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November 28, 2007

Deal coming together on RFS and CAFE/Energy bill

from CQ today:

Deal Near on Energy Bill to Boost Fuel Economy, Use of Alternative Fuels

House and Senate negotiators are poised to seal a deal on an energy bill that would strengthen fuel economy standards for the first time in three decades.

The measure also would require billions of gallons of alternative fuels to be incorporated into gasoline over the next 13 years, according to staffers and draft language being circulated.

The compromise, which is expected to land in the Office of the Legislative Counsel for drafting very soon, reconciles the major differences between separate versions of energy legislation that passed each chamber earlier this year.

It would require the nation’s fleet of vehicles to meet a 35 miles-per-gallon fuel efficiency standard by 2020 and would mandate 20.5 billion gallons of ethanol and other biofuels to be in use by 2015.

With crude oil nearing $100 per barrel and gasoline above $3 per gallon, an agreement on corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards is perhaps the most significant development to come out of the informal energy bill negotiations, which have been under way for weeks.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein , D-Calif., who championed the fuel economy standard in the Senate, said negotiations were ongoing, but added, in a statement, that “we hope to have something that everybody can support that takes a major step forward.”

Rep. John D. Dingell , D-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, was still reviewing the compromise language Wednesday, sources said. But in a letter sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi , D-Calif., on Nov. 13, Dingell – who initially supported a less stringent fuel economy bill in the House — indicated that a compromise based on the Senate version was possible.

While the emerging CAFE provision does not set separate standards for cars and trucks, as the House bill would have, it allows for the two vehicle types to have separate fuel economies by assigning a fleet-wide fuel economy average that incorporates both.


Posted by Martin at 1:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

EPA announces 2008 RFS targets

thanks GCC.  The goal is already below the current demand of ethanol and biodiesel.  That is why it needs to be raised. WE have already exceeded it.

Posted by Martin at 1:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 27, 2007

Be careful who your biodiesel supplier is

The Portland Water Bureau did a good thing this year.  It switched eight of their trucks to run B99, nearly pure biodiesel.  Unfortunately they chose biodiesel from Sequential Biofuels which was most likely made from waste vegetable oil using the traditional batch process with a water wash.  The result?  A high cold flow plug point. That meant that at first frost the trucks fuel turned solid.  I have run B100, PURE BIODIESEL, for the last three years  and have never had a tank turn solid.  Why?  Because I use only biodiesel made from virgin veg oils, specifically canola, from Imperium Renewables.  And yes that is my company so I have a dog in this fight.  This morning there was a frost on the ground and a temp in the 30s.  The Touareg started right up on problem.  In the tank, B100 from Canola with a CFPP of around -14C.  Go ahead, run B100 all winter.  Just buy from a company that makes the highest quality biodiesel you can find. It is not all the same.

Posted by Martin at 11:03 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Check out the BioCaddy burning rubber!

More from CNN.  Check out the Imperium Renewables, Inc. fuel and BioCaddy burning rubber!

Posted by Martin at 10:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Neil Young talks about converting his 59 Lincoln to biodiesel hybrid

check out the CNN story on the LincVolt.

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November 26, 2007

Some Diesel history

prices are today at record levels.  Check the blow from OPIS.  Oil companies have learned that the demand for diesel is relatively inelastic.  But Gas demand is pretty elastic above $3.50.  So what do they do with $97 oil?  raise diesel prices faster to keep revenue equal without destroying gas demand. 

In other news, while most of America is fixated on the price of gasoline, the price of diesel fuel has quietly moved to numbers that are up more than 80cts gal from last year, and by well over twice what was paid in December 2003. According to data compiled by OPIS for AAA this morning, 24 U.S. states now have average prices above $3.50 gal.

   The cheapest diesel in the country shows up in South Carolina, where the average price is "just" $3.30 gal. The most expensive diesel is in Hawaii, where recent refinery woes have combined with high global prices to send the average price to $3.845 gal. The most expensive mainland state is Montana, where the average price is $3.732 gal.

