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Archives for: 2008

Got used vegetable oil?sdf


Permalink 04:49:40 pm, Categories: News, 100 words   English (US)

Newly approved biodiesel specs bode well for users

The ASTM organization has approved new and updated standards for biodiesel that should widen the reach of this alternative fuel.

The conventional petro-diesel specification (ASTM D975) has been updated to support up to 5% biodiesel blend. This means many regular diesel pumps across the nation could start carry up to B5.

A new specification covering B6-B20 should allow automakers to more easily approve use of these blends in their cars and trucks. The press release states "Several more companies are expected to raise their approvals to B20 now that the final ASTM specifications for B6-B20 blends have been approved."


Permalink 10:59:58 pm, Categories: News, 88 words   English (US)

Biodiesel powered boat Earthrace on track for World Record

Click for latest route map

Still ahead of world record pace, the biodiesel powered boat "Earthrace" is over 18,000 nautical miles along its route back to Sagunto (Spain) from where this, their second attempt, was initiated on 27 April. A recent rapid 80-minute refueling stop in India was the next to last port the boat will visit. Next up is their 12th stop at Port Said along the Suez Canal.
Nautical Mile sponsorships are still available if you would like to help with the pecuniary power part of their mission.

(Our previous entries on Earthrace.)


Permalink 04:35:08 pm, Categories: News, 97 words   English (US)

Brevard firm showing algae (for biodiesel) reactors

Click for video coverage
XL Techgroups's (of Melbourne, FL) company PetroAlgae has been showing their Fellsmere located algae photo-bio-reactor (PBR) system to the media this month. Orlando TV station WFTV does a good job of covering the facility. At production rates of 10,000 - 40,000 gallons per acre the company hopes to "roll out the technology worldwide by 2009" according to the report.
Some scientists are skeptical of the cost effectiveness of a closed PBR system, and are concentrating on cheaper-per-acre open ponds for algae growth instead. Either way, CO2-eating algae would be a wonderful alternative to exhuming dinosaur juice to fuel our vehicles.



Permalink 03:40:26 pm, Categories: News, 203 words   English (US)

WESH reports on UCF student biodiesel home-brewers

Orlando NBC station WESH has a report and video segment online detailing the work of a group of UCF students Students make biodieselthat are converting used Chick-fil-A grease into biodiesel via an Appleseed processor.UCF student appleseed processor The students also donate 20% of their processed fuel to the university for their use in dozens of on-campus diesel vehicles. The story notes the requirement to pay Florida state fuel taxes on home-brewed biodiesel. Overall a pretty accurate report.
Example of content:

They have been draining smelly fryer grease and feeding it to their bio-diesel reactor -- a fancy name for a water heater, some pipes, valves, hoses, and filters that turn grease and two household chemicals into fuel. The newly formed fuel powers their diesel engine cars.

"To make a gallon of bio-diesel, it's about 80 cents," UCF student Michael Schulist said.

Not only cheap, the muddy looking bio-diesel burns cleaner than its petroleum-based cousin.

"Petro-diesel is a very dirty fuel. This is a very clean burning fuel," Schulist said.

It produces less CO2 -- the main threat to our climate -- than gasoline or regular diesel.

"It would limit the amount of pollution we put into the air but it would also save a lot of money," UCF assistant professor Ali Gordon said.


Permalink 05:49:35 pm, Categories: News, 126 words   English (US)

Biodiesel boat heads West, Buses head East

Two biodiesel powered sojourns kick off this weekend:



Permalink 04:45:25 pm, Categories: Background, 363 words   English (US)

Book Review - "Hey Mr. Green"

Hey Mr. Green bookThe Sierra magazine environmental advice columnist Bob Schildgen (aka Mr. Green) has compiled advice on a wide variety of topics, including biofuels, in a new ~200 pg. book - "Hey Mr. Green". Just to double check - I first made sure the book was printed on 100% post-consumer waste - yup. The book is organized into 5 sections based around the topics Home, Food, Fuel, Recycling, and The Big Picture. Each section has an introductory essay followed by a selection of questions and answers from the column. The author consistently injects humor and erudition into the answers, while keeping a central theme of conservation humming in the background. 15 pages of end notes provide references for the facts and figures used in the answers.
The main message of the Fuel section is to reduce the use of cars - as he writes "Carbon-free doesn't beat car-free". I found the explanation of how 100 gallons of fossil fuel turn into 2000 pounds of CO2 easy to follow. Living on the Space Coast, the question and answer about private space travel was thought provoking. A question about the green-worthiness of a biodiesel powered Jeep Liberty CRD elicited a reasoned response beginning with:

"Biodiesel is a good choice for many drivers: It pollutes less than ordinary diesel fuel and generates a lot less globe-warming carbon dioxide than gasoline does."

