Tagged With biodiesel

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Get ready for the most delicious way to travel: Amtrak will soon run its Heartland Flyer rail line on beef byproduct biodiesel. Just like me, this train will run slowly and inefficiently on burgers.

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Forget electric cars - let's start pumping our money into coffee technology. Apparently scientists in Nevada have discovered that ground coffee contains roughly the same amount of oil as other biofuels. What's more, it has those kinds of levels even after its been used to make that sweet cup of java that gets you going in the morning. Plus, as an added bonus, the resulting biodiesel actually smells like coffee, meaning rather than noxious petrol fumes, streets will smell like a freshly brewed pot of liquid caffeine. I don't know about you guys, but that's the world I want to be living in.

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Environmentalists who say we shouldn't cut down the rainforest as it harbours potentially useful lifeforms are finally right: there's an amazing fungus that can produce biodiesel better than any current methods. Gliocladium roseum was found in the Patagonian rainforest, as a by-product of antibiotics experiments. The scientists were amazed that the fungus was putting out a mist of hydrocarbons and hydrocarbon derivatives. "This is the only organism that has ever been shown to produce such an important combination of fuel substances," according to one professor, who added that G.roseum can even make fuels from cellulose. With a little genetic tweaking, the team think it's possible the fungus could become an important green fuel source.

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This past weekend, a NASA-sanctioned 400-mile (643km) "personal air vehicle" race was held in Santa Rosa, CA, to see who had created the quietest, most fuel-efficient plane that's still reasonably fast. Those involved hope pushing these ideas forward will make personal airplanes cost effective someday. These PAVs run as quiet as a pickup truck while averaging a fuel efficiency of 25 to 30 miles per gallon (10-13 km per litre). Four planes showed up for the challenge and US$100,000 in prize money was awarded, though the most intriguing craft of them all, a modded DA-20 that runs partially on biodiesel, was unable to compete because of a faulty sensor. In the end, the big winner was the Pipistrel Virus, a two-seater with tech-happy features such as three GPS modules, terrain visualization screen and a rocket-propelled parachute that deploys in the event of a mid-air collision. Here's a look at all four contenders:

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Have you been buying carbon offsets for your air travel yet? Well done to that one person up the back. We all know flight is not very friendly to the environment, but living down under makes it a necessary evil to go ANYWHERE else (unless you have a few months to kick back on the QE2?)

Last week Green Flight International and Biodiesel Solutions used their powers combined to launch the first ever 100% biodiesel jet flight. Tests were conducted up to 17,000 feet in a Czech-made aircraft that has been rated to run on various fuels, including heating oil. After a few tests on a cocktail of biodiesel and conventional jet fuel, they were happy to go for broke and showed the world you can fly a plane and leave the sweet smell of hot chips in your wake.

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This is Die Bike, a biodiesel motorcycle that has been built from a car engine and a bike body by an Oakland collective called The Crucible. A recent test-drive got the eco-bike up to 130 mph, but its creators are hoping that, with a bit of modification, their baby will hit 160 mph on the Bonneville Flats next month and break some records in the process.

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Etruk has devised a method to produce biodiesel within the comfort of your own home, using their Home Biodiesel Processing Plant. The unit utilises biological sources such as vegetable oil to produce the sustainable energy source. The benefits of making biodiesel at home primarily lie in the sustainability of the fuel source and the monetary savings it confers.