350Green Orders 900 EV Chargers

350Green has placed an order for 900 Plug-In Electric Vehicle (EV) Level 3 QC50 DC Fast Chargers with Efacec USA to meet growing demand for EV charging stations across the country. This is the largest order 350Green has placed to date, and the units will be manufactured in Norcross, Georgia, signalling the first time the fast chargers will be built in the U.S.

The first 145 units will be delivered by December 31 2011 with the remaining 755 to be delivered by the end of 2014. The EV charging stations will be installed in cities across the country as part of 350Green’s nationwide rollout. The company currently has 1,200 public chargers in 18 cities.

The EV Chargers can be used to charge several EV models currently on the market, is CHAdeMO compliant, and produces high power output while still maintaining top power factor, THD and efficiency ratings. The system can charge EV’s up to 80 percent within 30 minutes depending on the EV model.

Biofuels Truth Express

I finally made it to the Iowa State Fair last weekend and while I was walking around getting my eat on I spotted this biofuels truck. It was the “Biofuels Truth Express,” and was parked along the road across from the main grand stand, where I was headed to go hear the Maroon Five and Train concert (and yes they both rocked!).

As I took a few photos several people stopped to take a quick look. Ironically, though, I never spotted any website or name of an organization who owned the truck. I’m sure if I spent more time checking out the fair I would have solved my little mystery, but alas I still haven’t. So I’m asking our readers – can you tell us more about this truck and the campaign?

I’m always excited to see biofuels promoted in a positive way so regardless of not having all the pertinent info for a story, I still wanted to take the opportunity to showcase some homegrown fuels – ethanol and biodiesel.

Biofuel Offering to Expand in Western U.S.

The network of biofuels stations in the west will be expanding with a new partnership between Propel Fuels and Pacific Convenience and Fuels (PC&F). The program will co-locate Propel “Clean Fuel Points” with PC&F gas stations and convenience stores throughout the west. So far, 80 potential locations for the program have been identified in California, Washington, Oregon, and Colorado. The plan is to offer consumers more access to renewable fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel and enable both companies to accelerate expansion plans.

“This first of its kind agreement allows us to quickly scale our business, opening the door to renewable fuel access across the Western U.S., America’s most underserved market for renewable fuels,” said Matt Horton, CEO of Propel. “And with U.S. automakers significantly increasing production of Flex Fuel and diesel vehicles, we will give customers true choice at the pump, making progress towards reducing our nation’s dependence on foreign oil and lowering carbon emissions.”

Clean Fuel Points are self-serve filling stations that dispense ethanol and/or biodiesel. They are located at existing gas stations (such as PC&F stations) but Propel still owns and operates the equipment and provides programs to drive sales and educate consumers about alternative fuels.

Chris Wilson, general manager of PC&F added, “Pacific Convenience and Fuels is redefining the customer experience at convenience stores. Providing access to renewable fuels aligns with this mission while satisfying the growing demand for these products. We are pleased to partner with Propel, the leader in alternative fuels, to bring this option to our customers.”

Biofuels USA Opens on I-70 in Missouri

biofuels usaThe red, white and blue God Bless America Biofuels USA banner has been waving at motorists on I-70 in Missouri for several weeks now. On Friday, the new biodiesel station at exit 175 in New Florence held its official grand opening, offering a variety of home grown choices for diesel vehicle drivers.

“We have ten pumps, three different flavors of biodiesel – B5, B20 and B99,” station owner Frank Imo told me when I stopped by on Friday afternoon on my way to St. Louis airport. “All of our fuel is 100% American, we have no foreign oil here. We make our biodiesel out of soybean oil, which helps the farmers and helps America – that’s what we’re trying to do.”

biofuels usaImo is part of the Missouri-based family pizza chain Imo’s Pizza, which recycles most of its waste vegetable oil into biodiesel at the High Hill Biofuels, LLC plant in High Hill, Mo.

Working with Imo to promote Biofuels USA at the grand opening was St. Louis Clean Cities Executive Director Kevin Herdler. “Our whole mission is to reduce our dependence on fossil fuel and we do that with the American-made fuels – natural gas, propane, biodiesel, ethanol, electric, hydrogen,” he said. “All these fuels are good for the environment and they create jobs.”

Biofuels USA plans on adding E-85 (85 percent ethanol) next spring. Find out more about Biofuels USA on their website biofuelsusa.info.

Listen to my interview with Frank Imo and Kevin Herdler here: Biofuels USA

Ethanol Safety Seminar in Ohio

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), Ohio Clean Cities Coalition, and the Earth Day Coalition’s Clean Transport Program will be co-hosting a free Ethanol Safety Seminar in Cleveland and Painesville, OH on Monday, August 22nd.

“Ohio produces 424 million gallons of ethanol annually between the six biorefineries in the state,” said Robert White, RFA Director of Market Development. “As the product is increasing in use and transportation throughout the state, first responders need to be familiar with the fuel and how to effectively respond to an ethanol related incident. This program details the response information that is essential to these emergency situations. We are happy to provide this type of information to those that dedicate their lives to protect their communities.”

To accommodate schedules and reach as many participants as possible, the seminar will feature a morning session from 9:00am to 2:00pm in Cleveland (Cuyahoga Heights) at the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and an evening session from 5:30pm to 10:00pm in Painesville at the Quail Hollow Resort. Lunch and dinner will be provided, sponsored by Norfolk Southern Corp.

