February 10, 2006

Oil & Biofuels

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Design cont...
Design Within Reach - Design Notes Newsletter - February 8, 2006

Design in Buenos Aires - Santiago Calatrava's bridge and more...

"Even with only tourist magazine articles as a guide, two notable examples of design in Buenos Aires stood out immediately: Santiago Calatrava's Puente de la Mujer bridge (2001) and the new Philippe Starck Faena Hotel + Universe, both in the same developing wharf district. The bridge is a unique and elegant structure, but the dark water stains on its base..."

"Buenos Aires has always had, and proudly proclaimed, a close connection with European culture. But the unique, entirely Argentinean character that separates this city from traditional European centers is its most appealing aspect."

Web Link - Design Within Reach Newsletter - February 8, 2006
Web Link - Santiago Calatrava's Puente de la Mujer bridge


Energy - Oil and Biofuels

A great deal of attention has been paid to oil and biofuels in recent days. Below are two references that offer insight into oil sources and biofuel production.

In addition to the two references below an article titled How to Beat the High Cost of Gasoline - Forever! appeared in the February 6, 2006 issue of Fortune Magazine. The lead to the article says "Stop dreaming about hydrogen. Ethanol is the answer to the energy dilemma. It's clean and green and runs in today's cars. And in a generation, it could replace gas." A link to the article follows:
Web Link - Fortune Magazine article - February 6, 2006

Wall Street Journal

On February 2, 2006 the Wall Street Journal published an article titled "Bush's Latest Energy Solution, Like Its Forebears, Faces Hurdles". The article contained the illustration reprinted below to illustrate sources of oil imports. The data was obtained from the Energy Information Administration's Petroleum Supply Monthly for January 2006.
Chart Link - View the EIA data chart for 1991-2004
Web Link - EIA Petroleum Supply Monthly - January 2006


The Path Forward for Biofuels and Biomaterials

from Science Magazine, 27 January 2006

"Biomass represents an abundant carbon-neutral renewable resource for the production of bioenergy and biomaterials, and its enhanced use would address several societal needs. Advances in genetics, biotechnology, process chemistry, and engineering are leading to a new manufacturing concept for converting renewable biomass to valuable fuels and products, generally referred to as the biorefinery. The integration of agroenergy crops and biorefinery manufacturing technologies offers the potential for the development of sustainable biopower and biomaterials that will lead to a new manufacturing paradigm."

"Shifting society's dependence away from petroleum to renewable biomass resources is generally viewed as an important contributor to the development of a sustainable industrial society and effective management of greenhouse gas emissions. In the United States, bioethanol derived primarily from corn contributes 2% to the total transportation fuels mix; another 0.01% is based on biodiesel. The U.S. Department of Energy has set goals to replace 30% of the liquid petroleum transportation fuel with biofuels and to replace 25% of industrial organic chemicals with biomass-derived chemicals by 2025 (2, 6). The European Union Directive 2003/30/EC ("the Biofuels Directive") adopted in 2003 targeted 2% of all petrol and diesel transport fuels to be biomass-derived by December 2005 and 5.75% by December 2010. This directive was motivated by concerns to ensure the security of the European energy supply, environmental sustainability, and achievement of Kyoto Protocol targets (2). These biomaterials and biofuels production targets are certainly achievable; Parikka (7) has reported the current sustainable global biomass energy potential at 1020 joules per year, of which 40% is currently used.

"Given these accomplishments, a key question is "When will biorefineries be ready to make a major contribution?" One answer, coming from a forum at the 27th Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals, was that some applications are ready now, but their impact will be limited with current technologies and feedstocks (8). We need commercialization and policy support for current and near-term opportunities to grow the industry from its present base. Equally important, we need research and development to increase the impact, efficiency, and sustainability of biorefinery facilities. The current production and use of bioethanol and biodiesel processes are a starting point. It is our belief that the next generational change in the use of bioresources will come from a total integration of innovative plant resources, synthesis of biomaterials, and generation of biofuels and biopower."

The fully integrated agro-biofuel-biomaterial-biopower cycle for sustainable technologies.

"The integrated biorefinery is an approach that optimizes the use of biomass for the production of biofuels, bioenergy, and biomaterials for both short- and long-term sustainability. The demands of future biorefineries will stimulate further advances in agriculture in which tailored perennial plants and trees will provide increasing amounts of bioresources, as highlighted in the "Billion-Ton" report (see web link below). The advances in plant science will certainly be influenced by societal policies, land use practices, accelerated plant domestication programs, and research funding to develop this vision. Nonetheless, given humanity's dependence on diminishing nonrenewable energy resources, this is a challenge that must be addressedčand we need to get on with it!"
Related information:
Web Link - The Technical Feasibility of a Billion-Ton Annual Supply of Biomass Feedstock (a 60 page PDF file)

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Photo of the week

ICE - February 2006

Two ethanol related companies

Pacific Ethanol - (stock symbol PEIX)

"Pacific Ethanol Inc.'s mission is to become the West Coast's leading marketer and producer of renewable fuels. Our product line currently emphasizes clean-burning corn-based ethanol. With over twenty years of experience in biofuels development, we are strategically poised to meet the explosive demand for domestically sourced alternative fuels."
Web Link - Pacific Ethanol

BC International Corporation - (private)

"BC International Corporation ("BCI"), incorporated in 1994 in Delaware, is a privately held company with its corporate headquarters in Dedham, Massachusetts.

"BCI has landmark patented and proprietary biotechnology for producing ethanol (ethyl alcohol) from low-cost and abundant cellulosic biomass materials, either alone or in conjunction with the production of ethanol from conventional feedstocks. BCI's technology is designed to achieve high ethanol yields from the carbohydrates that make up the majority of such materials, and it expects its costs to be much lower than those of either conventional processes that use sugar and starch crops as feedstocks."
Web Link - BC International Corporation

Redbud Wind - energy project archive - Updated 1/20/06
Click the wind turbine icon see progress notes
for the Redbud Wind I site at Enid, OK.

George Beggs 12/2005 - Feedback is welcome

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