"'Go Further,' the new film by award-winning documentary filmmaker Ron Mann, explores the idea that the single individual is the key to large-scale transformational change."It doesn't look like it's available for purchase yet, but I've emailed the Sphinx folks for details. It's playing tomorrow night up north in Marin Country, but alas I can't make it. Thanks to Livia for letting me know about it!
"The film follows actor Woody Harrelson as he takes a small group of friends on a bio-fuelled bus-ride down the Pacific Coast Highway. Their goal? To show the people they encounter that there are viable alternatives to our habitual, environmentally-destructive behaviors."
News and information about Biodiesel & alternative fuels.
Go Further looks like a must-see:
Northern Texas is getting a biodiesel plant, according to NTDaily.com:
"The Denton city council voted to approve construction of the soon-to-be largest full-production biodiesel plant in Texas Tuesday night. This large-scale plant will produce wasted vegetable oil as an alternative fuel for diesel engines. An anticipated three million gallons will be generated per year."
"In fact, the city of Denton hired Jake Stewart, Houston graduate student, to research the emission reductions of biodiesel. 'This is wasted cooking oil from McDonalds used as a car fuel,' Stewart said."
The Murray County News has some details about a new biodiesel refinery in Minnesota; evidently the Minnesotans set some excellent targets back in 2002:
"Groundbreaking occurred on Friday at the Minnesota Soybean Processors plant near Brewster for a 30 million gallon biodiesel refinery. The refinery will allow the state to reach the goal set in the biodiesel mandate which passed in March of 2002."
"The mandate requires that two percent biodiesel be blended into all of the diesel fuel sold in Minnesota. In addition, there is a requirement that at least half of the biodiesel used in Minnesota be produced in Minnesota."
NJ.com reports on biodiesel's arrival in New Jersey:
"Woodruff Energy announced Thursday afternoon that it will become the first distributor of soybean-based biodiesel fuel in South Jersey, possibly as early as next month."
"The family-owned, 135-year-old company will be offering the soybean biodiesel fuel in Cumberland, Salem, Gloucester, Atlantic and Cape May counties, and possibly Camden County, according to Anderson."
"While 2-percent blend soybean biodiesel mixed with traditional petroleum diesel will cost 3 or 4 cents more per gallon than traditional diesel -- proportionately more given the blend rate -- biodiesel "lubricity" reduces wear-and-tear on engines and provides slightly better fuel efficiency, according to Woodruff Energy President Robert Woodruff Sr."
Good news from CropDecisions.com:
"Green Star Products Inc., through its affiliated company American Biofuels, will be receiving, along with other biodiesel producers, the highest USDA biodiesel industry subsidies in history during the second quarter of 2004. The USDA set the subsidy for this period on March 18, 2004, at approximately $2.50 per gallon for West Coast producers. American Biofuels presently operates the largest biodiesel production facility west of the Mississippi."
The Indianapolis Star has some good factoids about biodiesel use in Indiana:
"The latest on the soy biodiesel bandwagon is Purdue University, which announced Tuesday that it is now using the alternative, cleaner-burning fuel in more than 80 Purdue buses, fire trucks, dump trucks and other motor vehicles..."WLFI/Lafayette has a related article, and the Lafayette Journal and Courier has much more extensive coverage.
"Purdue joins more than 20 other Hoosier schools and municipalities in switching its fuel source to biodiesel, a blend of petroleum diesel and fuel refined from soybean oil..."
"Indiana is home to about 25 biodiesel public pumps and a dozen retailers sell biodiesel through tank-wagon and transport delivery, said Mike Yoder, an Elkhart County soybean farmer who is a director on the Indiana Soybean Board."
Scotland apparently has a target of 5.75% biodiesel use by 2005, and is almost going to meet the number:
"SCOTLAND took another step towards meeting its renewable energy targets yesterday after the UK's first large-scale biodiesel factory was opened near Motherwell..."The BBC has a follow story:
"Andy Hunter, director of Argent Energy, said the plant was possibly the largest of its kind in the world, and was capable of processing most used cooking oils and animal fats."
