July 31, 2006
Come eat breakfast with me Aug. 17 at the Westin Seattle
We will be talking Clean Tech energy investing. enterpriseseattle.org - August Economic Update Breakfast
Most oil reserves are under state control
This from the DOe.
Independent Gas station owners back off on opposition to state Biofuel Mandates
This came over Opis today. Looks like the biofuels lobby is winning a few. Three more state biofuel mandates this year for a total of 5. I bet we have another 5 by the end of the year. The states will continue to lead here and the industry is right to allow a little traction because it takes some of the pressure off of national politicians. Although we are putting the pressure on national politicians as well. I expect a MAJOR increase in federal RFS driven by the 2008 election cycle.
TO LAY LOW ON STATE BIOFUEL MANDATES
Washington, D.C. -- While the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America (SIGMA) continues to object to state biofuel mandates, look for the association to keep a low profile the rest of the year on the issue, for fear that the trade-off could be a higher national biofuels standard. That was the message given to SIGMA members Tuesday during its summer legislative committee meeting.
Five state biofuel mandates have been enacted into law, with three passed just this year. "Clearly they are the wave of the future," said Greg Scott, an attorney with Kelley Drye Collier Shannon, who chaired the SIGMA meeting with two other representatives. The meeting was held to outline SIGMA's positions on a variety of issues, a day before members were sent to lobby U.S. lawmakers.
Members at the meeting made clear their objection to state biofuel mandates is over supply concerns and not out of preference for one fuel over the other "SIGMA's agnostic about which liquid motor fuel we sell," said Timothy Columbus, an attorney with The Scott Group, who also chaired the meeting.
But while SIGMA is concerned about state biofuel mandates and its effect on limiting supplies, it may not be able to do anything about it this year. "Our political analysis is that there is little no chance of adopting the type of [federal] restrictions that SIGMA has been talking about....Restrictions on state biofuels requirement would mean a much higher renewable fuels standard (RFS), and as a result, that's the price your counsel and your leadership has
thought we're not prepared to make," Scott said.
"Anything that moves on the topic of motor fuels [this year] will carry a toll and that is further expansion of the RFS," added Columbus. "Everybody wants a piece of [the RFS] pie and right now the mood of Congress is that the pie can always get bigger," he added.
The RFS is currently set at 7.5 billion gal by 2012, but if discussion is re-opened on the RFS, that number will quickly climb to 12.5 billion gallons "as an opening bid," and then to 15 or 20 billion gal, Scott noted. "Is that a price worth paying?...Is that a good swap?" Scott asked the SIGMA's members. No member spoke in support of the swap.
"...[W]e concluded in many ways that the best thing that can happen for us as a legislative agenda for the remainder of this year on the topic of fuels is nothing," Columbus said, noting Congress "has done enough for the time being"
by passing an energy bill. "I think we'll stick with that for our position, but I don't know if we can make that stick through the course of the year,"
particularly after the November elections, he said. Congress will almost surely have a lame duck session, held after the mid-term elections but before its next session begins, and that's when it tends to discuss more controversial issues. He expects bills addressing limiting boutique fuels and expanding refining capacity to be debated, but not likely until after the elections.
However, Scott noted that Rep. John Sullivan (R-Okla.) will likely try to attach an amendment to any moving piece of legislation that will study the impact of state biofuel mandates and whether they restrict the fungibility in the market. But another SIGMA member noted the study won't likely be completed until after many of the biofuel requirements have been enacted into law, rendering the study useless.
SIGMA members also weighed in on several other fuel-related topics. Members said they support legislation providing incentives for station owners or operators to provide E85 (85% ethanol, 15% gasoline), but objected to the funding coming from the leaking underground storage tank fund. As for the often controversial topic of increasing corporate average fuel economy standards, members agreed that "this is not our fight" and should be left between auto manufacturers and refiners.
Several members were also concerned about combating the misperception that independent station owners are enjoying as large profit margins as the oil majors. "How can we not be pained with the same brush" as the oil majors?, one member asked Sullivan, who spoke at the meeting. The congressman agreed a PR effort needs to occur on this subject. "People think anyone involved...[in the oil industry] is corrupt and thinks anyone involved is a wealthy Dallas businessman like JR Ewing," he said. "I think there does need to be some associations merging together to do some education on this," he added.
Bloomberg article on VC investing in clean energy (including me!)
The spin of this article: Bloomberg.com: Exclusive is a bit on the hype side. I believe that is for the benifit of selling more magazines. Or Vinod doesn't want everyone coming to what he thinks is "his" party. Both are off the mark. We are not even out of the locker room in this game. The markets are so large they can support 100x more companies than the dotbomb erra. There is nothing like a bubble building, only the very beginnings of momentum. Add the TOTAL VC spending in Clean Energy Tech against the industry spending in Clean Energy tech, and you still get one of the most pathetically underfunded R&D budgets of any industry in the history of mankind. These guys are used to spending their money "exploring" for new pockets of dead dinasaurs, not truly being "energy" companies in the broad sense of the word.
