USDA Energy Related Grants Made

Chuck Zimmerman

USDA Rural DevelopmentThe United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development just announced a number of grants, some of which will be used for the development and promotion of alternative fuels.

Agriculture Secretary Michael Johanns today announced the selection of 171 applications from 42 states to receive over $14.6 million in USDA Rural Development grant assistance under the Value Added Producer Grant program.

Some of the energy-related grants include:

The Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board will receive a grant to determine the viability of marketing bio-diesel fuel made by a producer-owned soybean processing plant. Businesses and producers in California, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin will receive grants to assess the feasibility of marketing ethanol and bio-diesel, or other types of renewable energy. A total of 32 energy related grants were awarded this year. A complete list of the grants is available on the USDA web site at:

The Value-Added Producer Grant program was authorized by the Agriculture Risk Protection Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-224) and the 2002 Farm Bill (P.L. 107-171).


Can Sacramento Become A Green Fuel Powerhouse?

Chuck Zimmerman

SARTAAccording to a release from the Sacramento Regional Technology Alliance the west coast may become a serious green technology “powerhouse.”

The Sacramento region has the potential to explode into a powerhouse for clean energy research and technology in much the same way that Santa Clara became Silicon Valley.

That’s the conclusion of a report just released by the Clean Energy Business Incubator Project of the McClellan Technology Incubator and the Sacramento Regional Technology Alliance (SARTA). The report, titled Clean Energy in the Capitol Corridor: Making the Region a Green Powerhouse, details the many benefits that exist for the area when it comes to clean energy technology.

The report defines a number of ways that the development of green technology companies would benefit the region including:

The addition of more than 10,000 high-paying jobs in thriving businesses and research centers
New opportunities for Central Valley farmers to grow high-value crops for fuel, chemicals and medicines
New export trade possibilities, tapping into the $100 billion per year global market for clean energy
A substantial increase in energy efficiency and a huge reduction in dependence on fossil fuels

In order to spart interest in companies so they’ll invest in the area the report is to spark venture capital interest in the area by proposing a $50,000 competition among the region’s high-technology start-up companies to help synergize and leverage the vast capabilities of the area’s clean energy intelligence and research expertise.

The contest, which proposes to offer a $25,000 grand prize, $15,000 second prize and $10,000 people’s choice award will be designed to challenge the Capital Region’s many high-tech companies and entrepreneurs to create business plans designed to bring clean energy technologies to the market.


Ms Fuels For Life

Chuck Zimmerman

This is an interesting story in the about a former Miss Universe who is now championing alternative fuels as what they describe “Ms Fuels For Life.” The story was actually published in the Phillipine Daily Inquirer. Margie Moran was Miss Universe in 1973 and is working with her government’s Clean City program and the U. S. Dept. of Energy and the United States Agency for International Development on this project. In the Phillipines they make biodiesel out of coconuts and ethanol out of sugar.


Some News Tidbits

Chuck Zimmerman

The state of Missouri is re-launching a program that the state’s Treasurer, Sarah Steelman, says will “help finance ethanol production plants in our state to reduce our dependence of foreign oil and expand markets for Missouri farm products.” That’s from a story in today’s St. Louis Business Journal. The program is now called BIG Missouri Linked-Deposit Program.

In Phoenix, AZ gas mixed with ethanol will become available starting this Saturday. A story in the Tuscon Citizen says that the new fuel option is “aimed at reducing particulate emissions.” This should help with the ozone alerts the city has been having.

In Boston car buyers may soon have some huge incentives to buy a hybrid car that will run on alternative fuel like ethanol. In a story on The Daily News Online, the state senate unanimously passed a bill yesterday that would save car buyers by not having to pay tax on the vehicle and a $2,000 income tax break! These are just part of the provisions of the alternative energy plan bill. The bill would also require 50 percent of state-owned vehicles to run on alternative fuel by 2010.


Morgan Freeman On Biodiesel Company Board

Chuck Zimmerman

Earth BiofuelsNothing like having an Oscar-winning actor on your board! Earth Biofuels is a biodiesel company that now has Morgan Freeman on board!

Meadows Springs, Inc. dba Earth Biofuels, Inc. today announced changes to its Board of Directors and the appointment of new executive officers. In addition to the two newly appointed members, Mr. Dennis McLaughlin, current Chairman and CEO of Apollo Resources International, and Mr. Tommy Johnson, CEO of Earth Biofuels, Inc., the Board appointed 3 new members: popular actor Mr. Morgan Freeman, Mr. Bill Luckett, and Mr. Bruce Blackwell. Additionally, Mr. Johnson was elected CEO of the Company.

