Environmental Issues / Alternative fuels / News & Discussion

Dec 2, 2000
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Environmental Issues / Alternative fuels / News & Discussion

From the Chevron Website:

Chevron and National Renewable Energy Laboratory to Collaborate on Research to Produce Transportation Fuels Using Algae
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SAN RAMON, Calif., Oct. 31, 2007 - Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) and the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) announced today that they have entered into a collaborative research and development agreement to study and advance technology to produce liquid transportation fuels using algae.

Chevron and NREL scientists will collaborate to identify and develop algae strains that can be economically harvested and processed into finished transportation fuels such as jet fuel. Chevron Technology Ventures, a division of Chevron U.S.A. Inc., will fund the initiative.
Full story at http://www.chevron.com/news/press/release/?id=2007-10-31

Comment: With all the sound and fury about the environment and alternative fuels, this could make for a lively and interesting thread. Argueably, some of the concerns may be overblown, but they're not without justification either. The oil may not run out in our lifetimes but it's still a finite resource. If we mean to use liquid fuels, we'll need to be able to make it faster then mother nature can.​
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From Arab News:

Global Forum Sets Out Program to Save Marine Environment
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JEDDAH, 1 November 2007 – The ninth global meeting of the Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans (RSCAP) ended in Jeddah yesterday with the release of the Jeddah Declaration. The declaration set out the program for the protection of the marine environment and coastal regions of member states for the next four years.
Story at This Hotlink
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From BYM Maritime:

Foss Maritime switches Puget Sound, Columbia River tug fleet to ultra low sulfur diesel
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Foss Maritime Company has announced that, effective immediately, its vessels are switching to ultra low sulfur diesel fuel (ULSDF) from low sulfur diesel fuel, significantly reducing emissions of particulate matter and other pollutants.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and port officials in Seattle and Portland lauded Foss for taking an important step to reducing the air emissions in Elliott Bay, Puget Sound and the Columbia and Snake rivers.

“Foss is stepping up to improve our air quality,”￾ said Gary Faber, President and COO of Foss Maritime. “The next time our tugs fill their tanks, it will be with ultra low sulfur diesel fuel, the cleanest diesel fuel on the market. The maritime industry has to do its part.”￾
Full story at http://www.bymnews.com/news/newsDetails.php?id=17482
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From The Virginia Pilot OnLine:

Ships are an increasing source of air pollution
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A faint plume of gray exhaust rose from the President Polk’s blue-and-red smokestack as the 903-foot-long container ship idled this week at Norfolk International Terminals. Three gangly cranes extended over it, loading and unloading cargo containers.

Until recently, exhaust from oceangoing ships such as the Polk drew little attention. But recognition is growing that such ships are major sources of air pollution as they cross the globe with massive engines burning highly polluting fuel. The Environmental Protection Agency and the arm of the United Nations that oversees global shipping are both developing stricter regulations.
Full story at http://content.hamptonroads.com/story.cfm?story=136053&ran=210997
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Jason Schleisman should appriciate this article from MSNBC:

Biodiesel Becomes Better Deal Than Diesel In Marin
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SAN ANSELMO, Calif. - The cost of one gallon of biodiesel fuel has fallen below the price of one gallon of regular diesel fuel for the first time in the Bay Area, according to a spokesman for one biofuel company.
For the rest, see http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21640773/

Comment: This fuel is seriously being considered in some shipping quarters. If the companys which produce this stuff can do so in useful volumns and at a reasonable price, it may well happen.​
 
Feb 4, 2007
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Thanks for finding that Mike!
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I have used 100% biodiesel almost exclusively in my vehicles for about 5 years. While not a "be all, end all" fuel, it is renewable, and is a more earth-friendly technology that's available NOW.

Having lived in the Bay Area up until recently, I can tell you that while biodiesel was often higher priced than petro-diesel, this is NOT the first time that it has been lower priced than petro-diesel. In fact, 2 & 1/2 years ago, biodiesel cost me $3.32 per gallon while petro-diesel cost anywhere from $3.41 - $3.80. So, I was laughing awhile back! Not to mention the fact that most diesel engines go farther than gasoline on a gallon of fuel.

Thing is, biodiesel WILL become just as expensive as petro-diesel if for no other reason than the rules of good ol' supply and demand.

