Biofuel

Biofuel

You can make fuel cells out of cockroaches

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University have figured out how to make cockroaches into creepy-crawly batteries. Finally, living in filth can pay off by lowering your electrical bill!

Biofuel

1,000-pound butter sculpture will power farm for three days

Like deep-fried cake on a stick (or regional variants), butter sculpture is a staple of state fair tradition that will never go away even if it’s unnecessary and kinda gross. But at least the Pennsylvania …

Climate & Energy

Critical List: Vermont can’t shutter nuke plant; microbes turn seaweed into biofuel

The EPA will test water in Dimock, PA, and is delivering drinking water to four homes there. Silly Vermont. You wanted to shut down a nuclear plant? Only the federal government can regulate nuclear power! …

Climate & Energy

Critical List: Republicans still want Keystone XL; Obama ad focuses on energy

The State Department denied TransCanada’s permit application for the Keystone XL pipeline. President Obama agreed, saying that he was rejecting the permit because Republicans wouldn’t stop trying to force the pipeline forward. Republicans are responding …

Critical List: Shale gas could squash renewables; scientists fiddle with photosynthesis

New York City promises to double the percentage of waste diverted from landfills within the next five years. Increasing shale gas production could squash renewable energy development. The Obama administration released a draft plan for protecting the country's oceans. Scientists are fiddling with photosynthesis in order to make biofuel.

The man whose algae could take over the world

If life is really a disaster movie in which humanity is wiped off the face of the earth, J. Craig Venter will probably be the hubristic genius who gets us there. The man sequenced the human genome in like three years, and now he's focused on the genetic possibilities of algae. The goal is to program those little cells to produce biofuels. Here's his pitch, as told to Scientific American: Everybody is looking for a naturally occurring alga that is going to be a miracle cell to save the world, and after a century of looking, people still haven’t found it. We hope we’re different. The [genetic] tools give us a new approach to being able to rewrite the genetic code and get cells to do what we want them to do. Eek! Mutant algae!

Cooking grease is now so valuable that people are stealing it

Who says that clean energy policies don't create jobs? The boom in biodiesel has created not only a new commodities market in cooking grease, but a new business opportunities for security professionals -- not to mention providing work for thieves and black-market fences, which is a kind of job? That’s because fryer oil is now such a valuable resource that people are straight-up stealing it. In recent years, a couple of state governments have realized that cooking grease has a use as a biofuel source and have regulated grease collection. At the same time, though, some less-than-savory characters have realized the grease’s value as well and are boosting it, costing some small rendering businesses losses on the order of $750,000 per year. And so the world comes to this impasse, as described by The New York Times: The grease is often stored in black Dumpsters that reek of death, in back alleys, which is why pickups usually take place in the middle of the night.

Critical List: Ghost octopi in the Antarctic; without ethanol subsidies, gas prices rise

The creatures discovered living in thermal vents near Antarctica -- ghost octopi, limpets, yeti crabs -- are le awesome. Two major solar industry groups are merging in order to focus on state-level policies. With ethanol subsidies gone, gas will cost more.

Critical List: Judge nixes California’s low-carbon fuel standard; mystery foam attacks England

A federal judge put the kibosh on California's low-carbon fuel standard, which favors fuels that create fewer emissions to make and which, according to the judge, discriminates against out-of-state fuel producers. On carbon credit markets, …

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