Mr. Freeman said, “I am pleased to accept the invitation to serve on the Earth Biofuels Board of Directors. I firmly believe that alternative fuel supplies need to be developed to allow the United States to wean itself off of its significant dependence on foreign oil. Moreover, I feel that our development of alternative sources such as biodiesel fuel will help the environment, farmers, and the economy in general. I look forward to participating in the growth of this company as well as the alternative fuels industry.”


Turning Sugar Cane Into Ethanol In Brazil

Chuck Zimmerman

A lot of people think ethanol is only made from corn and here in the United States that seems to be the case. However, there are other commodities than can be used in the production of ethanol and one of those is sugar cane. A story in today’s Planet Ark out of Sao Paulo, Brazil talks about how ethanol itself is becoming a world traded commodity spurred on by the introduction of flex-fueled vehicles. According to the story, “Brazilian sugar cane mills say they are getting better deals to sell ethanol fuel abroad by extending what used to be only spot market sales into longer-term contracts with flexible pricing, especially with the rise in world oil prices.”

The story says that now people are wondering how much sugar cane will be diverted from sugar production to the production of fuel (ethanol).

Ethanol, International

Biodiesel Helping Hurricane Relief Efforts

Chuck Zimmerman

National Biodiesel BoardWith all the ways people are trying to help hurricane victims it was great to see how a “home-grown” renewable fuel is helping out. Yep, biodiesel in the news again. This story comes from the National Biodiesel Board.

Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort Fueled with Biodiesel

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Biodiesel deliveries are rolling into the Gulf Coast in an effort to provide the hurricane-stricken areas with urgently needed fuel. Biodiesel, a non-toxic, biodegradable fuel made from renewable resources such as soybean oil and other fats and vegetable oils, works in any diesel engine, including generators.

The Veggie Van Organization, a nonprofit advocacy group based in Venice, Calif., has partnered with West Central, a farmer-owned biodiesel company based in Iowa, and the Naples City Council in Florida to transport 13,000 gallons of biodiesel to help victims. The relief effort will focus on smaller coastal towns south of New Orleans that were among the areas most severely affected by Hurricane Katrina. The donated fuel will power a former military ship owned by Sub Sea Research, as well as makeshift medical facilities and emergency generators aboard the vessel. The ship is scheduled to leave Sept. 16 and will take several tons of food, water, ice and relief supplies to the victims in devastated areas near the mouth of the Mississippi River.

“This was the first area hit and it has received little emergency aid or attention,” said Josh Tickell, biodiesel advocate and founder of the Veggie Van Organization. “Thanks to the biodiesel fuel donated by West Central and the donations we received online, we’ll be able to help people who need it most and document the work on our website. A second biodiesel tanker truck will meet us in Louisiana.” Tickell, who is going on the voyage, grew up in Louisiana and has been promoting biodiesel since 1997, when he toured the United States in his biodiesel powered “Veggie Van.”

What’s really interesting about the Veggie Van Organization is that Josh has a blog hosted within his website so you can read about his experiences! He’s even using audio so you can listen to him, although when I tried to download the files they were unavailable.


Biodiesel In The News

Chuck Zimmerman

We’re not only about ethanol here at DomesticFuel. How about biodiesel? All these renewable, alternative fuels are getting more and more attention these days. I caught this story in the Gainesville Sun. Hey, I went to college there!

It looks like a group has been formed to promote the use of biofuels and the story starts out describing a lady who is putting homemade biodiesel in her truck. Apparently the biodiesel supply hasn’t developed way down south yet. It’s only a matter of time though.

How about this story in today’s Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette about the local community school system planning to convert their 300 buses to biodiesel? They’re applying for a state grant to pay for the conversion. High fuel prices are helping people realize the common sense in developing and moving to these alternative fuel choices.


Mandated Ethanol Movements

Chuck Zimmerman

When there are so many reasons why it makes sense to use domestically produced fuel you have to wonder why anyone would object but people do. Part of the reason is a lack of facts and common sense. In Wisconsin there’s an effort to mandate a 10percent blend of ethanol and gas but according to a story today in the GazetteXtra this is being fought hard by an unlikely coalition of environmental and oil-interest groups. The story makes it sound like there’s more emotion involved than fact.

A number of states already have this type of legislation like Missesota, Montana and Hawaii. Others are considering it like Iowa according to a story today on WOI-TV that says that Iowa Representative Jim Nussle has introduced a bill that would make 20 percent of Iowa’s energy come from renewable sources by 2010.

Legislation is pending in Missouri to mandate a 10% blend of ethanol in that state.