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Information regarding biodiesel and other renewable fuels applicable to TDIs.

Ohio biodiesel - is the cost worth it?

Being slightly bias toward diversifying our petroleum use and encouraging U.S. based "grown" clean fuels, I do struggle with saving taxpayers of Ohio money too. It's a challenging call particularly when budgets are tight. On one hand, Ohio farms grow soybeans (offsetting the burning of hydrocarbons),  industries hire people to produce biodiesel and offset a few barrels of imported petroleum ... on the other hand, market forces keep biodiesel prices higher than using oil.

The Ohio Department of Transportation spent an extra $3.3 million during the last four years on biofuels, according to a state auditor’s report, but clean fuel advocates say the benefits far outweigh higher prices at the pump.

Since July 2006, ODOT and other state agencies have been required to fill their vehicles with blended biodiesel when available. Blended biodiesel is a diesel replacement fuel made with plant materials, usually soybean and corn. Last year, choosing biofuels over regular diesel cost on average an extra 36 cents per gallon, according to the report.

Ohio Auditor Dave Yost suggested state lawmakers loosen the requirement or scrap the mandate, which would save ODOT an estimated $800,000 per year, he said.


Clean Fuels Ohio to talk about the future of transportation

For those who might be interested in what is happening in transportation here in Ohio (and the nation), Clean Fuels Ohio is hosting a lecture and a facilities tour at the Ohio State University Center for Automotive Research. The February 16th lunch will be a great opportunity to hear about the changes coming to the vehicles that we’re all accustom to driving as well as the fuels we will be using. A reservation is requested so be sure to contact Jill if you would like to attend … click on the image below for a PDF version of the flyer.

Clean Fuels Ohio PDF

Biodiesel primed to flourish in 2011

With an expected economic recovery underway and oil prices rising, the biodiesel industry is looking to produce "as much as a billion gallons" and be profitable in 2011.

Washington, D.C. — Boom times are ahead for a biodiesel industry that struggled just to stay alive in 2010.

The industry could produce as much as a billion gallons in 2011, nearly triple this year's production, said Gary Haer, chairman of the National Biodiesel Board.

Congress this month revived a critical $1-a-gallon tax subsidy that had lapsed at the end of 2009, and the industry also will benefit in 2011 from increased federal mandates on refiners to use biodiesel.

Federal stimulus funds available for Ohio Biofuel companies

Federal stimulus funds are political hot potato as the Novemeber 2010 election draws near, but it is still good to know where the money is being spent. According to Biodiesel Magazine,  the Ohio Department of Development will be using "$8 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, to help biodiesel and ethanol companies fund new or additional refining equipment." The $8 million is being awarded to applicants in amounts from $500,000 up to $1,000,000 in order to make Ohio a leading biofuels producer her in the U.S. The state of Ohio received a total of $96 million in total from the ARRA State Energy Program.

Interested applicants must reside in the state of Ohio and be able to invest at least 25% of the total equipment cost. The project must also be completed with 12 months and provide a direct economic benefit to Ohio. According to the article, "applicants will be judged on four categories: project readiness, financial ability to meet the 25 percent requirement,biowillie economic/employment impacts on Ohio and possible job creation and retention during construction phases." Perhaps a group like CinciTDI should initiate a business venture to produce and distribute biodiesel like BioWillie?

Mocroalgal biodiesel within the next 10 to 15 years

According to a Journal Science article by René H. Wijffels and Maria J. Barbosa, we are still a few years away from algae biodiesel becoming an affordable alternative to petroleum diesel, synthetics or grown feedstocks, but opportunities for companies are on the horizon for microalgae visionaries.

Microalgae are considered one of the most promising feedstocks for biofuels. The productivity of these photosynthetic microorganisms in converting carbon dioxide into carbon-rich lipids, only a step or two away from biodiesel, greatly exceeds that of agricultural oleaginous crops, without competing for arable land. Worldwide, research and demonstration programs are being carried out to develop the technology needed to expand algal lipid production from a craft to a major industrial process. Although microalgae are not yet produced at large scale for bulk applications, recent advances—particularly in the methods of systems biology, genetic engineering, and biorefining—present opportunities to develop this process in a sustainable and economical way within the next 10 to 15 years.

Algae for biodiesel research continues

For alternatives to petroleum, the hype has recently been about EVs and almost all auto makers are rolling out their electric vehicles, yet for most American automotive owners they are far from practical considering the miles of highway and distances we travel. For that, efficient clean diesels running biodiesel makes a lot of sense ... here's a NYTimes article offering some positive news on this carbon neutral renewable fuel especially if it is produced from genetically engineered algae.

Algae are attracting attention because the strains can potentially produce 10 or more times more fuel per acre than the corn used to make ethanol or the soybeans used to make biodiesel. Moreover, algae might be grown on arid land and brackish water, so that fuel production would not compete with food production. And algae are voracious consumers of carbon dioxide, potentially helping to keep some of this greenhouse gas from contributing to global warming.

Cyclox. A cleaner diesel fuel using papermill waste

 An article in AutoblogGreen highlighted some positive research on developing a greener diesel fuel.or really an additive that improves petroleum diesel fuel. According to the article, Michael Boot, a doctoral student and researcher from Technische Universiteit Eindhoven (TU/e) in the Netherlands, calls this new fuel Cyclox. It’s actually a blend of petroleum diesel and 10% cyclohexanone (CH2)5CO which reduces soot emissions by 50 percent. If fuel to air mixtures are adjusted to a 50/50 air to fuel ratio, Boot is able to achieve zero soot .

The additive being used isn’t all that exotic either; it can be made from lignin which is part of the cell walls from plants and trees. The blog post points to all the wasted ‘lignin’ produced during paper manufacturing as a readily available source of waste material that can be utilized to produce the additive.