A firefighter pauses at the $2013 Rim Fire in Yosemite National Park, August-September 2013 (Calfire photo on facebook). President Obama released the federal budget for 2015 last week. Overall, it involves the lowest deficit ($514 billion) of his five-year tenure in office and restores some funding cut in last year’s sequester. Parts of the new
The need to save the world from the abundance of environmental problems is increasing apace. The daily wave of Armageddon-type scenarios thrust upon us from the minute we switch on our electronica is so unnerving it requires a significant amount of denial to prevent constant anxiousness. However, denial can only get one so far —
Giving “belly up to the bar” a whole new meaning… Bad puns aside, Scottish scientists recently announced a method for converting whiskey-making byproducts into biofuel (no bottled whiskey is harmed in the making of this fuel). Using samples from the Glenkinchie Distillery, researchers at the Biofuel Research Centre at Edinburgh Napier University have developed a process
Wasted food energy in the U.S. totals some 2150 trillion kilojoules per year–more than the U.S. could produce in ethanol (grain) biofuels. Further, an article in the New Scientist asserts that this amount is greater than the energy produced annually from all the oil and gas extracted from the Gulf of Mexico.
The resurgent interest in alternative fuels has propelled interest in using biomass “feedstocks” as an energy source for liquid fuel and bio-electricity generation. But bio-fuel (and other ‘commodity chemicals’) derived from biomass faces one big technical challenge: how to separate the useful constituents of cellulose-based biomass (i.e., its its six-carbon, building block sugars) from the not so useful ones (such as lignin and hemicellulose)? REcetn research has confirmed that the key to biomass conversion to fuel is a fungus with the less-than-appealing name of brown rot fungus.
Following up on a post in April by Josh, “Productive Farmland Should Grow Food not Fuel,” and a post this week by Beth, “Is Biofuel Always a Green Option? EU Regulations Indicate Not,” in this guest post below, Lester R. Brown of the Earth Policy Institute discusses how cars and people compete for our cropland
Grow food not fuel (biofuels), scientists say.
Alan Doering of AURI says agricultural residues and co-products aren’t waste, they’re potential new revenue streams to power the future. AURI, or Agricultural Utilization Research Institute of Waseca, Minnesota, is a nonprofit organization that develops new uses for agricultural products and ag-processing co-products. Alan Doering, an Associate Scientist with AURI, filled me in on steps
Geek is becoming a badge of honor, rather than an epithet (but you knew that already, didn’t you). Popular Mechanics magazine has created a Geek the Vote site dedicated to examining some of the science and technology positions of 11 of the current crop of presidential candidates from both parties. While the site isn’t set
Well, our president raised his magical pen and signed the long-awaited, eagerly anticipated energy bill. Some people will call a leap forward and others will maintain it’s but a step. Congress will say it’s the result of compromise. I call it a sell-out to oil and industry. OK, so we get to raise the federal