That advice is tempered with the caution that

"it's a big mistake to think [biodiesel] is a 'perfect solution' to our energy problems."

He goes on to explain the limits of farmland fuel production in this country. In another answer to an ethanol question a bigger picture solution is offered:

"What we really need is a crash program for efficient mass transit, stricter fuel-economy regulations, and a serious commitment to developing solar, wind, and tidal power. In addition, a vast amount of energy could be saved if we all reduced our car use; made our homes as energy efficient as possible; and stuck to the speed limit when we do drive, making sure our vehicles are well tuned and our tires properly inflated."

Other questions answered in the book range from birth control to burial methods, always answered in an intelligent non-preachy way. An enjoyable green read.



Permalink 11:44:27 pm, Categories: Background, 243 words   English (US)

Notes from Microalgae -> Biofuel a "Great Green Hope" talk

As a follow-up to the FIT talk from today I wanted to post some notes. The key points I picked up:

  • Open raceways are the only possible cost effective way to produce oil from algae. Closed systems (Photobioreactors - PBRS) are relatively costly as they must try and solve temperature and degassing problems.
  • There are lots of estimates on oil production values from algae, but until real world production is in place, the high side numbers are fantasies.
  • CO2 and Sunlight are not really free inputs. CO2 *costs* from $50-$400 per ton. It takes 2 tons of CO2 to produce 1 ton of biomass.

Dr. Weissman, who worked on the DOE Aquatic Species Program (ASP), covered a lot of ground, from some work in 1953, up through the current work FIT is performing (under a $415K grant from the State of Florida Farm to Fuel program). He showed a picture of PBR's on the MIT roof from 1953! Much of the information being patented today seems to be covered in that decades old work such as In Algal Culture: From Laboratory to Pilot Plant.
With genetic engineering, today's algae can be improved in several ways. Dr. Weissman mentioned modifying the reaction area such that "longer antennae" are used for photosynthesis. These cyclotella mutants use 20 chlorophyll instead of 200 as their light processing engine.
In the current FIT project, smaller tanks have been running with cultures in Vero Beach for almost a year - 1/20th acre raceways are about to come online.


Permalink 04:01:34 pm, Categories: Announcements [A], 146 words   English (US)

Talk biodiesel with us at Goby Fest 2008 - April 5, Sebastian FL

Brevard Biodiesel will be taking part in the 4th annual "Goby Fest" presented by the non-profit Coastal Preserves Alliance.
The event takes place at the St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park on Saturday April 5th 2008 from 10am til 4pm. This nature festival raises funds to support local state parks and aquatic preserves. Highlights include various kayak/boat/wagon/walking tours, blacksmith demonstrations and a herpetological display. Food and craft vendors will be present along with other exhibitors. Admission is free with a nominal charge for tours.

This 22,000+ acre preserve is the largest upland public property in the Indian River/South Brevard counties region. There are many opportunities for wildlife viewing in the area including chances to spot nesting bald eagles, kestrels, shrikes, and many other feathered visitors - earning their spot on the Florida Birding Trail.

We'll be there to share information about biodiesel - have fun!




Permalink 08:55:24 pm, Categories: News, 67 words   English (US)

Algae -> Biofuel talk at Florida Institute of Technology

We've heard word of a talk on "BIOFUEL: FROM LABORATORY TO PILOT PLANT" about "Microalgae Mass Culture for Biofuel Production" from Joe Wiessman, Ph.D., President of Seag, Inc. presented Wednesday April 2nd at Olin Engineering Auditorium room 118 from 4-5pm. This is on the FIT campus, Melbourne FL.

The seminar is part of a weekly series put on by the FIT Department of Marine and Environmental Systems.



Permalink 01:08:36 pm, Categories: News, 168 words   English (US)

New Brevard Rep. Sasso introduces Biodiesel friendly bill

Newly elected Florida District 32 Representative Tony Sasso, of Cocoa Beach, has introduced HB 1519 "Fuel-efficient Vehicles" which states in part:

Any new motor vehicle purchased after January 1, 2009, by a state agency, state university, or local government through any state purchasing plan must be a hybrid, flex-fuel, or biodiesel vehicle if the type of vehicle being purchased is available with such propulsion system and otherwise meets the requirements for the vehicle's intended use.

