biofuels

Potjie photo / Flickr via Compfight

In 2011, biofuels in the Northwest got a huge boost. The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded $80 million in grants to researchers at the University of Washington and Washington State University. It’s meant to help turn woody biomass into environmentally-friendly fuels for cars and jets.

Now they’re at about the half-way point in their research, and several hundred are attending a conference on wood-based biofuels in Seattle.  

As the biodiesel industry convenes for a national conference in San Diego today, one of the topics of discussions will be the loosening of the renewable fuel standard.

Among the participants will be Seattle-based General Biodiesel, a company that turns used cooking oil into vehicle-grade fuel. The company 's CEO is upset over backpedaling by the federal government on incentives for more use of alternatives.

You could call it power that’s growing on trees, but doesn’t get put to good use.

The US Forest service recently announced $4-million in grants to support projects that convert wood to energy. It's part of a program that's meant to support small businesses that create jobs while encouraging alternatives to fossil fuels.

Photo by Hugo90 / Flickr

Renewable energy is growing on trees in Washington – and right now, much of it is going up in smoke.

That’s the word from Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, who has just released the results of a study on forest biomass.

A large biomass plant proposed for the Yakima area, is winning praise from supporters. But critics say this plant could pollute Eastern Washington’s air.

The 20 megawatt plant would start up in 2013 and use slash piles and other wood debris from the Yakama Indian Reservation as fuel.

It’s a big week for aviation biofuels.

A United flight took off Monday from Houston, for the first time burning jet fuel that was made from algae-based oil. And Alaska Air begins its demonstration flights from Seattle tomorrow (Wednesday, 2 p.m.)  – with fuel made from used cooking oil. 

Derin / Flickr

This month, some Alaska Airlines flights will be flying on used cooking oil as they travel from Seattle to Portland and Washington D.C.

Bejan / Flickr

A new study from Oregon State University says that producing biofuels from forests in the Northwest could increase the region’s carbon emissions.

Nigel Beaumont / Flickr

Producing biofuels as an environmentally-friendly alternative to petroleum-based fossil fuels is a puzzle that has been bedeviling researchers for years.

Now, with $80 million pouring into research at the University of Washington and Washington State University, stakeholders hope to find the key for turning biomass from wood products into fuel for cars and jets.

ABERDEEN, Wash. – A biodiesel plant at Aberdeen is operating 24 hours a day, producing fuel using canola oil from Canada.

The Daily World of Aberdeen reports the 4-year-old Imperium Renewables has recovered from struggles the past couple of years thanks to markets in Oregon and Canada driven by environmental standards.

Washington State University photo

A new industry is emerging in the Pacific Northwest – for development, production and distribution of aviation biofuels.

A consortium called Sustainable Aviation Fuels Northwest has just spent ten months producing an exhaustive study.  They've identified the four-state region of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana as a serious contender in the race to produce environmentally friendly jet fuels.