biodiesel

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How Your Coffee Grounds Can Help Save the World

Heating used grounds with potassium hydroxide enables methane storage

(Newser) - As if coffee isn't amazing enough already. A team of researchers—who, yes, got the idea over a cup of coffee—are reporting in the journal Nanotechnology that soaking spent coffee grounds in potassium hydroxide and then heating the grounds in a furnace creates a material that can store... More »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Biofuel Boom Runs Out of Gas

(Newser) - Once considered a win-win for the environment and energy independence, America’s biofuel industry is sputtering to a halt, the Wall Street Journal reports. Thanks to the recession, lower oil prices, and government delays, two-thirds of American biodiesel refineries—dozens of plants—are idle, and companies across the country are... More »

America's Greenest Ski Resorts

(Newser) - Despite their reputation for being unfriendly to the environment, several ski resorts have become more sustainable, says Treehugger, which lists seven of the nation’s greenest mountain getaways.
  1. The Aspen Skiing Company, Colorado: This four-mountain resort said to be at the center of the green movement began eco-friendly initiatives in
... More »

E. Coli Biofuel Can Go Right in the Tank

(Newser) - Scientists have genetically engineered the E. coli bacteria to produce a carbon-rich alcohol molecule equivalent in energy to gasoline, Popular Mechanics reports. The “long-chain” alcohol does not occur in nature, but with six to eight atoms of carbon, it is far more efficient than ethanol, which has only two.... More »

Winter Chills Green Energy

Renewable energy industry works to deal with seasonal variations

(Newser) - Winter weather is cooling newfound enthusiasm for renewable energy, the New York Times reports. Solar panels get snowed up or suffer from lack of sunlight on short winter days, and biodiesel sometimes congeals in cold weather. Wintry weather is a plus for wind power, but turbines can get iced up... More »

Doc Used Patients' Blubber to Fuel Cars? Fat Chance

Beverly Hills surgeon looks to have left country ahead of health officials' raid

(Newser) - A Beverly Hills plastic surgeon who claimed to have turned excess fat taken from patients into “lipodiesel” that could power his girlfriend’s Lincoln Navigator is apparently on the run after California health officials raided his practice, the Times of London reports. A message on Alan Bittner’s site... More »

One Man's Coffee Grounds Are Another's Biodiesel

Waste can be turned into cheap fuel

(Newser) - If lattes seem overpriced now, wait until coffee becomes a precious commodity. An engineering professor spied an opportunity in the layer of oil he found floating in an old cup of coffee one morning. He extracted what was left in some used grounds—about 10%-15% oil by weight—with simple... More »

Biofuels Not Worth Upward Push on Food Prices: UN

Nations should rethink subsidies: report

(Newser) - While use of biofuels is supposed to combat climate change, the effects of its production on food prices is not worth the emissions they offset, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization said today. The FAO called for countries to review production quotas and subsidies that encourage biofuel use in... 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 »

Biofuel Firms' African Land Grab Has Colonial Echoes

Western companies shower nations with promises met with some suspicion

(Newser) - Africa is being seeded for a coming boom in biofuels, as Western companies buy thousands of acres to cultivate vegetable-oil-rich plants like the Jatropha curcas, Der Spiegel reports. In countries like Tanzania, Ghana and Ethiopia, firms are often securing century-long farming rights for nothing but a promise to invest in... More »

Algae: Lean, Green Biofuel?

Firm says it can produce algae oil at $60 a barrel; US dare not miss its chance, writer says

(Newser) - The steam engine wasn’t invented in the eighteenth century—it was invented in AD 60. But Romans instead stuck to their old standby technology: slaves. Now, we’re in danger of repeating that mistake with biofuels, writes David Ewing Duncan for Portfolio. While Congress is pumping subsidies into corn-based... More »

He Can Stop Terror; Carbon's Another Story

Writer checks up on 24's new eco-mission, finds mixed results

(Newser) - Fox's 24 has its share of problems—Kiefer Sutherland's DUI imprisonment, rewritten scripts, the writers strike—but one writer still won’t give Jack Bauer a break, hitting the set to probe the show’s promise to reduce its carbon footprint. One exec congratulates himself on picking “our toughest... More »

Green Tech Boosts Heartland

Advances no longer limited to America's coastal cities

(Newser) - Green-tech venture capital is still concentrated in coastal urban centers, but middle America is catching up. Silicon Valley, Massachusetts, and Washington state are among the top five hotspots, but so is Texas and the nation's agricultural heartland, reports CNET, which tracked the money fueling startups and university research. More »

San Francisco Gases Up, Goes Green

City switches its entire diesel fleet to soy-based biofuel

(Newser) - San Francisco may have the biggest green fleet in America now that all 1,500 diesel vehicles—including ambulances, fire engines, buses and street sweepers—run on B20, a combination of soy-based and diesel fuels. The transformation is part of the city's plan to  reduce toxic emissions to 20% below... More »

Big Industries Joust Over Energy Prices

Companies strive to suit their own ends in tug-of-war over green policies

(Newser) - US industries are at each other’s throats over energy policy as each sector tries to protect its own interests. A prime example came last year, when Dow Chemical's push for tougher automobile fuel-economy standards—which would help keep a lid on Dow's oil expenditures—ran afoul of automakers, who... More »

Chicken Fat Doubles as Diesel

Tyson, ConocoPhillips team up to produce biofuels

(Newser) - Two corporate giants are teaming up to produce biofuels and boost their bottom lines. Tyson Foods, the world's biggest meat producer, and third-largest U.S. oil company ConocoPhillips will be using about half of Tyson's animal fat to make a renewable diesel fuel, which will account for about 3% of... More »

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