One nice feature for marine use is that in liquid form biodiesel is non-toxic, 100% biodegradable, and if there were to be a spill such as we've witnessed in our recent past, the consequences would NOT be nearly as dire.
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Feb 4, 2007
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FUNNY STORY:

Now that I live in a state that requires even OLD diesel vehicles to be smog tested, I had to take my vehicles in and do so.

I'll never forget the puzzled look on the smog tester guy's face when he handed me the necessary paperwork after the test was completed. He shook his head in disbelief as he told me that my unmodified, 1963 diesel Mercedes Benz sedan had way FEWER emissions than he'd seen on most brand-NEW diesel cars! And this is a car that was built before things like catalytic converters and emissions controls!

I just smiled and said, "Oh really? Great!" I didn't tell him that it was running on 100% biodiesel.
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Dec 2, 2000
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From The Scotsman.com:

Scottish fishermen 'the greenest in Europe'
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SCOTLAND'S fishermen are the most environmentally friendly in Europe, according to both conservationists and Scotland's Environment Secretary.

The fleet has voluntarily chosen to trial measures such as temporary closures of areas of the sea where too many young fish are being caught and having observers on board to monitor levels of discards, fish thrown back because of quotas or to make way for a more profitable catch.
For the rest, see http://news.scotsman.com/scotland.cfm?id=1757872007
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From The Hellenic Shipping News:

New reefer container solution significantly reduces CO2 emissions
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Maersk Line is pleased to announce the implementation of QUEST which will enable a significant reduction in the energy consumption and CO2 emissions of our refrigerated containers (reefers).
QUEST (Quality and Energy efficiency in Storage and Transport) is a software solution, providing a new temperature control regime. Thereby we can cut the energy consumption used for cooling with up to 50% without impacting the quality of our refrigeration solutions. Maersk Line estimates that QUEST will lead to CO2 emission reductions of 325,000 tonnes annually when fully implemented during 2008.
For the rest, go to http://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/index.php?mod=article&cat=nwsinternational&article=4484
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From New Scientist:

Shipping pollution kills 60,000 every year
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Pollution from ships, in the form of tiny airborne particles, kills at least 60,000 people each year, says a new study. And unless action is taken quickly to address the problem — such as by switching to cleaner fuels — the death toll will climb, researchers warn.

Premature deaths due to ultra-fine particles spewed out by ships will increase by 40% globally by 2012, the team predicts.
For the rest, see http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn12892-shipping-pollution-kills-60000-every-year.html

Comment: The article notes that this figure is an estimate which was derived from computer modeling. While it may be valid, one has to wonder of there's no small element of the post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy at work here. There is a corrolation, but corrolation is not the same thing as causition.​
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From BYM Maritime:

Port of Oakland and SunEdison flip switch on zero emission solar power system
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The Port of Oakland and SunEdison today celebrated the activation of a new 756 kW ground mounted solar power system. The zero emission clean solar power system is a major step in meeting the Oakland Board of Port Commissioners’ environmental directives and is the Port’s first utility generation plant.

The photovoltaic system, which will deliver approximately 1 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of clean renewable energy annually, was deployed under a solar energy supply agreement with SunEdison, North America’s largest solar energy services provider.
For the rest, see http://www.bymnews.com/news/newsDetails.php?id=17900
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From The Star:

Seas to absorb greenhouse gas, but food chain hit
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OSLO (Reuters) - Tiny ocean plankton can reduce global warming by soaking up unexpectedly large amounts of carbon dioxide but their carbon-bloated cells might damage marine food chains, scientists said on Sunday.

Experiments in a Norwegian fjord showed that plankton -- small drifting plants or creatures -- could absorb up to 39 percent more carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, in seawater pens mimicking projected climate conditions to 2150.
For the rest, see http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/11/12/worldupdates/2007-11-12T000327Z_01_NOOTR_RTRMDNC_0_-304436-1&sec=worldupdates

From The Hellenic Shipping News:

Calls for more scrubber research
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A recent industry poll has found that the jury is still out on the benefits of exhaust scrubbing technology. The poll on sustainableshipping.com was prompted by new research that concluded that sulphur oxides (SOx) in ship exhaust, as well as sulphuric acid created during exhaust scrubbing, reacts with seawater to create CO2 - potentially increasing greenhouse gas levels.
For the rest, go to http://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/index.php?mod=article&cat=nwsinternational&article=4594

Comment: Seems that every solution breeds new problems.​
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From The BBC:

Black Sea faces oil 'catastrophe'
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Soldiers and emergency workers are battling to clean up an oil spill that has reportedly killed some 30,000 birds in the Kerch Strait, by the Black Sea.
Alexander Tkachev, governor of Russia's Krasnodar region, said the incident was an "ecological catastrophe".

