December 31, 2005

Is Ethanol Energy-efficient?

Not only is ethanol from sugar fermentation energy-efficient, but cellulosic ethanol from syngas fermentation is even more efficient since many factors regarding feedstock fertilization and transport are not included.

Another key finding is that ethanol has a positive benefit in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction. On a per gallon basis, corn ethanol reduces GHG emissions by 18% to 29%, while cellulosic ethanol has an even greater benefit with an 85% reduction in GHG emissions.

Below are excerpts from the Journey to Forever/Biofuels website.


Is ethanol energy-efficient?

One of the most controversial issues relating to ethanol is the question of what environmentalists call the "net energy" of ethanol production. Simply put, is more energy used to grow and process the raw material into ethanol than is contained in the ethanol itself?

New study confronts old thinking on ethanol's net energy value, 3/28/2005 -- Ethanol generates 35% more energy than it takes to produce, according to a recent study by Argonne National Laboratory conducted by Michael Wang. The new findings support earlier research that determined ethanol has a positive net energy balance, according to the National Corn Growers Association. That research was conducted by USDA, Michigan State University, the Colorado School of Mines, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and other public and private entities. A USDA study released in 2004 found that ethanol may net as much as 67% more energy than it takes to produce. Argonne is one of the US Department of Energy's largest research centers.
Updated Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emission Results of Fuel Ethanol by Michael Wang, Argonne National Laboratory
Key points of the study.

December 29, 2005

Pilot Plant Gasifier and Syngas Conversion Testing

Here is a report from February 2005 on testing for the Pearson Technologies Pilot Plant in Gridley, CA during the period of August 2002-June 2004. The facility utilized rice straw as feedstock, Pearson Technology gasifiers, and processed the syngas into ethanol using Fischer-Tropsch conversion techniques.


Gridley Ethanol Demonstration Project Utilizing Biomass Gasification Technology: Pilot Plant Gasifier and Syngas Conversion Testing

August 2002—June 2004
TSS Consultants For the City of Gridley, California Gridley, California


This report is in response to Task 3 of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Subcontract No. ZCO-2-32065-01, that describes the Pearson Technologies Pilot Plant Gasifier and Syngas Conversion Testing for converting California rice straw into syngas and then the syngas into ethanol. The report on this task of the NREL Subcontract is part of an overall evaluation of using a modified Pearson Pilot Plant for processing rice straw into syngas and ethanol and the application of the Pearson technology for building a Demonstration Plant at Gridley. The Demonstration Plant would be located in the recently developed City of Gridley Industrial Park in Gridley, California (“Gridley”). This report also includes information on the feedstock preparation, feedstock handling, feedstock performance, catalyst performance, ethanol yields and potential problems identified from the pilot scale experiments.

Download this paper at : National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Defense Spending Bill Contains Provisions for E85

As reported by Green Car Congress, there is a provision in the recently passed Defense Spending Bill for studying the use of ethanol by the Armed Forces and Defense Agencies. The report is due in February 2006. Another provision studies coal-to-liquid (CTL) synthetic fuels.

Defense Spending Bill Contains Provisions for E85, Coal-to-Liquids Reports
27 December 2005

Tucked away in the massive $453-billion defense spending bill passed by both houses of Congress prior to its holiday recess are provisions for separate reports on two alternative fuels for use by the military: E85 (85% ethanol blend) and Coal-to-Liquids (CTL) synthetic fuels.

Now cleared for signing by the President, the spending bill, H.R. 1815 (EAS—Engrossed as Agreed to by the Senate), was also the bill into which Alaska Senator Ted Stevens had tried to place opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling—an attempt that was defeated.

Section 329 of the bill instructs the Secretary of Defense to conduct a study on the use of ethanol by the Armed Forces and the Defense Agencies. The study is to include:

• An evaluation of the historical utilization of ethanol fuel by the Armed Forces and the Defense Agencies;

• A forecast of the requirements of the Armed Forces and the Defense Agencies for ethanol fuel for each of fiscal years 2007 through 2012;

• An assessment of the current and future commercial availability of E85 ethanol fuel, including facilities for its production, storage, transportation, distribution, and commercial sale;

• A review of the actions of the Department to coordinate with State, local, and private entities to support the expansion and use of alternative fuel refueling stations that are accessible to the public; and

• An assessment of the fueling infrastructure on military installations in the United States, including storage and distribution facilities, that could be adapted or converted to the delivery of ethanol fuel, including an assessment of the cost, feasibility and advisability of the adaptation or conversion of such infrastructure.

The E85 report is due 1 February 2006.

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 (Public Print)

December 28, 2005

EPA: Renewable Fuel Standard Requirements for 2006

Under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, EPA is responsible for promulgating regulations to ensure that gasoline sold in the United States contains a specific volume of renewable fuel. A national Renewable Fuel Program (also known as the Renewable Fuel Standard Program, or RFS Program) will increase the volume of renewable fuel that is blended into gasoline, starting with calendar year 2006. The renewable fuel standard is the result of an unprecedented agreement between refiners and producers, and will double the amount of renewable fuel usage by 2012.

Regulation of Fuels and Fuel Additives: Renewable Fuel Standard Requirements for 2006 (signed December 22, 2005)

(Washington, D.C.-Dec. 28, 2005) Starting in 2006, Americans will be gassing up with nearly three percent of clean-burning, domestic renewable fuels such as ethanol under new standards issued by EPA. Authorized by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the standard is the first step in EPA's Renewable Fuels Standard Program, which is designed to reduce vehicle emissions and strengthen U.S. energy security by doubling the use of fuels produced from American crops by 2012.

"Under President Bush's leadership, we are addressing our nation's growing energy demand in a way that supports our goals for a clean environment and healthy economy," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "This investment in renewable fuels made from domestic crops will support American agriculture and replace fossil fuels with an increasing amount of cleaner-burning alternatives such as ethanol or biodiesel illustrating that environmental progress and economic development can, in fact, go hand-in-hand."

The regulation announced today explains how industry will comply with the Energy Policy Act's default provision requiring that 2.78 percent of the gasoline sold or dispensed to U.S. motorists in 2006 be renewable fuel. The regulation is intended to provide market certainty for smooth implementation of the program in 2006 as EPA expands the program. Many of the act's other provisions regarding the Renewable Fuel Standard Program for 2007 and beyond will be implemented in subsequent regulations.

The program will significantly increase the volume of renewable fuels blended into motor vehicle fuels. Various renewable fuels can be used to meet the requirements of the program, including ethanol and biodiesel. Under this standard, refineries, blenders, and importers would collectively be responsible for meeting program requirements for 2006, where compliance would be calculated over the entire pool of gasoline sold to consumers.

L.A. County Task Force Supports Conversion Technology

This Report represents a culmination of 18 months of research conducted in conjunction with URS Corporation. It is the first step in the effort to develop a demonstration conversion technology facility in Southern California, in order to obtain real-world data on the impacts and benefits of these technologies. Conversion Technologies are an array of emerging technologies capable of managing residual solid waste and converting it into useful products, green fuels and electricity.

The purpose of the report is to help to increase awareness of the potential of conversion technologies as a viable alternative to traditional solid waste management.

Recommends development of “Demonstration Facility” to show trash can be converted into fuel

Alhambra, CA (November 2, 2005) – Southern California may be one step closer to being the first in the nation to use conversion technologies to turn into fuel the trash that remains after recycling. Conversion technologies are a wide array of state-of-the-art technologies capable of converting such trash into useful products, green fuels and renewable energy. The Los Angeles County Integrated Waste Management Task Force recently adopted the Conversion Technology Evaluation Report, representing a culmination of 18 months of research and analysis. The Report recommended developing a demonstration facility to provide useful, locally relevant data on the technical, environmental, and economic feasibility of these technologies.

Currently, about half of all waste generated in California is sent to disposal, resulting in 40 million tons of trash discarded each year. Conversion technologies can recover useful products from the residual trash, reduce greenhouse gases, increase recycling rates, and reduce dependence on fossil fuels, all while complementing the existing recycling infrastructure, preventing trash from ending up in landfills, and meeting Southern California’s strict environmental regulations.

These benefits have led a number of municipalities throughout California and the California Integrated Waste Management Board to investigate these technologies and the feasibility of using them to handle the growing volumes of trash that remain after recyclables have been removed. The findings so far, including results from studies by the University of California and other independent research, indicate that conversion technologies have the potential to revolutionize solid waste management in the United States. At present, over 140 conversion technology facilities are successfully operating in Europe and Asia, but no commercial scale facility exists in the U.S.

The Report evaluated dozens of technology suppliers and identified the six most suitable technologies capable of developing a demonstration facility in partnership with a materials recovery facility (MRF). The partnership with a MRF is key, as this synergy will provide the facility with a readily available feedstock that has already been stripped of recyclables while realizing several environmental benefits from transportation reduction and other factors. The Report also identified six MRFs willing and capable of partnering with a technology supplier. Based on these findings, the Task Force has begun efforts to identify the best combination of technology supplier and MRF in order to develop the demonstration facility before the end of the decade.

A complete copy of the Evaluation Report is available online at

December 27, 2005

Kremlin Reasserts Control of Oil, Gas

"Peak Oil" is a controversial concept reflecting concern for the availability of ample supplies of fossil fuels as reserves run low, prices rise, exploration becomes more "intrusive" and politically sensitive, and more expensive extraction techniques are required.

