Posts Tagged ‘ethanol’
Dilma Rousseff and Raul Castro
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission
Brazil is easing Cuba into the free market economy with a generous package of aid in cash and kind and joint projects that give the Latin American country a pre-eminent position in Havana’s heady mix of communism and experimental capitalism.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff appeared to be in the right place at the right time when she flew into Havana in a spirit of revolutionary camaraderie and clinched deals that secured Brazil’s status as the senior partner in a long-term, multifaceted relationship…
Rousseff followed in the footsteps of populist former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva…The “excellent” ties secure Brazil an advantageous position in Cuba’s hugely porous economy, hungry for basic consumer goods, investment and modernization. Economic upgrading in all sectors and a phased end to Cuba’s international isolation offer lucrative opportunities for Brazil’s state and private sectors.
Brazil will invest $640 million in a $900 million modernization of the Mariel container port, west of Havana, led by the Brazilian firm Odebrecht.
Brazil is also giving Cuba $400 million in credits for food imports and investing $200 million in modernizing Cuban agriculture. Rousseff pledged Cuba a long-term commitment to help its economic regeneration…
Brazilian interest in the modernization of Cuban sugar industry is linked to Brazilian plans to promote its pioneering production of cane-derived ethanol, which has led to most new cars in Brazil being fitted with flex-fuel technology to run on ethanol or gasoline or a mixture of both.
The port modernization program also fits in with Brazil’s plan to forge fruitful partnerships that will benefit its aim of making its exports of both commodities and manufactured goods more competitive in the international markets.
Cubans say they need the Mariel port to be ready for expanded trade with the United States, whenever the U.S. embargo is lifted. The embargo, begun in 1960, is the longest on record.
Now, which will provide long-lasting trade and commercial relationships? Efforts like this from Brazil or the usual capitulation to Gusano voters in Florida by Congressional politicians?
Pilgrim Chickens on the left – with his favorite chicken plucker
On a July morning in 2008, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas and several aides boarded a plane for Washington to lobby on ethanol use, an issue important to corn growers and livestock owners in his state.
The growers favored federal rules requiring the use of the corn-based fuel in gasoline, but beef and chicken suppliers said the rules would raise the price of feed stocks. Mr. Perry was firmly in the livestock camp, and he took his case straight to the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, urging him to waive the ethanol mandate to lower the cost of corn.
While executives from the livestock industry did not attend Mr. Perry’s private meeting at the E.P.A., the governor would not have made it there without them — literally. The Hawker 800XP plane that Mr. Perry and his team flew from Austin to Washington and back was provided by Lonnie Pilgrim, one of the world’s largest chicken producers and a leading critic of the ethanol mandate…The poultry magnate also flew the governor to Washington in June to take part in a news conference on the issue.
The two trips, each valued at $9,179, were among more than 200 flights worth a total of $1.3 million that Mr. Perry has accepted — free — from corporate executives and wealthy donors during 11 years as governor, according to an analysis of Texas Ethics Commission records by The New York Times.
Although many of the trips were for political or ceremonial events — not unusual for elected officials — others involved governmental functions, including some that were of interest to the planes’ owners. As a result, a group of well-heeled businessmen has effectively helped underwrite some of Mr. Perry’s activities as governor.
The head of a Texas oil refinery spent almost $20,000 flying Mr. Perry and his staff to a trade meeting in Mexico, where the governor asked Mexican energy officials to consider more joint ventures with Texas oil companies. Other Texas business owners have paid Mr. Perry’s way to Washington to lobby on immigration, testify before Congress and meet with the homeland security secretary.
Mr. Perry’s travels adhere to Texas ethics laws, and he is far from alone in accepting gifts of air travel. But among politicians he stands out for taking private flights for activities that are considered part of his job as governor. That is different from campaign travel or the sort of quasi-official trips for which officeholders normally use private planes, like attending a conference or giving a speech.
Texas ethics laws, of course, is a contradiction in terms. Ethics has little or nothing to do how Rick Perry or pretty much any other Texan governs. Taking care of the Big Boys is what counts. The Texas legislature will make certain laws are bent, broken, or stapled together to allow for as much influence as “grassroots” organization like the Petroleum Club or Chickenpluckers International require.
RTFA for lots of details, anecdotes, the sort of corrupt practices considered trivial in Texas.
