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News stories tagged with "biofuel"

Algae looks good for biodiesel

As the U.S. looks for ways cut dependence on foreign oil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, biofuels are rising toward the top of the mix of alternative fuels. Bio-fuels such as ethanol or bio-diesel burn cleaner than oil-based diesel and are seen as an environmentally-friendly replacement for our 60 billion gallon per year thirst for diesel oil. They're made from plants, and here's the rub. There aren't enough crops or land to produce enough bio-diesel to replace fossil fuel-based diesel. New research is looking at another raw material: algae. Amy Quinton reports.  Go to full article

Oil companies serve up bio-diesel

For years, environmental activists have been demonstrating that you don't need gasoline to fuel a car. Some people have been retrofitting cars with diesel engines that can be powered by restaurant grease. But with the price of oil soaring in recent years bio-diesel's been getting more popular. Brad Linder reports that it's moving from a fuel for hobbyists to an energy alternative that's even getting the attention of oil companies.  Go to full article

Alternative energy subsidies sound policy?

Americans are thinking more about energy. We're facing higher prices. There's worry about climate change. And there are questions about whether our need for foreign oil is forcing the country into wars in the Middle East. Even former oilman President Bush says we have to kick our addiction to oil. But what's the government doing about it? The Environment Report's Stephanie Hemphill looks at our national energy policy and its priorities.  Go to full article

Gasification: alternative energy miracle?

The Potsdam-based Zeropoint Clean Technology is building a privately funded plant in Massena. It's scheduled to be built by early 2007. It's a small test facility, but the process could pioneer a radically different approach to making ethanol and other biofuels. The process was invented by Clarkson chemist Phillip Leveson. Gregory Warner recently visited Dr. Leveson's lab to talk about gasification, and glimpse a possible future.  Go to full article

Scientist warns of biofuel invasives

Some scientists are sounding a warning bell about the rush to plant new biofuel crops. The Environment Report's Charlie Schlenker reports they worry the new crops could damage the environment.  Go to full article
Switchgrass, a native prairie grass, has remarkable biomass potential.
Switchgrass, a native prairie grass, has remarkable biomass potential.

The Biofuel Economy, part 3: switchgrass and solid fuel

Solid fuel isn't a sexy technology, but it's amazingly energy efficient. In fact there's really no comparison. The amount of energy you get burning corn in a corn stove, say, is way more than you'd get out of ethanol from the same corn. But the United States has always been a liquid fuel economy. Our infrastructure and our government subsidies reflect that. And so with alternative energy, liquid fuels like ethanol and biodiesel get a lot more attention. It's different in Europe. Now many farmers are looking across the Atlantic to find solutions for the North Country. Gregory Warner reports.  Go to full article

The Biofuel Economy, part 2: ethanol alternatives

Ethanol fuel is grain alcohol blended with regular gasoline. E10 is the most common blend, 10% ethanol, 90% gas. It runs in regular cars. About a third of the gas sold in America is E10. E85 is 85% ethanol and only runs in specially designed engines. Ethanol is big business for American corn farmers. But corn isn't the only crop you can make ethanol from. And it may not be the best, for the environment or for North Country farmers. New York State is taking steps towards a radically different kind of ethanol production. Gregory Warner reports.  Go to full article

Biofuel Economy, Part I: Biodiesel

Biofuel. You hear a lot about it these days. And how the growing industry means new opportunities for farmers and foresters and other businesses in the North Country. Over the next few days we're going to take a closer look at what the biofuel economy might mean for the North Country. We'll look at big plans and small solutions.

First, what is biofuel? Biofuel means using biological material for energy. Like burning wood in a woodstove for heat. There are two kinds of biofuel used for transportation: ethanol and biodiesel. Ethanol is a gasoline additive made from vegetable crops - mostly corn. We'll talk more about ethanol tomorrow.

Today we'll look at biodiesel. Biodiesel is basically vegetable oil with the glycerin removed. It can run in diesel engines. It's mostly made from soybean oil. As fuel prices rise, It's becoming more cost-competitive. But as Gregory Warner reports, many consumers and farmers are still wary.  Go to full article

Agriculture Lobbyists Find Good News in Pataki Agenda

Governor Pataki's most prominent reference to agriculture in his State of the State speech Wednesday was a commitment to expand the state's farmland preservation and conservation program. Yesterday Pataki announced $12 million in grants to protect active farmland statewide, including on two North Country farms. As David Sommerstein reports, other good news for agriculture was hidden in the details of Pataki's message.  Go to full article

Ag Department Using More Farm Grown Fuels

The Department of Agriculture is expanding its use of alternative fuels generated by farms. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium's Lester Graham reports.  Go to full article

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