Wednesday, March 21, 2007

News From My Backyard: City of Portland Awards Grants to Five Local Biofuels Projects

[From the OregonLive.com:]

Portland's Sustainable Development Office has awarded $450,000 in grants to five biofuels projects.



Grant were awarded to:

Oregon State University, to support a project that will develop planting and fertilization methods to increase production of canola and camelina, two crops needed in the biodiesel industry.

Madison Farms of Echo, to install two new 10-ton canola crushers that will increase its production of canola oil, increasing the supply available to the industry.

Portland Biodiesel, to expand capacity at a biodiesel-production facility in development in North Portland.

Carson Oil Co., to install a high-speed injection blending rack that will allow the company to fill tanker trucks and fuel trailers with blended biodiesel at a faster rate.

SeQuential Biofuels, to support construction of a gas station in Portland that will be solely dedicated to the sale of ethanol and biodiesel blends.

[Image credit: OregonLive]

1 comment:

Heiko said...

For some reason, commenting isn't enabled for your post on the "Alternative Fuel Standard Act".

It's interesting that Europe has taken the same (or at least a very similar) approach as the US, namely legislation that makes a certain percentage of biofuels mandatory by given dates.

I've got some concerns about life cycle analysis as proposed in California.

When LCA is purely academic, disagreements about co-product credits, or the greenhouse gas emissions associated with fertiliser use or irrigation, don't matter a great deal.

They do, when there is money involved.

What makes me even more worried is the terrible results achieved by the Clean Development Mechanism.

There greenhouse gas emission reductions are measured against a baseline, giving a huge incentive for manipulation and profiteering.

CFC's are extremely potent greenhouse gases, and a number of plants in the third world emit them rather than incinerate them cheaply.

What CDM has done is to give an incentive to developing countries to delay legislation outlawing the venting of CFC's.

Instead, they rather go for CDM money.

Incineration is only going to cost around a hundred million Dollars, but with the CDM scheme, it's worth 5 billion.

Rather than legislate the CFC venting out of existence, the Chinese government taxes the CDM receipts at 65% and allows the CFC manufacturers to keep the rest (which even with a 65% tax still leaves the CFC manufacturers with a 1000%+ profit).

These kinds of shenanigans make me very sceptical about any scheme that involves huge complexity and potential for manipulation. When there's money involved, people will want to game the system. Why make it easy for them?

If greenhouse gas emission reductions are the objective, I think taxes (per tonne of carbon on fossil fuels) and regulations (say on methane from landfills or farms) are the best options. These are much harder to circumvent.