Tag Archives: biofuel feedstock

Biodiesel-powered breweries bring together two of our favorite things

That would be beer and biodiesel.

As more breweries invest in sustainable practices and green initiatives, biodiesel is a preferred fuel for use in delivery trucks, generators, tractors, and other brewery vehicles. A recent Biodiesel Magazine article provided an informative list of several breweries utilizing biodiesel in one capacity or another—including a couple California breweries. And I’ve tacked on a couple more sustainable breweries to the list.

Sierra Nevada

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Based out of Chico, California, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. has been using biodiesel blends for the past six years. According to the company website, Sierra Nevada acknowledges that “getting beer from our brewery onto store shelves is no small feat. We recognize the toll it takes on the environment and we’re doing what we can to minimize our impact.” Biodiesel fuel is used to power both long-haul and local delivery trucks as well as the tractors working the eight acres of hops and gardens in Chico.

Ryan Arnold, Sierra Nevada communications manager, told Biodiesel Magazine, “At the brewery we’re always striving to essentially close the loop, and biodiesel helps us turn what could be a waste product into something useful.The trucks perform well. With up to B20, we don’t see much change in mileage.”

Stone Brewing Co.

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The 10th largest craft brewer in the United States, San Diego’s Stone Brewing Co.  strives to use stainable methods in all aspects of its business. According to Biodiesel Magazine, “The company has a fleet of 40 box trucks, one hybrid truck, two Sprinter vans, and four single axel daycabs that all use B20.” In addition to using renewable biodiesel fuel, Stone also produces energy from rooftop solar panels, repurposes “spent grain” in their gardens, composts some kitchen waste, and offers electric car charging.

New Belgium Brewing Company

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This Colorado brewery has an extensive sustainability program that focuses broadly on reducing New Belgium’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in all aspects of the operation. And this includes using low-carbon “biodiesel made from recycled restaurant grease to fuel trucks and generators for its famous Tour de Fat, a philanthropic “bicycle, beer and bemusement” event that will travel to 10 cities this year.”

Red Lodge Ales

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According to Biodiesel Magazine, this Montana brewery “has used biodiesel for almost 10 years in its small fleet of delivery vehicles. The company collects waste grease from its restaurant customers and trades it for finished fuel from a local supplier. Other efforts include a large solar thermal array that heats water, and a system that introduces outside air into a cold storage during the winter months, reducing refrigeration needs.”

Steam Whistle Brewing

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Our Canadian neighbors are on the sustainable bandwagon too. Steam Whistle touts on their website that it has been using biodiesel to power their delivery trucks since 2006. Steam Whistle partners with local biodiesel producer, Canada Clean Fuels, to fill up all of their delivery trucks with Biodiesel B20 overnight, making filling with renewable fuel hassle-free for Steam Whistle’s truck drivers.

Milwaukee Brewing Co.

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This Midwest gem proclaims that is was “founded on principles of crafting and creating beers using the best local ingredients and suppliers in a sustainable, creative and innovative environment.” And in order to adhere to these principles, the brewery hunts out sustainable operation processes—including, of course, using biodiesel.

One of the company’s boilers is designed to burn oil, so, according to the website, “the brewery scoundrels engineered a process to burn vegetable oil in that boiler. Waste vegetable oil from the Milwaukee Ale House and other local restaurants is used to provide VOC-free energy. In 2011, this furnished about 30% of the heating needs, and we continue to seek new sources of dirty vegetable oil. Fortunately, Milwaukee enjoys fried food, and the staple Friday Fish Fry alone could fuel the brewery for years to come.”

We’re thrilled to see so many brewers taking on a variety of sustainably measures, including the decision to seek out biodiesel fuel as a way to reduce petroleum oil use in the transportation and production of tasty, tasty beers.

kettle-beerAlso, if you’re looking for a crunchy treat to accompany your green-brewed beer, opt for Kettle Brand chips. They turn 100% of the waste vegetable oil from their production process into biodiesel. Plus, all of their inventive flavors are downright delicious.

Audi gets behind renewable gasoline made from sugar

Audi  sees renewable biofuel alternatives as an integral part of the future of motor fuels—in fact, according to a recent report from Wired, the automaker is investing in gasoline made from sugar. This sweet fuel can run in any gasoline-powered vehicle, without modification!

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image: audi

Audi has partnered with Global Bioenergies, a French company creating bio-isooctane by fermenting sugar with specially engineered E. coli bacteria. This reduces production cost and increases efficiency.

“Bio-isooctane can be used as a direct replacement for gasoline, or blended with conventional gasoline much like ethanol. The company has demonstrated the process in a lab, and is in the process of building two production plants. The goal is to produce more than 100,000 liters of gasoline annually — a pittance from a global perspective, but the program is a working proof-of-concept, and that’s where Audi’s investment comes in.”

