Origin Oil

20 04 2009

Origin Oil, a California-based company, sounds like a frontrunner in biofuel technologies. Recently the company announced a new way to extract oil from algae, thereby making the process from plat to fuel faster and cheaper.

Origin Oil

Origin Oil has a video on its Web site, showing the new process.

“The company’s technology combines electromagnetism and pH modification to break down cell walls, releasing algal oil within the cells. The oil rises to the top for skimming and refining, while the remaining biomass settles to the bottom for further processing as fuel and other valuable products.”





Clean Living

20 04 2009

Costa Rica is ahead of the U.S. in basically every aspect of environmentalism. In the 1990’s the country decided to actually do something to protect its environment, which is also the basis of its tourism. In the past 24 years Costa Rica went from getting 50 percent of its energy from hydroelectricity and 50 percent from oil, to getting 95 percent of its energy from renewables.

Five years ago, oil was found in Costa Rica and the government decided not to drill so as to preserve the local ecosystem — a novel idea.

Rain Forest In Costa Rica

Rain Forest In Costa Rica

“In 1997 Costa Rica imposed a tax on carbon emissions — 3.5 percent of the market value of fossil fuels — which goes into a national forest fund to pay indigenous communities for protecting the forests around them.”

Costa Rica

Costa Rica





Good News For Ethanol

8 04 2009

According to the American Clean Energy Act of 2009, financial support will be offered to companies if they promote biofuels and/or the use of electric cars. This is good news for ethanol because it is a type of biofuel.

Ethanol Producer Magazine

Ethanol Producer Magazine

Furthermore, the Environmental Protection Agency raised the renewable fuel standard, which designates the minimum requirement of renewable fuel per gallon of gasoline, to 10.21 percent for 2009. This is a 24 percent increase from the 2008 standard of 7.76 percent.

This initiative is not surprising considering President Obama’s recent nominations for two specific positions within the Department of Energy.

From left, Steven Chu and Steven Koonin at Berkeley

From left, Steven Chu and Steven Koonin at Berkeley

Steven Koonin was appointed to the position of Undersecretary of Science by President Obama on March 23. He had been the Chief Scientist at BP since 2004 where he researched renewable and alternative fuels.

Steven Chu was sworn in as Secretary of Energy in January by the Obama Administration. Chu won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997. “Both Chu and Koonin previously collaborated on biofuel research through a BP partnership with academia.”





Carbon Market Conference

7 04 2009

WASHINGTON DC — At a carbon market conference on Tuesday Nancy Sutley, chairperson of the Council on Environmental Quality, emphasized last week’s bill from Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and the regulations it placed on carbon cap-and-trade allowances. She said the energy goals of the bill were inline with those of President Obama.

Nancy Sutley, Chairperson for the Council on Environmental Quality

Nancy Sutley, Chairperson for the Council on Environmental Quality

“In setting out this agenda, the administration has signaled … that the United States is ready to assume leadership in helping to bring the world together to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions,” Sutley said. “It will also encourage the development and deployment of the clean-energy technologies that will be critical to address climate change, enhance energy security and create jobs that can’t be outsourced.”

The draft of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, introduced by Waxman and Markey, called for a 20 percent decrease in the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions based on 2005 levels, to be achieved by 2020, and an 83 percent cut seen by mid-century.

However, the Waxman-Markey draft did not address how companies will receive their carbon credits. But, Obama said he would like companies to purchase all of their credits at an auction, instead of just being handed them. This would raise hundreds of billions of dollars to fund clean energy programs and give tax breaks to greener companies. But some, including big polluters, say the costs of 100 percent auctions would be too great.





Antarctica Summit Meets In Baltimore

6 04 2009

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton kicks off Antarctic treaty delegation in Baltimore Monday. For the next two weeks more than 400 people from 47 different countries will discuss the state of the north and south poles. Environmentalists and scientists who have chronicled the depletion of polar ice and wildlife, will meet to discuss new laws to rectify this loss.

Polly Penhale, U.S. representative to the treaty's Committee for Environmental Protection

Polly Penhale, U.S. representative to the treaty's Committee for Environmental Protection

“This week they will discuss tourism’s environmental impact and the unwanted introduction of non-native animal and plant species – from bugs to grasses.”

Since 2007, two tour ships have gone down in Antarctic waters. More than 150 passengers from The Explorer awaited their rescue in lifeboats, some for four hours.

The Explorer

The Explorer





Climate Bill Introduced By The House

2 04 2009

A new bill from the House Democrats, called the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, would create the first federal requirements to boost energy efficiency and ensure that a quarter of the nation’s electricity comes from renewable sources.

The bill, introduced on March 31, would cut the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, and by 83 percent by 2050.

Henry Waxman

Henry Waxman

House Energy and Commerce Chairman, Henry A. Waxman (Calif.) and Rep. Edward J. Markey (Mass.), chairman of the subcommittee on energy and the environment, created the first draft of the bill.

Edward Markey

Edward Markey

“I think this bill is a game-changer that takes the best of industry’s and environmentalists’ ideas,” Markey said.