Iran Daily July 18, 2007 8 Idea of Veggie Oil Soaring Demand in Oilsands Burns Bright Cuts Natural Gas Exports E ven in the fringe world of alternative fuels, veg- etable oil has mostly remained on the margins, the domain of a few do-it-yourselfers who have G rigged their diesels to run on old fryer fat, making the rowing demand for natu- In addition to growing demand for Canada produces about 6.2 trillion come off a lot by the end of the year," rounds of local burger joints to fill their tanks. ral gas to fire in-situ oil- oilsands, the province of Ontario is cubic feet annually, and exports more he explained. "By all indications it's But the veggie power movement is about to stick sands projects will increasing its own natural gas demand than half of it to points south. going lower." one greasy toe into the mainstream, as a company in inevitably reduce the as it retires aging coal-fired power Total gas exports fell nominally in Fuelling the exodus from the field is this western Wisconsin town prepares to open what its amount available for plants to reduce carbon emissions, 2006, by about three per cent, but a meltdown on natural gas markets. owners believe is the first recycling and filling station export, says a Calgary energy think- Canada.com said. Martin King, a commodities analyst at Since the start of the month, natural for waste vegetable oil in the Midwest, and one of just tank. At the same time as demand is FirstEnergy Capital Corp., expects that gas prices have lost about 20 per cent a couple in the nation, chicagotribune.com reported. According to Bill Gwozd, a gas sup- increasing, Canadian production is figure to accelerate to about 12 per as hot summer weather and a rash of "The problem with vegetable oil is not the technolo- ply analyst with Ziff Energy Group, expected to fall to about 17 bcf per day cent--or more than a billion cubic feet expected hurricanes south of the bor- gy, it's the infrastructure," said Coulee Region Bio- Alberta's oilsands use 600,000 cubic from about 18 bcf at present. a day--by the end of the year. der failed to materialize. Fuels co-owner Taavi McMahon, a lawyer who also is feet a day to generate steam and power Ziff's analysis includes several key King said the numbers are a reflec- From a peak of $8.19 US per million president of a biofuels cooperative in Madison. needed to separate oil from the tar- assumptions--most significant that the tion of lower drilling activity as big British thermal units at the start of the "We've been encouraging people to convert to veg- soaked sands. Mackenzie Valley pipeline comes into producers like EnCana Corp. and month, New York natural gas prices etable oil, and when they've asked about fuel avail- That figure is expected to rise to two service by 2014 followed by Alaska in Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. pull fell to $6.65 last week. Canadian gas ability, we've said, well, get ready to go Dumpster- billion cubic feet (bcf) per day by 2018. the reins on capital spending. prices followed suit, falling from a diving." 2015, a four-fold jump due almost Any additional delays would exacer- Industry groups such as the Canadian high of $6.65 Cdn per gigajoule to While clean-burning vegetable oil is widely used as entirely to the proliferation of new in- bate an already gloomy supply picture, Association of Oilwell Drilling $5.70. a fuel in Germany, it has only recently begun to catch situ oilsands projects. Gwozd said, comparing the situation Contractors and the Petroleum Even factoring in lower Canadian on in the United States. It is not among the eight "When we subtract the total supply to a game of musical chairs. "Maybe Services Association of Canada are output, King said, there's plenty of evi- power sources the US government tracks through its from the total amount available for we turn off gas to the oilsands for a expecting a 20 per cent drop in the dence to suggest storage inventories Alternative Fuels Data Center, which provides infor- export, there's not much gas left over," while," he mused. number of wells drilled this year--the will reach record highs later this sum- mation on biodiesel, electricity, ethanol, hydrogen, he added. According to the Canadian first year fewer than 20,000 wells will mer. methanol, natural gas, propane and an obscure blend Unlike truck and shovel mining, in- Association of Petroleum Producers, be drilled in more than half a decade. "People are throwing in the towel on of fuels called P-series. situ projects use high-pressure heated Canada is the world's third-largest nat- Fewer wells inevitably lead to lower 2007, especially in the past few days," "I don't know of anyone [in federal government] steam to loosen thick oil deposits and ural gas producer and the number one production, said FirstEnergy's King. he said. "It's starting to look a lot like who is doing anything on vegetable oil," said make them flow to the surface. supplier of gas imports to the U.S. "We expect Canadian gas supply to 2006." Roxanne Dempsey, a senior project manager for the Energy Department, who noted that alternative fuels A Clean Energy account for less than 1 percent of the nation's energy Nanoscale Device for Storing use. The lack of data makes it difficult to judge veg- etable oil against other types of alternative fuels for More Hydrogen efficiency and other economic benefits. But Cruise Patrol McMahon, who also supports ethanol and biodiesel, says grease rises to the top in a comparison because it H ydrogen-powered cars seem to be engines, would require a hydrogen storage requires almost no heat processing or energy-adding T he annual Clean Energy Cruise is standing the whole energy issue and then the best solution to the problem of tank the size of a double-decker bus. ingredients. riding a fresh wind of interest in getting them involved in practical ways to fossil fuels pollution. The ever This problem could be solved by a "I'm relatively