"When it begins operating next year, the facility's 50m litre output will supply 5% of Scotland's requirement for diesel..."
"Enterprise Minister Jim Wallace has claimed that Scotland has the potential to become a world leader in the new "green economy" of the future."
Bulk & retail biodiesel is coming to New Hampshire, according to GrainNet:
" Rymes Propane and Oils, Inc. recently received its first railcar shipment of pure biodiesel (B100), a domestically produced vegetable oil-based diesel fuel replacement, direct from a midwestern manufacturer to their new storage facility in North Stratford, NH."
"Rymes will sell the biodiesel wholesale from the bulk terminal and in a 20 percent blend with petroleum diesel (B20) at five retail fueling stations located in Antrim, Peterborough, Keene, Greenfield, and Loudon."
Following up from an earlier post, The Daily Times of Maryville, TN is again reporting on local biodiesel use:
"The Blount County Highway Department, as well as the cities of Maryville and Alcoa, recently began using biodiesel in their truck fleets, said county road superintendent Bill Dunlap."The $0.20 tax reduction mentioned in my previous post would apparently offset that price difference (though here in the SF Bay Area we'd need a bit more than 20-cents [more like 40-60] to offset the added cost). A bit more from the article:
"The price for biodiesel is about 10- to 15-cents a gallon more than what the department is now paying for standard diesel fuel, he said. Right now the county highway department pays $1.05 cents per gallon for diesel."
"It's a clean burning fuel, said Hunt. Locally drivers have reported less smoke or 'soot' from trucks. Drivers for the Knoxville Area Transit, which has been using biodiesel, reported fewer headaches because of the reduction in fumes, said Hunt."The article also includes some emissions statistics from an EPA report on biodiesel (72k pdf), comparing B20 (20/80 biodiesel/diesel) and B100 (100% biodiesel):
"In 1895, Dr. Rudolf Diesel developed the diesel engine with the intention of running it on a variety of fuels, including vegetable oil... Since then, the diesel engine has been modified to run on petroleum-derived fuel because historically it was the least expensive fuel available, according to the EPA."
- Reductions in carbon monoxide emissions of 10 percent (B-20) and 50 percent (B-100).
- Reductions in particulate emissions of 15 percent (B-20) and 70 percent (B-100).
- Reductions in total hydrocarbon emissions of 10 percent (B-20) and 40 percent (B-100).
- Reductions in sulfate emissions of 20 percent (B-20) and 100 percent (B-100).
- Reductions in nitrogen oxide emissions of two percent (B-20) and nine percent (B-100).
There are some interesting statistics in this AgriNews article, regarding biodiesel-related legislation in a pending energy bill:
"Grassley's pending legislation would grant a 1 cent reduction in excise tax per percent of biodiesel blended with diesel up to a 20 percent or 20 cent cap. The biodiesel credit would apply to all domestically produced oilseeds and all recycled oil, Heck said."That's nice and all, but why stop at 20%?
"Some may say that biodiesel legislation only affects agriculture, Metz said, but that's not true. Nearly all -- 95 percent -- of the freight moved in the United States is moved by diesel engines."
"Trucks are the No. 1 user of diesel fuel in the nation, followed by agriculture. Trucks burn about 35 billion gallons of diesel fuel a year."
6 local governments in North Carolina are using biodiesel for their fleets, according to the Raleigh News & Observer:
- Raleigh for using biodiesel in 300 to 400 trucks.
- Wake County for switching to biodiesel last year for its fleet of diesel vehicles. Wake also fuels its emergency vehicles with B20.
- Garner for using B20 for the past 3 years to power its municipal fleet.
- Carrboro for running all its diesel vehicles and equipment with B20.
- Cary for running its city fleet and transit buses on B20.
- Chapel Hill for fueling 165 of its own vehicles with B20, and providing biodiesel to the UNC Hospital Bus Service, the Orange Water and Sewer Authority, Carolina Air Care Ambulance Fleet and others.
