Destiny

4 05 2009

Appropriately named, the city just south of Orlando Florida, called Destiny, is poised to become America’s first environmentally-sustainable city.

Destiny, Fl

Destiny, Fl

The city would span 61,000 acres in central Florida, keeping 25,000 acres as open space. The development project would only build residential buildings on land that has been exhausted by citrus groves and can no longer sustain agriculture.

Destiny is still in its early stages. The first phase includes constructing a “Research and Development Campus housing a Technology Incubator, Distribution Center, and an Academic Village and Training Center” on a 500-acre plot..

Eco-Sustainability

Eco-Sustainability

Eventually, city developers of Destiny like Randy Johnson, plan to harvest sorghum and jatropha plants to make biofuels. More ideas, such as using pyrolysis (burning organic matter to speed up decomposition), gasification and other “waste-to-energy” facilities like converting methane into energy for turbines, are in the works.





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.”





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.





Algae Back Under The Spotlight

30 03 2009

The Ohio-based company AlgaeVenture Systems announced on March 25, a new development in the production of algae into fuel that would cut the cost by 99 percent.

Algae Venture Systems

Algae Venture Systems

“For nearly 40 years, it has been widely accepted that if the cost of removing, harvesting and dewatering algae could be reduced to $50 a ton, algae could become a significant source of fuel,” said Ross Youngs, CEO of Univenture, parent corporation of AlgaeVenture Systems.

“We have demonstrated a truly disruptive technology that reduces that cost by more than 99 percent – from $875 per ton to $1.92 per ton,” Youngs said. “This breakthrough moves algae back into the spotlight as an economically viable, plentiful source of fuel.”





Italian Slime

30 03 2009

Algae

Algae

The green sludge that has clung to docks, boats and buildings throughout the old city of Venice, Italy is slowly becoming a saving grace instead of a nuisance.

Recently the city of Venice announced a 200 million euro project to build the first algae-fueled power plant.

“The algae will be cultivated in laboratories and put in plastic cylinders where water, carbon dioxide, and sunshine can trigger photosynthesis. The resulting biomass will be treated further to produce a fuel to turn turbines. The carbon dioxide produced in the process will be fed back to the algae, resulting in zero emissions from the plant.”

Algae into Fuel

Algae into Fuel