Sugarcane grown to power Brazil’s cars and trucks as an alternative to climate-warming fossil fuels has a beneficial side effect: it also cools the local air temperature…
Researchers warned that this does not mean replacing Amazon forest or other natural vegetation with sugarcane fields. The benefit comes when sugarcane is introduced into existing agriculture, replacing pasture land or crops like soybeans.
Sugarcane manages this win-win feat by its ability to reflect sunlight and to “sweat” out cooling moisture into the air, said lead researcher Scott Loarie of the Carnegie Institution for Science.
Plants draw moisture from the soil and emit it into the air in the process of photosynthesis…”We showed that with sugarcane, it was these evaporative cooling effects that were much more significant than the albedo (reflectivity),” he said, speaking of research published online in Nature Climate Change.
Sugarcane is used in biofuel that powers about a quarter of the motor vehicles in Brazil, and in that way, it helps to keep some of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, which affects global climate.
However, because of its efficiency at emitting cool moisture, it also can push down local temperatures by 1.67 degrees F (0.93 degrees C) compared to other crops or pasture.
Now, if we could only figure out how to do this with kudzu?
They’re also beta-testing a diesel-hybrid for Peterbilt
A brewing company in Chico, Calif. is adapting a new system at its brewery that will make its own high-quality ethanol fuel from discarded beer yeast.
The Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., working with the E-Fuel Corporation, will start testing the system in the second quarter of this year, and hopes to move to full-scale ethanol production in third quarter.
“This has the potential to be a great thing for the environment and further our commitment to be becoming more energy independent,” said Ken Grossman, founder and president, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Currently, Sierra Nevada resells almost 1.6 million gallons of unusable “bottom of the barrel” beer yeast waste to local farmers to be used as dairy feed. The waste contains 5 to 8 percent alcohol content, including enough yeast and nutrients to enable the ethanol system, the MicroFueler, to raise that level to 15 percent alcohol, allowing for an increased ethanol yield.
We usually drink local beer. I guess we’re going to have to think about switching to Sierra Nevada. What a thoughtful, responsible company.
Saying “fill ‘er up” with cellulosic ethanol instead of gasoline or corn-based ethanol may be even better for our health and the environment than previously recognized, a new University of Minnesota study shows.
Cellulosic ethanol—made from wood, grasses, or the non-edible part of plants—has fewer harmful effects on human health because it emits smaller amounts of fine particulate matter, an especially damaging component of air pollution, the researchers find.
Earlier work showed that cellulosic ethanol and other new biofuels also emit lower levels of greenhouse gases…
The study is the first to estimate the economic costs to human health and well-being from gasoline, corn-based ethanol, and cellulosic ethanol made from biomass.
“To understand the environmental and health consequences of biofuels, we must look well beyond the tailpipe to how and where biofuels are produced. Clearly, upstream emissions matter,” Hill says.
The paper also points out that other potential advantages of cellulosic biofuels, such as reducing the amount of fertilizer and pesticide runoff into rivers and lakes, may also add to the economic benefit of transitioning to next-generation biofuels.
If you stay up-to-date with the science, none of this is surprising. But, it surely is useful to have a compact chunk of research at hand to pass along to beginners. Uh, that includes politicians, of course.
The American ethanol industry, the world’s largest, is about to get a little sweeter. Louisiana Green Fuels (LGF), an international investment group, says it is on schedule to open up the first commercial sucrose-to-ethanol plant in America. LGF, which is 80 percent owned by Inverandino, a Colombian business group, tells Earth2Tech it plans to have four ethanol plants and three sugar mills in operation in Louisiana in the next 10 years pumping out 100 million gallons of sugar-based ethanol a year.
In the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, LGF has been buying up shuttered sugar mills and dormant equipment in the devastated Gulf region, and now owns three mills in Louisiana. Prices were probably pretty good for those hurricane-ravaged mills and LGF says that a sucrose-based ethanol industry could help revitalize the area…
This is a good experiment for the American ethanol industry, which has come under heavy fire for using so much corn for fuel. Sugar can give an eightfold return on the fossil energy used to make it while corn only yields 1.3 times the fossil energy used. Count sugar in as a potential major player in U.S. biofuels market.
All overdue, of course. Northern tier states with an excess of sugar beet product should have been in on this already.
Sugar cane mills can sell the bagasse for cellulosic ethanol production as that ramps up, as well.