FAIRFAX, Va., June 14, 2011 — Pace Global Energy Services has named Tim Heinle as vice president in the renewable energy development group in the Fairfax, VA office. Mr. Heinle’s background in solar, wind and clean fuels project development will be applied in a leadership capacity related to renewable energy development and financing.
Fred James, Executive Vice President of Pace Global Energy Services, commented: “Mr. Heinle is an outstanding addition to our renewable energy development team. His depth and experience will enhance Pace Global’s ability to deploy financially attractive renewable energy solutions for our clients.”
Mr. Heinle has more than sixteen years of experience in the energy sector and previously worked at Duke Energy, Magellan Resources Group, and Community Resources. During his tenure as executive vice president of Magellan Resources Group, he played a key role in the development of the largest wind energy facility in the Appalachian Region. His work in alternative energy has also resulted in a billion dollars of federal energy tax credits over the past decade.
ATLANTA, May 24, 2011 — When Hurricane Katrina shut down the majority of oil refining capabilities in the Gulf of Mexico in 2005, prices skyrocketed overnight and incited a rush on gasoline that led to a nationwide, weeks-long gas shortage. With prices currently nearing post-Katrina levels on their own, this hurricane season could prove even more damaging to both businesses and consumers.
In a recent look at the 2011 hurricane season’s potential effects on fuel prices, AccuWeather.com detailed how devastating extreme conditions can be to the nation’s fuel infrastructure. While small disruptions occur relatively frequently during hurricane season, the possibility of a major disruption in the near future may be becoming more likely.
According to AccuWeather’s 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast, 2011 is likely to bring a higher than average number of tropical systems than last year, with a higher percentage making direct hits on the U.S. coast. The forecast targets the Texas and Western Louisiana coastlines as areas of greater concern for tropical activity, putting a large percentage of the country’s refineries and offshore platforms in the path of these damaging storms.
When a hurricane causes refineries to close, transportation costs to move oil to other locations are passed down to the consumer. If costs become too high, the platforms themselves must shut down, decreasing supply. This affects fuel prices even more, as well as prices for oil byproducts such as propane, butane and kerosene.
“When an unforeseen event suddenly drives the price of fuel up, smaller businesses have a hard time keeping up,” said Raquel Elie of FleetCards USA TrendWatch. “Owners have to take drastic measures to shore up their expenses, which can mean cutbacks in their budgets or even substantial downsizing. The best safeguard against this is to keep a close eye on prices and always be prepared for a change.”
With the price of fuel in such a volatile state, it is important to guard your fleet against increased costs by managing your fuel spending. Finding cheaper prices on fuel is comforting in the short term, but to effectively manage your expenses, it is important to examine every aspect of your fuel consumption and stop inefficiencies at each step.
The National Petrochemical & Refiners Association joined with the International Liquid Terminals Association and the Western States Petroleum Association to file a law suit intended to overturn a recent regulatory overreach by the Obama Administration.
The E15 Proposal and Granted Waiver
In March of 2009, Growth Energy and several other alternative fuels organizations petitioned the EPA to have E15 introduced for use in vehicles not specifically modified to deal with the caustic nature of ethyl alcohol (ethanol). In October, the Environmental Protection Agency bowed to the corn-to-fuel lobby and granted a partial waiver allowing for the use of E15 (15%) ethanol fuels in all vehicles newer than 2007.
Misfueling, the accidental fueling of a vehicle with the incorrect fuel, is a serious concern. The cost to repair a fuel system once ethanol has done its damage is considerable. The EPA web site mentions that they are working on a way to reduce misfueling, but they aren’t holding this waiver until that solution is drawn up.
..the EPA is concurrently issuing a proposed rule with the express purpose of reducing the potential for misfueling of E15 into vehicles, engines, and products for which it is not approved. If finalized, this rule will satisfy the misfueling mitigation conditions of today’s partial waiver.
The Next Step for the EPA is Older Vehicles
The EPA waiver also discusses 2001-2006 vehicles.
EPA is deferring a decision on MY2001-2006 light-duty motor vehicles. DOE is in the process of conducting additional catalyst durability testing that will provide data regarding MY2001-2006 motor vehicles. The DOE testing is scheduled to be completed by the end of November 2010. EPA will make the DOE test results available to the public and consider the results and other available data and information in making a determination on E15 for use in those model year motor vehicles.
Problems With Ethanol 15 and higher
Only catalyst durability testing? That will only prove whether or not the fuel is stable. What about engine durability testing? While ethanol’s instability is certainly a concern, fuel system components made for gasoline do not react well with corn-alcohol (ethanol). A 50% increase in the amount of ethanol in fuels will cause failure of fuel hosing, pumps, seals and possibly injection/carbeuration. An article at Hagerty.com relays the problem that ethanol presents to older vehicles:
Corrosion caused by contact between two dissimilar metals when the metals are in contact with an electrolyte, like ethanol. It looks like this.