   Wholesale costs that vary anywhere from about $2.75 gal to $2.85 gal for ultra low sulfur diesel U.S. bulk markets are the primary culprit behind the surge. But wholesale prices for low sulfur diesel in Europe have advanced to over $3.00 gal recently, leading to a vibrant export market from Gulf Coast and even Middle Atlantic ports.

   In contrast, the average price for retail diesel one year ago today was

$2.642 gal. The end of November 2005 saw an average price of $2.629 gal; while this day in 2004 saw a $2.1654 gal average. If one goes back four years, the average price for diesel on November 26, 2003 was just $1.5477 gal. Hence, today's prices are up by about 125% from the numbers witnessed just four years ago.


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November 15, 2007

more coverage of Philly students' biodiesel/hybrid

CBS news finally found this project. I first started talking about this car way back in Sept 2005.  Nice to see CBS is finally reading Deep Green Crystals.

Posted by Martin at 4:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Reid comments on energy bill/ tax extenders

Alright all you naysayers. An energy package will pass. Reid weighs in yesterday. The problem is the RPS and CAFE standards. Supporters want those and are using the universal support for extending the current alternative energy tax credits (biodiesel) and extension of the RFS as leverage. What I think will happen is that supporters of the tax credit extension and RFS will have to settle for breaking these out and passing them separately. Then the RPS and CAFE will get glommed onto something else or watered down. I predict a 60/40 by Christmas and a 90/10 by end of Q1

EnergyReid Sees Eventual Passage of Energy Tax Package
By: Geof Koss CongressNow Staff11/15/2007PM
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said today that it may be necessary to separate controversial energy tax provisions from the energy package currently being readied for a final vote, though he did predict that the tax provisions would ultimately pass.Asked this afternoon whether the tax provisions would be included in the final energy bill, Reid said, The answer is yes. We have to have a tax package, because we have to have extenders on alternative energy. But, he added, whether it will all be one package or two packages well just have to wait and see.The dispute over energy taxes is one ofseveral issues that is holding up a House and Senate vote on a final energy package. Senate Republicans oppose tax provisions in the House energy bill that target industry.This week, key lawmakers have suggested that it may be necessary to break the final energy bill into two parts because lawmakers are unable to find sufficient support in the Senate for two other contentious issues: raising federal fuel economy standards and creating new renewable electricity mandates.Reid today said the renewable electricity standards are definitely in consideration. The provision would require that 15 percent of U.S. electricity be generated from renewable sources like wind or solar by 2020.Reid added that he would be meeting with House and Senate lawmakers later today to discuss the bill, but and cited great progressthat could lead to the bills completion before final recess of the year.I really believe we have a strong possibility of being able to complete the legislation on energy before we leave here this year, he said.House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) yesterday said he hopes to bring the final bill up for a vote in December as well

Posted by Martin at 4:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Join Clean Drive

Propel Fuels just had a soft launch of their new CleanDrive program.  Enter your vehicles and buy biodiesel from Propel stations, get a report saying how much carbon you are saving ongoing.  You can actually track the difference you are making.  Very cool.  I just joined.

Posted by Martin at 10:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

NPR spotlights Gray's Harbor going green

Listen to the new NPR show today showcasing the re-invention of Gray's Harbor County, featuring Imperium Renewables own Lisa Marthey. Sump'n interesting is happening there.

Posted by Martin at 9:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 12, 2007

BioFuels can Match oil production (FT)

Lots of extra crop land, technology improvements, this is possible. Don't believe the oil companies.

