Future fuel

first_imgBy K.C. DasUniversity of Georgia Targeted GHG reductions can unintentionally eliminate some promising technologies that are lagging behind because of late starts, such as algae-based biofuels. Anaerobic digestion, a well-developed technology, is not considered because the energy output (methane gas) isn’t a liquid transportation fuel at room temperature. A similar process called landfill bioreactor produces methane biogas which can be converted to compressed natural gas. Its GHG emissions are 17 percent less than its fossil-based equivalent. Anaerobic digestion can create jobs and produce net income to farms and small biofuels producers. UGA researchers are developing a system that combines anaerobic digestion with algae production. Current regulatory policies don’t readily support developing such integrated solutions in early development. More pilot-scale testing could help move them to the marketplace faster. Federal agencies seem focused on large-scale demonstrations before pilot-scale research is completed.Welcomed policy changeCarbon sequestration is a welcomed change in national policy. Current regulatory emphasis favors carbon capture and storage through geological storage of compressed CO2. Although potentially a reliable technique, this approach favors larger-scale sequestration.One example of a smaller-scale method is using biochar, a byproduct of pyrolysis, a high-temperature breakdown of cellulosic materials that produces a liquid hydrocarbon, which could be converted to green diesel or other liquid fuels. Biochar has high carbon content and stays in the soil for decades, increasing agricultural productivity and sequestering carbon for a long time. However, the regulatory framework doesn’t favor developing this technology.There is great promise for biofuels to augment our energy supply. New ideas, technologies and discoveries are emerging from universities and research centers daily. Development and use of these discoveries could be faster if regulatory framework would support deeper exploration into novel crops that don’t pit fuel against food. Encourage innovationWe need policies to encourage processes and technologies that create jobs and income for farms and small businesses. We need support that allows us to investigate diverse feedstocks and low-cost, efficient production methods that protect and enhance the environment. If we are to reach 36 billion gallons of biofuels in our transportation fuel mix by 2022 while reducing GHG emissions, all avenues of exploration must be open and barriers to development removed. (K.C. Das is director of the Biorefining and Carbon Cycling Program with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Faculty of Engineering. This editorial was presented as testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Small Business’ subcommittee on regulations and healthcare.) The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 charges the U.S. to add 36 billion gallons of biofuels to the country’s transportation fuel mix by 2022. Continued investment in research, development and deployment are required to achieve this goal.Recent scientific studies warn that increasing land use for producing biomass for biofuels would increase greenhouse gas, or GHG, emissions compared to gasoline. Some may disagree with these studies. However, they do show the weakness in expanding a crop-based fuel system without planning for sustainability.If we continue to try to produce more biomass from the current spectrum of crop choices, GHG emission restrictions could put small biofuel producers and family farms at a disadvantage. Reduced emissions require crops that are easier to grow; require less money to plant, harvest and water; and are easier to process. Needed production improvementsCorn ethanol production in the U.S. consumes a quarter of the country’s corn crop. Increasing ethanol production to the targeted 15 billion gallons a year by 2022 will double the corn required. That increase will impact land and water needs and create environmental concerns. We need to improve the productivity of corn and other biofuels crops and incorporate improvements into the production process. Producing lignocellulosic ethanol or other advanced biofuels, or green diesel, is a challenge. Technology development in this field has advanced, but most U.S. facilities are still in the early-demonstration phase. Using existing forestry and agriculture residues for biofuels would have minimal environmental impact while creating opportunity for small businesses and farms.Forestry and agriculture generate significant biomass. According to the Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, forestlands can produce 368 million dry tons of biomass annually. Current legislative definitions make renewable forest biomass off-limits to biofuels companies. Definitions must be changed, while maintaining the resources’ sustainability.Data from the UGA Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources suggests collecting residues and producing chips for biofuel production costs $11 to $12 per ton delivered to mills. Food v. fuelIt’s crucial that we have a diverse source of biomass that doesn’t compete with food supplies. Diversity allows different geographical regions to focus on crops best suited to local conditions. Current federal funding often favors specific feedstocks, hampering development and transfer technology for novel crops. Many novel crops are being explored. For example, a recent UGA study looked at using a multi-benefit winter cover crop, oil seed radish, for its biofuels potential. UGA scientists led a global team in sequencing the sorghum genome and are now working toward understanding how we can use the information to produce biofuels at lower costs in poor soils. Targets eliminate possibilitieslast_img read more

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Duerig verbals to Syracuse with ambitions to contribute right away

first_imgAndrejas Duerig’s dream school was not Syracuse. He didn’t see himself playing for the Orange in “a million years.”But when his National Collegiate Scouting Association recruiting profile matched him up with a bunch of potential schools, Syracuse was the only one that came back as a 100-percent match. Soon after that, SU offered him a spot in the Class of 2015. “I was like, there’s got to be something that God’s telling us here,” Duerig said, “that this is the school I need to go to.” Duerig committed to Syracuse on June 17 while he was on campus during his official visit. A versatile offensive guard that is transferring to Mount Carmel (Ill.) High School for his senior season, Duerig can also play tight end, as well as other positions on the offensive line. But one of the primary things that drew him to the Orange, though, was the possibility of starting at center right away. AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I like making a mark,” Duerig said. “Where I can make a mark most is where I play. And if I can come into a program and give my heart and do my best and start for four years…I think that’d be fantastic.” His versatility will likely land him more offers from big-time programs in the coming weeks and months, but Duerig insists that he remains steadfast in his decision to play for Syracuse. He’s changed his cellphone number, and he’s having his mom monitor his Twitter and Facebook accounts to shoo off other college coaches. “When he sees something and he wants it, he just does it,” said Shane Tucker, Duerig’s former coach. “That’s him. He doesn’t want to mess around.” Duerig knows that he can have a chance to have an immediate effect on the Syracuse offense in a multitude of ways. In middle school, he was forced to learn how to play many different positions, many of which he still plays in high school. Now he’s a 6-foot-4, 272-pound rising senior, but it was in those formative years that Duerig developed a feel for the game. Tucker said that from the moment Duerig started playing football he was a “mountain man”— and a strong lineman unlike some of the other, “softer” players on his seventh-grade team.Tucker, whose son also plays for Mount Carmel, now serves as a mentor figure to Duerig and said the lineman will leave a positive mark on the Syracuse program. But before he gets to SU, he still has one high school season to play. This summer, he’s been working out with MC assistant coach Joe Kubik as he prepares to play his first season with a top-flight high school football program. Immediately, Kubik said, he understood why Duerig has become such a highly recruited player. “He’s been a great worker,” Kubik said. “He’s been a great leader. He’s been a great team-first guy. We expect great things out of him.” Mount Carmel is Duerig’s focus right now, but it’s just a stop for him. Syracuse is the long-term future for Duerig, and one he admittedly didn’t believe in for quite a while. But once he visited Syracuse, and came to understand what he could potentially mean to the program, it was no longer an unknown decision. It was an obvious one. “When I did take that visit,” Duerig said. “…It just all built together to make the easy decision. It’s kind of funny how things work out.”  Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on July 17, 2014 at 12:08 am Contact Sam: [email protected] | @SamBlum3last_img read more

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