Posts tagged ‘biodiesel’

Motorola Launches Its First Carbon Neutral Phone

Motorola recently launched what they claim to be first ever carbon neutral phone at the Consumer Electrics Show in Las Vegas. Additionally, the plastics used in the phone’s exterior are made from recycled water bottles.  The company signed up with Carbonfund.org to offset the carbon produced during the manufacturing process of the handset. Distribution and operating activities are also offset. Motorola invests in the Carbonfund’s program of renewable energy and reforestation investments.

When you take a close look at the phone you will see that the Carbonfund investment is not a free ticket to environmental utopia because the press buttons and the robust exterior are entirely made of the kinds of metals that still will need recycling at the end of the phone’s life. But, having said that, knowing that the plastics are 100% made of recycled bottles is hopeful, especially when competitors like Nokia and Samsung are using bioplastics made from food crops. The Carbonfund also awarded Motorola with its CarbonFree® Product Certification after an extensive product life-cycle assessment. (more…)

January 29, 2009 at 9:45 pm Leave a comment

The Good, The Bad And The Bright Side Of Biodiesel

The risks involved in biodiesel have been highlighted in recent media articles citing expert studies that pointed out huge anomalies in the blended biodiesel industry. Other research points out that pure biodiesels are rapidly improving in quality. Plus, there have been a few projects that provide alternative solutions to greenhouse gas emitting crops grown for the biofuels.

One of the most outrageous findings was revealed in research by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, which pointed out that samples of 20 biodiesel blenders (B20 biodiesels) contained hugely varying levels of the biological stuff.

The variations stretched from 10 to 74% of actual biodiesel content. The researchers say that it’s mostly the smaller retailers that cause the imbalances. Those retailers tend to use the so called splash blending method to mix the diesels; they pour the biodiesel into regular diesel in a big tank or truck.

Consumers feel cheated because the manufacturers of blended biofuels get a standard tax credit based on an x amount of biofuel components. This means that those that put in 10% instead of 20% biodiesel get rewarded for something they don’t deserve. And those that use higher percentages of biodiesel are putting their consumers at risk because the high blends of biodiesel can freeze in cold temperatures.

Meanwhile, other products in the biodiesel industry appear to be improving. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, pure biodiesel is vastly improving.

The problems with blended biofuels are rather simple to redress. A much more damaging report was published last year which cast serious doubts on the crops grown for use in biofuel. Researchers at SRI Consulting concluded that the emissions of greenhouse gases by growing some crops amounted to similar levels of the CO2 emissions by cars. Scientists are finding various alternative solutions to this problem. One ingenious solution is to make biofuels of the large quantities of glycerol that the biofuel industry has been producing thus far. The glycerol is harmful for the environment and its production is considered a drawback to the biofuel industry.

Scientists at the University of Leeds (UK) reported a few months ago that not only have found a perfect alternative to simply disposing of glycerol, but they had discovered a valuable hidden energy source in this waste material; a high-value, hydrogen-rich gas!

Other solutions that could facilitate fast and large scale implementation of non harmful biofuels include fungus infested straw and algae conversion. The straw solution is very workable and UK experts (video) say we could be running our cars on the stuff within the next five to ten years.

March 8, 2008 at 7:17 pm Leave a comment

Going Green Gets Us Out Of The Middle East And Puts Billions Back Into American Workers’ Pockets

Guest Post from Nettleton, MS – Oil prices are through the roof and it’s costing us dearly. We empty our pockets in order to line those of the oil barons in the Middle East and elsewhere, and as we do so our dependence on their crude oil continues to deepen at an alarming rate due to our consumption habits.

This need not be the case because America has the technology and the natural resources to break this reliance on the Middle East. In fact doing so has several other significant benefits. Firstly, by purchasing American fuel we can stimulate the economy by keeping our US dollars in US pockets, but perhaps the most attractive aspect is the green issue; for the fuel in question is renewable plant and/or animal fat-based biodiesel.

As a nation we might predominantly use gasoline-engine vehicles for personal use, but our freight and shipping industry is wholly diesel based. Factor in the diesel needed to power most generators, construction equipment and industrial heating, and it becomes clear that we use a vast amount of diesel per annum, and it is this market that alternative fuels and energy specialist, Dr. Richard Craven, believes is crucial in our breaking free of Middle Eastern oil dependence.