Biofuels can match oil production By Ricardo Hausmann Published: November 6 2007 18:51
| Last updated: November 6 2007 18:51

Peering into the future seldom produces a clear picture. But this is notthe case with bio-energy. Its long-term impacts on the global economy appear to be pretty clear, making many long-term predictions quite compelling, including the demise of the price-setting power of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and the end of agricultural protectionism.
First, technology is bound to deliver a biofuel that will be competitive with fossil energy at something like current prices. It probably already has. Brazil has been exporting ethanol to the US at an average delivery price of $1.45 for an amount with the energy equivalence of a gallon of petrol. It is doing so profitably and in increasing amounts, in spite of a 54 cents a gallon tariff to protect American maize-based ethanol producers. Many countries are followingsuit.
But ethanol is an inconvenient chemical compound that is corrosive and soluble in water, thus limiting its immediate market to that of a gasoline additive. However, this is just the Betamax phase of the industry. There is plenty of private venture capital money being poured into finding more efficient ways of extracting energy from biomass and delivering it to transport and power systems. Over time, the technology will also become more flexible, allowing more crops to be used as feedstock, not just the current choice of sugarcane, maize and palm oil. New technologies will be able to extract energy from cellulose, allowing the use of pastures such as switch grass as well as the refuse of current food production. The cheque is in the mail.
Second, the world is full of under-utilised land that can grow the biomass that the new technology will require. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the world has a bit less than 1.4bn hectares under cultivation. But using the Geographic Information System database, Rodrigo Wagner and I have estimated that there are some 95 countries that have more than 700m hectares of good quality land that is not being cultivated. Depending on assumptions about productivity per hectare, todays oil production represents the equivalent of some 500m to 1bn hectares of biofuels. So the production potential of biofuels is in the same ball park as oil production today.
Third, even if only partially used, this large potential biofuels supply will cap the price of oil because its supply is much more elastic than the supply of oil. This will cause the price of oil to be set at the marginal cost of bio-energy, independently of the production decisions of Opec. If Opec tries to raise prices above the price at which biofuels become highly profitable, it will only crowd in more biofuels. Oil producers will still be rich, but they will not have incentives to form a cartel.
Fourth, the price of agricultural land will be influenced by its potential use for bio-energy. As farmers choose what crop would suit them best, they will change what they produce and hence the whole system of relative prices of agricultural produce. This will imply a very large increase in the demand for agricultural land. Its price and that of the products that use it intensively such as food and cotton will go up. By how much? This will depend not only on the cost of bio-energy but also on how much additional land is put to use and the degree to which food crops will be complements or substitutes of bio-energy: they would be substitutes if switch grass were planted instead of soybeans; they will be complements if biofuels are made out of wheat stalk. My bet is that they will tend to be more substitutes than complements and the relative price of food will goup.
Fifth, the increase in the price of agricultural land and of food will relieve governments from the current political pressure to protect the agricultural sector. Governments that, as a consequence of the land glut, have been protecting and subsidising farmers will see them grow rich either because they plant biofuels themselves or because other producers switch into them, lowering the supply and increasing the price of other crops.
By contrast, consumers will be less enthusiastic and demand that something be done about the price of food. The obvious solution will be to cut back on protectionism and liberalise trade in agriculture. Sixth, the countries that have the largest endowment of under-utilised lands are in the developing world, especially Africa and Latin America. Putting that land into production will require a type of infrastructure that as opposed to the dedicated variety required by extractive industries usually crowds in other forms of investment by lowering transport costs in ample regions of the country.
Bio-energy will make those infrastructure investments socially profitable, creating a possible stepping stone into other industries.
Some policy action in industrialised countries will be required to make this world possible. Biofuels policy needs to stop being seen through the prism of agricultural support policy which justifies a 54 cents a gallon US tariff on Brazilian ethanol and instead become the purview of energy and environmental policies. Standards will have to be developed to allow the energy and automotive industries to co-ordinate technologies. To make this scenario appealing, the impact of the expansion of the agricultural frontier on the environment and biodiversity, and the distributive effects of the rise in foodprices will have to be addressed.
But these problems seem solvable given the expected political benefits in terms of lower net carbon emissions, more energy security, more efficient agricultural policies and greater opportunities for sustainable development.
The writer is the director of Harvard Universitys Center for International Development

Posted by Martin at 12:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Lehman closes short term trade on Ethanol

In a note today, Lehman took off their short term buy on ethanol producers VSE and AVR and put on the Bear.  That is consistent with the closing of the window for discretionary blending as ethanol prices have risen from the summer lows.  Lehman was right as the shares both did outperform in the last couple months, but are down sharply today.  Lehman says they believe a 40-45% chance of an energy bill passing before end of the year with an increased RFS.  I put those chances closer to 60%, so that is where we disagree.  I do agree that ethanol is in the shit for the next year though without an RFS. 