Regardless of whether one believes in "peak oil" or not, it is certainly true that industrial and governmental control of fossil fuels reserves is power. Increasing demand will increase dependence globally and the disparity between the haves and have-not nations will increase. For instance, while information about the presence of WMD in Iraq was wrong, it is indisputable that Saddam Hussein was at a power vortex - controller of vast oil reserves in the midst of other producers, unpredictable as a military commander, in pursuit of military technology to not only subjugate his subjects but to threaten his neighbors, willing to leverage his resources to extend power.

Other such vortices will continue to gather in strength in direct proportion to their owners willingness to exploit them compounded by the dependence of high-consumer nations to need them. Development of alternative renewable energy sources will reduce the power of these vortices.

Here is an update from the Christian Science Monitor about Russia, a mounting power player who, historically, has been willing to press their advantage. As reported in this article, Russia is nationalizing its industry and using oil alternately as a foreign policy "carrot" and "stick." Here are some excerpts...


Kremlin Reasserts Control of Oil, Gas

Russia, the world's second-largest oil producer, sees energy as a key foreign policy tool
By Fred Weir | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

MOSCOW – Call it PetroKremlin. A vast state-run energy conglomerate has been assembled over the past year, some experts say, to fuel Russia's bid to revive Soviet-style great power status.

To date, the Kremlin has effectively renationalized almost a third of the formerly private oil-and-gas sector. Other developments also point to growing state ambitions...

While there may be confusion over the long-term domestic impact of Putin's policies, there seems little doubt that direct control over Russia's vast petroleum resources offers the Kremlin substantial foreign-policy clout in an increasingly energy-starved world.

At a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in mid-December, Putin pledged to ramp up oil deliveries to Asia, from the present 3 percent of Russia's total exports to 30 per cent by 2020. In a joint statement, leaders of the 10-nation group pledged to build a "comprehensive partnership" and boost trade and security cooperation with Russia. A new Siberian pipeline should start pumping crude in 2008, with early deliveries going mainly to China.

"Russia has been seeking a more active role in the Asia-Pacific region, and it's been recognized that only oil that can facilitate this," says Yury Sinyak, head of energy studies at the official Institute of National Economic Forecasting in Moscow. "It's an open question whether Russia actually has enough oil to fulfill all the political promises."

If the Kremlin is demonstrating that energy supplies can be dangled like a carrot, it has also realized they can be wielded like a stick. Ukraine, which broke free of Moscow's orbit in last year's "Orange Revolution," was hit last month with more than a quadruple price hike for natural gas supplies - from $50 per 1,000 cubic meters to $230. Kiev has protested that it cannot adjust to such a rapid price hike, but Gazprom has threatened to shut down gas deliveries to Ukraine on New Year's Day if it doesn't comply. Ukraine announced Tuesday an agreement had been reached but a Gazprom spokesman in Moscow denied the claim.

December 24, 2005

BRI Synthesis Gas Fermentation Process Update

James Fraser of "The Energy Blog" wrote an article about BRI Energy's revolutionary bioconversion technology - updating an article he wrote six months ago. In the article he references the delivery of a D.O.E. study "investigating the feasibility of locating BRI facilities that produce ethanol by processing corn stover next to conventional grain alcohol plants." He also references positive commercialization and feasibility studies delivered in late Fall 2005 by Parsons Corporation and Katzen International.


BRI Synthesis Gas Fermentation Process Update

Bioengineering Resources, Inc. (BRI) has been developing a synthesis gas fermentation process whereby biomass can be converted to synthesis gas (consisting primarily of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen) via a high temperature gasification process. Anaerobic bacteria are then used to convert the synthesis gas into ethanol. The BRI process can be used to produce ethanol from cellulosic wastes with high yields and rates. This is made possible because BRI has developed bioreactor systems for fermentation that results in retention times of only a few minutes at atmospheric pressure and less than a minute at elevated pressure. These retention times result in very economical equipment costs.

New developments from a previous post on this process have been:

• Awarding a new $2.4 million contract, the Corn Stover Project, by DOE
• Completion of process design and costing of a standard plant
• Completion of a Technical Evaluation report by Parsons
• Completion of an Emissions Testing Report that is needed for permitting and construction of their first plant.
• At least one plant is expected to begin commercial operations before the end of 2006.

According to Parsons’ Technology Evaluation report, “The ability of BRI to process this material and generate waste streams that are within regulatory limits or easily treatable to regulatory limits can be viewed as an important technological step forward.”

Ford on Climate Change and CA AB 1493

Ford sees the linkage between environmental concern with greenhouse emissions (GHG) and its viability in many markets. From its website is posted a PDF of their recent "Ford Report on the Business Impact of Climate Change." On the last page of this document is an appendix (duplicated below) that criticizes state fuel economy statutes in general and California AB 1493 in particular.


DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 20, 2005 – In an industry first, Ford Motor Company has issued a report addressing the business implications of climate change, carbon dioxide emissions and global energy concerns.

"I am proud to say that Ford Motor Company is one of the first companies to have open discussions about climate change," said Bill Ford, chairman and CEO. "We see climate change as a business issue as well as an environmental issue and we're accelerating our efforts to find solutions. Addressing this issue will require collaborative action across all sectors of our society and I'm committing Ford Motor Company to do its part."

The report addresses how concerns about emissions of greenhouse gases, including CO2, are linked to other factors affecting the business; the steps the company is taking to manage the risks and capture opportunities associated with climate change; and the market, policy, social and technological enablers required to achieve significant changes in the industry’s carbon footprint.

Ford’s report recognizes the importance of precautionary, prudent and early actions to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. It also highlights the need for integrated approaches by fuel companies, vehicle manufacturers, consumers and policy makers.

For its part, Ford Motor Company is pursuing a three-pronged strategy:

• Continuously reducing the greenhouse gas emissions and energy use of company operations.
• Enhancing the flexibility and capability to market lower-greenhouse gas-emissions products that will attract consumers.
• Working with industry partners, oil companies and policy makers to establish an effective and more certain market, policy and technological framework for reducing road transport greenhouse gas emissions.


Ford Report on the Business Impact of Climate Change

From the report:
APPENDIX 2: California GHG regulations

In 2002, the California legislature passed a law directing the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to promulgate rules limiting greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles. In 2004, CARB voted to adopt a set of fleet average standards expressed in grams per mile of CO2. Final rules incorporating these standards were adopted in 2005. The standards are set to take effect beginning with the 2009 model year and become increasingly stringent through the 2016 model year. Several other states, including New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Oregon and Washington, have either adopted parallel regulations or are in the process of doing so.

Ford supports the reduction of vehicle CO2 emissions and is working aggressively toward the development and implementation of real, market-based solutions. However, the entire automobile industry is united in opposition to the AB 1493 rules because they constitute state fuel economy standards. The federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) law calls for a single, nationwide fuel economy program and prohibits individual states from regulating vehicle fuel economy. State-by-state regulation of fuel economy is unworkable because it raises the prospect of an unmanageable patchwork of state standards. Moreover, the AB 1493 regulations seek to impose a fuel economy task that is far more steep and severe than any that has been ever been imposed in the history of CAFE. As time passes and the standards grow more stringent, many if not all manufacturers will have to severely restrict or eliminate sales of larger cars and trucks in order to maintain compliance. Even with our commitment to step up hybrid production and embrace innovative technologies, Ford would not be able to comply with these standards without restricting our product lineup over time.

In December 2004, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers filed an action in federal court in California seeking to overturn the AB 1493 regulations. All members of the Alliance (BMW, DCX, Ford, GM, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Toyota and Volkswagen) supported taking this action. The Association of International Automobile Manufacturers (AIAM), which includes Honda, Nissan, Aston Martin, Bosch, Delphi, Denso, Ferrari, Maserati, Hitachi, Hyundai, Isuzu, Toyota, Suzuki, Subaru, Renault, Peugeot, Mitsubishi, Kia and JAMA (Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, Inc.), has since intervened in the litigation on the side of the Alliance. The litigation process is likely to take several years. A similar action was filed in Vermont in November 2005, and state court actions related to greenhouse gas rules have been filed in New York and Oregon. Additional cases may be filed as other states finalize their rules.

We believe the Company had an obligation to its customers and shareholders to stand with the rest of the industry in support of a single, nationwide fuel economy program with standards that are feasible. In a letter to senior Company management, CEO Bill Ford discussed the Company’s opposition to the California regulation and reiterated its commitment to address the climate change issue. (The text of the letter is available at

Canada Looks Set To Require Ethanol in Gasoline

A pro-ethanol stance is apparently a non-partisan issue north of the U.S. border. This just in from the Environmental News Network...

Canada Looks Set To Require Ethanol in Gasoline

December 22, 2005 — By Reuters
OTTAWA — Canada looks set to require that biofuels be included in all gasoline and diesel fuel sold in the country following nearly identical election campaign promises made by the two leading political parties.

Both Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin, Tuesday, and Conservative leader Stephen Harper, Wednesday, said they would require that renewable fuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel, make up 5 percent gasoline and diesel fuel.

Harper said he would do it, if elected, by 2010. Martin pledged to do it by the end of 2010.

Three of Canada's 10 provinces -- Ontario, Saskatchewan and Manitoba -- already require some renewable fuels but there is not a national standard.

