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104: A Green Built, Solar Powered, Biofuels Station

Saturday, April 5th, 2008

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pm104_150.jpgFrom an early start producing biodiesel from used cooking oil in his garage, Ian Hill was instrumental in creating a market for biofuels in the state of Oregon. Now Managing Partner of SeQuential Biofuels in Eugene, he has gone on to build the first retail biofuels station in the state — and it’s not an ordinary fueling station: A solar panel canopy provides 50% of the needed electricity. The convenience store is a passive solar design to help with heating and cooling, and stocks as much locally produced food as possible. Its “living roof”, of mostly native plants, helps cool the building in summer, and slow and filter stormwater runoff. This optimistic enteprenuer says he and his family have found that consuming less can bring greater happiness. [www.sqbiofuels.com]

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79: Alcohol Can Be a Gas, Part 2

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

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pm79_150.jpgPermaculturist David Blume discusses alcohol’s low emissions, and producing alcohol as a biological complex in which wastes become raw materials for other processes. He claims that with one year of the U.S. Defense budget, the entire world could be set up to produce alcohol and permanently replace oil for transportation. He discusses vehicle conversion, and how citizens can undertake alcohol fuel distribution. [www.permaculture.com]

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78: Alcohol Can Be a Gas, Part 1

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

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pm78_150.jpgThe first automobile fuel was alcohol, which could be produced by most farms. Permaculturist David Blume discusses the history, production and properties of alcohol. He notes that plants are more efficient in producing sugars (used for alcohol) than oils (biodiesel). If corn were first fermented, its starch could be used for alcohol and the remainder fed to cattle — far more efficient for food, fuel and land use. [www.permaculture.com]

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70: The Inside Scoop From a Biodiesel Pioneer

Thursday, August 2nd, 2007

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pm70_150.jpgRuss Teall has developed biodiesel production equipment since the industry was in its infancy. He discusses biodiesel’s advantages over petroleum diesel, and the land-for-food vs. fuel issue. His projects involve small scale refineries using multiple oil feedstocks, decentralized production facilities, and oil-rich plants grown on marginal lands. [www.biodieselindustries.com]

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63: Peak Oil, Peak Coal, and Beyond

Saturday, June 9th, 2007

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Peak Moment 63Hot topics from Richard Heinberg: record-high U.S. fuel prices; the ethanol big-business boondoggle; coal projected to peak about a hundred years early (around 2020); what the climate change discussion is missing; and the benefits of “going local.” [www.richardheinberg.com]

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