The British government appears to be considering a nice, middle-path approach to green-ifying their automotive fleets, according to FleetNewsNet:
"Fleets will not be forced by the Government to choose between liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and petrol/electric hybrids, according to a senior Department for Transport official who insists the two fuels can co-exist."
"Colin Matthews, head of customer services for TransportEnergy, added that while fuel cell cars emitting just water were the ultimate goal, they were more than 15 years away from volume production."
"He said: 'There is a lot of talk about fuel cells and a lot of people have said 'I'll wait', but we are talking 2020 and beyond - and that is just the vehicle side. What do we do while we are waiting? Petrol and diesel are improving and biodiesel will come to the marketplace. It's about having a portfolio of fuels to choose from.'"
According to this press release, another San Juan Islands tour operator is going biodiesel, only this time it's with B100:
"The waters in and around the San Juan Islands are home to Orcas, eagles, porpoise, seals, sea lions, seabirds, and numerous other animals. As a charter boat, the public entrust us as stewards of these waters. It's our responisibility to pursue clean burning, 100% biodegradable fuels in an environmentally sensitive marine ecosystem", Patrick Pillsbury, captain Bon Accord.You'll recall a previous post here, where the Western Prince operator announced it was going with a B20 blend (20% biodiesel, 80% petroleum diesel). This is an excellent competition!
Biodiesel.at has this awesome news:
"Volkswagen AG and Archer Daniels Midland Company announced on 5 January the creation of a joint research agreement aimed at further developing and utilizing Biodiesel fuels for the automotive industry. This Agreement marks the first time that one of the world's leading automakers has joined forces with a major global agricultural company to cooperate on the development of next-generation clean renewable fuels."
"Given the tremendous environmental, economic and quality-related benefits of increased Biodiesel usage, we believe this Joint Research Agreement will go a long way toward advancing and furthering the development of this vital renewable fuel choice," said Dr. Bernd Pischetsrieder, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG. He added that, "Volkswagen has been a leader in the development of advanced clean diesel engines and this Agreement represents Volkswagen's commitment to introducing clean burning and renewable fuels into the automotive industry."
Lyle from the Energy Blog posted a long, interesting piece about the reality of producing biodiesel, comparing the situations of large-scale producers vs. the small-scale, backyard types:
"If you are World Energy, the country's largest player in selling biodiesel, you drop your head into the trough of the Commodity Credit Corporation, and wait for Congress to pass farm bills that provide a decent subsidy for every incremental gallon you produce."
"If you are a Soy Grower's Co-op in eastern North Carolina, you brag about being subsidy free. I was once at a meeting of the Triangle Clean Cities Coalition in which the Soy Growers were confident about how market dependent they were. The Chicago Futures market sets the price of soy, plain and simple. Apparently there is now a connection between the price of soy and the price of biodiesel. Halleluiah."
The Miami Herald reports on Blue Sun Biodiesel of Colorado, which I've mentioned earlier:
"Kaiser is one of a handful of Weld County farmers who are members of Blue Sun Producers Inc., the state's only farmer-owned, biodiesel-producing cooperative. The cooperative, which has about 40 members in the state, is the primary supplier for Blue Sun Biodiesel, a Fort Collins-based agriculture energy company."
"Blue Sun is generating sales revenue through an expanding customer base that includes the city of Boulder, the University of Colorado, Aspen Homes of Colorado, Waste-Not Recycling, Rocky Mountain National Park and others."
Via Zebu, a German-language blog, it appears that VW is pushing for biodiesel adoption in the US. Here's a rough Google translation:
"As the reason of the bio Diesel offensive and the production of more pollution free diesel engined vehicles in the USA Volkswagen speaker explains Alexander Skibbe: "Diesel models become ever more popular in the USA. At the same time the interest of the Americans in pollution free technologies rises. We want to serve these needs." Sounds good. But the question arises: Why doesn't VOLKSWAGEN in at least just as environmentalsensitive Germany an identical bio Diesel offensive start?"
According to El Sol de México, the first ever biodiesel-powered bus in Brazil is in operation at the University of São Paulo:
"El primer autobús que funciona con combustible biodiesel desarrollado en Brasil ya está rodando en un campus de la Universidad de Sao Paulo (USP), informó la oficial Fundación de Amparo a la Investigación de ese estado brasileño (Fapesp)."