Husky Energy Inc. is one of Canada's biggest producers of ethanol, which is made from grain or other plant sources. Biodiesel is a diesel fuel made from vegetable oils such as soybean oil or animal fats.

Harper also pledged to add C$500 million ($425 million) a year to farm support programs. He said he would replace the current farm income stabilization program with a more streamlined version and introduce a separate disaster relief program.

Election day is Jan. 23.

December 21, 2005

Californians Struggle Over Conversion Technology

The Los Angeles County Solid Waste Management Committee/ Integrated Waste Management Task Force is responsible for coordinating the development of all major solid waste planning documents prepared for the County of Los Angeles and its 88 cities in Los Angeles County. Consistent with these responsibilities and to ensure a coordinated and cost-effective solid
waste management system in Los Angeles County, the Task Force also addresses issues impacting the system on a Countywide basis. The Task Force has been steadfast in its support of AB 1090, the California Assembly Bill to update terminology, heirarchy status, and diversion credit for "conversion technologies" in California. Below is the text from their publication "Inside Waste" publicly distributed during the Summer of 2005. Assembly debate on the bill is scheduled for the first quarter of 2006.


Conversion Technology Report to the Legislature Salvaged

The Task Force has been a consistent advocate for evaluating and implementing conversion technologies as an alternative to landfilling and incineration for many years. Currently, 40 million tons of residual solid waste (the material remaining after recyclables have been extracted) are landfilled each year in California. Instead of being landfilled, this waste can be converted into useable products, clean-burning fuels, and renewable energy. Conversion technologies can address the State’s growing solid waste management needs, including lessening our dependence on landfills and imported fossil fuels, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and bringing our State closer to a “zero waste” sustainable future.

AB 2770, signed into law in 2002, directed the Waste Board to conduct studies in order to determine the environmental feasibility of conversion technologies, assess their relative impacts, and ascertain their potential affect on the recycling market in California. On March 15, 2005, the Waste Board capped off the results of a two-year effort involving two studies completed in conjunction with the Universities of California at Riverside and Davis, and adopted a comprehensive report which found that conversion technologies “can result in substantial environmental benefits for California” while complementing and enhancing California’s recycling market. The report helped to place conversion technology in the proper perspective; it recommended a number of sound and impartial improvements that would allow the legislature and other decision makers to consider conversion technology based on the merits of its relative benefits and impacts.

However, on April 19, the Waste Board buckled under intense political pressure from an environmental group* and certain key members of the State legislature who held up the confirmation process of Waste Board Chair Rosario Marin and Waste Board Member Rosalie Mule unless they “reconsidered” the adopted report. As a result of this pressure, the Waste Board voted to remove any information or recommendation not specifically required in AB 2770, purging significant portions from the report including a recommendation to consider providing diversion credit to jurisdictions utilizing conversion technology. Because many local jurisdictions voiced opposition and concern to these revisions at the May 11 meeting, the Waste Board amended their April 19 decision. In a significant victory for proponents of conversion technologies, the information and recommendations eliminated from the original report will be made available in a separate public document, providing an independent corroboration by the State Waste Board to the positive aspects of conversion technologies the Task Force had been promoting. The Task Force would like to thank cities and all other groups and individuals who sent letters of support to the Waste Board and spoke at the May 11 meeting. Because of the hard work of local jurisdictions, agencies, and non-profit organizations, conversion technologies are gradually becoming a reality.

Our next step is to continue advocating for passage of legislation, such as AB 1090, that advances the development of conversion technology. AB 1090, written based in part on the recommendations of the original report, would correct inaccurate definitions of conversion technologies in the current statute and provide jurisdictions utilizing conversion technology facilities with diversion credit, an important financial and regulatory incentive for facility development. Joint legislative committee hearings for AB 1090 are scheduled to be held this summer and/or this fall, and it will take significant grassroots support to overcome entrenched opposition to this Bill. The Task Force asks that stakeholders continue to send letters to their state representatives expressing support of conversion technology, and legislation like AB 1090 that will help make conversion technologies a reality in California the way they have become a reality in Europe and Japan.

*Californians Against Waste

Well-to-Wheels Analysis of Advanced Fuel/Vehicle Systems

Conducted in May, 2005, this cross-discipline study tabulated data that compares different fuel/vehicle systems for Well-to-Wheels energy usage and emissions. Below is the background behind this study. The title is linked to the entire report of 238 pages.


Well-to-Wheels Analysis of Advanced Fuel/Vehicle Systems — A North American Study of Energy Use, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Criteria Pollutant Emissions

Norman Brinkman, General Motors Corporation
Michael Wang, Argonne National Laboratory
Trudy Weber, General Motors Corporation
Thomas Darlington, Air Improvement Resource, Inc.

An accurate assessment of future fuel/propulsion system options requires a complete vehicle fuel-cycle analysis, commonly called a well-to-wheels (WTW) analysis. In this WTW study, we analyzed energy use and emissions associated with fuel production (or well-to-tank [WTT]) activities and energy use and emissions associated with vehicle operation (or tank-to-wheels [TTW]) activities. Energy resources, such as petroleum, natural gas (NG), coal, and biomass, as well as the energy carrier, electricity, are considered as feedstocks to produce various transportation fuels, including gasoline, diesel fuel, hydrogen (H2), ethanol (EtOH), compressed natural gas (CNG), methanol (MeOH), and Fischer-Tropsch (FT) diesel. The propulsion systems evaluated were spark-ignition (SI) engines, compression-ignition (CI) engines, hydrogen fuel cells, and fuel processor fuel cells, all in non-hybrid and hybrid electric configurations. This study updates and supplements a previous (2001) North American study, conducted by GM and others (General Motors [GM] et al. 2001), of energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with advanced vehicle/fuel systems (GM Phase 1 North American study). The primary purpose of this Phase 2 study is to address criteria pollutant emissions, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter with a diameter smaller than 10 microns (PM10), and sulfur oxide emissions (SOx). We also updated the vehicle modeling for energy consumption with the latest powertrain maps and added some additional propulsion systems, such as hydrogen internal combustion engines (ICEs).

Brazil and Japan Link Up on Ethanol

Thanks to Green Car Congress, here are two background stories from earlier in 2005 that report on the growing interest in Japan to expand imports of Brazilian ethanol.


Brazil and Japan Link Up in Biofuel Pact
4 February 2005

Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Supply and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) are developing a bilateral program to increase the production of ethanol and biodiesel in Brazil and its supply to the Japanese market.

Beginning later this spring, Japanese and Brazilian technicians will create a detailed profile of Brazil’s agro energy sources and develop plans for the expansion of ethanol production in Brazil.

In 2003 the Japanese government regulated a law that authorizes the mixture of up to 3% of alcohol with gasoline.

Now their interest has turned to financing long-term projects capable of increasing Brazilian production and guaranteeing the continuous and regular exportation of this product to Japan.

This will allow Brazil to accumulate exportable surpluses to supply the Japanese market, which, at the outset, already presents a demand of 1.8 billion liters per year.

The future bilateral agreement should also provide incentives to the production of biodiesel in Northeast Brazil.


Japan and Brazil Cooperating to Promote Ethanol Use
26 May 2005

Bloomberg. Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva agreed on the need for more non-governmental cooperation to promote ethanol use, according to a statement released in Tokyo by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Japan expects to introduce more vehicle fuels containing ethanol, and will pursue ongoing talks with Brazil.

Japan is turning to ethanol as a fuel additive as one measure to help it meet its goal for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases under the Kyoto Protocol. Brazil wants to increase its ethanol exports by boosting sales to Japan, the world’s second-largest gasoline market after the U.S.

Six Japanese prefectures are running tests with ethanol. Currently, gasoline in Japan may contain up to 3% ethanol. Brazil requires gasoline to contain a minimum of 25%.

Separately, Japanese media reported that Mitsui & Co. is working with Brazil’s Petrobras and Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) to study how to expand Brazil’s exports of ethanol.

Earlier this year, Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Supply and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) announced that they were developing a bilateral program to increase the production of ethanol and biodiesel in Brazil and its supply to the Japanese market.

Asian Investments in Ethanol

Here are three (green) "tea leaves" from the Far East. In unrelated stories posted this week (12/14-21/2005) on the Green Car Congress website, large multi-national investments are being made to increase ethanol production and build Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFV) in the region. Objective - to provide alternative fuels to meet growing demand for liquid fuel and to meet Kyoto reduced greenhouse gas emissions obligations.


Indonesian Oil and Gas Firm Building Country’s First Ethanol Plant

Medco Energi International, Indonesia’s largest upstream oil and gas exploration firm, plans to build a $34.13-million ethanol plant in Lampung province in 2006. This will be the first ethanol plant in the country.

The joint-venture facility between Medco and PT Trade Bioenergy Indonesia will have annual production capacity of 60,000 kiloliters (about 16 million gallons US) of ethanol targeted for export, with cassava-derived starch and sugarcane molasses as the feedstocks, Medco said in a statement.

Production will begin by the end of the third quarter of 2007, with the main markets to be Singapore and Japan.


Petrobras Forms Japanese Ethanol Joint Venture

Petrobras, the Brazilian state-owned oil and gas company, has formed a joint venture company with Nippon Alcohol Hanbai (NAH) of Japan to produce fuel ethanol for the Japanese market. The new venture—Nippaku Ethanol—will be a 50-50 partnership between the two firms and will aim at the Japanese market.

