Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Four Ways to Stop the Energy Crisis

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Gal Luft has been profiled by Esquire magazine as one of their "Best and Brightest Minds for 2007". In the Esquire article Gal outlines "Four Ways to Stop the Energy Crisis". Highlights are below...

  1. Make gasoline-only cars illegal

    "Every gas-powered car has an average street life of seventeen years, which means that the minute you leave the lot, you're signing up for two decades of foreign-oil dependence. The easiest way to change this is to mandate that every vehicle sold in the U.S. is flex-fuel compatible so that it can run on just about any blend of hydrocarbon-based fuels -- gasoline, ethanol, methanol, etc. The technology already exists, and the process is cheap, about a hundred dollars per vehicle. Detroit will cry about 'government interference,' but in fact the mandate would open a vast new free market in alternative-fuel development."

  2. Kill the Iowa caucuses

    "Here's the first thing every presidential candidate who visits Iowa is asked: 'Where do you stand on ethanol?' Why's this a problem? Because the ethanol lobby has managed to place huge tariffs on ethanol produced abroad while freezing out the development of other alternative fuels at home. It portrays itself as this sort of savior, the domestic solution to our reliance on foreign oil, but it really just protects a tiny number of midwestern corn farmers. Anyone who thinks otherwise, bear in mind: Even if every single kernel of corn grown in America were converted to ethanol, it would still only replace about 12 percent of America's gasoline requirement."

  3. Think of the world in terms of sugarcane

    "America hasn't been very good about making friends in the Middle East lately, but there are still a few countries in Latin America, Africa, and southeast Asia that like us. And many of them, such as Panama, Kenya, and Thailand, grow sugarcane, from which you can make ethanol at half the cost of making it from corn. We should direct foreign aide throughout the agricultural sector in these countries to increase their efficiency and create jobs. That will make them happy, and it'll improve our national security. They'll be our friends forever. Unlike the OPEC nations."

  4. Revolutionize waste

    "Sixty-five percent of our garbage is biomass: food, paper, scrap wood. All of it could be converted to methanol. The process has been around for two hundred years. And it's twice as efficient as cellulosic ethanol, supposedly the next big thing in alternative fuels. Then there's coal -- America has a quarter of the world's reserve, but we use it mainly to feed power plants, which is a dirty and inefficient use. Instead, coal can be converted to clean-burning methanol for the equivalent of one dollar per gallon. Last, look to recyclables, like black liquor, a toxic by-product of the paper industry. Right now, paper mills inefficiently recycle it themselves. But black liquor can be converted to methanol. Do so and we'd generate nine billion gallons of methanol a year -- almost twice the ethanol we now make from corn."

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Nations first cellulosic ethanol plant to be built in Georgi

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U.S. Secretary of Energy and Georgia Governor Attend Groundbreaking Celebration

Broomfield, CO and Soperton, GA – November 6, 2007 – Range Fuels, Inc. announced today that it is breaking ground on the nation’s first commercial cellulosic ethanol plant located in Treutlen County, Georgia, near the town of Soperton. Range Fuels, one of six companies selected by the Department of Energy (DOE) for financial support in building a commercial cellulosic ethanol plant, will be the first to break ground.

The groundbreaking event is being hosted on the future site of Range Fuels’ Soperton Plant. The event will feature federal, state, city and county officials, including the U.S. Secretary of Energy, Samuel W. Bodman, and the Governor of Georgia, Sonny Perdue.
Range Fuels’ Soperton Plant will use wood and wood waste from Georgia’s pine forests and mills as its feedstock and will have the capacity to produce over one hundred million gallons of ethanol per year. Construction of the first 20 million-gallon-per-year phase is expected to be completed in 2008.

As part of its $76 million Technology Investment Agreement with the DOE, Range Fuels will receive $50 million based upon the project construction schedule for the first 20-million-gallon-per-year phase of its Soperton Plant. The remainder of the grant, $26 million, will be provided for construction of the next phase of the project.
Range Fuels selected Georgia for its first plant based upon the state’s robust wood products industry supported by Georgia’s vast sustainable and renewable forest lands. The state’s environmental sensitivity and responsible stewardship of its forest lands have created resources that allow Georgia to support up to two billion gallons per year of cellulosic ethanol production through the application of Range Fuels’ technology.

"Range Fuel's production of cellulosic ethanol from wood materials will make Georgia a national leader in innovative alternative energy production," said Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue. "This project, and others like it, will boost economic development in rural Georgia and reduce our state's dependence on foreign oil."

“The state of Georgia has provided us with an excellent opportunity to locate our first plant using its abundant, renewable forest resources as feedstock. Our technology transforms the wood and wood waste from Georgia’s millions of acres of woodlands into ethanol, a key source of transportation fuel,” said Mitch Mandich, CEO of Range Fuels. “Range Fuels’ focus on green, renewable energy will ultimately reduce greenhouse gases, promote energy independence, and create new jobs.”

Range Fuels’ approach is aimed at helping our planet restore its environmental balance. Range Fuels’ technology is self-sustaining and uses the same feedstock to make ethanol as it does to operate its plant, minimizing its reliance on fossil fuels and the consequent production of greenhouse gases. Through Range Fuels’ innovative process for producing cellulosic ethanol, the Soperton Plant will use a quarter of the average water required by corn-based ethanol plants.

In addition, the Soperton Plant has been permitted as a minor source of emissions. Its proximity to both wood supplies and ethanol markets will minimize energy expended in supplying the facility with feedstock and providing ethanol to consumer markets, further demonstrating the low-impact, environmentally-friendly nature of Range Fuels’ technology.

Range Fuels has won the support of many industry and environmental groups including the Renewable Fuels Association, the American Coalition for Ethanol, the Clean Fuels Development Coalition and General Motors.

“Range Fuels’ groundbreaking on its first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant presents an extraordinary opportunity to move the country into the next generation of biofuels that will help improve the environment and secure America’s energy independence,” said Brian Jennings, Executive Vice President for the American Coalition for Ethanol. “Now, more than ever, it is critical for us to pursue clean-burning, homegrown, and cost-effective alternatives to foreign oil. Range Fuels is among the leaders in the biofuels industry and is poised to help us achieve these goals. I congratulate Range Fuels on this important day.”

“This groundbreaking clearly demonstrates that the next generation of biofuels are possible and reinforces that achieving the President’s goal of displacing 20 percent of the nation’s gasoline consumption with alternative fuels by 2017 can become a reality,” said Bob Dineen, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association. “Progress like this will additionally help the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing ethanol production from processes that utilize sustainable supplies of biomass, like residue from timber harvesting and agricultural wastes.”

“On behalf of all the members of the Clean Fuels Development Coalition (CFDC), we congratulate Range Fuels as they take this significant step forward in the development of cellulosic ethanol,” said Doug Durante, Executive Director of the CFDC. “This project will demonstrate that commercial production of cellulosic ethanol made from biomass or plant matter can be a reality. This facility will be one of many helping the country reduce greenhouse gas emissions and move toward energy independence.”

"Range Fuel's investment in this ethanol production facility is an important step toward the next generation of renewable fuels. Cellulosic ethanol has enormous potential for displacing gasoline and reducing emissions," said Beth Lowery, General Motors Vice President of Environment, Energy, and Safety Policy.