convinced that vegetable oil is the renewable energy sources. support conservation and the use of clean increasing concerns about global warming recently found nanoscale solution, as sci- most efficient use" of crop resources, he said. Drawing environmentalists, consumers energy sources," O'Brien said. and the future shortage of natural fuel entists in Greece announced that they who want to promote alternatives to fossil The cruise is also an opportunity for the sources have given the automotive indus- found a new way of storing hydrogen in Modified Engines fuels, and community leaders thinking state agency in charge of promoting clean try and researchers from other fields alike carbon nanoscrolls. These materials can Engines must be modified with special tanks about wind power in their own towns, the energy to make a pitch for the cause. a new impulse in developing new tech- store more hydrogen than any other mate- because veggie oil has to be preheated before it will charter boat cruise to the Hull wind tur- "I would encourage anyone who's skep- combust, especially in winter. A diesel car or truck bine at the Hull Gut is filling up fast, tical about wind power or concerned can be converted with kits that cost $2,000 to $4,500 boston.com said. about the noise or the visibility impacts to at the Madison co-op, McMahon said. The cruise will leave Thursday morning come visit the turbine," said Jon Abe, INOV8, a company based in nearby La Crosse, and take passengers past clean energy project manager for Mass. Technology helped develop the Blair facility to boost its line of projects in the Boston Harbor neighbor- Collaborative's Large Onsite Renewables vegetable-oil-burning water heaters and boilers. hood, including a solar photovoltaic Initiative, which awards grants for feasi- "Most of the attention has been focused on the auto- (solar panel) project at the Boston Coast bility studies and for design and construc- mobile sector, but we see huge potential in stationary Guard station, a similar solar panel instal- tion. uses" including in restaurants and greenhouses, said lation at the Spectacle Island recreational Abe, who will be on the cruise, pointed INOV8's Matt Fisher. "Up until this recycling center center, the wind turbine owned by electri- to renewable energy initiatives such as opened up, there wasn't any easy access to this type of cal workers Local 103 by the Dorchester Brockton's Brightfields, a solar installa- fuel. This expands our market base." gas tank , and a methane gas producing tion built on a brownfields site, and a McMahon said the oil center opened this month to biomass project on Deer Island in Milton Boy Scout troop's feasibility study wholesale customers. It's located about 30 miles north Winthrop, before arriving at Hull. for a wind power turbine on a scout camp of La Crosse in a town of about 1,200 and shares a Passengers will disembark for an up- site. white cinder-block building with a do-it-yourself car- close look at the turbine known as Hull 1, Other regional initiatives include wind wash. It looks like anything but the home base of a and John MacLeod of the Hull Light measurement towers in Quincy and green revolution. Department will speak on the town's Hanover, some small wind and solar Naturally, the water for the carwash, owned by one plans to expand on its successes. power projects in Plymouth, and a solar of McMahon's partners, is heated in an INOV8 veg- The growth in the number of folks look- energy project by Extrusion Technology gie oil burner--"the state's only vegetable-oil-heated ing to support wind power is "stunning," in Randolph. carwash," McMahon said with pride. said Larry Chretien, head of the nonprof- The Technology Collaborative's Alyssa Inside are a half-dozen surplus milk tanks that can it Massachusetts Energy Consumers Rosen will also be on board to explain filter 5,000 gallons of waste vegetable oil per day. For Alliance, which organizes the cruise. Clean Energy Choice, a program that Scientists in Greece announced that they found a new way of storing hydrogen in carbon nanoscrolls. now he's getting most of the oil--3,000 gallons a "It's just what the doctor ordered in rewards consumers' cash contributions to nologies. rial and are safe to use for future vehicles week--from a Kettle Foods potato chip plant in terms of raising people's awareness and renewable energy by giving grants to their Though fuelcell could one day replace and portable applications. Beloit, but plans to step up his efforts to procure more excitement over wind power," Chretien city or town. the internal combustion engine, there are George Froudakis at the University of from restaurants and possibly other sources as he said. Mass. Energy, which purchases energy still some technological problems to be Crete, who led the work, said that they ramps up production. For industry pros, it's a chance to from renewable sources for the 10,000 overcome, like hydrogen storage and the were able to control how tightly the scrolls "America's obesity problem is our lifeblood here," exchange information and network. And households it serves, seeks to encourage efficiency of the chemical processes, wind up and, hence, how much hydrogen he said. it's an opportunity for representatives of projects similar to the Hull I wind turbine, Softpedia.com said. they adsorb, by adding impurities to the public and private organizations interest- a 660-kilowatt turbine built six years ago, So far, the biggest downside of hydrogen- carbon nanosheets. Cheap Alternative ed in the clean energy movement -- such and Hull 2, the larger 1.8 megawatt tur- powered cars is the fact that it is very diffi- Their findings suggest that adding lithi- The idea is to keep the pumps flowing as much as as Shannon O'Brien, the former guberna- bine built last year. cult to store it safely and it's not stable, um ions should increase the uptake of possible with recycled oil, but