Posted by Martin at 10:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

IEA: Watch out for China and India, thier thirst is transforming global energy system...


Energy developments in China and India are transforming the global
energy system as a result of their sheer size and their growing
importance in international energy markets, according to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) World Energy Outlook (WEO) 2007.

However, the consequences of unfettered growth in global energy demand are alarming for all countries, the report continues. If governments around the world stick with existing policies—the underlying premise of the WEO Reference Scenario—the world’s primary energy needs would be 55% higher in 2030 than today.


Developing countries contribute 74% of the increase in global
primary energy use in this scenario. China and India together account
for 45% of this increase. increase in global primary energy demand in
this scenario. Both countries’ energy use is set to more than double
between 2005 and 2030.

The Layman's summary:  "pucker up and say Thank You Sir, May I Have Another"

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November 9, 2007

check out the hot trucks at SEMA

including my new Escalade biodiesel/ethanol!

Posted by Martin at 10:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 7, 2007

Look Ma I have a big Bubble

Miss the last issue of Wired? Miss the Wired most influential people in technology now driving the clean Tech revolution?  Where Your's truly has a big bubble.  No it is not going to my head.
.

Posted by Martin at 9:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BMW advertising Diesel vehicles in US

wow, about time

Posted by Martin at 9:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 2, 2007

Oh what a difference six weeks makes

on September 20 of this year crude "climbed above $83" on real fears of storms in the gulf of mexico. 28% of US oil production was off line. All that is back online again, but here we are knocking at $100. What is wrong? The fact is that there isn't enough of the stuff and the price will continue to go up until we stop using it or scale up alternatives.

From AGE on 9/20/07

"Crude climbs above $83 as storm forms near GulfCrude oil rose to close at a record high of $83.90 in New York after the U.S. said that production in the Gulf of Mexico was shut because of a storm threat. More than 360,000 barrels, or 28%, of daily oil production was idled according to the U.S. Minerals Management Service. Prices were already higher on signs that U.S. interest rate cuts and a falling dollar will bolster demand. "

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The White House pushes Pelosi to pass 20/20 legislation

Don't believe the White House wants an energy bill? They proposed one BEFORE the Democrats did. Not the D's are trying to play politics and "win" the issue by putting it off. Read the White House's most recent letter to Pelosi to try to get her going. Write your congressman/senator and tell them to stop playing politics and get an energy bill done that includes an RFS, increased CAFE, extension of the biofuels tax credit and an RPS.

Posted by Martin at 9:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Oil hits $96, poised to break $100 next week...