The bill also amends the state sales tax (212.08) statute to exempt alternative fueled vehicles having at least 25 mpg:

Also exempt from the tax imposed by this chapter are sales or leases of gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles, or vehicles powered by other alternative fuels, and having at least a 25-miles-per-gallon combined city and highway mileage rating. The exemption shall inure at the time of sale or lease to any entity meeting the requirements of this subsection but may not exceed $1,500.

It is not obvious that "other alternative fuels" covers biodiesel blends, but that does seem to be the intention.



Permalink 02:14:54 pm, Categories: Announcements [A], News, 83 words   English (US)

Biodiesel road rally - Key Largo to Key West - March 22

Florida Keys GLEE (Green Living and Energy Education) is putting on a biodiesel powered rally to "gain wider awareness and acceptance of alternative fuels in existing diesel engines." Saturday March 22nd, the rally will leave Key Largo and make their way through 5 stops in the keys, ending at Key West High school with a tour and fish fry.
The date has also been chosen because of Rudolph Diesel's 150th birthday. If you are interested in participating or organizing use the Contact link here.



Permalink 03:59:03 pm, Categories: News, 172 words   English (US)

National Biodiesel Board is on the sustainable wagon

Following this years NBB and Sustainable Biodiesel conferences, and a joint press release announcing a "Sustainability Task Force", the National Biodiesel Board is stepping up their efforts to put forth the environmental benefits of made-in-the-USA soybean based biodiesel.
Highlights of the Feb. 27th press release:

"Our recently established Sustainability Task Force is working to ensure that the U.S. biodiesel industry continues to protect the environment, while producing jobs and reducing dependence on foreign oil."
"In the United States, more than 80% of estimated 2007 biodiesel production came from domestic soybean oil."
"The USDA reports that U.S. acreage for crop production has not increased since 1959. Major land use changes in the United States that would endanger environmentally sensitive lands are not expected due to biofuels"
"The United States is the largest exporter of soybeans in the world, making the importation of soybeans from countries with non-sustainable agricultural practices less likely."
"According to U.S. Census data, the country currently has the equivalent of more than 400 million gallons of soybean oil sitting in inventory."



Permalink 08:17:28 pm, Categories: Announcements [A], 70 words   English (US)

Brevard Biodiesel part of "A Day to Change the World" at FIT

Brevard Biodiesel will take part in "A Day to Change the World" event, sponsored by Residence Life at the Florida Institute of Technology on Friday February 22nd from 10am-2pm. The goal of the event is to have "volunteer, political, and socially conscious organizations ... expose our college students to the opportunities they have to make an impact in their world." We'll be at Panther Plaza to share information about biodiesel.



Permalink 03:54:31 pm, Categories: News, 326 words   English (US)

Local girls take 1st with biofuel science fair work

Biodiesel fuel spill experimentMaggi and Lilli, daughters of Cammie and Chris Marshall, each earned a first place award at the West Melbourne Elementary School for Science Science Fair held January 31st. Lilli's experiment sought to answer "What is the effect of Fossil Fuel and Biofuel on plant growth after an Oil Spill?" Maggi wanted to find out "Can Ethanol be made from Apple Cider?"
Lilli writes:

I tested my hypothesis by injecting vegetable oil, biodiesel, gasoline, diesel, and ethanol into the soil of separate plants, to simulate an oil spill. To make sure the experiment was fair, I used the same amount of fuel on each of the plants, and the same amount of water on each plant. I also had a control plant group to make sure there were not any other variables. I observed the plants changes daily and measured the temperature, watered them as needed, and measured the height weekly.

and concludes

I believe the overall performance of the fuels for which affected plant growth the least was: 1) Vegetable Oil and Biodiesel (it was an overall tie),
2) Diesel Group, 3) Gasoline Group, 4) Ethanol Group. In my hypothesis, I thought ethanol would perform better than gasoline and diesel because it is a biofuel. But I did not consider the water solubility of the fuels when making my hypothesis.
I believe that biodiesel is the best biofuel for the environment, because it would harm plant life less if there was an oil spill. My science fair project has shown this. Also using biofuels can help global warming.

Maggi fermented and distilled two types of apple cider to produce ethanol and concluded:

The liquid produced from distilling the fermented apple cider with no preservatives was able to burn, proving that ethanol was produced. The liquid produced from distilling the fermented apple cider with preservatives was not able to burn, proving ethanol was not produced.

Congratulations to both girls for their dedicated work that honors the achievements of their father Chris.