For Petrobras, the JV is a strategic mechanism for further internationalizing its business and entering an important fuel market, thereby opening up other opportunities for fuel distribution in Japan. Japan is looking to ethanol as one of the mechanisms for achieving its Kyoto obligations.

Earlier this year, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva agreed on the need for more non-governmental cooperation to promote ethanol use.

Japanese law allows three percent ethanol in gasoline, which would mean a market for 1.8 billion liters of the alcohol-based fuel each year. Increasing the blend cap to 10%—as is under discussion—would result in a 6 billion liter market.

Petrobras made its first export shipment of ethanol in July 2005, destined for Venezuela. Initial forecasts are for a monthly shipment of some 25,000 cubic meters (some 6.6 million gallons US). The company had announced earlier in the year that it intended to begin participating in the renewable fuels export market. Petrobras will invest US$330 million in the next five years to develop the requisite transport infrastructure.


Ford Plans New FlexFuel Engine Plant in Philippines

Ford Motor plans to invest P1.1 billion (US$20 million) to add a flexible fuel engine plant in the Philippines. The engine plant will be Ford’s first flexible fuel facility in the region. Flexible fuel engines run on gasoline or ethanol blends of up to 85% (E85). The facility will produce 100,000 engines over the next five years valued at about US$100 million. Start-up activities will be undertaken in the first quarter next year, with full production to begin before the end of 2006.

We expect that this new investment by Ford will take the Philippine automotive industry to its next level of development by establishing its leadership in the Flexible Fuel technology in the region. Flexible Fuel technology is part of Ford’s global vision on innovation, and with this investment Ford intends to build the Philippines as its ASEAN Center of Excellence in Flexible Fuel Technology.
—Peter Daniel, President of Ford Asia Pacific and Africa

The building of the first Flexible Fuel engine facility in the Philippines is aligned with the Philippine government’s alternative fuel program that seeks to reduce dependence on imported conventional fuel and promote a cleaner environment while potentially spurring agro-industrial investment in the rural areas through the production of ethanol.

The engines from the Philippine plant will be used in the production of Flexible Fuel vehicles (FFVs).

December 17, 2005

CA AB 1090 - 11/16/05 - Results of Independent Study of Emissions

A principal obstacle to the passage of AB 1090 has been the lack of emissions data for conversion technologies. To address this issue, the Center for Environmental Research and Technology of the Bourns College of Engineering of the University of California/Riverside (aka, CE-CERT) undertook emissions tests of three facilities:
1. International Environmental Solutions (IES) plant located in Romoland, California, a pyrolysis facility followed by thermal oxidation for the purpose of power generation
2. BRI Energy's pilot plant in Fayetteville, Arkansas, a gasification facility followed by synthesis gas fermentation of ethanol with cogeneration of electricity,
3. Integrated Environmental Technologies (IET) located in Richland, Washington, a plasma arc gasification facility whose design is primarily for the disposal of hazardous or medical wastes.

All three facilities' emissions tests indicate compliance or near compliance with the air pollutant emissions regulations of several standards. Only IES registered over compliance in any of the tests, but this result could be remedied with the installation of readily available technology prior to future emissions.


Evaluation of Environmental Impacts of Alternative Thermal Conversion Technologies Using Municipal Solid Waste Feedstocks

William A. Welch
Principal Development Engineer
Center for Environmental Research and Technology
Bourns College of Engineering
University of California - Riverside

I have been involved over the past few years in alternative conversion technologies for energy production and/or waste reduction.

Today, I am going to speak to my experiences specifically with evaluation of several pilot plant operations in the United States, their emissions test results and where they stand in comparison to existing regulatory limits.

I am specifically going to speak to the International Environmental Solutions plant located in Romoland, California, a pyrolysis facility followed by thermal oxidation for the purpose of power generation, which was tested this summer with an MSW residual feedstock by an independent third party laboratory under a South Coast Air Quality Management District research permit.

The second facility is BRI Energy, which has a pilot plant in Fayetteville, Arkansas. It is a hybrid technology, a combination of thermal and biological conversion technologies. It has an up front gasifier which is a thermal technology followed by a bioreactor containing enzymes that convert the gasifier products into ethanol, with secondary heat that is used for electrical energy production.

The third technology is Integrated Environmental Technologies located in Richland, Washington, a plasma arc gasification facility whose design is primarily for the disposal of hazardous or medical wastes.

I have obtained test results from each of these facilities, and in the case of the first two actually observed the testing first hand and have done my own independent evaluation of those test results.

For comparisons to emission limits, I have looked at similar types of facilities, in particular the US EPA emission limits for starved-air combusters, which are used commonly in MSW incineration; the South Coast Air Quality Management District permit limits for the two incinerators we have here in the South Coast Air basin; and then, German limits. In Europe, they do have limits for gasification facilities using MSW.

The dioxin/furan emissions for all of three facilities (as shown above) were below existing US EPA limits for starved air combusters and German limits for thermal MSW conversion. I’ve not listed the South Coast limits for dioxins and furans because that is performed on a case-by-case basis.

The current U.S. inventory of dioxin and furan emissions to the air (see chart on previous page) shows that the backyard burning of trash is still the largest source of dioxin emissions to the air in the United States at almost 500 grams per year. Medical waste incineration still poses a big concern as far as emissions of dioxins. Municipal waste combustion is the third highest level.

You can go down through more common industrial processes—the coal-fired boilers, cement kilns that use hazardous waste as a fuel supplement, heavy duty diesel trucks, primary magnesium production, industrial wood combustion…and I found it interesting that also on the list is secondary aluminum smelting. Aluminum recycling is also a significant source of dioxin and furan emissions, not subject, however, to waste board oversight.

All of these generated dioxin and furan emissions significantly above the levels of the tested conversion technologies, whose results represented raw data without standard emissions controls.

The pilot plant test results that we have witnessed and have evaluated independently indicate compliance or near compliance with air pollutant emissions regulations. Continuous and periodic monitoring of these processed is recommended. Care must be taken that these facilities are operated properly and monitored such that there is no accidental release of any component into the atmosphere. Further characterization of the solid and liquid residues is recommended. There is a potential for post-process recycling. Those materials that could not be removed up-front for some reason, such as glass and metals, depending upon the feedstock, could potentially be recovered in the char and ash.


CONTEXT: On November 16, 2005 the California Assembly Natural Resources Committee, Chaired by Hon. Loni Hancock, held a hearing in the Los Angeles City Council Chambers. A distinguished panel of speakers presented a series of arguments advocating the passage of AB 1090 - which would correct language in its predecessor (CA Bill AB 939 in 1989) and provide additional "diversion credits" for waste that is diverted from landfill. This hearing was full of facts from credible sources that are germaine to any debate on the subject of conversion technology - the need, the opportunity, the comparative emissions data, and the overall environmental benefits.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory - BFIN website

This is reprinted from The Energy Blog...

Bioenergy Feedstock Information Network

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) recently redesigned its Bioenergy Feedstock Information Network (BFIN), dramatically increasing ease of access to feedstock related data and analysis. The U.S. Department of Energy's Bioenergy Information Network (BIN), housed at ORNL, had become a central location for information related to biomass and in particular feedstocks. Information available at the site includes:

* Reports * Fact sheets * Databases * Presentations * Images * Links * News * Events * Contacts

Biomass feedstock types with information featured on the site includes:

Agricultural residue
Forestry residue
Herbaceous crops
Municipal/Urban residues
Oil crops
Short-rotation woody crops
The new website, renamed Bioenergy Feedstock Information Network (BFIN), is now available publicly at

The site's overall design and structure is predicated on primarily two publications: The 2003 Roadmap for Agricultural Biomass Feedstock Supply in the United States and the 2005 Biomass as Feedstock for a Bioenergy and Bioproducts Industry: The Technical Feasibility of a Billion-Ton Annual Supply. The industry segments, outlined in the Roadmap, help to partially structure the site's content into five distinct supply system processes; harvesting, storage, preprocessing, transportation and system integration. The Billion-Ton study provided the structure by which feedstock types were categorized. The study also drives many of the numbers and projections that form the basis for information on the site.

Biomass as Feedstocks for a Bioenergy and Bioproducts Industry: The Technical Feasibility of a Billion-Ton Annual Supply

Published on the U.S. Department of Energy's Bioenergy Feedstock Information Network (BFIN) website is a factual report of the biomass potential of the United States from agricultural and forestry sources. It contains charts and graphs analyzing and organizing the major categories of resources available. While many critics of ethanol as a longterm solution to U.S. liquid fuel needs point to the limits of corn availability to supply sugar fermentation in sufficient quantity, this report accepts the broader view that all biomass, including what we consider agricultural and forestry waste, will be convertible to ethanol through emerging production processes.


Biomass as Feedstocks for a Bioenergy and Bioproducts Industry: The Technical Feasibility of a Billion-Ton Annual Supply

Biomass is already making key energy contributions in the United States, having supplied nearly 2.9 quadrillion Btu (quad) of energy in 2003. It has surpassed hydropower as the largest domestic source of renewable energy. Biomass currently supplies over 3 percent of the total energy consumption in the United States — mostly through industrial heat and steam production by the pulp and paper industry and electrical generation with forest industry residues and municipal solid waste (MSW). In addition to the many benefits common to any renewable energy use, biomass is particularly attractive because it is the only current renewable source of liquid transportation fuel. This, of course, makes it an invaluable way to reduce oil imports — one of our nation’s most pressing energy and security needs. Biomass also has great potential to provide heat and power to industry and to provide feedstocks to make a wide range of chemicals and materials or bioproducts.

