February 2007

Issue CoverView Full Print Edition

Business Briefs

Caltex sells E10 at this site in Brisbane, Queensland.

Caltex offers E10 at over 100 stations in Australia



The Way I See It

By Mike Bryan


Editor's Note

By Tom Bryan


NBB In Sight

By Joe Jobe


Bransby, left, looks on as President George W. Bush speaks about switchgrass as a renewable fuel

Briefing the President

By Lindsey Irwin

David Bransby has long been known among his industry peers as an authority on switchgrass. In 2006, amidst all the cellulose hype, he became a popular man with those outside of his circle as well, including President George W. Bush and English entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson. Bransby shares his wisdom with EPM regarding the current state and the future of the cellulose-to-ethanol movement.

In this splashy photo spread, EPM takes a vivid look at the new and continuing lines of flexible-fuel vehicles available for sale in the United States during this new model year.

One of the arguments ethanol producers face is the idea that consumers aren't ready to accept renewable fuels and technology and would rather continue to stick with what they know. However, it looks like the public is ahead of the pundits. A series of polls in 2006 shows widespread acceptance and demand for E85 fuel, if consumers could find a place to buy it.

E85 holds great promise as an integral part of California's transportation fuels strategy to protect air quality, curb greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy security.

IndyCar Series racing fans will witness the power of ethanol during the 2007 season. Every high-powered race car chasing the checkered flag this year will be fueled with 100 percent ethanol. Proponents of the switch from methanol to ethanol hope this is only the beginning and that others will follow IndyCar's lead.


Fanning the Flames

By Lindsey Irwin

Recent advancements in the laboratory and on Capitol Hill have set the ethanol industry ablaze, and it continues to spread like a prairie wildfire in the midwestern United States. Industry leaders would like to see those flames spread to the East and West coasts. The 2006 Biofuels Workshop and Trade Show series, which included events in both San Diego and Nashville, Tenn., was held to address regional barriers that keep the eastern and western states from Midwestern-style ethanol production success despite enormous fuel demands.

A Conduit for Biomass

By Nicholas Zeman

With worldwide production of biofuels at well over 10 billion gallons and $6 billion invested in building new ethanol plants by 2008, a global communication network for biofuels is needed. In addition, businesses worldwide are realizing the benefits of being eco-friendly. To facilitate worldwide communication about responsibly developing the rapidly growing biomass industry, BBI International has developed an initiative called Going Green Globally (g3). The global initiative is an opportunity to get connected without the common duties of member organizations.

Results of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission 2006 Report on Ethanol Market Concentration released in December came as no surprise to those in the industry. The study concluded that rapid expansion in the industry is diluting the big players' market share. Digging deeper, though, just what does the report say about the industry's future? Is a consolidation period looming?

Combating Climate Change with E85

By Anduin Kirkbride McElroy

Sweden is an international leader in the fight against global warming. Included amongst its strategies is the increased use and distribution of high-ethanol blends and flexible-fuel vehicles.

Brazil's Flex Power

By Nicholas Zeman

The market for flexible-fuel vehicles is thriving in Brazil where ethanol plays a large role in the country's transportation fuels sector. Considered a developing country less than 50 years ago, Brazil's ethanol economy has created a dynamic automotive industry.

One of the largest midstream energy companies in North America, Kinder Morgan, talks with EPM about what it would take to build an ethanol-dedicated pipeline.

Currently, a typical corn-based ethanol plant takes in more water than the ethanol it produces. That doesn't have to be the norm, however. At the Biofuels Workshop and Trade Show-Western Region, an industry expert talked about trimming water consumption by using current and future technologies.

Vance Bioenergy's biodiesel production facility in Malaysia is currently under expansion to more than 45 MMgy. The company produces biodiesel from palm oil.

Waving the Palm Branch

By Holly Jessen

The use of palm oil to make biodiesel can dredge up images of barren acreage where lush rainforests once flourished. However, palm oils' use extends far beyond that of the biodiesel industry, causing demand for the product to continue to rise. To combat bad images and to keep up with growing demand, some in the industry have formed an organization charged with developing management practices that conform to a global definition of sustainable palm oil production.

