Monday, July 26, 2010

Will Algae Become the Next Best Thing in Biofuel?

Cellulosic and algae biofuels are being embraced in the U.S. as corn ethanol undergoes increased pressure once again. Sugarcane ethanol is what's being used in high volumes in Brazil, but it's not being seriously considered in this country. Algae biofuel seems to have the most possibility for long-term benefits, but it's still out there in its early stages as an industry. Companies like OriginOil are making strides forward in research and developing new technology to make this happen.

There are concerns about the cost and environmental impact of algae biofuel causing unanticipated menace. As ClimateWire said on July 22: "If the best oil-producing algae crop doesn't comes from strains occurring from nature, the algae may need to be genetically modified to enhance their fuel-producing potential. But if researchers choose to modify them, they will have genomes dotted with genes from foreign species, and it might be difficult to keep the new strains from escaping from open ponds into other ecosystems."

More will be revealed. It's an important fuel to follow.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Plug-in 2010 Questions

I’ll be flying into San Jose on Monday afternoon to attend Plug-in 2010. As I prepare, questions come up that I need to be asking and researching while I’m there….

For plug-in hybrid and pure electric vehicles to make their way to mass market, the home and public charging station reality must be faced. Who’s going to make this expand? How much money, time, and talent are utilities willing to invest? OEMs? Government agencies? Will technology suppliers like Better Place and Coulomb Technologies create the foundation for this to succeed?

What kinks and roadblocks still need to be worked out with plug-ins for them to gain acceptance – acquisition and home charging station costs, range anxiety, battery life, safety and dependability…?

What is the reality with batteries – how long will they be lasting and what will it cost for the owner to bring in a new one? How will these be disposed of in a way that respects environmental responsibility and safety?

So we’ve got the Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf, Coda sedan, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Think City, Tesla Roadster, Fisker Karma, ZAP Xebra, and other models to test drive and follow. This is said to be a big year for plug-ins – what’s the buzz behind it? Who’s winning the race?

Hope to see you all soon. And read your comments and questions about all of this.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Welcome to ADW Green's Blog
Green Machine Digest is Automotive Digest Weekly's blog. It's happening at a time when we’ve just made some changes to ADW Green that have been talked about since attending recent industry events, getting reader feedback, and putting out the newsletter for three quarters of a year. More than once, we've received feedback on the importance of starting up a blog for opinions, perspectives, debates, etc. - to get a real sense of what's on people's minds about green vehicles, fuels, and the electric vehicle infrastructure. It's amazing, sometimes stunning, how much is happening domestically and globally.

Here’s a quick summary of what you can find starting now in ADW Green: Get Reel has been changed to Video News & Views. This title was changed over first in Dealer Digest Daily, and viewers loved finding out it was actually good video to watch. And new sections are titled OEMs & Green Suppliers; Plug-in, Hybrid & Fuel Cell Vehicles; Alternative Fuels & Vehicles (covering natural gas, propane, and biofuels); Green Resources & Sources now covers reports, whitepapers, and association news.

As for Green Machine Digest, the floor is open for visions and viewpoints, and this could go into ancillary topics whether that be vehicle safety, telematics, global politics, renewable energy, etc. You'll see guest commentators and much of it will come from ADW Green editor Jon LeSage. Your viewpoints and feedback are more than welcomed.