Posts Tagged ‘bio-diesel’

Earthrace AKA Ady Gil

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Earthrace Project

Dating back to 2005, the Earthrace was an endurance boat designed by owner Pete Bethune to circumnavigate the world promoting global awareness of renewable fuel and sustainable living.  The 78’ foot vessel featured a wave-piercer hull and was constructed to withstand 50’ waves all in the name of environmental awareness.

Earthrace was a 100% biodiesel vessel and was also 100% carbon neutral.  Bethune’s idea was to promote replenishable fuels like those made with canola oil or soya bean oil; our current world dependence on fossil fuel is expensive, hazardous, and limited in supply.

According to Earthrace, biodiesel fuel offers a number of benefits including:
•    If accidentally spilled, biodiesel with degrade by 95% in just one month
•    Helping to keep jobs local
•    Maintains the same toxicity level as common table salt
•    In comparison with diesel fuel, biodiesel has a higher flashpoint so it’s safer to use overall
•    Is non-hazardous so there are no transportation concerns as with diesel
•    Creates less emissions overall
•    Helps to reduce our foreign oil dependency

The production of biodiesel and biofuel can originate from corn and other vegetable oils (including oil recycled from fast food restaurants) or animal fat known as tallow (from farm animals like cows and chickens); it can also be produced from fish oil, algae, and even seaweed.  

Europe has one of the highest production levels of biodiesel fuel in the world; in 2005, they produced close to one billion gallons.  If the production of ethanol (ethyl alcohol or grain alcohol) was undertaken in the U.S., it’s suggested that for every 100 million gallons of fuel created, it would generate approximately 2,000 jobs within the country.

The Earthrace World Tour took place from 2006 to 2009 where the boat traveled to Canada, the U.S., New Zealand, Europe, the Caribbean, and Australia.  The Earthrace vessel attempted to break the around the world speed boat record in 2007 but didn’t accomplish it’s goal until June 2008 when it became a world record holder sanctioned by the Union International Motonautique (UIM).

During the Earthrace World Tour, Bethune took the opportunity to speak at as many schools as possible in order to encourage environmental awareness.  Earthrace also provides resources for teachers including links to free lesson plans from such notables as Xpeditions at National Geographic and the Global, Environmental, and Outdoor Education Council of Canada (GEOEC).

In late 2009, Earthrace teamed up with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS).  The Earthrace boat was outfitted with additional carbon and Kevlar, was painted all black and was renamed the Ady Gil (after a well-contributing benefactor).

The first mission for the Ady Gil, dubbed the ‘Waltzing Matilda,’ took place in January 2010 when they confronted the Japanese whaling ship, Shonan Maru #2.  A physical confrontation took place which resulted in heavy damage to the Ady Gil which consequently sunk to the bottom of the Antarctic Ocean within a few days time.  Criminal charges were filed again Bethune; a trial followed which resulted in the probation and release of Bethune to his home in New Zealand on July 10, 2010.  The Earthrace Project vows to continue on.

Sources: Photo Credit: Fowey Harbour Cornwall 11-10-2007 14-58-04 by Martin Pettitt


What is Bio-Fuel?

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

In a nutshell, the term bio-fuel refers to an organically based fuel as opposed to a fossil based fuel.  Derived from renewable resources such as plants, animals, or their by-products, bio-fuel can be produced from commonly known substances including corn, vegetable oil, yard and garden waste, and even manure.  Through processing, bio-fuel is an alternative source for producing heat, steam, and power.

What is Bio Fuel?

What is Bio Fuel?

Also known as biomass, bio-fuel can be in the form of a solid, gas, or liquid state.  Examples of solid bio-fuel derivatives include sawdust, wood, agricultural waste, along with charcoal, and non-food crops such as clover, grass, and millet.  Syngas is the gaseous form of bio-fuel, while the most popular forms of liquid bio-fuel are ethanol and biodiesel, Europe’s most commonly used bio-fuel.  

Biodiesel is a clean burning fuel originating from corn, vegetable oils (even recycled waste oil from fast food restaurants), or animal fat (such as that from chickens or cows).  In 2005, Europe produced almost one billion gallons of biodiesel fuel; it is estimated that the production of ethanol within the United States would create approximately 2,000 jobs per every 100 million gallons generated.

Bio-fuels can be divided into three categories:

  1. First generation bio-fuels consisting of those made from starch, sugar, vegetable oil, animal fats; concerns have been raised over the growing of crops for fuel instead of for human consumption
  2. Second generation bio-fuels are those derived from non food crops such as bamboo, hemp, and switchgrass; still under development are biohydrogen and DMF which is derived from cellulose
  3. Third generation bio-fuels are those based on algae fuel, also known as oilgae; an algae crop production is low maintenance, and when compared to a soybean crop of the same size, algae can generate up to 30 times more energy than the crop of soybeans

According to the Energy Future Coalition, the benefits of using of bio-fuel are:

  1. It helps to prevent global warming, as it recycles, not produces, carbon dioxide
  2. reduced omission particulates
  3. in a blended form, bio-fuel can reduce toxic compounds found in gasoline
  4. reduced costs, for example, a crop of native switchgrass is hardy, drought-resistant, and requires less water & care than food crops

A study cited by the Energy Future Coalition states that “by 2050, bio-fuel theoretically could supply 65% of the world’s current energy consumption.”  

In relation to boating, biodiesel is biodegradable, fish friendly and user friendly.  The exhaust fumes emitted are not as strong and the flash point temperature of biodiesel is higher than that of regular diesel.  In the majority of cases, biodiesel can be used instead of regular diesel fuel with no engine modifications.

The cost of bio-diesel is relatively the same as that of petroleum based diesel fuel; during the summer of 2009, bio-diesel prices rose approximately .15¢ over regular diesel but in many countries bio-diesel remains consistently less expensive.

Based in the UK, Biofuel Review is an online publication providing daily international information on the bio-fuel industry.  The website features a ‘book shop’ section where reviews are offered on a variety of books pertaining to field of bio-fuel.

Energy Future Coalition


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