“Diesel fuel accounts for over 40 billion gallons of petroleum consumed in the US each year – and that figure is for highway transportation use alone,” says Dr. Craven. “That is over 100 billion dollars a year. So you can multiply that figure by at least five when you take into account the other diesel users. There is absolutely no reason why we should be paying that sum to a Middle Eastern company for fuel, when it is readily available from companies here in America.”

Dr. Craven has spent over 15 years at the forefront of chemical research and development, with emphasis on environmentally friendly fuels and alternative energy solutions during the past decade. He is a recognized authority in the field and is also the spokesperson for Universal Bioenergy, a Mississippi-based biodiesel manufacturer. While he acknowledges that an increase in the usage of biodiesel would profit Universal Bioenergy, he is quick to point out that the benefits for other companies and industries, not to mention the positive environmental aspects, far outstrip those of the biofuel manufacturers.

“The benefits to the environment are substantial,” Dr. Craven explains. “We’ve all seen a truck pull away from the lights in a huge cloud of black smoke, well with biodiesel that is greatly reduced. It essentially contains no sulfur, so it reduces acid rain caused by regular diesel exhaust emissions which contain sulfur. Biodiesel also produces far smaller carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and other hydrocarbon emissions. And of course because you’re growing more plants from which to manufacture the fuel, there is more vegetation to consume these remaining carbon emissions anyway. It’s a closed-loop which is great news for the environment.”

This ‘green’ side to biodiesel doesn’t just impact the environment, but is a tremendous stimulant to the economy. Biodiesel is manufactured from vegetable oils – American farmers’ crops – and animal fats/greases. Some of the plants used for producing biodiesel ‘feedstocks’ can grow in areas not suitable for ‘edible foodstock’ plants, therefore farmers and co-operatives can utilize formerly unused land with which to generate increased revenues. Additionally, many of these alternative feedstock crops available for biodiesel production can produce more than twice the oil yield of edible foodstock crops – which in turn leads to increased productivity and increased revenues for the American agricultural industry and its associated service industries.

Perhaps biodiesel’s ace in the hole is that it is a 100% renewable fuel. “Crude oil is running out, and when anything goes into short supply, its price increases,” observes Dr. Craven. “As this happens, biodiesel will become even more cost-effective for users. There are already tax breaks for green fuel companies and they usually pass on their savings to the consumers via price cuts. As productivity increases, this trend will increase also.”

It is such an elegant and simple solution – certainly not rocket science. Although, with the advances in technology that Dr. Craven and his peers are spearheading, perhaps biodiesel will be used as the rocket fuel of the future. But wherever it leads, the opportunity to decrease our spending in the Middle East, increase our own economy, and make another step forward with environmentalism should be embraced.

Mississippi based Universal Bioenergy is a biofuel manufacturer at the forefront of the green technologies revolution. Biodiesel is made from vegetable oil, or animal fat; it is biodegradable, non-toxic, and typically produces up to 78% less net carbon dioxide emissions than petroleum-based diesel fuel. Biodiesel is used to power cars, buses, trucks, construction equipment, locomotives, boats, generators, and is also used as heating oil. Universal Bioenergy’s refinery is one of the most economical, efficient, and compactly designed plants in the United States with a smaller footprint than typical plants for the same production capacity. Universal’s unique manufacturing process requires less time and less energy to yield a fuel of high quality and effectiveness. For the Universal Bioenergy’s website click here.

bio: This article was published by Dr. Richard Craven is the national spokesperson for Universal Bioenergy. Much of his career has been spent in the chemical research and development of environmentally friendly fuels and alternative energy. Dr. Craven worked as lead chemical researcher and developer at Antek Research Inc. – a non-profit research firm specializing in environmental issues, including optimizing biodiesel processes.

February 8, 2008 at 3:30 pm Leave a comment

Why You Should Buy A Bio Diesel Kit

Guest Post:
Bio diesel kits help you to produce bio diesel from waste vegetable oils easily. There are number of bio diesel kits available in the market that can produce 1 gallon to 300 gallons of bio diesel. So what do you need to look out for? Report by Muna wa Wanjiru, who has been researching and reporting on biodiesel for years.