Rubber components like fuel hoses, carburetor seals and gaskets, and fuel pump seals may be hardened, dissolved or distorted by contact with ethanol. This may lead to fuel leaks.
Ethanol holds water very readily and can expose fuel system components and steel gas tanks to rust. This is especially prevalent in boats.
Even low concentrations of ethanol have been shown to damage fiberglass fuel tanks. Ethanol dissolves the lining of fiberglass fuel tanks, often depositing a dark “sludge” inside marine engines causing costly damage. Eventually, fiberglass tanks dissolve until they fail, leaking fuel.
Metal parts, such as in-tank fuel pumps and carburetor floats, may be subject to pitting, rust or corrosion when in contact with ethanol blends.
The only way to prevent this damage is to replace fuel system components with ethanol-safe parts or buy a newer vehicle with the flex-fuel designation. Either way, Americans will be yet again saddled with the cost of the progressive agenda.
Having to upgrade your fuel system or buy a new car are expensive enough, but even according to the government site FuelEconomy.gov it’s evident that higher ethanol content will also have you paying even more for a gallon of fuel.
FFVs experience no loss in performance when operating on E85. However, since ethanol contains less energy per volume than gasoline, FFVs typically get about 25-30% fewer miles per gallon when fueled with E85.
So your 30 mpg turns to 20-23mpg on E85. Perhaps you only lose 3-4mpg with E15, but that’s after you just spent money to upgrade your fuel system or the entire car. Upgrade costs, lower mileage, and it will further increase the price pressure on corn as more corn fields are turned into fuel. That means the less-efficient, fuel-system destroying fuel will also cost more.
The Suit Against the EPA
It would be easy to look at the petroleum industry’s suit as a special interest protecting their profits. If that’s the position taken than one must also agree that Green Growth and tons of other corn-to-fuel businesses lobbied the EPA to put this waiver in place. It’s one fuel provider against another.
The real concern should be how the waiver was obtained. At least the petroleum industry lawyers are attacking the proper problem, regulatory overreach. While those involved in the suit will file written arguments in coming weeks, they had this much to say in a January 3rd press release:
NPRA and the other organizations today filed a petition asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to review and overturn the EPA decision, contending EPA violated the Clean Air Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.
The lawsuit by the groups will argue that EPA does not have authority under the Clean Air Act to approve a partial waiver that allows the use of E15 in some engines but not in others.
In addition, the lawsuit will contend that EPA based its partial waiver decision on new data submitted to the public rulemaking docket on the day before EPA announced the partial waiver, providing no time for the stakeholder review or meaningful public comment required under the Administrative Procedure Act.
This is exactly the same kind of circumvention of American law and process that the FCC used to put it’s tyrannical control of the internet in place. Perhaps the courts are the last hope to protect American citizens from a government bent on even more control.
Most information on Ethanol presents the corn-based fuel as a panacea for the worlds pollution woes, a green-jobs creator, and a needed boost to American farmers. Digging into these claims brings some interesting data points to the surface.
..a high octane, clean burning, American-made renewable fuel. Its production and use offer a myriad of benefits to the United States and its citizens.
The production of ethanol is an economic engine for the United States, adding value to U.S. agricultural products and bringing billions of dollars to the nation’s economy each year. The use of ethanol reduces harmful auto emissions, offers consumers a cost-effective choice at the pump, and decreases the amount of expensive crude oil needed to satisfy the nation’s thirst for transportation fuel.
Wow, sounds great doesn’t it, like the energy holy grail, until you dig into ethanol itself. Examining the ethanol production process is somewhat revealing.
The number one crop used for Ethanol is corn. Uh-oh- now we have to divert corn to become our new Gasoline, but is there enough Corn?
Corn is the most widely produced feed grain in the United States, accounting for more than 90 percent of total value and production of feed grains.
Around 80 million acres of land are planted to corn, with the majority of the crop grown in the Heartland region.
Most of the crop is used as the main energy ingredient in livestock feed.
Corn is also processed into a multitude of food and industrial products including starch, sweeteners, corn oil, beverage and industrial alcohol, and fuel ethanol.
The United States is a major player in the world corn trade market, with approximately 20 percent of the corn crop exported to other countries.
ERS analyzes events in the domestic and global corn markets that influence supply, demand, trade, and prices.
That means that all of our corn is already in high demand in everything from Aspirin, to cereals, to livestock feed. If Ethanol replaced motor vehicle fuel, the principles of supply and demand would force almost all corn produced to be diverted to Ethanol production. This would skyrocket the price of all corn-dependent products including livestock fed from corn unless they find an alternative.
According to the Cato Institute in a January 2008 report titled “Food Fight” Ethanol has already had an affect on our economy.