Bio-iooctane is not the only “drop-in” fuel headed to the pump. Renewable diesel made from tallow and other renewable oils is in production and ready to replace petroleum diesel in the near future. And it just so happens that Audi has several turbo diesel models on the roads and more on the way—looks like Audi is on board with renewable fuel and ready to offer drivers choice at the pump.

Read more from Wired.

Five surprising things that can be made into fuel for your car

You may be familiar with the most common feedstocks for renewable fuel, but there is a whole host of lesser-known products that can be made into fuel for your car. Below we’ve listed  a few of our favorites.

1. CHRISTMAS TREES!

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Once January rolls around, un-tinseled and de-decorated Christmas trees line the sidewalks, waiting for garbage trucks headed to the dump. But in some cities, like San Francisco, California, discarded trees are turned into more than just landfill fodder. Instead, the trees are processed into biomass, which can be used as a renewable fuel feedstock.

Photo credit:  CINDY CHEW/S.F. EXAMINER

2. SUNFLOWERS

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Sunflowers, as it turns out, aren’t just for brightening up long stretches of rural highway or yielding seeds for snacking and spitting: they can also help power your diesel car. Those same seeds you seed scattered under the bleachers at the local Little League diamond have a high oil content that makes an ideal biodiesel feedstock. Next to solar-powered vehicles, it just might be the closest you’ll get to running on sunshine.

3. ALGAE

These little photosynthesis machines are masters of turning sunlight and CO2 into energy. Industrious producers, like the fermenting engineers at Solazyme, can capture the processing power of algae to create a super-efficient source of  renewable oil. Last year, in a successful month long pilot program, Propel Fuels and Solazyme partnered up to launch the nation’s first publicly available algae-derived biodiesel at Propel stations across the Bay Area. Hopefully, a full-scale launch is in the near future.

Photo credit:  National Algae Association

4. CORN COBS

Forget the kernel, just give me the cob! Ethanol producers are developing methods to use agricultural waste, like corns cobs and stalks, as feedstock for producing cellulosic ethanol, an alcohol-based fuel. In fact, “Project Liberty,” a 20-million-gallon cellulosic fuel plant operated by POET is slated to open this year, and the resulting fuel can be plugged right into today’s growing network of ethanol retail stations.

Photo credit:  Domestic Fuel

5. ANIMAL FATS

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Turns out you can make biodiesel from pretty much any fatty oil including the leftovers from rendering plants a.k.a tallow a.k.a animal fats. In fact, the diesel Mazda6 NASCAR racer was loaded up with some “chicken guts, beef tallow and pork lard” biodiesel for the Rolex 24 Endurance Race in Daytona this past spring. Perhaps the bumper sticker, “My Car Eats Meat” is apt?

Ethanol proves to be a sweet opportunity for California farmers

Most of California’s sugar mills have closed up shop in recent years, leaving sugar beet farmers without a market for their crop. But now ethanol derived from sugar beets is providing a new opportunity for these farmers and their communities.

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Farmers in the small community of Mendota, California are leading an effort to bring back the once widely-grown sugar beet crop. In 2008, Spreckels sugar plant was shuttered, leaving many residents without a job and farmers without a purchaser for their beets. In a stroke of ingenuity, the seed company suggested the community grow beets for ethanol. Thus, the Mendota Bioenergy company was formed!

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According to a recent report from California public radio, “Mendota Bioenergy has a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission – and the partnership of university experts from UC Davis and Fresno State – to complete the test site. It should be up and running this winter and, if all goes as planned, the company will then build the nation’s first commercial sugar beet biorefinery in Mendota by 2017.”

Mendota Bioenergy will not only produce a domestic alternative to petroleum gasoline, but the ethanol plant itself will also have a sustainable focus with measures in place to let nothing go to waste. Plus, beets grow well on marginal lands and require very little fresh water. Overall, ethanol produced from California-grown sugar beets and processed in the Mendota refinery will have a much lower carbon footprint than petroleum gasoline, lower even than typical corn-based ethanol. Now that sounds like a sweet deal.

Read more from The California Report.

New Clean Fuel Point is now open in Sacramento – Try Propel fuel for FREE!

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Come get your fill of Flex Fuel E85 and Biodiesel B20 at Propel’s new Clean Fuel Point in Sacramento @ Mak’s Valero station, 1101 Broadway. During the Grand Opening event, try $10 of Flex Fuel E85 or Biodiesel B20 for FREE!

The Grand Opening celebration goes from Tuesday, September 11 through Friday, September 14, 10am – 7pm. Hope to see you all there!

