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Biofuels - Dec 11

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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage


Liposuctioned fat could be bio-diesel fuel

UPI via Earth Times
OSLO, Norway, One person's liposuction is another person's biodiesel fuel, as a Norwegian businessman wants to use suctioned fat to develop an alternative fuel source.

Biodiesel can be produced from either plant oils or animal fat, and Lauri Venoy sees the product from liposuction procedures as a renewable energy source, Aftenposten said.

Venoy's firm in Miami is in negotiations with a hospital to give the company about 3,000 gallons of human fat a week from liposuction operations, which the company says is enough to produce about 2,600 gallons of biodiesel fuel.
(6 Dec 2006)
Sounds like an urban legend, but it's on the web so it must be true. (I haven't found this article on the UPI site, so it may be a hoax.) If true, however, this is truly a document for our times.

(UPDATE Dec 13: Thanks to a source within UPI, we find out that the story is legitimate and is posted at UPI.)

Does anyone want to calculate the EROEI (energy return on energy invested) for this process? Let's see: farming the food, processing and distributing it, the surgery, fat gathering and processing. How many inputs can you find? -BA


Can biodiesel compete on price?

Luke Timmerman, Seattle Times
Some people like biodiesel because it is renewable and pollutes less than regular diesel fuel. Others are intrigued by its potential to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil. That political and environmental allure has generated plenty of buzz this year.

What no one has demonstrated yet is whether biodiesel, as a business, can compete on the key factor for many consumers — price.

Imperium Renewables, a Seattle-based startup, has been obsessing over a business model it believes can beat regular diesel at the pump. The company says biodiesel can win at what it calls the "triple bottom line" of environmental, political and economic benefits.

The strategy relies on economies of scale. Imperium is building the nation's largest biodiesel refinery at the Port of Grays Harbor on the Washington coast, capable of supplying 100 million gallons a year — one-tenth of all the diesel burned in the state.
(10 Dec 2006)


Grist biofuels series shifts into future tense

Grist
We had a good long nap over the weekend, and now we're ready to bring you the second and final week of our biofuels series. Last week we looked at how the Western world grew to love oil, how corporations have pushed ethanol, and other sordid tales from the past. This week, we shift to the future: Amanda Griscom Little interviews venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, who's banking on biofuels; Jennifer Weeks forecasts the outlook for cellulosic ethanol; and Yolanda Crous talks with a young entrepreneur who's betting on grease conversion kits changing the landscape. And in a response to the series, an editorial by environmental-justice advocate Alan Hipólito asks a key question underlying the biofuels boom: who's going to get the jobs when this industry ramps up?

(11 Dec 2006)
Grist's series on biofuels has a wide variety of viewpoints. Good work! I think publications like Grist (free, online, with a definite mission) are the future of journalism. -BA


As Alternative Energy Heats Up, Environmental Concerns Grow

Patrick Barta and Jane Spencer, WSJ via Pittsburg Post-Gazette
Investors are pouring billions of dollars into "renewable" energy sources such as ethanol, biodiesel and solar power that promise to reduce the world's reliance on petroleum. But exploiting these alternatives may produce unintended environmental and economic consequences -- fallout that could offset many of the expected benefits.

Here on the island of Borneo, a thick haze often encloses this city of 500,000 people. The cause: forest fires that have blazed across the island, some of which were set to clear land to produce palm oil -- a key ingredient in biodiesel, a clean-burning diesel fuel alternative.
(5 Dec 2006)

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