July 28, 2006
More press coverage
July 27, 2006
$100 oil wouldn't kill the economy, so I expect it soon
What is the highest price of oil? When demand destruction off-sets revenue gain. A new study on Businessweek: Would $100 Oil Slam the Global Economy? concludes that number is NOT $100/barrel. Sure, it would hurt, sure it would be $5 gas. But it wouldn't destroy a material amount of oil demand. Therefore it will happen. And soon.
July 25, 2006
Fun biofuel facts from World Watch
Want a bite sized summary of world wide biofuel developments, oil trends and national initiatives? Biofuels for Transportation: Selected Trends and Facts | Worldwatch Institute
Some juicy tidbits:
- From 2002–04, world oil demand increased by 5.3 percent. China's consumption alone increased by 26.4 percent, while consumption in the United States rose by 4.9 percent; Canada 10.2 percent; and the United Kingdom 6.3 percent. Demand in Germany and Japan, meanwhile, dropped by 1 percent and 2.6 percent respectively.
- Global ethanol production more than doubled between 2000 and 2005, while production of biodiesel, starting from a much smaller base, expanded nearly fourfold. In contrast, oil production increased by only 7 percent over this period.
- The GHG balance of biofuels varies dramatically depending on such factors as feedstock choice, associated land use changes, feedstock production system, and the type of processing energy used. In general, most currently produced biofuels have a solidly positive GHG balance. The greatest GHG benefits will be achieved with cellulosic inputs, such as dedicated energy crops and waste residues.
Diesel vs Hybrid more data
World Watch institute issued a detailed analysis of diesels versus Hybrids last year. The conclusion: Hybrids win only on greenhouse gasses if diesels run the old American formula of diesel. A diesel running more than 50% biodiesel wins hands-down. And financially it wins too when diesel is within 20% of gas. Now biodiesel is cheaper than diesel and cheaper than unleaded since January of this year. What are you waiting for? Ditch the Prius and get a diesel running 100% biodiesel!
July 24, 2006
A story about "One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer"
So with all the war going on I have had a desire lately to hear fro m the front lines. Saturday while on my way to surf in Westport, I stopped at a Starbucks by McCord Air Force base and talked with a guy in desert fatigues in line. Over the weekend I also finished this great book. Fick was a Captain in First Recon USMC, the toughest of the tough grunts. He starts the story at Dartmouth and through training, into Afghanistand and over to the initial invasion of Iraq. There is no empty cheering. Just what feelings and thoughts going through his head. His internal struggles with being an officer, learning to lead men and dealing with military buracracy. Very engaging reading. I recommend it whole heartedly.
I rate 4 of 5 stars
July 22, 2006
how close are you to Petroleum free?
Well after I got the sprinter van, I am 100% petroleum free in transportation. This article: Earthtoys - Emagazine points to some other aspects of your life to look at. Would be nice if there were a retailer that sold all petroleum free products and educated consumers on that lifestyle. Hey, that may be a business idea....
July 20, 2006
BMW to start selling diesel cars in two years
July 18, 2006
First impressions Nokia E61
Chris tried it out in Europe and got it running using his US Tmobile SIM with only a 10 minute call to US customer support! This is Nokia Does Blackeberry.
me likes the bigger screen.
The Nokia Symbian interface and OS
The Nokia quality
Slipped the SIM in and the phone worked immediately.
Typical Nokia configuration and my POP3 email worked like a charm.
No extra configuration required to get the internet working.
The WiFi Finder was a breeze and I was on-line with WiFi in two clicks at the coffee shop.
Keyboard is good size and good feel.
Loudspeaker is cool
Installed podcasting software is cool and I was listening to the latest podcast of the tour de france in two clicks.
What I don't like (so far)
- when a caller calls you don't get automatic look-up in your contacts of the caller ID (like the blackberry does)
- blackberry e-mail is not working with my enterprise server and my IT guy spent all day and hasn't gotten it working yet.
- Sync is using the old Nokia PC Suite sync which I have had problems with before since I have 6800 contacts. I immediately overran the internal memory. Had to buy a 512mb mini SD card. Initially it didn't automatically overflow to that card. After two hours I found out you have to format the SD card then Nokia automagically spreads the data over the two memories.
- BUT the phone memory is still full of contacts and search doesn't work because the internal phone memory is too full. It would be nice to tell all the contacts to live on my SD card to free up internal memory, but I can't figure out how to do that yet.
- Dialing from conatcts is hard. Since contact search doesn't work, i basically can't dial from contacts. I can dial from called numbers which gets me by 80% of the time, but there has to be a fix for the contacts overflow problem.