From Opis. This is the real deal baby

Subject: OPIS West Coast Report

11/2 - The runaway train continues to roll along with crude oil settling at a new all time high and RBOB coming with a penny or so of the spring pre-season highs.
Crude oil plowed $2.44 higher and settled at $95.93/bbl after hitting a $96/bbl higher just before the close, with the $96.24/bbl all-time high and key resistance at $96.40/bbl in the cross hairs for Monday. Crude oil does not need any help moving higher, but strength in gasoline helped move the crude oil market today. Earlier today. U.S. Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) called on the Bush administration to release crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Brent crude also saw an all-time high trading up to $92.21/bbl.
RBOB futures jumped by almost 10cts today settling 9.63cts higher at $2.4395/gal and is now within earshot of the pre-season spring highs at $2.455/gal. Some of the spring 2008 contracts are approaching the $2.60/gal level in the futures market. Some of the strength in RBOB today is being attributed to a reallocation of weighting RBOB in the S&P Goldman Sachs Commodity Index to 4.55% in 2008 versus the 1.37% it held in the index in 2007.
Heating oil futures saw big gains as well today, but they were lost in the mix of huge gains in crude oil and RBOB trading rings. Heating oil futures picked up some 6cts in settling at $2.5737/gal. Incidentally, the S&P-GSCI weighting of heating oil isgoing to decrease to 4.68% from the current 5.76%.
Soaring Singapore jet fuel cash prices are expected to trim the monthly spot cargo flow to the U.S. West Coast from Asia by up to 50% in December, some traders said on Friday.
Singapore spot jet fuel surged past the $100/bbl mark earlier this week to about $110.40/bbl, gaining $6.50 on Friday.
The price surge was attributed to the expected demand spike from China and declining stocks in Japan.
The price hike could be extended over the next few months as China is expected to remain a major importer in Asia. China raised its domestic diesel and jet fuel prices for the first time in 17 months.
"Jet fuel imports into the West Coast will definitely be affected by the very strong Asian market," a trader said.
The U.S. West Coast imports an average of about 3-4 spot jet cargoes every month, with December imports possibly falling by 1-2 cargoes.
"As of now, I don't see any jet cargoes fixed for December arrival from Asia," he said.
However, the trader pointed out that the arbitrage economics could change quickly due to the volatile prices in Asia and Los Angeles as well as fluctuating freight rates.
Jet fuel in Los Angeles was trading 19.2-22cts/gal over the NYMEX December heating oil futures contract today.
In other news, Chile has tendered for a total of 49 term gas oil cargoes or
1.862 million tonnes for January-May delivery, traders said on Friday.
Private oil company COPEC has tendered to buy 35 cargoes of 38,000-tonnes each for January-May delivery. This buy tender closes on Friday. State-owned oil company ENAP has tendered to buy 14 cargoes for January-March delivery.
This tender closed on Thursday. Bidders into the ENAP buy tender are Lukoil, ConocoPhillips, Vitol, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Lukoil and Morgan Stanley. These bidders are expected to win some cargoes each due to the high number of cargoes sought in the tender. ENAP is expected to award the cargoes later today or Monday.
Some traders pointed out that the huge volume sought in two tenders could have a bullish impact on gas oil markets, and both companies may get better prices if the tenders were issued a few weeks apart.
Chile has stepped up its gas oil imports this year due to higher demand and an unstable natural gas supply from Argentina.
"This is a lot of gas oil for two tenders, but the monthly requirements are normal for this year," a trader said.
Both companies have not officially awarded the term contracts as of early Friday.
The winners could supply gas oil to Chile from the U.S. Gulf Coast, the Caribbean, Asia or Europe, depending on the arbitrage economics.
REFINED PRODUCTS...
More records were being set today in the West Coast diesel markets on the back of record high heating oil prices as basis differentials are higher than they were at this time last year, but pretty close to the average for CARB diesel over the last year and a half plus.
Los Angeles CARB diesel was seen trading from 21-22.5cts over the futures market which had spot prices up into the $2.7825-2.7975/gal range. Meanwhile there was some separation between L.A. and the Bay as San Francisco CARB diesel was about a half-cent cheaper than L.A. based on morning trading. Jet fuel is also seeing record prices with trades done from 19.25-22cts over the December heating oil screen and flat prices ranging from $2.765-2.7925/gal.
Northwest diesel flat price remains strong, but basis wise is starting to weaken with the market pegged around $2.8625/gal or 29cts over the futures market.
CARBOB trading stayed within Thursday's range trading in a narrow range of 22.5-23cts over the futures market, but with gains of more than 9cts seen in the RBOB ring flat values were up solidly in L.A. into a $2.665-2.67/gal range, prices not seen since the spring. December CARBOB was running at a 16.75cts premium or $2.615/gal. San Francisco CARBOB is roughly a penny over L.A. now. Meanwhile in the Northwest, gasoline traded at a 9cts premium versus the futures market putting spot prices at the $2.53/gal level.

Posted by Martin at 9:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

here is the picture that says 1000 words

The USDA graph referenced in previous post. Soy oil use in biodiesel falling off a cliff....

