Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Advanced Biofuels Initiative and Global Energy

On August 16, 2011, President Obama issued a statement (Video) proclaiming that during the next three years the US government, along with numerous partners in the private sector, will advance funding of $510 million towards the production of biofuels for transportation as part of his Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future that was declared on March.

By making this announcement the president is showing his true commitment towards the production of decent substitutes for crude oil, the creation of green jobs that will be beneficial for both the economy and the environment, and the reduction of the nation’s reliance on oil from the Middle East. Yet the race for advanced biofuels might be stopped short unless scientists come up with a way of lowering the cost of producing and transporting biofuels, since airlines will never be truly green unless the price is right.

The Biofuel Market

While ethanol, the number one biofuel in the market thus far, makes for cleaner air, its production from either corn (in the US) or sugar cane (in Brazil), isn’t as efficient or as cost-effective as its lobbyists would like us to believe. Growing these crops requires large wet lands which aren’t always readily available, not to mention their high cost for the government with the demand for subsidies and crop insurance for farmers.

Today, however, this new initiative places other players in the biofuel court – from algae to tequila – in a great position to draw in investors, and we might be finally starting to see some competition as big players like Goldman Sachs make major biofuels investments.

Soy beans, camelina, jatropha and other feedstock can all produce “drop-in” fuels for aircrafts, meaning that they could be mixed in with traditional fossil fuels without reconfiguring the system, which makes them the perfect candidates for Obama’s initiative. But we’ll need a whole lot of beans just to start competing with the prices of crude oil.

Waste to Diesel - Bio-Solution ‘Renewable Drop-In Fuel’ (RDIF)

Alongside biofuel, we also find its companion biodiesel – mainly produced from vegetable oil and animal fat – ready to be used in standard diesel engines. However, three problems still afflict this alternative energy source, the first is the need to turn it into biofuel for usage in jets, the second is, once again, the sheer amount of vegetable oil which would have to be produced, and the third is, naturally, the cost.

Even when the Middle East is in turmoil, the cost of oil is rising, and the pressure of green groups to move toward alternative energy is constantly growing, nothing beats the dollar sign on fossil fuels. It seems we have to find a bio solution “drop-in” that can be made, not from an overwhelming amount of crops, but from a substance that’s abundant everywhere.

Global Energy

Commissioning by its partner the first KDV waste to diesel pilot demonstration plant in the United States in June 2010, Global Energy proves to be a strong competitor in this burgeoning market, aiming to win the economic race with the assistance of Obama’s initiative and its unique KDV technology in the world.

Finally, here’s a company that’s not repurposing large tracts of valuable agricultural land, but instead feeding on the most abundant resource our planet currently has to offer – garbage. Turning any kind of waste into high quality mineral diesel oil that’s green, clean, and available everywhere, Global Energy just might be the one who’ll end up shining in the alternative energy race started by Obama just a few weeks ago.