Permalink 02:39:24 am, Categories: News, 258 words   English (US)

Florida Tech awarded $415k algae based biofuels grant

The Hometown News reports that the Florida Institute of Technology has been awarded a $415,000 grant from the Florida Department of Agriculture. The FIT researchers will work with Aurora Biofuels Inc. of Alameda CA at the Florida Tech Marine lab in Vero Beach FL.

An FIT press release notes this project goal:

A key goal is to produce algae biomass with a high content of triglycerides suitable for conversion to biodiesel and with a high content of valuable omega-3 fatty acids and carotenoids, which can augment animal feeds.

For example, adding these products to chicken feeds produces a better-color egg with a high content of desirable omega-3 fatty acids. This creates characteristics valuable to the consumer.

This grant is part of the Farm-to-Fuel initiative spearheaded by commissioner Charles Bronson. The program hopes to reach 25% of Florida's energy needs using its agriculture industry by 2025.

Other biodiesel related grants around the state are:



Permalink 04:31:20 pm, Categories: News, 132 words   English (US)

FloridaToday spotlights PetroAlgae biodiesel firm

Florida Today newspaper has a story covering Melbourne's XL Techgroup including it's PetroAlgae business.

Thirty miles south of Melbourne are XL Tech's PetroAlgae labs, where researchers are "farming" algae expected to become a viable and environmentally friendly fuel alternative that could replace petroleum and food oils.

Because algae matures in 24 hours, converting 50 percent of their weight into usable fuel and allowing for daily harvesting it produces up to 200 times more oil per acre per year than traditional biofuel crops.

Another benefit of these algae farms is that 99 percent of water used in cultivation is recycled.

PetroAlgae currently is on schedule to have an operational initial production facility this year. With an appetite for 1.3 million barrels of oil a day, company officials believe think the world is a ready market for this technology.



Permalink 02:26:27 pm, Categories: News, Background, 159 words   English (US)

Vegetable oil market under pressure, SBS around the corner.

From NYTimesThe New York Times has an in-depth report on the world vegetable oil market. Increased consumption from calorie driven consumers, increased demand from trans-fat banning markets, and increased use of oil feedstock are combining to drive up prices for vegetable oils and leading to ever more drastic consequences.
Despite the increased demand for oil, in the United States soybean acreage has *decreased* by 19 percent due to the demand for corn-based ethanol.
Increasing awareness of these issues have led to broader movements for sustainable biodiesel production methods. Right here in Central Florida, the 5th annual Sustainable Biodiesel Summit arrives on February 2nd and 3rd to "raise awareness of sustainability and to facilitate the adoption of sustainable practices in the biodiesel industry. Industry professionals meet to exchange best practices, brainstorm ideas, and support each other’s efforts to conduct successful businesses in an environmentally sustainable and socially just manner". See you there!
Update - Less in depth CNN story on similar topic



Permalink 05:30:11 pm, Categories: Announcements [A], 56 words   English (US)

Additional Florida biodiesel stations on the map

Click for interactive map
We've updated our biodiesel map to display biodiesel stations from the Florida Department of Agriculture's "Alternative and Renewable Fuel Station Locator". (The map displays over 1250 stations nationwide at this point, so it is starting to get a little slow to display. We'll probably have to address that behind the scenes as even more stations are added.)



Permalink 04:54:14 pm, Categories: Announcements [A], 39 words   English (US)

Benefit for Climate Crisis Coalition - Melbourne, Tuesday Jan 15th

Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Shop in the Oaks Plaza, Melbourne FL is hosting a benefit for the Climate Crisis Coalition on Tuesday January 15th from 6pm to 8pm. 20% of all sales will be donated to that organization.



Permalink 02:48:23 pm, Categories: News, 136 words   English (US)

Grant based Syngas LLC turning glycerol into power

Florida Today reports that Syngas LLC, based out of Grant FL, has signed a contract with Advent Power Systems to produce ten one-megawatt generators. The generators will be powered by "syngas" made from glycerol, a biodiesel production byproduct. We've covered Syngas before and co-founder John Sessa noted then that syngas is "a term loosely applied to any combination of hydrogen and carbon monoxide".

The National Biodiesel Board reports that 250 million gallons of biodiesel were sold in the US - production of which led to 25 million gallons of glycerol. Glycerol is left over after the three chain triglycerides in vegetable oil are converted into single chain esters known as biodiesel. Production of 10 gallons of biodiesel results in about 1 gallon of glycerol byproduct. The rapid increase of biodiesel production has resulted in a glut on the glycerol market.


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