Attendees will receive in depth information on proper training techniques that first responders and hazmat personnel need to effectively respond to an ethanol-related emergency. While primarily targeting first responders, hazmat teams, safety managers, and local emergency planning committees, it is also open to the general public.

Click here to register.

Abengoa Gets DOE Loan Guarantee for US Biomass Plant

AbengoaAbengoa Bioenergy has been selected by the US Department of Energy for a $133.9 million federal loan guarantee to build a new generation commercial scale biorefinery facility to produce renewable liquid fuel from plant fiber, or cellulosic biomass.

With the offer of a conditional commitment now received, Abengoa Bioenergy has announced that they intend to start construction shortly on the site, which is located near Hugoton, in Stephens County Kansas.

“Abengoa has been developing this technology for 10 years, and the project itself has been in the development stages for over 5 years,” said Manuel Sánchez, CEO of Abengoa. “In preparation for construction of the Hugoton project, the company has developed and perfected its proprietary technologies and produced cellulosic ethanol for thousands of hours from laboratory scale, to a biomass pilot plant facility in York, Nebraska, and ultimately from a demonstration scale facility in Salamanca, Spain. As a result, we are very pleased to finally achieve this financing milestone, and we thank the Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office for their offer of a conditional commitment, that if realized will allow us to construct one of the first commercial scale biomass conversion plants in the world.”

Read more from Abengoa here.

POET Forms Biomass Alliance with Earth Partners

POET announced a new alliance this week with The Earth Partners to develop “a sustainable supply of biomass that helps restore degraded land.” The project, called Conservation Biomass, will initially be used for heat and power generation and eventually liquid fuel production.

As part of their ongoing ecological restoration work, The Earth Partners will work with farmers and conservation property landowners to grow and sustainably harvest biomass from land with invasive vegetation or land where restorative plant species are grown. POET will then evaluate the best use of the biomass to generate heat, power or for liquid fuel production.

The initial project will deliver Conservation Biomass to POET Biorefining – Chancellor, a 100 million-gallon-per-year grain ethanol plant in Chancellor, S.D. that burns wood waste and landfill gas in a solid fuel boiler to generate all of its process steam. Burning biomass at the plant to generate power will allow the partnership to test the commercial viability of the Conservation Biomass business model at scale. POET and The Earth Partners will continue to research the potential for utilizing Conservation Biomass sources like prairie grasses for cellulosic ethanol production.

Read the story from POET here.

Sobering Cost of Oil Addiction

A CNN Money report this week offered some sobering statistics on the true cost of our addiction to oil.

According to the report, about 3,000 of the Army casualties reported in Iraq between 2003 and 2007 were protecting fuel convoys. That is one out of eight killed or wounded during that time period. The report notes, “Among the many incentives pushing the military to use less oil, reducing the number of casualties it takes to protect vulnerable fuel convoys is one of the most important.” The military used 5.5 billion gallons of fuel in 2010, or 3,555 for each active military member. That compares to less than 1,000 gallons for U.S. civilians. The military uses a full 80% of the energy consumed by the federal government.

That’s why initiatives like the one announced this week by the U.S. Departments of the Navy, Energy and Agriculture to develop more aviation and marine biofuels are so important. Thanks to Stephanie Dreyer of Growth Energy for the tip on the CNN Money report. Check out her blog post on “Measuring our oil addiction by more than just Dollars and Cents”, about our nation’s risky dependence on Middle East oil and the dangerous impact it has on the lives of our military.

Electric Cadillac

General Motors has brought luxury and electricity together in an electric Cadillac ELR.

According to GM, the “Cadillac Converj Concept, a dramatic luxury coupe with extended-range electric vehicle technology, is moving forward as a production car that will be called the Cadillac ELR.”

Development of the ELR is just underway, so details on performance, price and timing will be announced later.

The Cadillac ELR will feature an electric propulsion system made up of a T-shaped lithium ion battery, an electric drive unit, and a four-cylinder engine-generator. It uses electricity as its primary source to drive the car without using gasoline or producing tailpipe emissions. When the battery’s energy is low, the ELR seamlessly switches to extended-range mode to enable driving for hundreds of additional miles.

Read more here from GM.

USDA Guarantees Loan for Florida Biofuels Plant

The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack today announced a $75 million loan guarantee for a Florida bioprocessing facility to create fuel from citrus and yard waste.

The guarantee will support construction of the INEOS New Planet BioEnergy facility in Vero Beach, Florida that will produce up to 8 million gallons per year of cellulosic ethanol from citrus fruit, vegetable and yard wastes, and create an estimated 380 new jobs. Vilsack toured the facility last week, meeting construction workers and company and community officials to highlight the importance of helping our nation develop the next generation of biofuels.

“This cutting-edge facility in Florida, and others like it across America, represents the kind of innovation we need to continue to build a competitively-priced, American-made, homegrown biofuels industry that helps to break our dependence on foreign oil and moves our nation toward a clean energy economy,” said Vilsack.

The facility, estimated to be completed by the summer of 2012, will consume an estimated 300 dry tons per day of organic material and, in addition to ethanol, produce enough electricity to run the plant and provide for the power needs of 1,400 homes.