TodayApril 16, 2022

Abundant fuel sources: Fat and Garbage

Why do we continue to allow OPEC to dictate our future?

“Opec yesterday warned western countries that their efforts to develop biofuels as an alternative energy source to combat climate change risked driving the price of oil through the roof”

Abdalla El-Badri, secretary-general of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)

Financial Times, Wednesday, June 6, 2007

In 2003 we were paying $1.48 a gallon for gasoline. Oil costs $21.50 a barrel. Today, gasoline cost over $3.00 a gallon on average and oil is poking a hole in the $100 barrel. Gasoline has doubled in cost, yet oil has increased five-fold in cost over the same period. If anyone doesn’t think the price of gasoline is going to go up, they’ve been drinking too much corn alcohol.

If we look at a year ago this time “ from November 5, 2006, to November 5, 2007, – gasoline has increased in price 36 percent while oil, over the same time period, has increased 62 percent. Why? According to Jim Kramer, on Chris Matthews “Hardball” it is because OPEC won’t give us more oil.

The worse year for a rate increase over the last twenty years of both gasoline, 30%, and oil, 57%, was from 1999 to 2000. Why? Because OPEC wouldn’t increase supply.

What can be done? Corn ethanol has decreased our trade deficit by $50 million a day, but it is a food source.

We need a competitive fuel source to bring down the price of oil and gasoline. We need to find a source that is abundant and replenishable. We need to think outside of the box. What does the United States of America have tons of that can be recycled into fuel? I have two favorite ideas for making fuel, two commodities that seem to grow in “stature” on a yearly basis: Fat and Garbage.

1. Garbage-to-ethanol:

The DOE is partially subsidizing six new plants to be built by 2011 The one plant I find most intriguing is the plant in Los Angeles that is supposed to be built on a landfill. BlueFire Ethanol, Inc. of Irvine, California, will receive up to $40 million in subsidies from the DOE. The plant will be on an existing landfill and produce about 19 million gallons of ethanol a year. Waste Management will help supply the 700 tons per day of sorted green waste and wood waste from landfills needed to run the plant.

If I were queen for a day I would make it illegal to burn the clippings from your yard or the farmlands of cellulose. I would require that by 2015 every home being built had to have solar panels and every landfill have a cellulosic plant to take those clippings and make them into cellulosic ethanol.

2. Fat to fuel:

Dynamic Fuel is an LLC formed by Tyson Foods and Syntroleum Company that will make renewable diesel jet and military fuel from fat. 550 million pounds of fat turned into renewable diesel fuel.

It applies to Tyson animal fats and greases from prepared foods, processed by Syntroleum into renewable diesel fuel.

The transition to biofuels will happen over the next thirty years. OPEC is right to hold back their oil to get the most money from it they can – it’s called the free market.

We are also right to produce our own fuel and get rid of forty percent of our trade deficit.

We’re a brilliant nation – we have the ability, the science and the technology to be self-sufficient.

Now we need the will.

Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.

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