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From Festive to Feedstock, San Franciscans “Treecycle”

Christmas trees are collected curbside in San Francisco. Credit: SFGate.com

In many American cities, nothing quite marks the end of the holiday season (or the beginning of the New Year) like gutters strewn with discarded Christmas trees.

But for the past 25 years, the city of San Francisco has been breathing new life into these signs of yester-yule with Recology’s “Treecycling” Program — an initiative that not only rescues Christmas castoffs from the local landfill but goes one step further by chipping the trees into valuable biomass, which can be used for things like renewable fuels.

According to Bob Besso, Recology’s waste reduction and recycling manager, who spoke with the Bay Citizen about the program, more than 500 tons of Christmas trees were collected in San Francisco in 2010.

Because of fir trees’ high acid content, they shouldn’t be mixed with regular compost, so turning the trees into wood chips is the preferred, if not perfect, alternative.

While the chipping process does result in air pollutants, it’s superior to allowing the trees to decompose, which would produce methane and 21 times the gases associated with chipping, according to Kevin Danaher, outreach and communication program manager with San Francisco Department of the Environment.

Perhaps the best solution for a city constantly on the cutting edge of eco-friendly practices? Renting fresh, if unconventional, Christmas trees that can be replanted following the holiday season through organizations such as Friends of the Urban Forest (the program was so popular, it sold out in 2011).

Still, fans of tradition and the environment can rest a little easier knowing that the fresh-cut variety can fuel more than the holiday spirit thanks to Treecycling efforts. To learn more about the program and to read the full story, vist The Bay Citizen online.

B20 Biodiesel powers land speed record

This is not your granddady’s diesel pickup truck. The Hajek Motor’s Ford F250 Super Duty powertrain truck recently broke the land speed record for diesel vehicles on the Bonneville Saltflats–then they filled ‘er up with Biodiesel B20, turned around, and broke the record again!

The previous speed record was set by a BMW motorcycle at 130 mph. The Hajek Ford F250 had slight modifications to upgrade the fuel injectors, fuel system, and turbocharge, but was otherwise mostly stock. Running petroleum diesel, the truck reach over 177 mph, but with biodiesel B20 they smashed the record, reaching speeds over 182 mph.

Depending on the feedstock, biodiesel delivers greater energy density than petroleum diesel. According to the National Biodiesel Board, the B20 used by Hajek was produced by a Missouri biodiesel plant and purchased and donated by the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council.

Read more from Autoblog.

FREEDOM Film Tour Fueled by Ethanol

This month marks the start of the FREEDOM Film Tour - a nationwide tour of screenings for the new, renewable fuel-focused documentary FREEDOM. 

The latest labor of love from filmmakers Josh & Rebecca Tickell – the duo behind the 2008 award-winning documentary FUEL – FREEDOM takes place in the aftermath of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Moved to action by the physical and emotional impact of the  spill, Josh and Rebecca take an international journey to investigate alternatives to fossil fuels.

As Patrick Robinson of the West Seattle Herald writes in the film’s first review:

“FREEDOM makes a completely compelling case that by converting our dependence on oil to a literally home grown source of energy we achieve several goals. First we improve our economy by spending energy dollars here, second we create more jobs, third we base our energy needs on a renewable resource (corn and biomass), fourth we reduce our impact on the environment.”

After kicking off in the Pacific Northwest, the tour will make its way - via the ethanol-fueled FREEDOM Bus – down the coast of California this week before heading through most major cities from Phoenix to Washington DC.

Propel is excited to join Josh, Rebecca and company in celebrating FREEDOM at its San Diego, CA, premiere tomorrow, August 12th, at the AMC Mission Valley theaters at 7pm. To join us at this screening, visit the San Diego premiere Facebook page.

For more information on FREEDOM, to view a full tour schedule or to buy the DVD, visit the FREEDOM Film online - and be sure to connect with fellow FREEDOM fans on Facebook.

Ethanol Producer Magazine: Propel discusses fueling infrastructure’s role in reducing petroleum imports

Earlier this month. President Obama announced a a goal to reduce petroleum imports by one-third by 2025. As reported by Ethanol Producer Magazine, Propel Fuels discusses the role of fueling infrastructure in President Obama’s plan.

“The key to both fleet usage of the fuels and meeting President Obama’s goals is infrastructure,” Propel CEO Matt Horton is quoted as saying in the article. “We’ve got the vehicles today for high blend ethanol, we just need more incentive to build out the infrastructure and we’ll be there.”

To check out the full story, visit Ethanol Producer Magazine. Curious if you can help offset imported petroleum by filling with E85? Visit Propel’s Flex Fuel Vehicles page online, or find a Clean Fuel Point near you.

