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  • Hawaii: an Epicenter for Renewable Energy

    Hawaiian culture is steeped in a delicate harmony with nature. The islands boast consistently strong wind densities, great insolation characteristics, enormous reservoirs of geothermal energy, plant life that is perfect for the production of ethanol, and an incredible oceanic wave resource, all of which could be exploited by renewable technologies without damaging the environment. As […] More

  • Biofuels For Transportation: Been There, Done That

    There is a great deal of controversy about the wisdom of diverting a significant percentage of the US corn crop into the production of ethanol to fuel cars.  Something like 25-30% of the crop will probably be used this way in 2011 which sounds alarming in the face of global food supply issues that have […] More

  • Food Prices Rising Fast in U.S., More to Come?

    I wrote last week that we should probably cover the link between food and broader issues a little more here on Eat Drink Better. With a nudge from our site director, Becky Striepe, and network founder/publisher, David Anderson, I’ve decided to cover the complicated but important topic of rising food prices today.

    The LA Times had a decent piece on this topic recently that included a number of interesting food statistics. What of the following did you know? More

  • Rising Global Food Prices – Why You Should Care

    The chart above shows that global food prices, as measured by the FAO indicies, are spiking, much as they did in 2008.  At the end of January,  the overall food price index had just surpassed the 2008/9 peak, while the indicies for dairy, cereals and oils were closing in on the previous maximum.  The meat […] More

  • The Limits and Potential of Plant-Based Energy

    By Lester R. Brown As oil and natural gas reserves are being depleted, the world’s attention is increasingly turning to plant-based energy sources. These include food crops, forest industry byproducts, sugar industry byproducts, plantations of fast-growing trees, crop residues, and urban tree and yard wastes—all of which can be used for electrical generation, heating, or […] More

  • Cars and People Compete for Grain

    By Lester R. Brown At a time when excessive pressures on the earth’s land and water resources are of growing concern, there is a massive new demand emerging for cropland to produce fuel for cars—one that threatens world food security. Although this situation had been developing for a few decades, it was not until Hurricane […] More

  • Rehabilitating Bio-Fuels Part 2: Interesting Second Generation Options

    [social_buttons] My previous post retraced the precipitous decline in the reputation of biofuels that occurred between 2006 and today.  In this post I’m going to talk about just a few of the activities going on for “second generation” biofuels (beyond corn, soy and palm oil, wheat…).  One of the key features of these initiatives is that they […] More

  • Rehabilitating The Concept of Bio-Fuels: Part One

    [social_buttons] In 2006 I attended a BIO meeting in Toronto focused on the new bio-based economy.  Oil had just risen to $70/barrel and it was a time when environmental NGOs, biotech companies and even oil companies seemed to be on the “same page” in terms of their enthusiasm for moving to plant-based feedstocks as the […] More

  • An Interview with Josh Tickell About His New Film, Fuel

    When I first met Josh Tickell a few years ago, he was a blonde-haired, baby-faced, young man driving around the country in a diesel van painted with yellow sunflowers that he was running on used fast food vegetable oil. He called it the Veggie Van and he was an unabashed biofuel evangelist. I asked Josh […] More

  • The Twelve Days of sustainablog: Biofuels, Preachers, and Echinacea

    May Day, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day and even Cinco de Mayo… lots to celebrate in May.  We had lots to celebrate at sustainablog, also… especially a bevvy of new voices who joined us during the month. Those new writers got us over our Spring fever slump, and took sustainablog in some very interesting new directions… […] More

  • Vilsack Named New Agriculture Secretary

    Today the Obama transition team announced the President Elect’s newest addition to his Cabinet: Tom Vilsack will be the Secretary of Agriculture. Selecting the former governor of Iowa, one of the nation’s top agriculture-based economies, seems natural. As the economic crisis has exacerbated the tumult that had already begun plaguing the American farming industry, Vilsack […] More

  • Does India’s New Biofuels Policy Spell Sustainability?

    It’s official, India must work towards the use of biofuels. On September 12th the Indian government announced a new national biofuels policy: By 2017 it will aim to meet 20% of India’s diesel demand with fuel derived from plants rather than fossils.

    But where will it come from? According to the National Council of Applied Economic Research, a Delhi think-tank, it means setting aside 14m hectares of land, for the growth of jatropha, a key biofuels raw material. More

  • Anheuser-Busch Looking to "Close the Loop" in Beer Production, Transportation

    As you might imagine, we hear lots about biofuels here. So, I almost quit reading this story in the Business section of today’s Post-Dispatch after the first few paragraphs, which discusses the local brewing giant’s experiments with growing crops for biofuels on its Fort Collins, Colorado, agricultural site. I stuck with it, though, and found […] More