My Green Gasoline
By Josh Painter Posted in Energy — Comments (25) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
ScienceDaily (Apr. 8, 2008) — Researchers have made a breakthrough in the development of "green gasoline," a liquid identical to standard gasoline yet created from sustainable biomass sources like switchgrass and poplar trees...
While it may be five to 10 years before green gasoline arrives at the pump or finds its way into a fighter jet, these breakthroughs have bypassed significant hurdles to bringing green gasoline biofuels to market...
"Green gasoline is an attractive alternative to bioethanol since it can be used in existing engines and does not incur the 30 percent gas mileage penalty of ethanol-based flex fuel," said John Regalbuto, who directs the Catalysis and Biocatalysis Program at NSF and supported this research.
"In theory it requires much less energy to make than ethanol, giving it a smaller carbon footprint and making it cheaper to produce," Regalbuto said. "Making it from cellulose sources such as switchgrass or poplar trees grown as energy crops, or forest or agricultural residues such as wood chips or corn stover, solves the lifecycle greenhouse gas problem that has recently surfaced with corn ethanol and soy biodiesel."
Beyond academic laboratories, both small businesses and Fortune 500 petroleum refiners are pursuing green gasoline. Companies are designing ways to hybridize their existing refineries to enable petroleum products including fuels, textiles, and plastics to be made from either crude oil or biomass and the military community has shown strong interest in making jet fuel and diesel from the same sources...
What's that I hear? Why, it's the music track from the Lemon Pipers' 1968 hit, "My Green Tambourine." I've altered the lyrics slightly...
I don't need no oil from Saudi sheikhs
Or from those crazy Persian freaks
It's the coolest thing you've ever seen
Watch me while I burn... my green gasoline
Take this message to the Mid East, dude
And tell Chavez what to do with all his crude
Hear them cryin' while your hear my engine sing
And watch me while I burn... my green gasoline
Corn was made to eat and not to burn
When will the politicians ever learn
Don't need no ethanol in my machine
Watch me while I burn... my green gasoline
Song parodies are lots of fun, but energy is a serious issue. What do we do while we wait five to ten years for green gasoline to make the long journey from biomass to the pumps in front of the local convenience store?
The smart thing would be to ramp up our domestic exploration, production and refining capacity so we would have plenty of American oil to help us make the transition to biomass gas and other alternative fuel technologies. We should start tapping the undrilled oil fields in Alaska's ANWAR and off the Gulf Coast. There's billions of barrels in the Jack Field some 270 miles south of New Orleans and billions more in the Cuban Basin 50 miles off of Florida's coast. The Chinese are going after that Eastern Gulf oil, but the Democrats, under the thumb of the environmental lobby, would have us idly stand by and watch the Chinese and Cubans exploit those fields while we do nothing.
With oil going for $100 or more a barrel, suddenly extracting crude from shale and tar sands has become economically feasible, and we are sitting on such oil deposits in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. Billions of barrels are believed to be just waiting to be extracted from the Baaken Oil Formation which covers parts of North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana. Just how many billions will be the subject of an eagerly-awaited report from the U.S. Geological Survey. Horizonal drilling technology is allowing several oil companies to begin tapping crude oil and gas underneath North Dakota's Lake Sakakawea.
With billions of barrels of crude oil and trillions of cubic feet of clean-burning natural gas under our feet, it is pure stupidity not to rebuild a strong domestic oil and gas industry in the United States. Making ourselves more self-reliant on energy is more than simply an economic issue - it is a security matter as well. If we have the foresight to exploit our own plentiful energy resources, the U.S. can avoid any potential disruptions in our energy supply due to political factors abroad. This ain't rocket science. It's just common sense.