Jun 16, 2008

US Department of Energy: Biofuels Lower Gas Prices

The US DOE went on the defense for biofuels in a press release last week. They tackled one of the hottest topics of today - price - but from a different perspective, the effect of biofuels on the price of petroleum. You can read the whole release here.
  • The release states that in the US for 2008, biofuels will have displaced the use of 5% of all petroleum.
  • This 5% decrease in demand amounts to a $0.20 to $0.35 reduction in price at the pump for petroleum products.
The report also stresses that this is the impact of "first generation" biofuels. Second generation technologies, like cellulosic-ethanol and algae-biodiesel, are much more energy efficient, which translates to increased volume at lower costs.

Other good quotes from the release:
Today’s Biofuels Account for Only a Small Percentage of the Increase in Global Food Prices.
  • Higher oil and gas prices leading to increased costs of fertilizer, harvest, and transportation
  • Increased demand as developing countries grow and people improve their diets
  • Two years of bad weather and drought leading to poor harvests in parts of the world
  • Export restrictions imposed by some countries

Jun 9, 2008

Bike Day at the Science Factory

It feels like I've been talking about food vs fuel and high prices for quite a while now on the blog.
While these issues are still at the forefront of everyone's minds, tackling them is not the sole source of activity at SeQuential.

On Saturday I was at a booth at the Bike Day celebration at the Eugene Science Factory. The sun managed to peek through the clouds (much to everyone's joy) and it was fun talking with so many people about biofuels.

Besides showing our support for bicycles (and the Science Factory!) the main reason we go to events are to answer questions about biofuels. A person's car is one of their most valuable possessions (ignoring the intangibles, love and health) and people generally have a few questions before they start using biofuels.

The questions range from the simple, "Do I need a conversion to use biofuels?" (NO!), to the complex, "What are long-range sustainable fueling options for the world?", to questions on food vs fuel and price.

SeQuential is also working on the Sunflower Project, which is an educational program in partnership with Eugene schools and community gardens. The Sunflower Project's goal is to educate children on the lifecycle of plants and how you can create fuel in your own backyard. There is an initial planting of the sunflowers; then when the plants are grown and create seeds, SeQuential will help the children harvest, crush the seeds for oil and convert the oil into cleaner burning fuel!

Also as a bonus, here is a picture of the Eugene SeQuential team from the team meeting on Sunday.