The bio diesel kits normally consist of bio diesel processing equipments and sometimes it may also have dry wash equipments. Bio diesel kits are easy to install and there will no assembly work here. You need not require the help of any electrician to install. The reasons why you require buying bio diesel kits are as follows:

The first reason is to save costs. Instead of buying bio diesel processing equipment separately, the bio diesel kits are cost effective and some manufacturers are providing 10 % discount also. The second reason is that before buying the bio diesel kits you can buy the bio diesel starter kits first. The bio diesel starter kits can produce 4 gallons of clean bio diesel. If you feel comfortable in producing bio diesel then you can invest more in buying bio diesel kits.

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The main aim of bio diesel kits is that they can convert the waste cooking oil into clean bio diesel. Among many other bio diesel kits available in the market you can select the closed kits for enhanced safety.

The freedom fueler bio diesel kits help you to produce bio diesel from any vegetable oil easily. You just require less than 60 minutes time o use your hand in getting 40 gallons of fuel. The mixing of methanol can be done by the built in mechanism in the kits. The bio diesel kits also contain safety kits like gloves, dust masks etc. the methanol pump in the bio diesel kits will never cause pouring or splashing. They are safe. They have built in mint washing system which helps in washing the bio diesel easily.

Evolution bio diesel provides variety of bio diesel kits that can produce small to large batches of bio diesel. It contains various tools to convert vegetable oil to bio diesel. Such bio diesel can be used in any diesel vehicles with little or no modifications. The bio diesel kits contain either semi automated or fully automated equipments. The fully automated equipments can process the bio diesel without the labor requirement. It processes, cleans and washes the equipment automatically.

The bio diesel processor kits are simple to operate. You can use them to produce bio diesel easily. They are based on the water heater system. The processor kits include all fittings, pumps, valves etc the only thing you have to do is to add a water heater and plumbing valve for ventilation. You can also get the wash tank kits for washing bio diesel.

Bio diesel conversion test kits help you to check whether the reactions are correct. These handy kits will help you to check the complete reactions. They are easy to install and use. There are water test kits also to check the water levels in the feed stocks. Before purchasing any bio diesel kits you must check carefully and should try to produce small batches of bio diesel first.

For More Information on Bio Diesel Kits, including a detailed guide on making your own bio diesel, visit Muna wa Wanjiru’s Bio Diesel Kits site.

February 7, 2008 at 10:54 am 5 comments

Scientists Discover How To Turn Glycerol Into Hydrogen Gas

Biodiesel is a renewable energy, alternative to rapidly depleting fossil fuels. Its main drawback is the production of low value crude glycerol, which potentially threatens the environment. But researchers say they’ve found the perfect solution to this.

Scientists at the University of Leeds in the UK not only have found a perfect alternative to simply disposing of glycerol, they’ve discovered a valuable hidden energy source. They’ve succesfully started turning low-grade sludge into high-value, hydrogen-rich gas.

Hydrogen is itself viewed as a future ‘clean’ replacement for hydrocarbon-based transport fuels, and most countries currently reliant on these fuels are investing heavily in hydrogen development programmes. At the moment, hydrogen is mostly in demand for use in fertilisers, chemical plants and food production.

The novel process was developed by Dr Valerie Dupont at Leeds University’s Faculty of Engineering. Dupont and colleagues mix glycerol with steam at a controlled temperature, separating the waste product into hydrogen, water and carbon dioxide, with no residues. A special absorbent material filters out the carbon dioxide, which leaves a much purer product.

“Hydrogen has been identified as a key future fuel for low carbon energy systems such as power generation in fuel cells and as a transport fuel”, says Dupont.

The way hydrogen is produced at the moment is a lot more expensive. Scientists use either increasingly scarce fossil fuel sources to create hydrogen, or they turn to less efficient methods such as water electrolysis.

“Our process is a clean, renewable alternative to conventional methods. It produces something with high value from a low grade by-product for which there are few economical upgrading mechanisms” says Dr Dupont.

She adds that her method is also a near ‘carbon-neutral’ process. “The CO2 generated is not derived from the use of fossil fuels,” according to Dr Dupont.

As the race towards the ‘hydrogen economy’ accelerates, the process needs to become scalable to industrial production, something which Dr Dupont says is definitely a possibility. Glycerine derived hydrogen gas could be an economically important and sustainable way of meeting the growing demand for hydrogen, she believes.

Dr Dupont’s research has been funded with a £270k grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) under the Energy programme.

December 10, 2007 at 9:28 am Leave a comment












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