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    Mongabay, a leading resource for news and perspectives on environmental and conservation issues related to the tropics, has launched Tropical Conservation Science - a new, open access academic e-journal. It will cover a wide variety of scientific and social studies on tropical ecosystems, their biodiversity and the threats posed to them. Tropical Conservation Science - March 8, 2008.

    At the 148th Meeting of the OPEC Conference, the oil exporting cartel decided to leave its production level unchanged, sending crude prices spiralling to new records (above $104). OPEC "observed that the market is well-supplied, with current commercial oil stocks standing above their five-year average. The Conference further noted, with concern, that the current price environment does not reflect market fundamentals, as crude oil prices are being strongly influenced by the weakness in the US dollar, rising inflation and significant flow of funds into the commodities market." OPEC - March 5, 2008.

    Kyushu University (Japan) is establishing what it says will be the world’s first graduate program in hydrogen energy technologies. The new master’s program for hydrogen engineering is to be offered at the university’s new Ito campus in Fukuoka Prefecture. Lectures will cover such topics as hydrogen energy and developing the fuel cells needed to convert hydrogen into heat or electricity. Of all the renewable pathways to produce hydrogen, bio-hydrogen based on the gasification of biomass is by far both the most efficient, cost-effective and cleanest. Fuel Cell Works - March 3, 2008.

    An entrepreneur in Ivory Coast has developed a project to establish a network of Miscanthus giganteus farms aimed at producing biomass for use in power generation. In a first phase, the goal is to grow the crop on 200 hectares, after which expansion will start. The project is in an advanced stage, but the entrepreneur still seeks partners and investors. The plantation is to be located in an agro-ecological zone qualified as highly suitable for the grass species. Contact us - March 3, 2008.

    A 7.1MW biomass power plant to be built on the Haiwaiian island of Kaua‘i has received approval from the local Planning Commission. The plant, owned and operated by Green Energy Hawaii, will use albizia trees, a hardy species that grows in poor soil on rainfall alone. The renewable power plant will meet 10 percent of the island's energy needs. Kauai World - February 27, 2008.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Louisiana signs "non-corn" ethanol bill into law: efficiency and sustainability boost to industry

Louisiana's governor Bobby Jindal has signed into law the Advanced Biofuel Industry Development Initiative, the most comprehensive and far-reaching state legislation in the United States, enacted to develop a statewide advanced biofuel industry. Louisiana is the first state to enact alternative transportation fuel legislation that includes a variable blending pump pilot program and a hydrous ethanol pilot program. The initiative will also give an efficiency boost to the ethanol industry in the state by supporting high yielding non-corn crops.

Field-to-Pump Strategy
The legislature found that the proper development of an advanced biofuel industry in Louisiana requires implementation of the following comprehensive “field-to-pump” strategy (as developed by Renergie, Inc., which utilizes high yielding, water-efficient sweet sorghum):

(1) feedstock other than corn:

  • derived solely from Louisiana harvested crops;
  • capable of an annual yield of at least 600 gallons of ethanol per acre (~5600 liters per hectare);
  • requiring no more than one-half of the water required to grow corn;
  • tolerant to high temperature and waterlogging;
  • resistant to drought and saline-alkaline soils;
  • capable of being grown in marginal soils, ranging from heavy clay to light sand;
  • requiring no more than one-third of the nitrogen required to grow corn, thereby reducing the risk of contamination of the waters of the state; and
  • requiring no more than one-half of the energy necessary to convert corn into ethanol
(2) decentralized network of small advanced biofuel manufacturing facilities:
The idea is that smaller is better. The distributed nature of a small advanced biofuel manufacturing facility network reduces feedstock supply risk, does not burden local water supplies and provides for broader based economic development. Each advanced biofuel manufacturing facility operating in Louisiana will produce no less than 5 million gallons of advanced biofuel per year and no more than 15 million gallons of advanced biofuel per year.
(3) market expansion:
Advanced biofuel supply and demand shall be expanded beyond the 10% blend market by blending fuel-grade anhydrous ethanol with gasoline at the gas station pump. Variable blending pumps, directly installed and operated at local gas stations by a qualified small advanced biofuel manufacturing facility, shall offer the consumer a less expensive substitute for unleaded gasoline in the form of E10, E20, E30 and E85.
Pilot Programs
(1) Advanced Biofuel Variable Blending Pumps - The blending of fuels with advanced biofuel percentages between 10 percent and 85 percent will be permitted on a trial basis until January 1, 2012. During this period the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Division of Weights & Measures will monitor the equipment used to dispense the ethanol blends to ascertain that the equipment is suitable and capable of producing an accurate measurement.