Atanu Dey thinks biodiesel would be ideal to aid in India's economic growth:
"If India can grow the biomass suitable for biodiesel in marginal agricultural lands, it would be wonderful. Of course, India also needs clean-burning modern diesel engines as well. This can be one of those technologies that create a partnership between the agricultural and manufacturing sectors: the former grows the stuff and provides the latter the induced demand for its output."And the Indian Express reports:
"D.K. Tuli, head of the research wing of Indian Oil Company, had read about biodiesel being used in 22 countries but had not given it much thought. After all, the chances of convincing his company heads about a diesel alternative were slim."[via Ramdhan Yadav]
"He noticed hundreds of Karanjia trees in the 70-acre campus of the R&D division building. He collected a few kilos of seed to extract oil and blended it with diesel to make biodiesel and found that it worked beautifully without making modifications in the engine."
Blue Sun Biodiesel has an excellent list of biodiesel myths & facts:
Myth: Biodiesel is an experimental fuel and has not been thoroughly tested.[via Curt Rosengren's Alternative Energy blog]
Fact: Biodiesel is one of the most thoroughly tested alternative fuels on the market. A number of independent studies have been completed with the results showing biodiesel performs similar to petroleum diesel while benefiting the environment and human health compared to diesel.
Myth: Biodiesel does not perform as well as diesel.
Fact: One of the major advantages of biodiesel is the fact that it can be used in existing engines and fuel injection equipment with little impact to operating performance... In more than 30 million miles of in-field demonstrations, B20 showed similar fuel consumption, horsepower, torque, and haulage rates as conventional diesel fuel.
Looks like a biodiesel plant is under consideration in South Africa:
"South Africa's soya production would have to quadruple if the country was to meet the demand that would be created if Sasol decided to build its first soya bean-to-diesel plant, it emerged yesterday."
"The world's biggest producer of fuel from coal, said yesterday that it might decide by July whether to build the soya biodiesel plant."
"While Sasol has not detailed its plans, the company may import soya bean supplies initially and contract South African farmers to grow a big enough crop, a move that has the potential to create hundreds of jobs."
A whale watching/wildlife tour operator north of Seattle will be powering one of its boats with B20:
Ivan and Jacquelyn Reiff, owners of Western Prince, Inc., recently announced their decision to use Biodiesel B20 blend. The Reiffs stated, "We feel that it is our duty to help protect the magnificent environment in which we operate. We are happy to be a leader in adopting the use of this alternative fuel."
Biodiesel was mentioned in a kuro5hin article about the mythical Hydrogen Economy:
While changing from the current crop of gasoline powered cars to, diesel electric hybrid cars would reduce fuel usage significantly, we still need to produce diesel by some other way than by getting it from fossil sources. There are two major ways to do this. One is to produce it from biomass, i.e. we get biodiesel. The other is to produce it by adding environmentally friendly produced hydrogen to industrial carbon dioxide emissions, i.e. we get synthetic diesel."[via Emergic]
"Currently biodiesel is made mostly from vegetable oils, but it is possible to produce it from any kind of biomass with the help of e.g. pyrolysis, Fischer-Tropsch synthesis or perhaps even thermal depolymerization, if that turns out to not be a hoax. The question is thus to find a plant that grows as fast as possible and is cheap to harvest. Hemp has been proposed as a good choice for biomass production, but will certainly face political opposition.
Dave Belfer-Shevett, a blogger in the Boston area, comments on the Harvard story:
"Why is this important to me? Well, I drive a VW Golf with a TDI (Turbo Diesel Injection) engine in it. It's a wonderful car, and I get obscene miles on it (about 45mpg)... this is great for a car that has a heckuva lot of torque for only a 93hp engine."
"There's apparently a couple of Biodiesel dealers here in Boston. The forums seem to say that you should buy it in 55gallon drums and store it locally, topping off your own tank as needed. Better than driving to Chelsea every couple weeks, I have to admit."
