Written by Nick Chambers
Published on November 26th, 2008 2 Commentsin Ethanol, Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFV)
CNN is reporting that the ethanol industry’s top lobbying groups have sent a letter to the executives at Ford, GM and Chrysler, urging the Big Three to adopt widespread support for higher ethanol blends in gasoline and mandatory E85 flex fuel capability on all new cars.
Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year: Hypermiling
Written by Timothy B. Hurst
Published on November 17th, 2008 4 Commentsin Conservation, Fuel economy
(Picture from Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year: Hypermiling)
For the third year in a row, The New Oxford American Dictionary has selected an eco-themed word as its word of the year. “Hypermiling” or “to hypermile” as Oxford defines it, is “an attempt to maximize gas mileage by making fuel-conserving adjustments to one’s car and one’s driving techniques. Rather than aiming for good mileage or even great mileage, hypermilers seek to push their gas tanks to the limit and achieve hypermileage, exceeding EPA ratings for miles per gallon.”
The term, which Oxford says was coined by Wayne Gerdes of CleanMPG back in 2004, has received newfound attention in the last year thanks to sharp increases in gasoline prices and a political squabble about national energy policy and the benefits of properly inflated tires. ...
“Efficient” Irrigation Tool May Deplete More Water
by Ben Block on November 26, 2008
Drip irrigation runs water through plastic tubes that release the flow through small holes. The water is applied directly to crop roots or stems to minimize water loss. An Israeli water engineer was sitting under a tree one day when he noticed a leaking faucet slowly drip water to the tree's roots, a nearly 50-year-old irrigation tale says: "The idea inspired the invention of modern drip irrigation, also known as micro-irrigation. The method runs water through plastic tubes that release the flow through small holes directly to crop roots or stems..."
Corn Ethanol Bust Provides an Opening for 2nd Gen Biofuels
Written by Nick Chambers
Published on November 19th, 2008 20 Commentsin Algae, Ethanol, cellulosic ethanol
It’s a fact. Corn ethanol has lost its luster. Its intrigue has gone from, say, Sean Connery in Dr. No, to the “let’s-just-pretend-they-never-happened” Timothy Dalton years. Each day now brings news of another ethanol plant closure or project put on “hold.” In fact, the stream of bad news for corn ethanol has become so steady that it has largely faded into background noise — just another sign of a crashing economy.
In reality, however, corn ethanol was set up for a crash before the faltering world economy gave it the impetus to go over the edge. I’m not suggesting that corn ethanol is going extinct, just that, as some industry experts have put it, corn ethanol is going through a “major adjustment” where the outcome will be large swaths of consolidation and efficiency improvements within the industry.
In a way, corn ethanol is finally coming of age. To put it crudely, little Timmy has stopped having wet dreams and gone out and met some actual women.
Energy Agency Predicts High Prices in Future
by Ben Block on November 14, 2008
Photo courtesy Calum Davidson/Flickr
Current consumption rates will cause world energy demand to increase 1.6 per year until 2030, the IEA reports.
The world can expect energy prices to continue their generally upward spiral in the years ahead if global energy policies remain the same, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported this week.
Rapid economic development in China and India, coupled with relatively consistent energy use in industrialized nations, will likely strain the world's ability to meet a projected rise in energy demand of some 1.6 percent a year until 2030, the agency predicted Wednesday in its annual World Energy Outlook report [PDF].
Ethanol will curb farm income until economy rebounds, economist says
Jan Dennis, Business & Law Editor,
Photo by David Riecks
Agricultural economist Scott Irwin says agriculture’s fortunes are now tethered more to ethanol than food, making crop growers vulnerable to sharp price swings at filling stations rather than the typically slower cost shifts at grocery stores.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Ethanol helped drive two years of record profits for grain farmers, but also will hold income down during a looming recession that has already sliced crop prices in half, a University of Illinois economist says.
Scott Irwin says agriculture’s fortunes are now tethered more to ethanol than food, making crop growers vulnerable to sharp price swings at filling stations rather than the typically slower cost shifts at grocery stores.
“We’re just experiencing the full brunt of this new source of volatility,” said Irwin, a professor of agricultural and consumer economics. “When food prices were the main trigger, recessionary impacts were much less direct and much more gradual. Now, there’s this new connection through energy costs that immediately gets translated to agriculture.”
Energy demand has sagged amid a global economic meltdown, netting sharply lower prices for crude oil, gasoline and ethanol, a corn-based fuel additive, he said. That, in turn, reduced the amount ethanol producers can pay for corn and still break even, pulling down the market for both corn and other grains that have ridden its coattails since the ethanol boom took hold in 2006....