The overall mission of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) is to strengthen the nation’s energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality in public-private partnerships that enhance energy efficiency and productivity; bring clean, reliable and affordable energy technologies to the marketplace; and make a difference in the everyday lives of Americans by enhancing their energy choices and their quality of life.

The purpose of this report is to assess whether the land resources of the United States have the potential to produce a sustainable supply of biomass that can displace 30 percent of the country’s current petroleum consumption.

This study found that the combined forest and agriculture land resources have the potential of sustainably supplying much more than one-third of the nation’s current petroleum consumption. Forest lands, and in particular, timberlands, have the potential to sustainably produce close to 370 million dry tons of biomass annually.

Agricultural lands can provide nearly 1 billion dry tons of sustainably collectable biomass and continue to meet food, feed and export demands. This estimate includes 446 million dry tons of crop residues, 377 million dry tons of perennial crops, 87 million dry tons of grains used for biofuels, and 87 million dry tons of animal manures, process residues, and other residues generated in the consumption food products.

In the context of the time required to scale up to a large-scale biorefinery industry, an annual biomass supply of more than 1.3 billion dry tons can be accomplished with relatively modest changes in land use and agricultural and forestry practices.

December 16, 2005

Win-Win-Win for the Environment, Farms, and the Nation

The Energy Foundation is conducting research and promoting the use of biofuels and windpower for rural revitalization and national energy security. Funded by The McKnight Foundation of Minneapolis, Minnesota, their biofuels program "is focused on helping the U.S., and especially the Midwest, become the world leader in advanced technologies for producing biofuels - liquid fuels from crops and agricultural waste."

Visit this site for numerous links to relevant papers entitled:
The New Harvest Wind Power and Biofuels for Rural Revitalization and National Energy Security
Ethanol From Biomass America's 21st Century Transportation Fuel
Growing Energy How Biofuels Can Help End America's Oil Dependence
25 by 25 Agriculture's Role in Ensuring U.S. Energy Independence - A Blueprint for Action
Cultivating a New Rural Economy Assessing the Potential of Minnesota's Bio-industrial Sector
Bringing Biofuels to the Pump An Aggressive Plan for Ending America's Oil Dependence
WTO Legal Impacts on Commodity Subsidies Green Box Opportunities in the Farm Bill for Farm Income Through the Conservation and Clean Energy Development Programs


Providing liquid fuels from American farmlands is a win-win-win for rural economies, national energy security, and the environment.

The Energy Foundation's new biofuels program is an expansion of The McKnight Foundation-Energy Foundation Upper Midwest Clean Energy Initiative. Funded by The McKnight Foundation of Minneapolis, Minnesota, our biofuels program is focused on helping the U.S., and especially the Midwest, become the world leader in advanced technologies for producing biofuels - liquid fuels from crops and agricultural waste.

Rural America needs new economic development opportunities. At the same time, America faces the challenge of obtaining the affordable, reliable, and clean energy needed for economic growth. America's rural landscape is the place to substantially address both challenges. Converting crops to liquid fuels produces new income streams for farm communities and, by displacing oil imports, improves U.S energy security.

Managed by the Energy Foundation, this initiative is primarily focused on commercializing cellulosic ethanol, an alcohol fuel that can be made from a variety of crop inputs - from corn stover, to wheat straw, to perennials like native switchgrass. Recent studies project that cellulosic ethanol could meet a significant share of U.S. light vehicle gasoline demand with big oil security benefits and large reductions in vehicle global warming pollution.

Toward this vision, the Biofuels Program will consider support for:

• economic analysis of cellulosic ethanol potential;
• environmental analysis of sustainable paths to scale-up cellulosic ethanol;
• development of model policies to rapidly commercialize cellulosic ethanol;
• state and federal decision-maker education efforts; and
• regional networks of farm-leaders interested in advancing ethanol commercialization policies

Our recent white paper, The New Harvest, Biofuels and Windpower for Rural Revitalization and National Energy Security, outlines the rural economic benefits from these new technologies and the most important policies to advance them.

Wisconsin AB 15: Farmers, Conservation Groups Hail Bi-partisan Ethanol Bill Passage

In a display of broad-based agreement, "special interests" from both sides of the aisle came together to push through legislation that will help strengthen Wisconsin's economy while lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Equally impressive is the strong support (73-20) shown for a more farsighted goal of shifting ethanol production from strictly agricultural feedstock to 20% other cellulosic sources by 2020.

Farmers, Conservation Groups Hail Bi-partisan Ethanol Bill Passage

First in nation to support a 20% goal for biomass ethanol from prairie grass, wood waste, and other cellulose sources

Madison—Wisconsin farmers and conservation groups today hailed the passage of AB 15, the Ethanol Mandate Bill by the Wisconsin Assembly sponsored by Representative Steve Freese of Dodgeville by a 54-38 margin. The bill would require 10% ethanol be sold in regular gas by October 2006.

“This is a major Christmas present for Wisconsin’s farm families,” said John Malchine, a farmer and owner of Badger Ethanol of Monroe. “The more fuel we grow and make here, the less we need to import from the Mideast.”

Wisconsin currently imports $13 billion of gas and other fuels, which costs jobs and drains our economy.

"The Assembly deserves praise for supporting a fuel policy that will yield multiple benefits to Wisconsin," said Michael Vickerman, Executive Director of RENEW Wisconsin. "In one fell swoop this vote enhances energy security, reduces greenhouse gases, and strengthens the agricultural industry. We salute Rep. Freese for his energetic leadership on this vital issue, and commend Rep. Berceau for recognizing the need to develop fiber-based sources of ethanol.”

Berceau sponsored an amendment to create a 20% goal for biomass ethanol from prairie grasses, wood waste and other biofuels by 2020, and a process to achieve that goal. This is the first measure in the nation to set a goal for biomass ethanol and passed by an overwhelming 73-20 margin.

“We have a simple choice: get more oil from the risky Mideast or grow more fuel in the Midwest,” Brett Hulsey, President of Better Environmental Solutions, an environmental consulting firm which help draft the amendment. “Homegrown ethanol, especially when made from prairie grass, is a better environmental solution. This bill promotes biomass ethanol with a clear goal and sets up a process to achieve that goal. It also beats drilling for oil on sensitive coastlines or in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.”

Farmers, Conservationists Hail WI Ethanol Bill Passage, Page Two
A new study, “The New Harvest: Wind Power and Biofuels for Rural Revitalization and National Energy Security" by the Energy Foundation, shows that a major commitment to biofuels like ethanol, energy efficiency, and smart growth could replace all gasoline for cars, truck, and light duty vehicles by 2050. This could account for eight million barrels of oil a day, three times what we now import from the Persian Gulf. (See the report at

“Developing biomass ethanol can help restore our native prairies, protect our streams with buffer strips, and help farmers to earn income while using more conservation practices,” said Andy Olsen, Policy Advocate for the Environmental Law and Policy Center. It also reduces greenhouse air pollution. Biomass ethanol from prairie grass, corn residue, wood waste, and other natural resources can increase ethanol production and reduce greenhouse air pollution by 57-70%, according to a new study published in Environmental Science and Technology. University of Toronto engineers compared the life-cycle energy costs of low-sulfur reformulated gasoline and 85% ethanol fuel (E-85) over short and medium term in everyday driving scenarios. The research concluded that E-85 fuel cut greenhouse air pollution by 57% from prairie grass and 65% from corn residue over gasoline by 2010 and by 70% by 2020.

The bill now moves to the Wisconsin State Senate and will be taken up in the New Year.

December 15, 2005

Wisconsin AB 15: Ethanol Cuts Greenhouse Gas

Wisconsin's State legislature is considering the passage of a bill (AB 15) to mandate "that the minimum specifications for automotive gasoline must require that automotive gasoline contain not less than 9.2 percent nor more than 10 percent ethanol." In support of this bill, surveys have been conducted that provide statistics about the impact of ethanol on greenhouse gas emissions.


Wisconsin Clean Energy News

December 14, 2005

New Study Shows Ethanol Can Cut Greenhouse Air Pollution, Increase Energy Security

Madison—Better Environmental Solutions and RENEW Wisconsin today released a new study showing ethanol from prairie grasses and corn residues or stover can reduce our reliance on risky foreign oil and cut dangerous greenhouse air pollution.

“Biofuels like ethanol can save lives, jobs and money by cutting greenhouse air pollution and helping our family farmers,” said Brett Hulsey, President of Better Environmental Solutions, an environmental consulting firm. “We have the choice to get our fuel from the risky Mideast or help our farmers produce it in the Midwest.”

In the just-published article in Environmental Science and Technology, engineers at the University of Toronto compared the life-cycle energy costs of low-sulfur reformulated gasoline and E-85 ethanol over short and medium term life-cycles in everyday driving scenarios. The research concluded that E-85 fuels created 50% less greenhouse air pollution than their RFG counterparts on the short-term (10 years) to 70% or better when assessed over medium-range timeframes (20 years).

“Apart from conservation, the most effective strategy for managing energy price volatility and reducing atmospheric pollution is to substitute locally produced biofuels for the petroleum we import,” said Michael Vickerman, Executive Director of RENEW Wisconsin. “Passing AB 15, the ethanol bill currently before the Legislature, would be a worthy milestone toward that end.”

