alternative fuels

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Scientists: We Can Make Ethanol Without Corn

New process should be significantly more efficient, too

(Newser) - Could ethanol someday essentially be produced out of thin air? A group of scientists has published research in Nature detailing a new method of making ethanol out of carbon monoxide gas, instead of corn or sugarcane, Reuters reports. Researchers saturated water with the gas, then zapped it with a novel... More »

Navy's New Jet Fuel: Seawater?

Researchers use it to power model plane

(Newser) - In the not-too-distant future, the US Navy could be getting some fuel from the very seas it sails on. That's thanks to Navy researchers who say they've figured out a way to convert seawater into jet fuel, the Huffington Post reports. Experts have been working on the idea... More »

Scientists Make Seaweed-Fuel Breakthrough

Next hurdle: bringing it to market

(Newser) - Algae-based fuel is a step closer to reality. Scientists in California have genetically modified a microbe so that it can convert seaweed into biofuel, the Guardian reports. "Natural seaweed species grow very fast—10 times faster than normal plants—and are full of sugars, but it has been very... More »

Ethanol Group Paid Gingrich $300K

Former House speaker was lobbying coalition's highest-paid consultant

(Newser) - Newt Gingrich earned more than $300,000 acting as a consultant to a coalition of ethanol lobbying groups in 2009, according to IRS records. The possible GOP 2012 candidate—who declared "I am not a lobbyist for ethanol" during a spat with Wall Street Journal editors over his support... More »

Hot Commodity: Used Restaurant Oil

Once easy to snag, it's becoming increasingly in demand

(Newser) - "Greasers" are drivers who fuel their vehicles with used frying oil—which used to be a snap to come by for free, thanks to restaurants who were willing to give the stuff away. But the vegetable oil is also a component of biodiesel, and as demand has grown, so... More »

New Car Runs on Compressed Air

From air to eternity for the environment

(Newser) - A tiny new car is literally a breeze to run and promises less damage to the environment than its rivals. The 3-wheel, 2-door, 4-seater AirPod, created in the UK, runs on compressed air and reaches speeds of up to 50mph. French distributor Motor Development International plans to sell the nearly... More »

Amtrak Testing Beef-Powered Train

Cattle byproducts power America's first biodiesel train

(Newser) - America's first biodiesel train runs through the heart of Texas cattle country using fuel made from beef byproducts. The daily Heartland Flyer between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth will use the fuel for a one-year trial run, after which the rail operator will analyze data on emissions and on the... More »

Exxon to Invest $600M in Algae-Based Fuel

Will partner with famed genome expert Craig Venter

(Newser) - Exxon Mobil, the biggest oil company in the world, will invest $600 million in turning algae into fuel, the New York Times reports. Known for blowing off concerns about global warming and dismissing biofuels—its CEO famously called ethanol “moonshine”—Exxon Mobil has in fact been researching alternative... More »

GM Strikes Hummer Deal

Buyer, price not disclosed

(Newser) - General Motors has announced a "tentative" plan to sell its Hummer brand to a buyer who could take control by the end of the third quarter, says the Wall Street Journal. The firm didn’t say who was buying it or for how much, but noted that the purchaser... More »

California Passes World's First Carbon Fuel Standard

Rule requires vehicle fuel's 'carbon intensity' to be slashed

(Newser) - California has passed a landmark rule to reduce the carbon content of vehicle fuel, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. The regulation, the first of its kind in the world, requires refiners and distributors to begin cutting the "carbon intensity" of fuel next year, and reach a 10% reduction by... More »

Paper Industry Gets Tax Credits for Burning Diesel

(Newser) - A tax provision in the 2005 transportation bill offering credits for the use of alternative fuels has had an unintended, even disastrous, result in the paper industry: “Paper mills are adding diesel fuel to a process that requires none in order to qualify for the tax credit,"... More »

Meet Tesla's Fully Electric Car

(Newser) - The electric car is real—at least in prototype form. Tesla Motors yesterday unveiled a working prototype of its much-anticipated Model S, a fully-electric 5-door sedan, the LA Times reports. It’s actually Tesla’s second electric vehicle, but unlike the Roadster, which is produced in London and carries a... More »

Ethanol on Tap From Beer Dregs

Brewer Sierra Nevada gets in on plan to produce alternative fuel

(Newser) - Brewer Sierra Nevada is part of an effort to turn byproducts of the beer-making process into usable, alternative fuel, CNET reports. E-Fuel sells a $10,000 portable ethanol refinery that the brewer will feed with its yearly output of 1.6 million gallons of “bottom of the barrel” waste.... More »

Human Waste Helps Oslo's Carbon Footprint

Buses in Norway's capital will run on methane distilled from feces

(Newser) - Norwegian officials have hit on a novel, if gassy, alternative to carbon-spewing gasoline, Dave Demerjian writes in Wired. Starting in September, Oslo will capture methane, a byproduct of the process at its sewage treatment plants, and use it to power city buses. Norway hopes to use the gaseous human contribution... More »

Electric Motorcycles Closing Gap on Speed

Brit creates all-battery bike for the racetrack

(Newser) - An English entrepreneur is developing an all-electric motorcycle he says can compete on the racetrack, Wired reports. Well, in the near future. His prototype—the bike is expected to be for sale next year and will be legal for street use—can go from 0 to 60 in 3.8... More »

PR Blitz Aside, Big Oil Drilled Consumers for Stockholders

As demand drops, companies shelve plans to explore—among moves that benefit shareholders, not consumers

(Newser) - Despite public-relations campaigns designed to make consumers think otherwise, big oil companies remain firmly tied to doing what’s best for their stockholders and bottom line, the Los Angeles Times reports. Though demand has outstripped production, companies spend more on stock buybacks than supply-boosting exploration. But, one analyst notes, “... More »

Falling Gas Prices Could Put Electric Car Back in Neutral

Surge got automakers in gear, but economic downturn makes new projects tougher

(Newser) - Car companies are revving up work on alternative energy vehicles, responding to higher oil prices that, well, don’t actually exist just now. New cars take about 5 years to roll out, meaning the auto industry can’t nimbly react to price changes: Oil, which cost $130 a barrel just... More »

India's Effort to Boost Biofuel Encounters Growing Pains

Country aims to feed boom with hardier crops, though it's a tough sell

(Newser) - Just months after India’s finance minister called converting food crops to biofuels “a crime against humanity,” the government has launched a program that aims to get 20% of India’s diesel from plants by 2017, relying heavily on hardy plants that won’t keep rob needed land.... More »

Biodiesel Gains Converts on Home Front

Reputable retailers selling kits to turn veggie oil to fuel

(Newser) - Half a billion gallons of it were brewed at home last year, and we're not talking beer. Homemade biodiesel is expanding from the days of hippies converting old electric water heaters to mainstream retailers offering safer, reliable processors, Wired reports. Anyone with the equipment, ranging from $3,000 to $13,... More »

As Oil Costs Bubble, Alternative Heating Gets Hot

With home heating oil prices rising, natural gas looks like a better deal

(Newser) - Northeasterners expecting the price of heating oil to hit $4.35 a gallon are creating an avalanche of new business for heating and cooling contractors as they increasingly look to convert from oil heat to natural gas, reports the Wall Street Journal. A conversion to natural gas heat can cost... More »

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