(2) Hydrous Ethanol - The use of hydrous ethanol blends of E10, E20, E30 and E85 in motor vehicles specifically selected for test purposes will be permitted on a trial basis until January 1, 2012. During this period the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Division of Weights & Measures will monitor the performance of the motor vehicles. The hydrous blends will be tested for blend optimization with respect to fuel consumption and engine emissions. Preliminary tests conducted in Europe have proven that the use of hydrous ethanol, which eliminates the need for the hydrous-to-anhydrous dehydration processing step, results in an energy savings of between ten percent and forty-five percent during processing, a four percent product volume increase, higher mileage per gallon, a cleaner engine interior, and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

HB 1270, entitled “The Advanced Biofuel Industry Development Initiative,” was co-authored by 27 members of the Legislature. The original bill was drafted by Renergie, Inc. Representative Jonathan W. Perry (R - District 47), with the support of Senator Nick Gautreaux (D - District 26), was the primary author of the bill.
I am pleased that the legislature and governor of the great State of Louisiana have chosen to lead the nation in moving ethanol beyond being just a blending component in gasoline to a fuel that is more economical, cleaner, renewable, and more efficient than unleaded gasoline. The two pilot programs, providing for an advanced biofuel variable blending pump trial and a hydrous ethanol trial, established by the State of Louisiana should be adopted by each and every state in our country. - Brian J. Donovan, CEO of Renergie, Inc.

State Agencies Must Purchase or Lease Vehicles That Use Alternative Fuels

Louisiana’s Advanced Biofuel Industry Development Initiative further states, “The commissioner of administration shall not purchase or lease any motor vehicle for use by any state agency unless that vehicle is capable of and equipped for using an alternative fuel that results in lower emissions of oxides of nitrogen, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, or particulates or any combination thereof that meet or exceed federal Clean Air Act standards.”

Advanced Biofuel Price Preference for State Agencies

Louisiana’s Advanced Biofuel Industry Development Initiative provides that a governmental body, state educational institution, or instrumentality of the state that performs essential governmental functions on a statewide or local basis is entitled to purchase E20, E30 or E85 advanced biofuel at a price equal to fifteen percent (15%) less per gallon than the price of unleaded gasoline for use in any motor vehicle.

Economic Benefits
The development of an advanced biofuel industry will help rebuild the local and regional economies devastated as a result of hurricanes Katrina and Rita by providing:
  1. increased value to the feedstock crops which will benefit local farmers and provide more revenue to the local community;
  2. increased investments in plants and equipment which will stimulate the local economy by providing construction jobs initially and the chance for full-time employment after the plant is completed;
  3. secondary employment as associated industries develop due to plant co-products becoming available at a competitive price; and
  4. increased local and state revenues collected from plant operations will stimulate local and state tax revenues and provide funds for improvements to the community and to the region.

Picture: Test plots at the Texas A&M Research and Extension Center at Beaumont: in the foreground is grain sorghum, used primarily for animal feed, and in the background, efficient sweet sorghum for the biofuels industry. Credit: Texas Agricultural Experiment Station.

HLS 08RS-2553, HOUSE BILL NO. 1270: Advanced Biofuel Industry Development Initiative.

Biopact: Renergie receives $1.5 million grant for sweet sorghum ethanol production - March 08, 2008


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent article...Localization is the way to go...Sorghum is a winner...hydrous ethanol is a quantum leap...The Chinese are introducing this year a slightly modified standard engine that runs on a mix of 65% ethanol and 35% water...Toyota is developing a similar engine...Fuel cells are now being run on ethanol mixed with hydrogen peroxide...ethanol is now being produced from algae for 30 cents a gallon at the rate of 6,000 gallons per acre per year...on a commercial scale by 2010...Ethanol will be the inexpensive transition fuel, especially when engines are optimized to use it, such as high compression turbocharged... Blending ethanol with gasoline is a short-term solution, but in the long run, with advanced technology, pure ethanol and hydrous ethanol are excellent fuels - without adding gasoline. Also, look into Bingo Fuel (France) - these are fuel emulsions of 75% water and 25% gasoline...All kinds of possibilities, so let's not get bogged down with petroleum.
Hats off to Louisiana for taking a giant step forward!

6:56 AM  
Anonymous Family Footprint said...

non-corn? hmmmm. it's a start

12:08 AM  

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