Posted by Martin at 7:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The bloom is off soy as a biodiesel feedstock

I have been saying for some time that the speculative premium baked into soy oil on the expectation of massive consumption by biodiesel is WAY overblown.  Soy oil has been trading in line with crude oil as if it were a direct substitute.  It is not. It requires lots of processing. The refinery capacity for that is not at scale yet (with the exception of Imperium).  Yet the USDA report showing US soy consumption by biodiesel producers has been up and to the right for the past 6 months.  Graphing that out showed a huge percentage of the soy crop going to biodiesel.  I have been saying this grossly underestimates the effect of today's negative margins, the pullback on plant financings and the negative economics of midwest biodiesel in general.  Finally this month, the USDA report reflects the facts.  Notice a HUGE drop off in Sept of soy oil going to biodiesel. 

* Overall  US vegetable oil usage to methyl esters down 20% from August's number.

* Soy usage in methyl esters down about 25% versus August.

* Given what I've seen about how the Census number affects the USDA number, I'd expect next week's USDA report to be flat or down slightly on the soy usage in methyl esters.

* Composition changing: Soy's share of feedstock usage down considerably versus tallow and other sources relatively flat.

Another "i told you so"





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November 1, 2007

Structured Investment Vehicles explained...

What the heck are Structured Investment Vehicles?  Leave it to the English to describe what is happening in the current financial markets and what the sub prime loan crisis is all about.  Watch the video here

Posted by Martin at 10:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dino Rossi is running to win (again)

Dino Rossi the Republican who won the Washington Governor election in the first two re-counts last election, announced last week he is running again.  Dino won every county in the state but two.  Somehow King County kept finding more votes for the Democrat with each recount (many people under investigation for those activities now).  He rightly points out that Washington state government has gotten ALOT larger in the last four years just like he warned it would.  It was a nail biter last time and I expect something like that again.  Looking forward to a spirited campaign.


Posted by Martin at 10:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

SAP taking on the Biofuels vertical

Well, it is vendor marketing, but at least SAP believes there is legs enough to the biofuels sector to make it a named sector for them. Imperium is small, but we have installed SAP because we are growing fast and going to be VERY big.  Happy with SAP for now.

Posted by Martin at 9:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

My Motorhead Messiah

Johnathan Goodwin, the brainiac behind the Imperium Renewables MTV biodiesel blown Impala is on this month's cover of Fast Company. So are a couple shots of the new Imperium demo truck running biodiesel/ethanol, the BIG BAD BioCaddy. And then sunday Neil Young is in the NYT talking about his jet/electric biodiesel powered Lincoln Continental Johnathan is also building with us.

Posted by Martin at 9:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Chevron continues the delaying tactics

Does anyone really believe the oil companies want to solve our oil addiction? Monopolists never have an interest in true change. Their only interest is in delaying true change. Witness the Cigarette companies "researching" health effects of smoking. And bringing "low tar" and "filtered" cigarettes to the market. Witness Microsoft saying "all bugs will be solved in the next release". Every time, every release. Witness the blatant greenwashing BP is engaged in. Do you really believe "it is a start"? Now Chevron joins the put off party with a huge bunch of guilt money going to NREL to "Collaborate on research to produce transportation fuels using algae". Wait a minute, isn't this the same NREL that was already paid by the Federal Government for OVER A DECADE to study the VERY SAME PROBLEM? Yessiree it is.

Posted by Martin at 8:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Chevron continues the delaying tactics

Does anyone really believe the oil companies want to solve our oil addiction? Monopolists never have an interest in true change. Their only interest is in delaying true change. Witness the Cigarette companies "researching" health effects of smoking. And bringing "low tar" and "filtered" cigarettes to the market. Witness Microsoft saying "all bugs will be solved in the next release". Every time, every release. Witness the blatant greenwashing BP is engaged in. Do you really believe "it is a start"? Now Chevron joins the put off party with a huge bunch of guilt money going to NREL to "Collaborate on research to produce transportation fuels using algae". Wait a minute, isn't this the same NREL that was already paid by the Federal Government for OVER A DECADE to study the VERY SAME PROBLEM? Yessiree it is.

Posted by Martin at 8:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack