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Could Sweden become the OPEC-equivalent for bioenergy?

keulenae, theWatt
Some regions in the world have the potential to fully cover their prospective energy demand through energy crop production at a cost below 4 US$/GJ (1.4 c/kWh). Canada, the former USSR and Oceania even have the possilibity to grow more than needed for their domestic energy demand. A global trade in bioenergy is likely to develop, equivalent to 80-150 EJ.

A new paper from the journal Energy for Sustainable Development investigates the prospects for developing an industry in Sweden, based on large scale import of biomass and biofuels. Based on the potential for low-cost bio-energy, issues become transport cost and global freight capacity:

* transport cost: accepting to use 10% of the energy content of transported biomass, distances of 7600 km become feasible by ship
* global freight capacity for 810 EJ of bioenergy is available, and is expected to grow to 1350 EJ by 2050. In comparison, energy transport will be relatively small.

This scenario requires large areas of bioenergy plantations, and needs an international framework with criteria and certification schemes for bioenergy trade, to ensure proper attention is paid to biodiversity and socioeconomic aspects.
(19 April 2006)
The report is The prospects for large-scale import of biomass and biofuels into Sweden (PDF) is 13 pages long and was published in March.

Americans commute longer, farther than ever

Ellen Wulfhorst, Reuters via Yahoo!News
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Dave Givens drives 370 miles to work and back every day and considers his seven-hour commute the best answer to balancing his work with his personal life.

The winner of a nationwide contest to find the commuter with the longest trek, Givens is one of millions of people who are commuting longer and farther than ever before.

Studies show Americans spend more time than ever commuting and for a growing number, getting to work takes more than an hour. In the most recent U.S.
Census Bureau study, 2.8 million people have so-called extreme commutes, topping 90 minutes.
(20 April 2006)

Wall Street Journal’s green auto coverage
The Wheel Deal: WSJ edition

Sarah Kraybill, Gristmill
…the Wall Street Journal ran a story about a time in the oh-so-near future when there will be a billion cars on the road. The article fronted an Automotive section with a variety of eco-themed articles. And since you can’t read any of them online without a subscription, I thought I’d give a rundown of what the eminent WSJ has to say about all this car stuff. And I’ll provide you with links to the stories anyway, so subscribers have easy access to what they’ve already read, and non-subscribers can grind their teeth in frustration at being excluded from the elite club. That’s the kind of service we provide here at the Wheel Deal.

The Other Alternative is an article on biodiesel, with nothing new to Gristmill readers. Soybeans, corn, and switchgrass, oh my! Sound byte: “[P]roponents of biofuels say they are an idea whose time has finally arrived — and the push isn’t just coming from environmentalists.” If the push is coming from environmentalists at all — if you read this enviro-blog, you see a lot of hatin’ on biofuels.

The Big Chill talks about Americans turning back to smaller cars and how auto companies are making adjustments to have sweet rides available in the small-car market. Keep an eye out for the Ford Reflex, Honda Fit, Nissan Versa, Toyota Yaris, and Dodge Caliber.
(20 April 2006)
Links and more at the original.

Fuel-from-plastic potential wasted

Emma-Kate Symons, The Australian
Melbourne-based group OzmoTech has had to take its ideas overseas to be recognised
AN innovative Australian technology that converts plastic bags, ice-cream containers, milk crates and wheely bins into clean diesel fuel suitable for cars, trucks, trains and buses is seducing environmentally conscious investors and local governments across Europe.

But at home OzmoTech, the Melbourne-based group that developed the ThermoFuel process, is still a relatively low-profile waste-to-energy outfit battling government indecision over excise on fuels derived from plastics, and local council preferences for traditional waste-disposal methods.

The Dutch environmental technology firm EnvoSmart made headlines from Paris to Amsterdam and Berlin when it paid $190 million for the exclusive continental European rights to OzmoTech’s system for turning plastic waste typically destined for landfills into standard diesel.
(20 April 2006)
Related from Australia: Time’s right for fuel alternatives: Costello