USDA visits Propel, highlights 10,000 pump plan

Judith Canales, Administrator for Rural Business and Cooperative Programs for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), stopped by Propel Fuels’ Oakland, California location to promote access to renewable fuel. Administrator Canales highlighted the beneficial economic and environmental impacts of American-produced biofuels.

Administrator Canales emphasized that a thriving domestic fuel industry will benefit the US economy. “The USDA is committed to helping improve the economy and quality of life in rural America and we believe a strong renewable fuels industry, including convenient access to these fuels, is critical to this goal,” said Canales.

The USDA plans to increase access to domestically produced fuels by helping to fund the build out of 10,000 renewable fuel pumps across the country over the next five years. Retailers selected to receive USDA funds have yet to be determined.

“Propel shares the USDA’s vision for quickly increasing consumer access to renewable fuels in order to reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, boost local economies, and reduce emissions,” said Jim Iacoponi, Vice President of Operations of Propel. “Through a partnership between private investment and public funds, Propel will continue to build the critical link between California’s drivers and the next generation of fuels.”

More on Administrator Canales’ visit to Propel:

Waste Grease Biodiesel Plant for San Francisco

Plans for a biodiesel plant at Pier 92 in San Francisco have finally gained approval from the city’s Port Commission. The plant will produce 10 million gallons of waste-grease biodiesel each year, creating local production jobs as well as locally-produced, renewable fuel.

The plant will be in an old rendering facility run by Darling International, who has been in operation on the pier since the 1960s. The facility is already equipped to create tallow from grease and other waste products. The switch over to biodiesel production will include new odor-regulation devices and alert systems.

Read more from San Francisco Gate.

Propel tours San Diego’s New Leaf biodiesel production facility

New Leaf Biofuel is a waste-source biodiesel production company located in San Diego, CA. Propel had the opportunity to tour the New Leaf facility earlier this week.

Jennifer Case, CEO of New Leaf, hosted the facility tour, walking through the production process of using waste-oil and waste-grease refined into quality biodiesel fuel ready to put straight into tanks. New Leaf collects waste oil and grease from local San Diego restaurants to use as the feedstock for their biodiesel production.

New Leaf is a great example of a local producer working within a community to process waste products into quality renewable fuel.

Learn more about New Leaf Biofuels.

Can’t recycle that soiled cardboard? Try fuel.

Of all the tons of corrugated cardboard recycled by the Cedar Rapids paper mill in Iowa, 5 percent of fibers from old containers cannot be recycled, which equates to about 50,000 tons of paper waste ending up in a landfill every year. Fiberight LLC plans to change this.

Fiberight has partnered with International Paper Cedar River to convert waste paper into cellulosic ethanol fuel. The clean tech company converted a first-generation corn ethanol plant in Blairstown, Iowa into a cellulosic ethanol production facility.

According to Todd Olstad, the paper mill’s operations manager, “through Fiberight’s new facility, we can now be assured that whatever recycled fiber can’t be made into new packaging can be used to create green energy, while helping us offset our disposal cost.”

By 2011, Fiberight’s facility will reach a final commercial production capacity of about 6 million gallons of cellulosic fuel per year.

Read more about Fiberight’s cellulosic fuel plant.

Advanced fuel test crops flourish in California

UC Davis test plot yields for advanced biofuel crops prove fruitful.

Findings from a three year switchgrass trial have shown increasing yields, from twelve to eighteen tons per acre depending on the site. Several switchgrass varieties were tested at facilities in El Centro & at UC Davis. Switchgrass has the potential to be a whole-plant cellulosic ethanol feedstock and is considered an important crop for the future of renewable fuels. The hardy grass begins its annual growth in the spring and can grow 4-7 feet tall. Leaves measure 30-90 centimeters in length.

Switchgrass uses C4 carbon fixation which means it is fairly efficient in the photosynthesis process and tolerates drought and high temperatures. The grass has low fertilizer requirements and grows well on marginal land.

Many of these hearty crops can grow on marginal lands and have the potential to produce biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol, and provide a new revenue source for American framers.

Read more about advanced feedstock research from Western Farm Press.

U.S. jets on alterative fuel

The U.S. Air Force plans on using domestically produced Camelina-based jet fuel supplied by Sustainable Oils. The Defense Energy Support Center agreed to use 100,000 gallons through 2010 with the possibility for using another 100,000 gallons in the following two years.

fromcleantechnica.com

Camelina is a non-food oilseed crop grown in parts of Oregon, Washington and Montana. In addition to the high quality of fuel produced from camelina, it can reduce carbon emissions by more than 80%.

“This is a great opportunity for Montana farmers to not only drive additional revenue, but also participate directly in decreasing our country’s reliance on foreign oil,” said Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer in the press release. “I know our agricultural community is up to the challenge to supply our armed forces with camelina-based fuels.”

Read more from Sustainable Oils.