Wisconsinites import almost $10 billion in gas and other energy sources each year, costing at least 200,000 jobs.

“The more we invest now in developing Wisconsin’s renewable energy resources, the healthier and more secure the state’s economy and citizens will be in the decades to come,” Hulsey said.

Wisconsinites import almost $10 billion in gas and other energy sources each year, costing at least 200,000 jobs.

BetterEnvironmentalSolutions.Com is an environmental consulting firm dedicated to practical solutions today for a better tomorrow and promoting clean energy to save lives, jobs and money. RENEW Wisconsin promotes clean energy strategies to power the state’s economy in an environmentally responsible manner.

Brett Hulsey, President
Better Environmental Solutions

Michael Vickerman
Executive Director
RENEW Wisconsin

Wisconsin AB 15: Biofuels In Our Future

As many biofuels skeptics are learning, there is more than one way to produce ethanol - "Don't stop with corn." Here is an editorial in a Midwestern newspaper that casts the issue in a proper light - think beyond the present technology toward development of a breakthrough solution.

In a turnaround, the editorial department of The Capital Times decided that Wisconsin Assembly Bill AB 15 (a measure to mandate that automotive fuel in Wisconsin gasoline contain roughly 10% ethanol) deserved their support. Ethanol is a great renewable fuel, so focus should be on supporting development of production techniques that further reduce costs and increase benefits. The next challenge is to identify the right combination of feedstock and production process that makes economic sense for each market.

Biofuels In Our Future

The Capital Times :: EDITORIAL

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Last winter, when a bill was introduced in the state Legislature that would require a 10 percent ethanol blend be sold at all Wisconsin gas stations, we expressed reservations. Proponents claim E-10 would reduce fossil fuel use but, in fact, manufacturing ethanol from corn is a very energy-intensive process.

Today, however, promising advances in research and a willingness on the part of state officials, particularly Gov. Jim Doyle, to endorse the broader field of biofuels have changed our view.

We now support Assembly Bill 15, with a caveat: Don't stop with corn. We endorse this bill as a step toward the eventual manufacture of ethanol from a variety of non-corn sources, including switch grass, municipal waste and wood waste. Researchers here in Madison and elsewhere are developing the enzymes needed to produce ethanol from these sources. The next challenge is to make that process cost-effective.

An ethanol mandate would help spur such efforts and encourage Wisconsin to become a leader in the emerging and economically promising biofuels field.

Already, researchers at Badger State Ethanol in Monroe are looking at techniques to power the plant with corn fiber instead of natural gas. In addition to manufacturing ethanol, which it sells for about a dollar less a gallon than regular gasoline, the plant also markets the fuel's byproducts of carbon dioxide and distillers grains.

Besides being a homegrown fuel, ethanol offers benefits that include optimizing engine performance and reducing some of the toxic chemicals in gasoline. In the near future, more of us will be driving flex-fuel vehicles powered by an E-85 mixture. U.S. automakers, along with Nissan, are offering 20 flex-fuel models for 2006. On average, their greenhouse gas emissions are 25 percent lower than those of cars running on regular gasoline. Wisconsin has 18 E-85 gas stations on line as well as four ethanol plants, with several more in the works.

By encouraging biofuel use, countries like Brazil and China are notably cutting their use of oil. The U.S. remains shamefully behind -- instead continuing to give massive tax breaks to the oil industry, thereby assuring our continued gluttonous consumption of a polluting, and finite, fuel. Consider this: The true cost of a gallon of gas would be $7 or more without the federal subsidies. E-10 opponents who complain about the modest 50-cent per gallon ethanol subsidy conveniently ignore the much larger incentives enjoyed by the oil industry.

The Legislature should mandate E-10 with an eye toward a future vibrant bioeconomy using renewable resources. Other Midwest states recognize this growing potential and Wisconsin should not lag behind.

December 14, 2005

EU Launches Biomass Action Plan

The European Union is aggressively pursuing policies that will insure ample non-fossil fuel sources are developed over the next few decades. Below are excerpts from their Communication from the Commission of the European Communities.

Excerpts from the EU Biomass Action Plan:

Energy is key in helping Europe achieve its objectives for growth, jobs and sustainability. High oil prices put the spotlight on Europe’s increasing dependency on imported energy.

The Union needs to respond strongly to this challenge. The central importance of energy policy in helping Europe to meet the challenges of globalisation was confirmed by the Union’s heads of state and government at the informal Hampton Court summit in October 2005.

With this in mind, the Commission is carrying out a fundamental review of its energy policy. This will be the subject of a Green Paper in spring 2006, with three main objectives – competitiveness, sustainability and security of supply.

Essential elements of this policy are, within the context of stronger economic growth, the need to reduce energy demand; increase reliance on renewable energy sources, given the potential to produce them domestically and their sustainability; diversify energy sources; and enhance international cooperation. These elements can help Europe to reduce dependence on energy imports, increase sustainability and stimulate growth and jobs.

This action plan sets out measures to increase the development of biomass energy from wood, wastes and agricultural crops by creating market-based incentives to its use and removing barriers to the development of the market. In this way Europe can cut its dependence on fossil fuels, cut greenhouse gas emissions and stimulate economic activity in rural areas.

This communication sets out a coordinated programme for Community action, including measures to improve demand for biomass; improve supply; overcome technical barriers; and develop research.

EU biomass production potential

The first column of the table shows the quantities of EU-produced biomass used for energy purposes today. The following columns show the potential contribution in 2010, 2020 and 2030. The potential for 2010 is 2½ times the contribution today. The potential for 2020 is 3 to 3½ times the contribution today, and the potential for 2030 is 3½ to 4½ times that of today.
Forests, wastes and agriculture all make a big contribution to this potential for growth. The increase from forestry comes from an increase both in fellings and in the use of residues. The increase from agriculture is driven by the reform of the common agricultural policy.

Research priorities - transport biofuels

The main area of research is second-generation biofuels made from various biomass resources and wastes, e.g. bioethanol, biodiesel, DME. The technical feasibility of converting cellulose material (straw/wood) and organic wastes into bioethanol and biodiesel has been demonstrated. But costs need to be brought down and technology needs to be further developed and demonstrated for commercial-scale production (over 150 000 tonnes a year). If this can be done, second-generation biofuels should offer three major advantages:
• they will secure a higher market share for biofuels by allowing the use of a wider range of raw material;
• the cultivation process (if any) could be less environmentally intensive than for ordinary agricultural crops;
• this lower intensity will be reflected in lower greenhouse gas emissions from cultivation.

D.O.E. on Synthesis Gas Fermentation

The U.S. Department of Energy (D.O.E.) has defined "Synthesis Gas Fermentation" (or syngas fermentation) as a scientifically recognized method of producing cellulosic ethanol separate from the more widely know method called "enzymatic hydrolysis."

The promise of syngas fermentation is that it is applicable to the conversion of a much broader range of feedstock (including urban, agricultural, and forestry waste) than either sugar fermentation or enzymatic hydrolysis. As a production technology, it is also much more energy efficient, faster, and more economical(1) than the other two.

According to D.O.E. studies conducted by the Argonne Laboratories of the University of Chicago, one of the benefits of cellulosic ethanol over sugar-fermented ethanol is that it reduces [greenhouse gas emissions] (GHG) by 85% over reformulated gasoline. By contrast, sugar-fermented ethanol reduces GHG emissions by 18% to 29% over gasoline

From the U.S. D.O.E. website.....

Synthesis Gas Fermentation

Biomass can be converted to synthesis gas (consisting primarily of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen) via a high temperature gasification process. Anaerobic bacteria are then used to convert the synthesis gas into ethanol. Bioresource Engineering Inc. has developed synthesis gas fermentation technology that can be used to produce ethanol from cellulosic wastes with high yields and rates.

Biomass can be converted to synthesis gas, which consists primarily of carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), and hydrogen (H2), via the gasification process. Gasification technology has been under intensive development for the last 2 decades. Large-scale demonstration facilities have been tested and commercial units are in operation worldwide. The problems with the application of gasification have been economic, not technical. In the past, the product from gasification has been electricity or heat source, and the low value of these products in today's market is insufficient to justify the capital and operating costs. However, if gasification is coupled with the production of a higher value liquid fuel, the combination could be a viable alternative energy technology.

After gasification, anaerobic bacteria such as Clostridium ljungdahlii are used to convert the CO, CO2, and H2 into ethanol(1). Higher rates are obtained because the process is limited by the transfer of gas into the liquid phase instead of the rate of substrate uptake by the bacteria.

Commercial Status
BioEngineering Resources, Inc.
Bioengineering Resources, Inc. (BRI) has developed syngas fermentation technology that can be used to produce ethanol from cellulosic wastes with high yields and rates. The process of combined gasification/fermentation has been under development by BRI for several years. The feasibility of the technology has been demonstrated, and plans are under way to pilot the technology as a first step toward commercialization. The conversion of a waste stream, the disposal of which is costly, into a valuable fuel adds both environmental and economic incentives. The yields can be high because all of the raw material, except the ash and metal, is converted to ethanol. BRI has developed bioreactor systems for fermentation that results in retention times of only a few minutes at atmospheric pressure and less than a minute at elevated pressure. These retention times result in very economical equipment costs(1,2). The biocatalyst is automatically regenerated by slow growth of the bacteria in the reactor.