- no camera
- I can't get my Sony bluetooth headset to be recognized by the Nokia. Nokia recognizes my HP desktop bluetooth, but not my Lenovo bluetooth. I have had problems with Nokia bluetooth compatibility before. Looks like I have to get a new bluetooth headset.
Basically it is a push now. If I can't get bluetooth, contact overflow fix and blackberry working in next week, I am going back to the Blackberry.
July 17, 2006
The Governator release BioEnergy plan
I am going down to LA wend for the launch event of Tesla Motors. Arnie should be there. This Gov's Bioenergy_Action_Plan.pdf is a good plan and I will commend him for it. Most of the "goals" have 2008 deadlines, so nothing will happen in the immediate future, but there will be some progress. Here are some highlights:
"Regarding biofuels, the state shall produce a minimum of 20 percent of its biofuels within California by 2010, 40 percent by 2020, and 75 percent by 2050."
The CARB will:
"Consider adoption of fuel specifications for motor vehicle fuels, such as B2, B5, B20, and B100 by December 31, 2007."
"Complete a peer-reviewed study of the emissions performance, costs, and benefits of using biofuels and biofuel blends, using a multi-media approach by July 31, 2008"
"consider adoption of regulations by june 30, 2008 requiring heavy-duty diesel engine manufacturers to warrantee heavy-duty diesel engines using California diesel and B2, B5 and B20 meeting the California specifications above."
July 16, 2006
Biodiesel beats Corn ethanol in energy balance - new study
I have been saying it all along. here is a new stude my St. Olaf college in Norfield, Minn. being published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: It’s Corn vs. Soybeans in a Biofuels Debate
PEIX investor list
Who invested in Pacific Ethanol's latest round? here it the list: Energy Stocks � Pacific Ethanol's Private Placement Investor List (PEIX)
Amazon Fishbowl the future of "entertainment"
Watching the latest episode of Amazon Fishbowl with Bill Maher. I let my cable subscription lapse and have gone to the web for all my news and entertainment. Amazon snagged my favorite humorist Bill Maher and he is doing his weekly stand-up followed by four interviews with people who make things you can buy on Amazon. DVDs, books, music, etc. It is GREAT. The only problem is that I can't get it as a podcast or an RSS. Amazon of course wants you to go to their web page and watch the video embedded. Under the interview you have a quick link to buy the DVD or book they are talking about. It worked for me as I bought the DVD for 30 Days first season. This is the future of infotainment.
July 15, 2006
Iran most likely behind Hezbollah drone
The Belmont Club: Hezbollah Debuts Its Armed UAV Capability. After reading Robert Baer's books where he lays out the role of Iranian secret service in training terrorist all across the middle east, it is no surprise to see their hand in the drone training and deployment. I hope Iran sits this one out with their troops, but their operatives are obviously in the background.
July 13, 2006
The US response to the sham UN resolution to restrain Israel
Don't believe the media filter, read John Bolton's statement yourself. The Belmont Club: Something Old, Something New. Israel is defending itself against an attack from a state sponsored terror organization. The best way to resolve this is for Hamas to give back the Israeli prisioners. While this may be the right solution, I doubt it will happen. Hello $100 oil.
July 6, 2006
A story about "Death in Venice"
This book is on all sorts of “best of” list including “Dr. Peter Boxall’s 1001 books you must read before you die”. I guess you need alot of titles to make a list that long and most people will die before they finish. I recommend dieing before you read this one. It was completely and totally unengaging and uninspiring. Maybe it is a great example of a certain type of fiction at a certain time that was once important for some technical reason (like the invention of the pan shot in movies) but now seems totally passe. The characters are insipid, boring and totally self involved. The time is so long gone bye european aristocracy that no-one will recognize it. And the ending is short, expected and stupid. I rate as 0 of 5 stars.
July 5, 2006
See me on CNBC
July 2, 2006
Biodiesel and engine warranties
I hear questions about biodiesel and engine warranties alot. Here is a good explanation of the issue. Basically it is a red herring. Biodiesel does not cause warranty issues. Imperium Renewables stands behind our fuel.
All diesel engine companies warranty the product they make - engines. They warranty their engines for “materials and workmanship.” If there is a problem with an engine part or with engine operation due to an error in manufacturing or assembly within the prescribed warranty period, the problem will be covered by the engine company.
Typically, an engine company will define what fuel the engine was designed for and will recommend the use of that fuel to their customers in their owner's manuals.
Engine companies do not manufacture fuel or fuel components. Therefore, engine companies do not warranty fuel - whether that fuel is biodiesel or petrodiesel fuel. Since engine manufacturers warranty the materials and workmanship of their engines, they do not warranty fuel of any kind. If there are engine problems caused by a fuel (again, whether that fuel is petrodiesel fuel or biodiesel fuel) these problems are not related to the materials or workmanship of the engine, but are the responsibility of the fuel supplier and not the engine manufacturer. Any reputable fuel supplier (biodiesel, petrodiesel, or a blend of both) should stand behind its products and cover any fuel quality problems if they occur.