"Still, paying a little extra, in a car that gets extraordinary mileage, for something that is immensely cleaner than normal diesel, sure makes it tempting."
The Associated Press has picked up the Neil Young story:
"Young, who clearly has done his research, recited the reasons why biodiesel makes sense: It releases no ozone-polluting chemicals and reduces emissions by 60 per cent to 80 per cent; it's entirely renewable and doesn't require major exploration to extract; American farmers could produce it for a living wage; and it would probably save a tree or two slated for demolition in Alaska."
"Alternative fuel has caught on in some places. More than 400 fleets across the U.S. now use it, including the U.S. Postal Service, Yellowstone National Park, public utility companies and school districts, according to the National Biodiesel Board. Its use in Canada is also catching on."
"Economic studies completed for [Illinois Soybean Association] members show that increasing biodiesel demand could add 17 cents to the per-bushel price of soybeans by 2010. Soybean farmers have invested nearly $40 million in biodiesel research and promotion during the last decade."
"The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) recently praised actress Daryl Hannah ("Northfork," "Dancing at the Blue Iguana," "Splash") and rock 'n roll legend Neil Young ("Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young") for helping to bolster awareness of the practicality of biodiesel, the non-toxic biodegradable vehicle fuel that can be manufactured from recycled cooking grease."
"This week, Young embarked on his Greendale Tour from Vancouver, British Columbia to Amherst, Massachusetts, fueling his trucks and tour buses with biodiesel."
"At NBB's Eye on Biodiesel Awards at the first annual National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in Palm Springs, California, Daryl Hannah accepted the Influencer Award for using biodiesel in her personal vehicle and for her volunteer work as a spokesperson for biodiesel. Hannah has taken her message to the nation on shows such as The Tonight Show and The O'Reilly Factor."
"NBB also thanked Dennis Weaver, country singer Bonnie Raitt and actor Woody Harrelson for using and promoting biofuels. The folk music duo, Indigo Girls, was praised for using domestically produced biodiesel as part of their "Honor the Earth Tour," focusing on alternative energy and Native American environmental issues. NBB has also begun a dialogue with Walt Disney Studios to explore opportunities for Disney to use biodiesel in its transportation system in Orlando, and to educate its millions of visitors each year."
Via The Bellingham Herald in Washington,
"Justin Clements will come to homes or workplaces by appointment to fuel up your car with 100 percent biodiesel. He tanks up two containers totaling 550 gallons with biodiesel from the Seattle-area service station Dr. Dan's Alternative Fuelwerks and carries them in his new Dodge truck."Right on, Justin!
"He then brings the fuel up to Whatcom County for about a dozen or so customers who call his cell phone and ask to meet him for a fillup."
"Clements said his interest in biodiesel is rooted in the petroleum industry. He grew up in both Alaska and Houston, the centers of the U.S. oil industry, as his parents moved with jobs for major fuel companies. Clements said he remembers the devastation in Prince William Sound in 1989 when the Exxon Valdez coated the area with spilled crude oil."
"Rather than make a huge investment to convert an existing service station to a biodiesel station, Clements decided to offer the mobile servicing of the biodegradable, nontoxic fuel from his truck."
The Canton Daily Ledger reports,
"We consider Illinois to be an ideal location for a plant for three major reasons," says Bruce Davis, Biodiesel Systems CEO. "We would have access to plentiful soybean oil supplies, be centrally located in the country near refineries, diesel users and a distribution network and be based in a state that has been highly receptive to biofuels production."
"Last June, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich signed into law the "Illinois Renewable Fuels Development Program Act." The act established a $15 million appropriation for new ethanol and biodiesel plants and existing plant expansions."
Via The Tullahoma News,
"If Richard Onderka proceeds with his plan to begin production of biodiesel fuel in July at his proposed processing plant - Tennessee Bio Energy, Inc. - it will mark the first production facility in the state and only the second active site in the Southeast."