Some 2,000 tons of fuel oil leaked into the straits between the Black Sea and the Azov Sea after a fierce storm broke a tanker apart on Sunday.
Story at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7092071.stm

Comment: I debated whether or not to put this in the casualties thread, but since this deals with consequences which go beyond the shipwrecks, this looked to be the best place for it. Be sure to check out the related stories linked to in the sidebar.​
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From Yahoo News:

World body warns over ocean 'fertilisation' to fix climate change
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LONDON (AFP) - Countries gathered under an international accord on maritime pollution have warned against offbeat experiments to tackle climate change by sowing the sea with chemicals to help soak up airborne carbon dioxide (CO2).

Parties to the London Convention and London Protocol declared that they hold authority over such experiments, and "large-scale operations" of this kind "are currently not justified," according to a statement issued on Monday.
For the rest, go to http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/environmentclimatewarmingoceans
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From Canada.com:

Pollution from ships kills 105,000 yearly: report
quote:

A new study in the journal of the American Chemical Society links pollution from marine shipping to heart and lung disease.

The report blames 5,000 premature deaths annually in North America on pollution from shipping. Globally, marine vessel pollution may be responsible for as many as 105,000 deaths annually.

The number of deaths a year could rise by as much as 40 per cent by 2012 with the expected growth in shipping activity.
For the rest, go to http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/story.html?id=3ed24def-88b3-4db0-b863-a48582288f58&k=55649

Comment: One study claims 60,000 and this one nearly doubles the number. Who, if anybody, is right, I can't say but I sure would like to know where the peer review is. (And who the hell is the American Chemical Society? See http://portal.acs.org/portal/acs/corg/content and judge for yourself. Keep in mind that this at least is a professional society so they may not be all that unrealistic about their work.)​
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From The Navy Times:

Court orders Navy to reduce effects of sonar
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SAN FRANCISCO – A federal appeals court on Tuesday ordered the Navy to lessen the harm its high-power sonar does to whales and other marine life during exercises off the Southern California coast.

The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals sent the matter to a trial judge in Los Angeles to figure out exactly how to fix the problem it says is apparent with the sonar. The three-judge panel said the sonars need to be fixed before the Navy’s next planned exercise in January.
Full story at http://www.navytimes.com/news/2007/11/ap_navywhales_071113/

Comment: Not to be a killjoy, but how can anyone fix the problem when nobody is entirely certain about exactly what the nature of the problem is or even how it works?​
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From The Hellenic Shipping News:

EU project to plug LNG as ship fuel
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An EU clean fuels pilot project is underway to promote the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as marine fuel for ships. Hopes are high for the Marine Fuel Gas Logistics project (Magalog) to take off as industry players begin showing interest amid growing international pressure for shipping to clean up its emissions.
Magalog's main aim is to encourage the design, construction and use of ships capable of running on LNG, which offers massive emission reductions compared to conventional bunkers: 25% less carbon dioxide, 86% less nitrogen dioxide, 100% less particulate matter and 100% less sulphur dioxide.
Full story at http://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/index.php?mod=article&cat=nwsinternational&article=4777
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Not a good idea for investment in my opinion.<<

it may well be for the short to intermediate term. The problem here is that to meet the demand for fuel, one has to produce a lot of it. That may very well be achievable for biodiesel in the long term, but it's not achievable yet.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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From The Hellenic Shipping News:

Castrol Marine launching 'green' lubricants
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Castrol Marine is to launch a range of readily biodegradable marine lubricants which it says will cause much less environmental damage than conventional mineral oils if they find their way into the sea.
The company claims that its new range of hydraulic, stern tube, gear oils and greases are much less toxic and more biodegradable than other products, while not compromising on performance.
For the rest, click on http://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/index.php?mod=article&cat=nwsinternational&article=4840