Hemp literally produces a "green" product when it's used to make biodiesel. Despite the allure of the green-hued fuel, a close examination of the controversial crop reveals several barriers for its use as a biodiesel feedstock in the near future. However, as movers and shakers attempt to legalize hemp farming in the United States, those barriers could go up in smoke.

Left to right: Chuang-Wei Chiu, UMC student; Suppes; William Sutterlin, CEO of Renewable Alternatives LLC; Mohan Dasari, UMC student; and Ali Tekeei of the U.S. EPA.

The Preventative Chemist

By Nicholas Zeman

If propylene glycol could be used as a primary component in the manufacturing of antifreeze, the demand for engine coolant in the automotive sector could be a valuable outlet for the glut of glycerin anticipated from the growing biodiesel industry. A University of Missouri professor has developed a process to convert glycerin to the nontoxic propylene glycol that could ease the minds of many biodiesel producers.

Looking over the brilliant yellow fields of canola, which resemble a 19th century impressionist painting, the farmers responsible for this budding success see more than the glowing hue shining from the tender plant's flowers-much more. In fact, canola's opportunity to shine as a leading biodiesel feedstock in the United States has arrived, with a force so great that its presence can already be sensed.

Sunflowers could be a new source of feed and fuel for farmers in the northeastern United States. Experiments being conducted in New Hampshire and Vermont will determine whether the crop is a viable alternative for use as cattle feed and the on-farm production of biodiesel.

The Canadian Conservative party's federal government appears to be moving ahead with its campaign pledge regarding renewable fuels. A late December announcement provided hope for biodiesel and ethanol stakeholders, but the expansion of each industry may hinge on the details.

A grassroots initiative dubbed 25x'25 has an ambitious goal to increase the United States' use of renewable energy from 6 percent to 25 percent in less than two decades. While the initiative's coalition of environmental groups, farm organizations and energy producers advocates a wide range of renewable technologies, biodiesel, ethanol and biomass are all part of the plan. More than half of all the renewable energy in 2025 will come from biomass if the organization's predictions prove accurate-with prosperous implications for biofuels producers and rural communities.


Crazy for Camelina

By Nicholas Zeman

Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer has referred to camelina as his new girlfriend. Although he can't put his arm around her, he believes that Camelina Sativa, a plant known primarily in North America as a weed, has potential as a feedstock for biodiesel production could be just the ticket to revive the economy in eastern Montana.

The importance of biodiesel fuel quality was hammered upon at the 2006 National Biodiesel Conference and throughout the past year. With the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's unsettling quality results fresh in people's minds, concerns over the condition of U.S. biodiesel supplies are mounting. Here's what the experts are saying about the state of quality in this industry today and what can be done to improve it.

McDonagh's Amusements used B20 and B50 biodiesel blends this past summer and plan to continue this season.

Biodiesel on a Stick

By Anduin Kirkbride McElroy

Step right up and take a ride on the biodiesel-powered Ferris wheel! That's right folks, 350 million annual carnival-goers now have the opportunity to experience the power of biodiesel!

Transporting biodiesel via pipeline would be cheaper and more efficient than current transportation methods. However, several issues need to be resolved before that can happen.

Pipeline Potential

By Anduin Kirkbride McElroy

In order for biodiesel to become a mainstream fuel, distribution costs have to be reduced and consumers need to have better access to the fuel. Pipelines, which are fast, reliable and inexpensive, offer a solution. Although some companies have conducted experiments to test a pipeline's feasibility, at this time it's not clear when or if it's a viable option for biodiesel.


Legal Perspective

By Nancy B. Vollertsen and John Chanin

Employers at the Center of Immigration Enforcement

Sign up for our e-newsletter!
BBI International Logo

@ Copyright 2024 - BBI International - All rights reserved.