"Onderka and his brother and partner, Franz, have set a production goal of 900,000 gallons of pure, environmentally-friendly biodiesel (B100) per year by the end of the plant's third year of operation,
"In its first stages, Onderka said, Tennessee Bio Energy will process 100 tons of soybeans a day and will run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Most of the beans will be obtained from a feed mill located less than a mile from the plant, Onderka said."
"The soybean residue, or meal, will be marketed to poultry and cattle farmers in the area, who will blend it with grain for their livestock. Then, a separate process will be utilized to refine the virgin soybean oil into biodiesel."
The Ottawa Business Journal reports,
" A little known Ottawa company unveiled Tuesday Canada's first retail outlet for biodiesel, that vegetable-based fuel known for making car exhaust smell like french fries."
"Two-and-a-half-year-old Topia Energy's first pump for the general public has entered service at a local independent gas station in Unionville near Toronto."
"The pump offers a diesel blend called B20, which is 20 per cent biodiesel and 80 per cent conventional petroleum diesel."
This just in from @griculture Online News:
"The Senate voted 76-21 to approve a new six-year highway spending bill that also contains a biodiesel tax incentive virtually identical to one that was in the Senate Energy bill that stalled late last year. The American Soybean Association (ASA) and the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) are applauding the news."
The Harvard Crimson Online reports,
"Leading the way to a greener Ivy League, Harvard officials announced last week that the University’s shuttles and maintenance trucks are now running on biodiesel, an environmentally-friendly fuel made from soybean oil. Harvard is the first—and currently the only—school in the Ivy League to use biodiesel to fuel its vehicles, although some 400 fleets across the country now use the new fuel, according to a press release issued by the National Biodiesel Board."
"Harvard will use B20, a mixture of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent diesel, in all 25 of its diesel vehicles and equipment, including shuttle buses and mail, solid waste and recycling trucks. Before choosing biodiesel, the University assembled a team of researchers led by physics graduate student David M. Thompson to identify alternative fuels that could potentially reduce Harvard’s negative impact on the environment."
From the Tyler Morning Telegraph:
"Farmers in Northeast Texas may soon become key participants in producing a new fuel that could jumpstart local economies while taking it easy on the environment."
"In addition to the petroleum/oil-based fuel, the biodiesel plants produce ethanol hybrid fuels and glycerin; all three substances can often be made from the same crop in the cases of corn and others. Ethanol is mixed with gasoline to create a cleaner fuel for cars, while glycerin is sold to pharmaceutical companies. Biodiesel is primarily used by freight vehicles."
"Autrey said Texas Biodiesel has a goal of building five facilities across the state within the next three years and expects the company will build a plant somewhere in Northeast Texas in the next year and a half, even if one in Wood County doesn't work out."
News from the Union County Advocate:
"The Union County Fiscal Court voted unanimously last Wednesday to use funds from a grant to purchase a 20 percent blend of biodiesel for county equipment that currently uses diesel fuel."
"Sprague told the court that normally a 20 percent blend of biodiesel costs about 20 cent more a gallon than diesel. The grant will cover the difference. Sprague noted the state has a grant totaling $40,000 to entice governments to switch to the biodiesel fuel product. Biodiesel uses a blend of soybean oil and diesel fuel."
"The resulting product, Sprague noted, burns clean and reduces pollution."
CBC/Radio Canada has news about Neil Young's current tour:
"Veteran Canadian rocker Neil Young has found a new way to support farmers, this time by choosing a cleaner-burning alternative to gasoline."
"Young hit the road last week to tour in support of his latest album, Greendale. His tour buses and trucks run on biodiesel, an alternative fuel."
Maine Today is reporting on biodiesel use at ski resorts in Colorado. For some reason I find the part about global warming harming the ski industry especially funny:
"Cranmore, you see, is one of about four ski areas in the country using biodiesel fuel in its snow-grooming machines. One of the ingredients of biodiesel fuel is cooking oil, and some ski areas donate their used french fry oil for the manufacturing process, according to Geraldine Links, director of public policy for the National Ski Areas Association in Colorado."
"It is part of an attempt by ski areas to be environmentally friendly by using renewable energy to slow global warming, which could be a major problem for the industry."