1Klasson, K.T.; Elmore, B.B.; Vega, J.L.; Ackerson, M.D.; Clausen, E.C.; Gaddy, J.L., "Biological Production of Liquid and Gaseous Fuels from Synthesis Gas." Applied Biochemistry and Bioengineering, Vol. 24/25, 1990, pp. 857-873.

2Vega, et al. 1989, Proprietary Reports.

More on BRI Energy available at Green Car Congress, 07/09/05

December 10, 2005

CA AB 1090 - 11/16/05 - Results of URS Conversion Technology Research

The Los Angeles City Council contracted URS Corporation to conduct a study to identify technologies that would help it reach its landfill diversion goals through conversion technologies. URS Corporation Vice President Daniel F. Predpall reports that mature technologies already in operation from Europe and Japan already meet all California permit requirements and that AB 1090 should be enacted to enable these conversion technologies to become employable options for solid waste management.


Daniel F. Predpall, Vice President - Power Business Line
URS Corporation

URS has recently released several comprehensive technical reports on technologies that can convert MSW to energy. In these studies we evaluated over fifteen different thermal and biological processing technologies and roughly 200 suppliers of these technologies. Members of our staff who have designed and operated these facilities and hold patents for them conducted these evaluations. I would classify these staff as experts in this area. As a result of these studies we have identified a number of technologies that were specifically designed to process MSW in relatively large quantities.

Examples of these technologies exist today and are successfully operating in Europe and Japan. I am totally confident that, based upon the studies that we have conducted during the past four years, conversion technologies such as those that are specifically designed to process MSW, will meet all permit requirements in California.

Furthermore, we expect that the emissions for these technologies will be well below existing regulatory limits and health risks will be acceptable. Conversion technologies will enhance recycling of MSW, because these technologies use the more homogeneous post-recycled residues as a feedstock. It is important to realize that no solid waste disposal or processing method is risk free.

For example, landfilling of MSW results in air pollution and in some cases contamination of our water. All life cycle impacts of solid waste management options must be evaluated before rendering judgment about acceptability of the particular alternative. When we do this we will adopt technologies that will provide environmentally sustainable solutions that will maximize benefits to our communities and minimize environmental burdens. In summary, the conversion of MSW into energy can offer a potential solution to two needs in California, generating desperately needed renewable energy using MSW, which. by the way, represents a virtually unlimited supply of a low-cost feedstock, and slowing the practice of burying our garbage, which then contaminates our water and air.

The legislature should include conversion as another solid waste management option and thereby demonstrate the performance of these systems, and keep California in the forefront of energy and solid waste management in this country.


CONTEXT: On November 16, 2005 the California Assembly Natural Resources Committee, Chaired by Hon. Loni Hancock, held a hearing in the Los Angeles City Council Chambers. A distinguished panel of speakers presented a series of arguments advocating the passage of AB 1090 - which would correct language in its predecessor (CA Bill AB 939 in 1989) and provide additional "diversion credits" for waste that is diverted from landfill. This hearing was full of facts from credible sources that are germaine to any debate on the subject of conversion technology - the need, the opportunity, the comparative emissions data, and the overall environmental benefits.

CA AB 1090 - 11/16/05 - R.E.N.E.W. L.A.’s Need for Regulatory Relief

In this presentation, Los Angeles Councilmember Greig Smith addresses the need for clarification of terms in current State regulations to enable his ambitious landfill diversion plan (see "R.E.N.E.W. L.A. - Jumpstarting Waste Reform in L.A." article 08/05) to proceed with development. He also outlines the environmental and employment benefits to Los Angeles for implementation of "R.E.N.E.W. L.A."


Hon. Greig Smith, Member, City Council
Chair, Ad Hoc RENEW LA Sub-Committee, City of Los Angeles

We introduced in Los Angeles City Council two months ago a program called RENEW LA. It stands for Recovering Energy, Natural Resources and Economic Benefit from Waste. It is a shifting, new paradigm from the traditional AB 939 programs, which most cities are involved in, to the next level of waste disposal. And that is zero waste. Not zero trash, but zero waste. We believe that by the year 2025 we can eliminate 90% of our trash from dependence on landfills.

There are six main features to RENEW LA.

First of all, sustainability. Los Angeles like most cities in California is a mature city. We don’t have the luxury of wide open canyons and places to dispose of our trash, nor do we desire as a city to any longer engage in that technology, which destroys our earth and pollutes our communities.

Resource and Conservation. Certainly the reduction in the use of natural resources is important in our society today, particularly in California. Environmental protection is paramount to anything we do as a city.

Renewable Energy. The City of L.A., like the state of California, has a 20% renewable energy program in force. We are moving that forward to the year 2010 from 2017. Our trash can provide a valuable asset to that. In fact, we believe we can provide 330 MW to the energy production in Los Angeles, which is about one-third of its RPS requirement.

Economic Benefit is an important part of this, as is Environmental Justice. Anything we do, obviously environmental justice is a major issue.

Currently in the City of Los Angeles, we have a trash problem of some 9.3 million tons of trash per year. 5.8 million tons are recycled. That’s a 62% diversion rate, one of the best in the state of California, and 3.5 million tons are landfilled at a cost of about $87 million. What is left over is about 14,000 tons per day, of which the City government itself picks up 3500 tons per day.

We will increase our current effort in recycling from 62% to an estimated 70% or 75% through the use of additional MRFing and conversion technology facilities. The remainder will be used to create energy, fuels, compost and biochemical products.

We conducted a program through our URS company contract, which identified five technologies that would be useful to the city in achieving its goals. Contrary to what some environmental groups say, many of these are mature technologies and not simply theories. There are over 170 plants in operation in Europe and another 70 in Japan, so they are mature technologies with long track records.

Our projections show that we can dispose 93% of our trash by 2025, but in doing so it is very important to state that AB 939 took us to the first level, the first paradigm of dealing with trash. In 1990 the City of Los Angeles was disposing of 3,500 tons of trash per day. Today, fifteen years later, with a 62% diversion rate, we are landfilling 3,500 tons of trash per day, the exact same amount. And the reason is, our growth. All we managed to do is divert our growth rate, and so we want to take it to the next level.

In the City of Los Angeles environmental justice is a major factor. In our RENEW LA plan, each part of the city will handle its own trash. We have seven basic regions of the city. Each region will have its own conversion technology plant, from the richest areas of the San Fernando Valley to the poorest areas of South Central, so that each area handles it own trash.

Looking at traditional landfilling in Los Angeles, the average tipping fee is around $25 per ton at the local landfills. At we look at the other hauling and transfer facilities, the price gets up to around $60 per ton. As you look at the County’s rail haul proposal, you get up to $70 to $100 per ton in the year 2011. The County Sanitation Board is moving toward as the primary disposal method for Los Angeles County. In our URS study, the cost of disposal with conversion technologies ranged between $20 and $60 per ton, so their costs are competitive with current local landfilling practices.

On the environment, conversion technologies are much cleaner in almost every respect than current landfilling technologies or other mass burn facilities. They create less truck traffic, less congestion, less NOX, SOX and greenhouse gases. They provide green energy to make us less dependent on fossil fuels. Our analysis says that we would produce 400,000 tons less emissions each year by converting to conversion technology plants.

AB 939 created 600 new businesses in Los Angeles, some 8,000 jobs and $2 billion in revenue. Conversion technologies in our analysis create ten times more jobs than current landflling operations. We’ve got green collar jobs increasing the tax base, increasing the job base in the City of Los Angeles.

We believe LA is a great case study of what should be done in California and the United States. We are the largest city in the United States to take this step.

We urge you to pass AB 1090, because AB 1090 will help us reach our goal. The correct placement of conversion technologies in the waste disposal hierarchy, correct definitions of such terms as “conversion technologies” and “gasification” and diversion credits will be important factors to us as we build these plants.


CONTEXT: On November 16, 2005 the California Assembly Natural Resources Committee, Chaired by Hon. Loni Hancock, held a hearing in the Los Angeles City Council Chambers. A distinguished panel of speakers presented a series of arguments advocating the passage of AB 1090 - which would correct language in its predecessor (CA Bill AB 939 in 1989) and provide additional "diversion credits" for waste that is diverted from landfill. This hearing was full of facts from credible sources that are germaine to any debate on the subject of conversion technology - the need, the opportunity, the comparative emissions data, and the overall environmental benefits.

CA AB 1090 - 11/16/05 - Background for Conversion Technology Bill

On November 16, 2005 the California Assembly Natural Resources Committee, Chaired by Hon. Loni Hancock, held a hearing in the Los Angeles City Council Chambers. A distinguished panel of speakers presented a series of arguments advocating the passage of AB 1090 - which would correct language in its predecessor (CA Bill AB 939 in 1989) and provide additional "diversion credits" for waste that is diverted from landfill. This hearing was full of facts from credible sources that are germaine to any debate on the subject of conversion technology - the need, the opportunity, the comparative emissions data, and the overall environmental benefits.

These introductory remarks by the Chair of the California Integrated Waste Management Board, trace the brief background of conversion technology legislation in and the need for updating guidelines for diverting municipal solid waste (MSW).


