Posts tagged ‘Biofuels’

Chile committed to biofuels based on algae

With a public-private investment of $ 31.6 million, Chile will bet this year on research and development of technologies that can produce biofuels from algae.

The funds will support three consortia – Desert Bionergy, Biofuels AlgaFuels and BAL-Biofuels -integrated by private companies and universities. These were awarded in a competition launched last January by the National Energy Commission and the state development corporation of productive CORFO.

This seeks to “promote technologies that are not yet fully mature or whose entry barriers are too high, but we trust will have an auspicious future,” said Energy Minister Marcelo Tokman to announce the winning consortium.

Among the factors considered for biofuel production support of micro and macroalgae, there is an extensive Chilean coast, more than 3 thousand kilometers, and high solar radiation, which favors the process of photosynthesis.

Another advantage is that unlike commodities such as sugar cane, palm and other oil, “the cultivation of algae does not require the use of agricultural land, irrigation water or fertilizer,” said Lance Ayrault, general manager of BAL Biofuels, a consortium that will cultivate the seaweed macroalgae (Macrocystis pyrifera) and hopes to produce up to 50 million gallons of ethanol a year, equivalent to five percent of total gasoline currently used in Chile.

Feedstock advantages of second generation sources (from non-food sources), Ayrault adds that “the ocean algae cleaned of excess nutrients, shelter marine life and crops can provide income to fishermen, in addition to diversifying the industry Chilean aquaculture, which now focuses on salmon and mussels.

The consortium will work to achieve the most productive strains of algae for cultivation in Chile, and the optimization of culture conditions to maximize oil production. In addition, it will conduct research and development of the biofuel production process.

In an estimated three to four years, Chile will count algae as a renewable source of biofuels.

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February 24, 2010 at 11:17 AM 1 comment

Obama unveils coal, biofuel plans

Hoping to earn support from coal and farm states for a languishing energy and climate bill, President Barack Obama on Wednesday created a task force to push for cleaner coal and unveiled a plan to help finance biofuels.

Moreover, a presidential committee recommended spending more money to make biofuels such as ethanol, saying the U.S. is likely to otherwise fall short of mandates for more environmentally friendly energy.

“I happen to believe that we should pass a comprehensive energy and climate bill,” Obama told a White House meeting of governors, many from coal-producing states. “It will make clean energy the profitable kind of energy, and the decision by other nations to do this is already giving their businesses a leg up on developing clean energy jobs and technologies.

“But even if you disagree on the threat posed by climate change,” he added, “investing in clean energy jobs and businesses is still the right thing to do for our economy. Reducing our dependence on foreign oil is still the right thing to do for our security.”

The task force will focus on ways to capture and store carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. “Rapid development and deployment of clean coal technologies, particularly carbon capture and storage (CCS), will help position the U.S. as a leader in the global clean energy race,” the White House said.

On biofuels, the U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to start a financial aid program for “folks delivering biomass for the collection, harvest, storage, and transportation of biomass to eligible biomass conversion facilities.”

Biofuels, which are made from biomass — organic matter such as wood, crops and animal waste — are used to power vehicles, but critics do not see them as the perfect replacement to high-polluting fossil fuels.

Since his State of the Union Address last week, the president has been embracing a range of fuel alternatives including nuclear and clean coal technology in a move likely to win support of some wavering Democrats in coal states and Republicans.

Obama’s push for ethanol could also shore up his support in farm states where ethanol helps support demand for corn.

Many pieces of those proposals were likely to win Republican support on Capitol Hill, where GOP allies have been elusive for a Democratic White House looking to pass controversial cap-and-trade legislation that would limit the nation’s emissions.

Energy has served as a major plank of the president’s domestic agenda, finding places on his travel schedule, in his speeches and in his budget proposal released on Monday.

For more click HERE

February 8, 2010 at 10:57 AM 1 comment

BIOFUELS: U.N. panel finds environmental assessments lacking

A U.N. panel said today that biofuels’ effects on air and water have not been sufficiently explored despite growing global production. The U.N. Environment Programme’s report concludes that so-called lifecycle assessments must go beyond calculating greenhouse gas emissions and consider how agricultural production of feedstocks affect the acidification and nutrient loading of waterways. “The available knowledge from life-cycle-assessments … seems limited, despite the fact that for those issues many biofuels cause higher environmental pressures than fossil fuels,” the report says.

October 16, 2009 at 10:31 PM Leave a comment


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