The ethanol boom has knock-on effects in the rest of the rural economy. The growing use of cereals, sugar, oilseed and vegetable oils to produce ethanol and biodiesel is supporting crop prices and, indirectly through higher animal feed costs, raising costs for livestock production. As Table 1 shows, the prices for poultry, beef, and eggs have all increased by more than 5 percent this year. (Pork prices have risen relatively slowly because production has been very high compared to demand, although producers are expected to lower production during 2008 because of losses from low prices and higher feedcosts.) Farmland prices in key corn-growing states such as Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota have increased by more than 20 percent in the last year.
So thats the economic impact, Choose between corn-dependent products or driving – you can’t afford to do both.
According to Elsa Steward in her article “What’s Wrong with Ethanol?” She points out that Ethanol by itself is not cost effective.
Ethanol is not likely to give us any relief from high gasoline prices. A gallon of gasoline produces about 1.5 times more energy as a gallon of ethanol. Because of this lower energy density, ethanol production and transport requires more production and transport capacity than gasoline. Ethanol also absorbs water, which is present in existing pipelines. Ethanol cannot be transported in these pipelines because the water would dilute the ethanol. The ethanol must therefore be carried over land by train or truck, a more expensive means of moving the ethanol from one place to another. Although the price of motor fuel sometimes increases due to problems with foreign and domestic oil supplies, the price of ethanol has historically been higher than gasoline prices and may remain higher for some time to come.
The Department of Energy’s Genomic Science Program
Can one gallon of ethanol displace one gallon of gasoline?
No. Ethanol has about 70% the energy content of gasoline per unit volume, so for every gallon of gasoline consumed, 1.4 gallons of ethanol would be needed to displace it. Ethanol, however, has a higher octane rating than gasoline — about 113 for ethanol compared to 87 for regular gasoline. The higher the octane rating, the better a fuel is at preventing engine “knocking” caused by inefficient fuel combustion. In other words, the higher-octane fuel provides better performance because it is used more efficiently to generate power rather than heat. If engines were optimized to take advantage of the higher octane rating of ethanol, they could achieve fuel economy more similar to that of gasoline engines.
Can ethanol be used by existing fuel-distribution infrastructure?
Ethanol and gasoline-ethanol blends cannot be transported by existing pipelines that carry gasoline. Water present in petroleum pipelines can pull ethanol out and cause ethanol-gasoline blends to separate into two phases. Ethanol must be transported by train, barge, or truck within an independent distribution system to ensure handling separate from the ethanol-production facility to distribution terminals, where ethanol is blended with gasoline just before delivery to retail stations.
Can ethanol be used in colder northern U.S. climates?
Due to ethanol’s lower vapor pressure, engine ignition is more difficult in colder weather for vehicles running on fuels with high ethanol content. During winter months, gasoline is added to E85 (85% ethanol and 15% gasoline blend) to make E70 (70% ethanol and 30% gasoline), which has a vapor pressure that improves starting in cold weather. Although current practice is to “blend-down” E85, the cold-start issue is a technologically solvable engineering problem for vehicle manufacturers.
I can’t afford a bowl of cereal, probably can’t afford to get very far in my car, if I’m up north, I can’t drive in the winter and ethanol has to be trucked in which means it burns more ethanol to get ethanol. But wait theres more. If you act now on this “Clean-Burning” fuel we will include free pollution with every purchase.
Oh gee did we leave that part out? So sorry, ethanol is not “clean burning” nor is the process to make it.
The Des Moines Register reported the other day that Iowa’s ethanol plants contribute 15 Percent — 7.6 million metric tons out of a total of 52 million metric tons — of greenhouse-gas emissions found in the state’s new inventory of major manufacturers, businesses and power plants
Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources found that the largest portion of the state’s overall emissions came from fermenting grain at the plants and not from burning natural gas or coal. In addition, burning biomass such as switchgrass at various industrial plants added another 0.13 million metric tons.
Uh-oh Ethanol production produces more greenhouse gas than coal plants, not very clean is it. Imagine the effect Cap & Trade would have on this industry. Lets just say you’ll be better off with a bicycle.
But I digress, lets look at the burning of Ethanol itself.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) fought against the EPA granting Ethanol a Clean Air Act waiver for an increase from the 10% Ethanol Gasoline to increase from 15% to 50% (Note now its 10% Ethanol and 85% Ethanol) in May of 2009 due to, among other reasons, Ethanol production’s propensity to “degrade water quality, worsen emissions of some air pollutants and escalate health risks for children and other vulnerable people, according to scientific studies by the Department of Energy, Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, National Research Council, independent academic researchers and EPA scientists”
An environmental watchdog group is telling us that increasing the amount of ethanol used will increase air pollution and lead to health risks based on Government studies, and yet its that same Government trying to force it upon us.
In short, widespread use of ethanol only creates more problems than it is supposed to solve. IIt is not the holy grail of green energy, if anything its more pollutive than standard fossil fuel use.