school buses Thursday morning and left dozens of students stranded in frigid weather, the district said late Thursday. Rick Kaufman, the district’s spokesman, said elements… Continue»
Naturally, something like a “diesel tree” is going to catch my attention. (The scientific name for the tree, as best as I can ascertain, is Copaifera langsdorfii, and is native to South America). I have been intrigued by this plant since I first heard about it, but haven’t run across a wealth of information. Thanks to Bob Rohantensky for bringing the following story out of Australia to my attention: Qld farmers invest in diesel-producing trees Farmers in North Queensland are doing their bit to be environmentally friendly by investing in a tree that produces diesel. Over 20,000 trees have been sold to farmers in the tropics by the man who introduced the diesel tree from Brazil. The tree produces an… Continue»
Thanks to a reader for this tip. Argonne National Laboratory has just published a Life-Cycle Analysis (LCA) of biogasoline, biodiesel, green diesel, and petroleum diesel: Life-Cycle Assessment of Energy and Greenhouse Gas Effects of Soybean-Derived Biodiesel and Renewable Fuels I have just skimmed the report so far, but noted a few items of interest. Table 2-1 shows “Current and Planned Renewable Diesel Facilities.” If I had time, I would convert to a table, but I don’t: Company Size (bpd) Location Online Date ConocoPhillips 1,000 Ireland 2006ConocoPhillips 12,000 United States To be determinedBritish Petroleum (BP) 1,900 Australia 2007Neste 3,400 Finland 2007Neste 3,400 Finland 2009Petrobras 4 × 4,000 Brazil 2007UOP/Eni 6,500 Italy 2009 In Table 3.3, they list the energy inputs into… Continue»
Since I was a kid, I have always wanted to “make a difference” by making a significant contribution to society. I have a soft spot for families and especially for kids, and I really wanted to contribute toward the quality of life for those groups. A big concern is that quality of life for a large segment of the world’s population, never good to begin with, is poised for further deterioration as fossil fuel supplies deplete. Quality of life to me starts with the basics: People have enough food and clean water, they have shelter, they live and work in safe conditions, and they have adequate access to affordable energy. At various stages of my life I have had involvement… Continue»
Nate Hagens at The Oil Drum just wrote a review of a paper by Professor Charles Hall, who like Nate and myself also contributed a chapter to the renewable energy book that will be published later in the year. Many have written to ask about the book, and I haven’t said anything, as I wasn’t sure how much was public information. Nate made most of it public in his post: At $100 Oil – What Can the Scientist Say to the Investor? Nate wrote: This paper, along with 16 others (including 2 by theoildrum.com contributors), will be part of an upcoming book edited by Professor David Pimentel, “Renewable Energy Systems: Environmental and Energetic Issues“. (I’ll provide links when published). The… Continue»
An interesting jatropha story in today’s New York Times: Mali’s Farmers Discover a Weed’s Potential Power It will be archived pretty soon, but here are a couple of excerpts to chew on: But now that a plant called jatropha is being hailed by scientists and policy makers as a potentially ideal source of biofuel, a plant that can grow in marginal soil or beside food crops, that does not require a lot of fertilizer and yields many times as much biofuel per acre planted as corn and many other potential biofuels. When I was working on my renewable diesel chapter, it was pretty clear to me that jatropha has significant potential as a source of renewable diesel. I did some… Continue»
Hypothetical question: If a group of farmers in Iowa cut a deal with Tyson Foods to produce 2nd generation renewable diesel via a hydrotreating process, would Congress step in to stop them from receiving the renewable diesel credit? Anyone? But it wasn’t a group of farmers in Iowa. It was an oil company in Texas, and so Congress is attempting to stop the credit and protect the first generation biodiesel producers. Measure targets fatty fuel tax break WASHINGTON — In language buried deep in an energy tax bill approved Saturday night, the House took direct aim at a plan by ConocoPhillips and Tyson Foods to take advantage of a federal tax credit that could save them $175 million a year…. Continue»