Sep 18, 2009 | 26
You really can drive across the country on algae--and a 700-pound battery pack--or so proved the crew behind the documentary Fuel . Embarking on September 8 and pulling into New York City today, just in time for the film's premiere, the Algaeus covered 3,750 miles.
"It got 147 miles per gallon in the city," says Fuel director Josh Tickell of the converted to plug-in Prius hybrid that he drove on a mix of battery power and algae fuel blended with conventional gasoline. The Algaeus did less well on the highway: 52 mpg, because of the lack of regenerative braking that recharges the battery, among other things.
Aug 25, 2009 | 4
Twenty percent of watermelons never make it to the picnic table. Rather, one in every five is left to ripen and rot in the field, rejected for even the slightest of cosmetic imperfections. But U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) researchers may have found a way to elevate these outcasts to an even higher calling than the summer BBQ: biofuel production.
"As consumers, we would not choose that [misshapen or blemished] watermelon if we were in the supermarket," says Wayne Fish of the USDA's Agriculture Research Service's South Central Agricultural Research Laboratory in Lane, Okla., and lead author of a paper on the fruity biofuels idea published today in the journal Biotechnology for Biofuels. "So the growers won't even pick them."
Aug 5, 2009 | 2
ALBUQUERQUE—Cellulosic biofuels extracted from native switchgrass could lend a helping hand to imperiled birds that depend on vanishing prairies in the Midwest.
With palm oil plantations overrunning Indonesian rainforests and corn-based ethanol in the U.S. spurring new deforestation abroad, it may seem like biofuels and biodiversity don't mix. That's why ecologist Bruce Robertson at Michigan State University's W. K. Kellogg Biological Station and his colleagues wanted to know how birds and bugs would fare if the U.S. switches from corn-based ethanol production to cellulosic biofuels based on grasses. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is pushing these biofuels to help achieve further reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Switchgrass has been singled out for biofuel production because of its low water requirements and high nutrient efficiency, along with the fact that it is native to the U.S.
May 22, 2009 | 9
A new study says that within three years jumbo jet–makers could be testing a new type of wing that reduces midair drag and cuts fuel costs by an estimated 20 percent. The wing would do this using small, built in jets that redirect air around the wing during flight.
"This has come as a bit of a surprise to all of us in the aerodynamics community," Duncan Lockerby, an associate professor of fluid-solid mechanics at the University of Warwick in the U.K. and head of the research project funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and aircraft maker Airbus, said in a statement. "It was discovered, essentially, by waggling a piece of wing from side to side in a wind tunnel."
Mar 26, 2009 | 5
As home biodiesel brewers know, it's a time-consuming and chemically intensive process to transform French fry grease into a fuel. And then there's the problem of burning something in your truck that could have fed people; canola oil can be used for food or fuel, for example.
That's why many biodiesel devotees—including DARPA, the Defense Department's research arm—have turned to plentiful algae: it grows like a weed and certain strains can be turned into buckets of oil. Plus, it's not a nutritional staple like soy or palm oil.
The question is: How do you convert algae oil into biodiesel efficiently?
Mar 10, 2009 | 2
CAMBRIDGE, MASS.—By 2030, the people of the world will be driving as many as two billion cars—up from 700 million today—according to John Viera, director of sustainable business strategies for Ford Motor Company. Whether those cars are plug-in hybrids, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles or just supremely efficient internal combustion engines, the economic, environmental and social impacts will be huge—from lithium mining in Bolivia to road rage in China.
Mar 9, 2009 | 4
It looks like the U.S. isn't the only North American country planning to pump tens of millions of dollars into developing renewable forms of energy. The Canadian government has announced it will spend $41 million ($53 million Canadian) on 16 projects that promise to deliver new forms of clean energy or to help citizens reduce existing energy use.
Among them: (Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), which will administer the funds, didn't provide specific funding amounts, nor did it specify when the funds will be available.)
Fusion technology—General Fusion Inc. in Burnaby, British Columbia, working with Los Alamos National Laboratory and Powertech Labs Inc., will now have more money to develop its fusion technology, which uses sound waves to create a fusion reaction. The hope is that this approach will enable fusion to deliver on its promise of generating electricity without greenhouse gas emissions, pollution or radioactive waste.
Jan 30, 2009 | 1
Japan Airlines today flew a Boeing 747-300 with one engine burning a blend of biofuel and regular Jet A. The 90-minute flight from Haneda Airport in Tokyo relied primarily on a new form of jet biofuel derived from camelina, a weedy flower native to Europe, that can be alternated with wheat crops.
Chief pilot Keiji Kobayashi said in a postflight statement that there was no difference in performance between the engines running on regular jet fuel and the one burning the blend.
A consortium of airlines, aircraft manufacturers and engine makers has now tested four different biofuel feedstocks in an effort to assess whether biofuels could play a role in reducing dependence on petroleum-based jet fuel, both to combat climate change and lower fuel costs.
Jan 27, 2009 | 6
The fields of space and climate science are growing ever more closely entwined: Japan launched a new satellite to monitor greenhouse gases late last week, and NASA is set to launch its own Orbiting Carbon Observatory next month. But what about all the nasty fumes and gases spewed by the boosters needed to shoot those climate watchdogs into orbit?
A California company has a solution to shrink the ecological footprint of space exploration, but it remains to be seen whether it can or will be applied to real spaceflight: biodiesel-powered rockets. Flometrics, based in Carlsbad, Calif., earlier this month conducted a ground rocket-engine test of biodiesel (the "same stuff people put in their cars," according to company founder Steve Harrington) alongside RP-1, a standard rocket-grade kerosene fuel, and found them of almost equal fortitude. (The biodiesel delivered about 3 percent less thrust than the RP-1, according to Flometrics.) Biodiesel, a liquid fuel derived from vegetable oil or animal fat, has already been used to power a cross-country jet flight.
Dec 29, 2008 | 10
Biodiesel made from plant stock or animal fat (or a combination of the two) will likely get a lot of attention in the coming year as a potential fuel alternative to the petroleum, gasoline and kerosene polluting the environment. But don't expect human cellulite to make the cut when it comes to renewable fuel, despite claims by one Beverly Hills, Calif., doc that he powered his Ford SUV and his girlfriend's Lincoln Navigator using fat that he liposuctioned from patients.
Craig Alan Bittner, 40, medical director of the now-defunct Beverly Hills Liposculpture and a board-certified radiologist, didn't stick around to make his case for the use of flabby fuel. Rather, he fled to South America to avoid prosecution for several alleged crimes (in addition to the unsubstantiated claim of using human fat to make biodiesel), including allegedly allowing his assistant and his girlfriend to perform surgeries without a medical license, Forbes.com reports.
Deadline: Aug 31 2013
Reward: $100,000 USD
The Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative (GBFAI) is launching the 2013 Geoffrey Beene Global NeuroDiscovery Challenge whose
Deadline: Jun 29 2013
Reward: $7,000 USD
The Seeker for this Challenge desires proposals for chemical methods that could rapidly degrade a dilute aqueous solution
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