Hon. Rosario Marin
Chair, California Integrated Waste Management Board

The future of waste and resource management in California is the Board’s overarching mandate and we have been diligent in the effort to stay abreast of trends and technologies to ensure that the health and safety of the public and the environment are protected.

The Integrated Waste Management Board, with its local government and industry partners, has come a long way. In 2004, California achieved a 48% diversion rate, and I project that we will be at 50% this year, 2005. Given that the mandate for diversion rests on local governments and the board, and given that there are very few mandated producer responsibility programs, you must agree that this has been a monumental accomplishment.

While we have come so very far, it appears that we might be right back where we started way back in 1989. Today, we are facing some of the similar challenges that we were facing then. It appears to me that we are relying on old methods and old technologies to face even bigger and greater challenges.

When then-Assemblymember Sher wrote AB 939 in 1989, the main impetus was the threat of running out of landfill space, as well as the huge amount of resources that were thrown out as trash every day. At that time, California’s population was about 30 million people and we generated 49 million tons of trash. However, we only diverted about four million tons despite disposing of about 45 million tons. That’s about a 10% diversion rate.

In 2005, California’s population has now grown to over 36 million people, an increase of six million. However, we generate over 78 million tons of waste, that’s up from 49 million back then, but we divert 37 million tons of disposal. However, that means that we still dispose of almost 41 million tons of material every year. That’s 41 million tons of potential resources that clearly have no sustainable market.

Even if we continue to divert half of our generated waste from disposal, and even if we decrease our disposal, with the growth in population, we will be faced with a management crisis at some point. Sooner or later we are going to run out of space.

The US Census projects that by the year 2030 California will be home to more than 46 million people. State and local governments will be responsible for providing basic services for an additional ten million people in the next 25 years--and that includes waste management services.

If we estimate that waste generation will remain pretty constant at a little less than two million tons per year per one million in population, then the state will be faced with the management of an additional 20 million tons of waste. This will put waste generation at about 100 million tons per year--100 million tons of potential resources that should not be landfilled and should be used for their higher and best use. What those uses are will be spurred on by public policy drivers that are somewhat different than what they were back in 1989.

What policy makers are faced with now are more than just landfill space and finding better uses for resources that might otherwise be wasted. We are faced now with vanishing open space, increased costs for energy, increasing dependence on foreign sources of fuel, controlling greenhouse gas emissions, increasing pressure to stop the export of potentially harmful materials and so forth.

There are no new landfills being planned in California, and as you are aware, it would take between ten and twenty years to plan, site and construct, even if you could find somewhere to put it.

Many jurisdictions are beginning to say “no” to the import of waste from other jurisdictions. Lawsuits, local initiatives and even legislative action to ban the import and import and export of waste are being initiated around the state.

We really do not have the luxury of waiting to find long-term waste management options. We need to explore new avenues that show promise as they have in other parts of the nation and the world.

We need to find new markets for larger quantities and different types of waste streams and we must start this process now.

I feel it is our shared duty, our shared responsibility to look beyond today and to the future. In looking into the future of waste management, I find that we must provide the courage to examine all means, all technologies and all ideas of managing our resources. My obligation, our obligation, is to meet the demand of the future by thinking beyond, to know that there are alternatives to landfill disposal. We cannot continue doing as we have always done, because if we do, we will forever be battling the same issues, facing the same old challenges. We must be given the opportunity to explore, to be able to say we have examined every opportunity and every technology that has been made available.

We must do it courageously and cautiously, with our mandate of protecting public health and safety and the environment as our paramount objective. With this obligation come many challenges, but if we are successful in our efforts, we will provide for a much better California for future generations--and that, after all, is our shared, sacred mission.


December 9, 2005

Biomass Coordinating Council Established

New Group Seeks to Bring Biomass Energy, Fuels and Products Together

The American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) on December 6, 2005 announced a new initiative named the Biomass Coordinating Council (BCC), and expansion of the Power-Gen Renewable Energy & Fuels (PGRE) trade show to feature biofuels.

BCC, a new entity with joint membership in ACORE, will work to accelerate the adoption of renewable biofuels, biopower and biobased products into mainstream American society through policy initiatives, convening, networking and communications. These efforts will enable BCC to further the goals of reducing dependence on imported oil, a cleaner environment and expanded markets for rural America.

Bill Holmberg, Chairman of BCC stated that, "BCC is the biomass focus of ACORE that recognizes the importance of the biomass industries as important partners in advancing renewable energy. It is an important time for ACORE and the industry especially since US refinery capacity shortages are somewhat offset by over 130 biorefineries now providing refined biofuels to help reduce gasoline and diesel usage. The numbers of operating biorefineries in the world is increasing weekly."

"The Renewable Fuels Association is pleased to be a member of BCC and ACORE, and to be involved in the Power-Gen Renewable Energy and Fuels Conference," stated Bob Dinneen, President, Renewable Fuels Association. "The U.S. ethanol industry is growing at a tremendous rate. Currently, there 94 ethanol plants in operation with a combined production capacity of well over four billion gallons annually. In addition, there are 27 plants in construction and eight plant expansions underway that will add more than 1.5 billion gallons of production capacity in the coming year. As we grow, it is important to work closely with other renewable energy technologies. This conference will provide us all with a unique opportunity to share ideas on working together in our common interest to promote national security, increase US industrial productivity, create millions of new jobs and stimulate the economy while better protecting the environment."

BCC promotes all renewable and sustainable uses of biomass, including: biofuels such as ethanol, methanol, biodiesel and other biofuels for surface transportation, maritime, and aviation use; using biomass to generate electricity and thermal energy; and to replace petrochemical-based products, such as plastics, solvents, lubricants, adhesives, and fertilizers. BCC supports use of all biomass feedstocks including waste streams and also recognizes that enhancing the soil and saving water are vital to the sustainability of biomass industries.

BCC membership is attained by joining ACORE, and identifying a principal interest in biomass. BCC and ACORE provide a common platform for the wide range of interests in the renewable energy community, including renewable energy industries, associations, utilities, end users, professional service firms, financial institutions, nonprofit groups, universities and other educational organizations, and government agencies.

Bud McFarlane, Chairman, Energy & Communications Solutions LLC remarked that, "Bill Holmberg, Chairman of Biomass Coordinating Council (BCC), has been a critical factor in activating my interest in promoting biofuels and other alternative fuels to free America from its dependence on foreign oil. BCC and ACORE have been leaders in advancing this cause from a national security perspective. The bringing together of national security experts, representatives from the auto, oil, and cutting-edge biofuels industries at the Power-Gen Renewable Energy and Fuels Conference, for the first time, is a major step forward."

"I am looking forward to highlighting the major benefits of flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) at the biofuels and hydrogen track of the Power-Gen Renewable Energy and Fuels Conference," stated Phil Lampert, Executive Director, National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition. "There are close to 6 million FFVs on the road from Ford, Daimler Chrysler and GM being produced every day. The main thrust of the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition (NEVC) is to greatly increase the E-85 (85% ethanol and 15% gasoline) fueling stations to meet the demands of these vehicle owners. We are pleased to be part of BCC and ACORE, and appreciate the support Bill Holmberg has provided the ethanol industry and NEVC from the outset of the industry."

For further information:
American Council On Renewable Energy

December 5, 2005

Encouraging Innovation in Conversion Technology

A new book, published this month in the United Kingdom, encourages legislators "to adopt institutional frameworks, including decentralised government, that encourage innovation, foster enterprise and enable individuals to develop strategies and technologies to cope with changing circumstances." This collection of articles questions whether we can expect to effectively accomplish greenhouse gas emissions goals by using governmentally imposed penalties for violators of arbitrarily established limits. Their arguments easily apply to other government initiatives and programs including those affecting recycling and waste conversion.

Below is a book summary published by the Sustainable Development Network...

Carrots, Sticks and Climate Change: A primer on down-to-earth ideas about climate policy

published Tuesday 6 December 2005
ISBN 1-905041-12-8
Price £12.00

Policymakers are being pressured to`address the threat of climate change. Most of the focus so far has been on ‘sticks’, in the form of government restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions. This book argues that ‘carrots’ are a more humane and cost-effective way for policymakers to address climate-sensitive problems.

Like it or not,we live in a world characterised by scarce resources. All decisions have costs and tradeoffs, and people make decisions about what costs to bear and which tradeoffs to make, and how, in response to incentives. It is here that social science – specifically, economics – can make an important contribution to the climate debate.

The book’s contributors argue that
• The world’s poorest people are most vulnerable to climate – that is to say, they suffer because of the prevailing weather, not changes in the climate per se.
• Global agreements that seek by government fiat to restrict greenhouse gas emissions are costly, ineffective against climate-sensitive problems, and would perpetuate poverty. In short, they are unsustainable.
• A more cost-effective, and more humane, solution is to tackle today’s problems which may be exacerbated by climate change – including malaria, food production, biodiversity loss, water shortages, coastal flooding and other problems.
• A broad adaptive strategy would not only provide insurance against climate sensitive problems, but it would have spill-over benefits for achieving sustainable development. The UK government’s own climate studies support this approach.
• In the 20th century, attempts to plan national economies failed dismally, destroyed the environment and harmed millions of people. Climate control by global and national governments would likely have the same consequences.
• The primary long-term solution to climate vulnerability is for all countries to adopt institutional frameworks, including decentralised government, that encourage innovation, foster enterprise and enable individuals to develop strategies and technologies to cope with changing circumstances.