The Truth About Cars » Bio-fuels The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:25:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Bio-fuels Audi Invests In Synthetic Gasoline From Sugar Sat, 01 Feb 2014 08:33:57 +0000 Audis at an Oil Pump

Audi’s bio-fuel initiative is expanding into France through an investment by the automaker to Global Bioenergies, whose bio-isooctane could be the replacement for petroleum gasoline when the time comes to make the switch.

The bio-fuel is made from fermented sugar through genetic modification of E. coli bacteria to produce isobutane gas without poisoning the yeast utilized in the fermentation, an issue currently experienced in ethanol production. The longer-lasting process works with feedstocks like corn and sugarcane as well as straight sugar, and can also be adapted to use biomass such as high-glucose wood chips.

At the pump, bio-isooctane can go directly into a vehicle without modification to the engine and fuel-delivery system, or can be blended with petrogasoline in the same manner as E15 and E85. The biogasoline may also come with a lower price per gallon or litres, as the fuel can be produced much quicker and cheaper than ethanol and other bio-fuels.

For the moment, Global Bioenergies is building two working proof-of-concept production plants in Germany and France, whose total annual output is expected to be 100,000 litres. Audi’s investment will be used to help in the rollout of the new fuel as part of the automaker’s branded e-fuel strategy, with bio-isooctane completing the triad with Audi’s investments in ethanol and biodiesel for their complete lineup of vehicles.

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What’s Wrong With This Picture: E15 Ethanol Is Coming Edition Fri, 10 Jun 2011 15:36:54 +0000

Reuters reports that White House has approved a label for E15 ethanol blends, which warn motorists not to use the higher blend if their vehicle was built before the 2007 model-year. What Reuters won’t show you is the final label design that was approved… was it the EPA’s proposed design (above), or one of the ethanol lobby’s proposed alternatives (see gallery below). Clearly there’s a bit of a difference between the two, and the EPA was under quite a bit of pressure to not go with the orange-and-red “CAUTION!” version. In documentation from hearings on the E15 labeling issue [PDF], you can read executives and lobbyists expounding at length about the fact that ethanol is good for America, and that labeling shouldn’t discourage the use of E15. Which it doesn’t…. in 2007 and later vehicles. And if you check the EPA’s docket on the issue, you’ll find plenty of good reasons for preventing “misfueling”. ¬†Luckily few gas station owners are likely to invest in E15 pumps anyway, so you may never actually see this label in the wild.

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Regular, Premium Or Single-Malt? Tue, 17 Aug 2010 22:20:36 +0000

No, it’s not a Mel Gibson joke… Scientists at Edinburgh Napier University have developed a formula for making butanol biofuel out of byproducts of the Scottish whiskey industry, reports Sky News. Apparently researchers

combined so-called pot ale – the liquid from the copper stills distillery equipment – and the spent grains used to make whisky, also known as draff

to create Butanol, an ethanol-like biofuel. Unlike the corn juice, however, Butanol can run in any gas-powered engine and does not degrade components over time.

Scotland’s whiskey industry produces 1,600 million liters of pot ale and 187,000 tons of draff, but scientists aren’t revealing how much of each ingredient is needed to produce a given amount of biofuel. Though it’s clear that the Scotch butanol won’t take over the world (barring some kind of brilliant cross-marketing scheme), it’s a solid, pragmatic local energy solution. The Scots can enjoy reduced-guilt internal combustion transportation, the rest of the world can enjoy their delicious local beverage, and some very lucky draff gets to become an ingredient in two of life’s greatest pleasures. What more could anyone ask for?

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Will The BP Oil Spill Lead To More Ethanol Subsidies? Sat, 12 Jun 2010 15:12:22 +0000

Slate‘s Robert Bryce reckons so. With ethanol producers and blenders bouncing off the ethanol “blend wall” and into bankruptcy court, Bryce figures

Now the industry is counting on a president beleaguered by the made-for-TV crisis in the Gulf of Mexico to help it out. And he appears ready to do just that. On April 28, six days after the Deepwater Horizon rig sank, President Obama visited an ethanol plant in Missouri and declared that “there shouldn’t be any doubt that renewable, homegrown fuels are a key part of our strategy for a clean-energy future.” Obama also said, “I didn’t just discover the merits of biofuels like ethanol when I first hopped on the campaign bus.”

The strongest indication that an ethanol bailout is imminent came last Friday when Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (former governor of Iowa, the nation’s biggest ethanol-producing state) said, “I’m very confident that we’re going to see an increase in the blend rate.”

The heart of the problem: overbuilt ethanol refining capacity. Thanks to generous “blender’s credits,” ethanol refining capacity has more than tripled over the last five years. With 13b gallons of built-up capacity, over 1b gallons of capacity are standing idle… even as another 1.4b gallons of capacity are being built.¬† According to the Earth Policy Institute, the ethanol industry used about a quarter of America’s domestically-produced grain last year, or “enough to feed 330 million people for one year at average world consumption levels.” Meanwhile, the “blend wall” doesn’t even reach 12b gallons until next year, meaning overcapacity is here to stay. Unless a bailout comes along.

And that, says Bryce, is exactly what’s about to happen. Because ethanol is a purely political project, the symbolism of the oil spill is not being left under-leveraged.According to the president of the Renewable Fuels Association:

The Gulf of Mexico disaster serves as a stark and unfortunate reminder of the need for domestically-produced renewable biofuels.

Even though the previous champion of Gulf of Mexico environmental destruction was… wait for it… the ethanol industry! But, as Rahm Emmanuel is so fond of saying, a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. Don’t be surprised if ethanol takes full advantage of this one.

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