McMahon said selling torial candidate who now heads the Girl Hull's municipal light department is either, so these cars require bulky pressur- hydrogen at atmospheric pressure and unused product--straight vegetable oil in greaser ver- Scouts Patriot Trails Council. considering building the nation's first off- ized tanks that could explode much in the room temperature from 0.19% to 3.31%, nacular--is a future possibility. Recycled oil for non- The council's eight-person staff, and shore wind power project, to consist of same way a methane gas tank does. twice the amount that other materials have transportation uses such as farm implements should possibly the boss herself (depending on four turbines in state administered coastal Normal fuelcells produce energy from achieved. Moreover, the scientists hope sell for $1.50 to $1.75 a gallon depending on the scheduling), will take the cruise to learn waters, Chretien said. the electrochemical reactions between that by decreasing the temperature, hydro- grade, while road fuel will add about 50 cents a gal- how to assimilate wind power and clean Hull is still way ahead of its neighbors in hydrogen and oxygen. The best fuel cells gen uptake should increase. lon for taxes, he said. energy to programs involving Patriot wind power generation, and no similar available on the market have a range of "Most of the scientists working on this His ultimate goal is to create a loop: get farmers to Trails' 23,000 girls. Her organization is turbines are scheduled to be built in the 200 miles tops, so to increase it to 300 field of research believe that the solution to grow canola and soybeans and press their own oil, developing new science patch programs state this year. Said Chretien, "We're not miles, a reasonable mileage, compared to this problem will arise from the synthesis which Coulee Region Bio-Fuels would distribute to for Girl Scouts with the goal of "under- seeing them go up fast enough." those achieved by internal combustion of new materials," Froudakis says. restaurants, then collect the old grease, filter it and sell it back to farmers--cheap--to use in their tractors and trucks. Natural Gas Found in Western Uganda However, the business model is a work in progress. McMahon, who with his two partners invested T he London-based oil company Africa's power house, exporting surplus my. past decade, according to Uganda's $45,000 in the project, hopes the fuel availability per- Tullow Oil PLC has discovered hydropower electricity to neighboring Uganda, like many of its sub-Saharan Investment Authority. And the popula- suades more drivers to convert their vehicles but natural gas in western Uganda, countries, but it has outgrown its supply, counterparts, relies on hydroelectric tion has exploded at a rate of about 3.6 cheerfully admits that he has done no real market which the government says will be used forcing a rationing schedule that leaves power from Lake Victoria, the vast lake percent a year--the highest rate in Africa, research. for solving the country's power short- the capital, Kampala, in the dark for up shared by Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. according to the United Nations. "We may be way ahead of ourselves," he said. ages, officials said on Friday. to 30 hours at a time, AP reported. Since 2000, Uganda has sapped all the To help close the energy gap, the gov- Fisher, though, sees the model of local waste oil "We struck gas while looking for oil," Electricity prices have doubled in the electricity its dams can produce. Making ernment installed two diesel generators recycling as sound business and an important advance Houer Flusee, a company official, said. past year to an average of 26 cents per the problem worse, the dams are running last year producing 50 megawatts each. in energy usage. "We are to study its components to unit--an astronomical amount in a coun- below capacity due to falling water lev- But fuel is costly, with each unit con- Biofuels are not without controversy. Some critics establish its quality. But it seems to be try of 28 million where per capita els on Lake Victoria. suming about 42,000 gallons each day-- say using food crops as fuel already has driven up good gas." income is around $280. Malinga believes the discovered gas the equivalent of four tankers. The gov- prices, hurting the poor, and that wealthy countries The oil explorer was drilling the Nzizi "Tanzania and Nigeria are producing could partly cover domestic needs of ernment, which subsidizes the fuel to the could decide they need the energy and cut back on well to check the extent of oil deposits many megawatts of power out of their factories and hospitals. tune of $150 million each year, and con- food aid to places that cannot grow enough of their but the hydrocarbons found turned out to gas," said Malinga. "We will do the "It can also be used for domestic pur- sumers have carried the cost burden. own. Moreover, waste vegetable oil is not dumped in be natural gas, said Honey Malinga, same." poses such as cooking or in hospitals Tullow has been exploring for oil in the ground now; it's used in cosmetics and pet food. head of petroleum exploration and pro- Malinga said the gas found in Western and factories," Malinga said. Uganda for the last four years. So far it Recycling and burning it "is an alternative, not a solu- duction department in the Ministry of Uganda flows at a rate of 14 million The energy crisis in Uganda has been has discovered oil in four wells, which tion," McMahon said. "It's a chance to help the rural Energy. cubic feet per day and will go a long caused in part by the country's rapid have a cumulative flow of 12,050 bar- economy by keeping things local. I just think it's Uganda was once heralded as East way in improving the country's econo- growth. The economy has doubled in the rels oil per day. important for people to have choices."
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