salt mine first to take biodiesel underground
HUTCHINSON, Kansas, January 4, 2005 (ENS):
The Hutchinson Salt mine in Hutchinson, Kansas is the
first mine of any kind in the United States to use 100
percent biodiesel fuel called B100 to power its machines
Biodiesel is a renewable, alternative fuel to petroleum
diesel and is made from soybeans grown in the United
States as well as other fats and vegetable oils. It
burns cleaner, reduces emissions like particulate matter
by 47 percent and cuts carcinogens 80 to 90 percent.
Biodiesel is sulfur free, non-flammable and biodegrades
faster than sugar.
“We use B100 biodiesel in everything underground
that runs on diesel,” said Max Liby, vice president
of manufacturing for the mine. “The main benefit
is we’ve cleaned up soot in the air and have cut
"Workers, particularly the operator of the loaders,
like the soy biodiesel much better because they say
particulates do not get in their nostrils and the air
is noticeably cleaner," said Liby.
"Also, lubricity is much greater than if we used
regular diesel fuel, so the injector pumps and injectors
work more efficiently. The soy biodiesel actually cleans
the injectors,” he said.
The Hutchinson Salt Company’s main product is
highway salt for icy weather. Clients include the states
of Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa and Illinois, and
the city of Chicago.
The salt mine is one of more than 500 fleets using
biodiesel fuel. That number is expected to continue
to rise, in part due to a biodiesel tax incentive bill
that became law on January 1. The tax incentive is expected
to make biodiesel more accessible to the general public
as it will narrow the cost gap between biodiesel and
regular diesel fuel.
“Biodiesel is a great fuel for use inside mines,”
said Harold Kraus, soybean farmer and a director of
the National Biodiesel Board, an industry association.
“It is made from a natural product, so the air
mine workers breathe from B100 is also natural. Besides
cutting emissions, biodiesel also has a pleasant odor
when it burns,” he said.
“Soybeans are important to Kansas not only for
the vegetable oil biodiesel comes from, but also for
the animal industry, as Kansas is the largest producer
of packed beef in the United States,” Kraus said.
“The animal industry is the largest user of soybean
meal, for its feed, plus the waste fat from animals
can be made into biodiesel,” he said.
Other biodiesel users include the Missouri Department
of Transportation, all four branches of the military,
NASA, Harvard University, the National Park Service,
U.S. Postal Service, and L.L. Bean. About 300 retail
filling stations make various biodiesel blends available
to the public, and more than 1,000 petroleum distributors
carry it nationwide.
Banner year forecast for
CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts, December 23, 2004 (ENS):
Wind power in North America will grow at a record pace next year,
finds a new study released today by Emerging Energy Research (EER),
a Cambridge research and advisory firm.
"Wind plants are no longer the relics of environmental activism
in the 1980s," says William Ambrose, president and founder
of EER. "Wind power has now become mainstream for U.S. and
While not all North American utilities have turned on to wind energy
technology, a growing number are beginning to purchase substantial
amounts of wind power, and others are experimenting with new projects.
These and other findings are contained in "US/Canada Wind Power
Markets and Strategies, 2004-2010," EER’s newest study
of wind power growth.
The factors driving the growth of wind energy are many - state
and provincial renewable portfolio mandates in the U.S. and Canada
and the growing competitiveness of wind technology as compared to
rising natural gas prices.
Failure by the U.S. Congress to renew the production tax credit,
a renewable energy incentive, at the end of 2003 resulted in a complete
shutdown of wind energy projects in 2004.
Passage of a bill re-authorizing the production tax credit in October
restarted some of those projects but the future is still uncertain
as current tax credit is due to expire at year-end 2005.
If the tax credit is not extended, the market is expected to spike
in 2005, as projects are accelerated to meet the deadline, but will
come crashing to a halt in 2006.
"If we can stabilize the regulatory environment," says
Ambrose, "the industry would scale dramatically, creating thousands
of U.S. jobs in manufacturing, engineering, and construction; reducing
our dependency on foreign and polluting energy; and ultimately rendering
wind power as a low cost energy source."
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), an industry group,
says wind power accounts for less than one percent of the electricity
generation in the United States, but it is increasingly competitive
in many areas with other forms of electricity generation.
Wind power has become the fastest growing type of generation in
the United States, averaging over 23 percent growth annually in
the past five years, says the AWEA.
GE Wind, the only wind turbine manufacturer with full scale facilities
in North America, has emerged as the dominant market leader. GE
Wind has benefited from the weakness of the dollar against the euro,
providing it with a decided cost advantage vis-à-vis its
European competitors, according to EER.
World market leader Vestas of Denmark has recently announced plans
to establish a manufacturing facility in 2005 after having abandoned
similar plans in 2003 when the production tax credit was allowed
to expire. Spanish wind turbine manufacturer Gamesa is in the process
of selecting a site in Pennsylvania for a blade plant.
For more information, visit: www.emerging-energy.com
EPA buys three years worth
of biomass power
WASHINGTON, DC, December 23, 2004 (ENS): The U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has signed a three year deal
to buy electricity generated by the burning of waste paper pulp.
The electricity will power the agency’s facilities in Research
Triangle Park, North Carolina.
The contract, signed November 1, but made public only Wednesday,
commits the EPA to purchase 100 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of
power in the form of renewable energy certificates in each of the
The waste pulp is generated from the operations of the Weyerhaeuser
paper mill in Port Wentworth, Georgia. The electricity was procured
through Unicoi Energy Services by the Defense Energy Support Center,
a branch of the military that provides the Department of Defense
and other government agencies with fuel.
The largest EPA Green Power procurement to date, the amount of
power covered by the 100 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy
certificates is equivalent to the energy consumed by 3,680 homes
The EPA defines Green Power as electric power derived from renewable
resources such as wind, sun, and biomass - including burning of
wood waste, plant materials and landfill gas.
Currently, the EPA annually purchases more than 220 million kWh
of Green Power for 26 of its facilities, laboratories and offices,
across the nation, and Green Power now accounts for 77 percent of
EPA’s estimated national electricity consumption.
In announcing the new power purchase on Wednesday, the EPA mentioned
that its purchases of green power were mandated by White House Executive
Order 13123 "Greening the Government through Efficient Energy
Signed by President Bill Clinton in 1999, the Order requires that
federal agencies reduce their greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent
from 1990 levels by 2010.
The Order encourages all federal agencies to expand the use of
Green Power by developing renewable energy projects, supporting
the development of renewable projects by others on federal land
and purchasing electricity from renewable energy sources.
Green Power sources have lower emissions than fossil fuel generating
plants, and generally have less adverse impact on the environment.
For more information on EPA’s Green Power program in general,
go to: http://www.epa.gov/greeningepa/greenpower.htm.