Dutch official wary of biofuels impact on food supplies
November 13, 2007 07:28 AM - Reuters
Policymakers should be cautious of biofuels' effect on food costs, Dutch Agriculture Minister Gerda Verburg said, emphasizing the need to develop new non-food raw materials.
First-generation biofuels are usually made from crops such as grains and vegetable oils but have raised concerns that they are driving up food prices and could lead to shortages.
Pump price to jump 20 cents next 2-3 weeks: government
November 12, 2007 06:39 PM - By Tom Doggett
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. consumers could pay record gasoline prices for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday with pump costs expected to climb another 20 cents over the next two to three weeks, the government's top energy forecaster warned on Monday.
Guy Caruso, who heads the U.S. Energy Information Administration, said not all of the recent jump in crude oil prices has been reflected in motor fuel costs which now top $3 a gallon in many parts of the country, about 80 cents more than a year ago.
"We haven't seen the full pass-through (of high oil prices) yet," Caruso told reporters at a briefing on oil market conditions held at Energy Department headquarters. "I would say what's in the pipe right now (for gasoline) is about another 20 cents."
Waste Water Plus Bacteria Make Hydrogen Fuel: Study
November 12, 2007 06:20 PM - By Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent, Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Bacteria that feed on vinegar and waste water zapped with a shot of electricity could produce a clean hydrogen fuel to power vehicles that now run on petroleum, researchers reported on Monday.
These so-called microbial fuel cells can turn almost any biodegradable organic material into zero-emission hydrogen gas fuel, said Bruce Logan of Penn State University.
This would be an environmental advantage over the current generation of hydrogen-powered cars, where the hydrogen is most commonly made from fossil fuels. Even though the cars themselves emit no climate-warming greenhouse gases, the manufacture of their fuel does.
Energy From Hot Rocks
November 12, 2007 01:02 PM - UC Davis
Two UC Davis geologists are taking part in the Iceland Deep Drilling Project, an international effort to learn more about the potential of geothermal energy, or extracting heat from rocks.
Professors Peter Schiffman and Robert Zierenberg are working with Wilfred Elders, professor emeritus at UC Riverside, Dennis Bird at Stanford University and Mark Reed at the University of Oregon to study the chemistry that occurs at high pressures and temperatures two miles below Iceland.
"We hope to understand the process of heat transfer when water reacts with hot volcanic rocks and how that changes the chemistry of fluids circulating at depth," Zierenberg said. "We know very little about materials under these conditions."
Costly oil dangerous but not deadly
November 12, 2007 12:25 PM - By Brian Love - Analysis
PARIS (Reuters) - Costly crude oil, which recently neared $100 a barrel, may no longer be the certified economy killer the West dreaded in the 1970s, but it could still produce a nasty cocktail if mixed with the world's other economic woes.
Many economists believe crude's latest surge, which has fuelled renewed talk of inflation and stagnation, is still not enough on its own to derail the economy of the United States and others among the world's richest countries.
But the latest leg in oil's five-year climb coincides with a U.S. housing slump and a subprime mortgage defaults crisis that has hit bank profits, triggered a global credit crunch and proved no boom is never-ending. Food prices are also soaring.
U.S. Oil Slides Below $96
November 12, 2007 08:41 AM - Reuters,
LONDON - U.S. oil slid below $96 on Monday after top exporter Saudi Arabia said OPEC would look at raising output to brake oil's ascent towards $100 and safeguard world economic growth.
But North Sea Brent crude oil recouped some losses on news of a militant attack on Nigeria's Qua Iboe oil terminal and the temporary closure of Russia's main Black Sea port of Novorossiisk as a storm approached. Europe is first to feel the impact of export interruptions from Russia and Africa.
Researchers build a better leaf
November 12, 2007 08:35 AM - University of Illinois, Diana Yates
CHAMPAIGN, IL. - University of Illinois researchers have built a better plant, one that produces more leaves and fruit without needing extra fertilizer. The researchers accomplished the feat using a computer model that mimics the process of evolution. Theirs is the first model to simulate every step of the photosynthetic process.
Toyota Eyes the Plug-in Prius
November 10, 2007 06:10 PM - By Bernie Woodall
TORRANCE, California (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp on Friday detailed plans to study U.S. consumer demand for a version of its hot-selling Prius hybrid that could be recharged at a standard outlet and run on electric power only.
A senior Toyota executive declined to say when a plug-in Prius would be launched or whether it could beat rival General Motors Corp to market with a technology seen as capable of slashing fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
Bob Carter, who heads the Toyota brand in the United States, said it was more important for Toyota to understand consumer expectations and hone the battery-centered technology behind plug-in cars than to race to bring them to showrooms.
Norway seeks land power for offshore fields
November 9, 2007 12:24 PM - By Wojciech Moskwa
OSLO (Reuters) - Norway's centre-left government pushed ahead on Friday with controversial plans to power some offshore oil and gas platforms by electricity produced on land, in an effort to cut carbon emissions by the oil industry.
The Energy and Petroleum Ministry linked its approval for BP's Skarv field development with pledges by field partners to help develop technology that brings electrical power to offshore platforms or floating production vessels.
Politics of ethanol is to make more, Iowans agree
November 9, 2007 12:21 PM - By Andrew Stern
MUSCATINE, Iowa (Reuters) - For Iowans, ethanol is a home-grown success story few presidential candidates would dare sully in their search for votes as the harvest season ends and campaigns ramp up in earnest.
In stump speeches and position papers, Democratic and Republican hopefuls vying for Iowa's January 3 first-in-the-nation caucuses pay regular homage to the biofuels industry.
The industry has created tens of thousands of jobs in Iowa -- and more than 150,000 across the United States -- and is credited with lifting the prices paid to farmers for their crops, and even eased the pain at the gas pump.