NOAA indicates an 80% chance of an above-normal hurricane season
Real the full report: Climate Prediction Center - Atlantic Hurricane Outlook
EIA Estimates 1.8-2.7% of gulf production will be out this year due to storms
I predict oil over $90 per barrel from this.
EIA Expects Storms to Impact Gulf Energy Production this Year
With the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicting an active tropical storm season in the Atlantic basin this year, the odds are good that there will be at least some disruption of oil and natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico, according to a new report from DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA). The EIA performed a statistical analysis of the impacts of past storms and compared it to the forecast to find that between 1.8 and 2.7 percent of annual Gulf crude oil and gas production is likely to be shut in due to hurricanes this season.
The EIA notes that the forecast carries a large amount of uncertainty, and shut-in production could easily exceed 6 percent if the producing region is struck by one or more significant hurricanes. The EIA also warns that NOAA could revise its tropical storm forecast upward in August, as it did last year. At the same time, the EIA advises that Gulf energy producers have stocked up on replacement parts, upgraded communication systems, and beefed up their platforms to better weather the storms. See the EIA report, "The Impact of Tropical Cyclones on Gulf of Mexico Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production" (PDF 760 KB).
US regulatory environment hostile to consumer diesel and hurting US consumers
Unbelievable bungling going on by our government. Write your congressman.
Sunday, June 04, 2006
Regulatory consistency will deliver better fuel economy
The Detroit News
Volkswagen's decision to drop half of the diesel engine models it has successfully been selling in the United States is indicative of the inconsistent regulatory environment automakers face here.
Success at the Chrysler Group with the company's diesel Jeep Liberty SUV also has been derailed because of emissions requirements that make the vehicle engine obsolete.
Given the public outcry for fuel-efficient vehicles that will help us reduce our dependence on foreign oil, making it harder to produce diesels in the United States is the wrong direction for public policy.
The government's continued meddling with market demand for cars and trucks has to make auto manufacturers a little nervous about investing millions of dollars into technologies only to be told they no longer meet federal regulations.
"The diesel Liberty exceeded our expectations," says Dianna Gutierrez, a Chrysler Group spokeswoman. "Unfortunately, with the EPA emissions rates becoming stricter for 2007, we were unable to see a credible business case to continue producing that vehicle with the changes that need to be made."
If the government can refrain from reacting to environmental alarmists, who want zero emissions vehicles (but demand they be cheap, too), diesel-powered cars and trucks can significantly improve fuel economy in the United States. If one-third of all vehicles were diesels in 2020, we could save as much oil as is currently imported from Saudi Arabia, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Getting there will require that the EPA hold steady on diesel fuel and emissions requirements that went into effect June 1.
The new rules require a 97 percent reduction in the sulfur content of highway diesel fuel to create ultra-low sulfur diesel. When combined with advanced diesel pollution technologies such as those developed by VW and Mercedes-Benz for the Chrysler Group, cars and trucks on the roads will be 90 percent cleaner than current models.
But to get there, automakers must have assurances that the rules won't change again anytime soon.
Diesel technology is a proven winner when it comes to fuel economy. Diesels get up to 40 percent better fuel economy than comparable gasoline engines. And the infrastructure to deliver that fuel already exists or can be added at a fraction of the cost it would take to install enough ethanol pumps or hydrogen fueling stations.
Fortunately, Volkswagen and Chrysler are committed to increasing their production of diesel engine vehicles in the United States. Chrysler will add a diesel Grand Cherokee to its lineup in 2007 and says the turbo-powered V-6 engine can easily be transferred to other models. The Grand Cherokee will be assembled at the Jefferson North plant in Detroit using engines made in Germany.
Volkswagen will modify its diesels and reintroduce the two discontinued models in 2008. That will put a dent in the German automakers slumping U.S. sales, which had rebounded nicely thanks to its diesel offerings.
Stronger support of diesel technologies makes more sense than the hype for hybrids or the euphoria over ethanol. If fuel efficiency truly is the goal, diesels can get there faster than any other technology available today.
Selling my supercharged Avalanche
on ebay: eBay Motors: Chevrolet : Avalanche (item 290003830873 end time Jul-09-06 11:32:42 PDT). going all diesel with the dodge sprinter van.
July 1, 2006
Adding Boinc client for climate change research
With this handy client: BOINC you can attach your computer to multiple grid computing projects and run many at once, or share resources at different ratios. I like this instead of just choosing one. I set it up on three computers at home and started with all resources dedicated to BBC Climate Change project. Thanks to Slashdot for the backslash analysis of all these grid projects.