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Tagged with biofuels

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16-year-old scientist could turn Egypt’s plastic problem into a biofuel boom

Image courtesy of European Commission.

What have you done for your country lately? Sixteen-year-old Azza Abdel Hamid Falad has figured out a way to make Egypt $78 million worth of biofuel each year. The key: an inexpensive catalyst that will turn plastic into fuel.

Green Prophet explains:

The idea of breaking down plastic polymers into fuel feedstocks, the bulk raw material used for producing biofuel , is not a new idea. But Faiad has found a high yield catalyst, aluminosilicate catalyst, that breaks down plastic waste producing gaseous products like methane, propane and ethane, which are then converted into ethanol to use as biofuel.

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Critical List: Gas prices drop; Mount Fuji’s on top of an active fault

Gas prices are falling.

Americans are willing to deal with a 13 percent hike in electricity bills if it means more of their power will come from clean energy.

Twenty-six states are fighting for schools to teach evolution and climate change -- a welcome change from school reformers who want to tear down those ideas.

Right under Japan's Mount Fuji is a fault that could result in a magnitude-7 earthquake.

Read more: Uncategorized

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Terrified by peak oil, FedEx turns to biofuels, efficiency

FedEx owns 700 planes and tens of thousands of trucks, which is why CEO Fred Smith is crazy for energy efficiency, reports NPR.

Shortly after Smith founded Federal Express, the 1973 Arab oil embargo almost killed it. The experience imprinted Smith with a keen interest in the price and availability of oil.

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Mexico City’s giant landfill will power 35,000 homes

Mexico City just shut down its enormous Bordo Poniente landfill, which has received 79 million tons of garbage on its 927 acres since 1994. But they’re not just leaving all that rotting organic matter to, well, rot. Instead, the city open a landfill gas power plant, which should be able to power 35,000 homes at its peak, reports Elizabeth Malkin in the New York Times.

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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!

For biofuels, seaweed could be the new corn.

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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 Navy is trying to prevent the release of a report detailing toxic exposures at a Marine camp. To ameliorate climate change, cut methane and soot, not just carbon, a new study says.

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E. coli can now make three kinds of fuel out of grass

Switchgrass, Dubya’s favorite biofuel feedstock, is back in the news. Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute have engineered E. coli -- the same bug that is spoiling the lives of raw cookie dough eaters everywhere -- to transform switchgrass into gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. The secret sauce of their solution is the malleability of E. coli genetics, which allowed researchers to add three new metabolic pathways to the bug. The engineered bugs can break down tough cellulose fibers and ferment the resulting sugars into fuels. Without the bacteria, this used to be an energy- and …

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Oil companies have invested 50 times more in tar sands than in renewables

The oil industry talks a big game about looking toward the future and investing in renewable fuels. But a bit of number crunching from NRDC shows that oil's commitment to renewables isn't much more than talk. According to the enviro group's analysis, the oil industry has spent about 50 times more on tar-sands development alone than on renewable fuels. NRDC compared spending on renewable fuels to spending on producing oil, and reports that the oil industry spends less than half of one cent on renewables for every dollar it spends on oil. Lip service about renewables makes for way better …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Oil

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Ethanol is making crap food more expensive than ever

If you're a fan of Uno's pizza, O'Charley's, White Castle, or, god forbid, P.F. Chang's, you have only our government's stubborn love of ethanol subsidies to blame for the increasing cost of your favorite meals, report the gumshoes at Nation's Restaurant News. If you’re not a fan, though, don’t go celebrating with a delicious home-cooked meal just yet. It's actually even worse if you're buying your food at the grocery store and cooking at home. But even though the diversion of corn for ethanol use is contributing to higher food costs throughout the country, the restaurant industry is not passing …

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Amtrak using beef-based biofuel

Like Joe Biden, Amtrak now runs on beef tallow. America's rail company just replaced 35,000 gallons of diesel fuel in one of its 3,200-horsepower locomotives with biofuel derived from the stuff, and reports that the experiment resulted in no ill effects for the train, and lower than usual emissions. That doesn't mean using beef-based biofuels is a good idea -- even conventional plant-based biodiesel is only somewhat better than fossil fuels from the standpoint of carbon and other environmental impacts. Running all those calories through a cow first is just kinda dumb. But hey, if there's tallow lying around that …