‘Renewable Super Premium’ Offers Boost to Biofuel Producers, Auto Industry
(25 x ’25) A group of DOE National Laboratory representatives have been in Washington this week making presentations to promote the benefits of what they call “Renewable Super Premium” (RSP) fuels. The researchers have found that ethanol fuel blends of between 25 and 40 percent not only enable high octane fuels, but offer real gains (5-10 percent) in vehicle efficiency and significant reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The presenters are experts that have teamed up to conduct a “scoping study” designed to address barriers to implementing RSP fuels, quantify their benefits and determine if additional research and development is warranted. In a meeting yesterday with the Energy Future Coalition Steering Committee, the researchers from the Argonne and Oak Ridge National Laboratories and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory say that based on findings to date, ethanol is a significant enabler for high octane fuels and RSP fuels can enable improved fuel economy in dedicated vehicles and significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
The discussion of an RSP is appropriate, given the challenges facing the transportation industry and cited by the researchers. A federal Renewable Fuel Standard calls for 36 billion gallons of clean-burning alternative fuels (including more than 20 billion gallons of cellulosic and other second-generation fuels) to be blended into the nation’s transportation fuel supply by 2022. And by 2025, the federally-set Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) standard will be 54.5 miles per gallon fleet-wide. Furthermore, EPA Tier 3 regulations are requiring huge reductions in GHG emissions.
The efficiency gains of high-octane midlevel ethanol blends have been demonstrated in research studies at Oak Ridge, as well as at Ford Motor Co. and other testing sites. Those tests show 20 to 40-percent ethanol blends likely offer the optimum benefits of higher octane efficiency, helping offset ethanol’s lower energy density when compared to gasoline.
Addressing the question of whether retail infrastructure is a “showstopper” ” to RSP fuels, the research team, which says about 20 percent of stations have to carry new fuel for it to be considered “widely available,” determined costs to upgrade stations for blends of E25 and higher, and identified compatible equipment by manufacturer and model. The found that technically E25 and higher blends are possible, though marketwise, E25 is less costly and more acceptable to retailers, given that most materials used are compatible. The team concedes that an issue of stations not being required to keep equipment records presents a challenge for determining compatibility. But the scientists insist that the infrastructure barrier as suggested by some is overstated.
RSP fuel would be immediately usable in the 17-18 million flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) currently on the road. READ MORE and MORE (2013) / MORE (2014) (Department of Energy Presentations) includes PDF / PDF
CALL FOR SPEAKERS: The Australian Bioenergy and Bioproducts Symposium (TABBS): Realising the Bioeconomy – It’s Hot in the Tropics! — October 12, 2015 — Brisbane, Australia DEADLINE: open
TABBS provides an excellent platform to ensure that the Bioeconomy is recognised as a key opportunity on economic development. Approximately 40% of the world’s population live in the Tropics; and globally, we are experiencing increasing demand for solutions that provide environmentally sustainable and healthy living conditions. How will we feed and fuel the world as the population rises and resources decrease?
In Queensland, and throughout the Tropics, businesses and research organisations have developed specialist skills and expertise to leverage the opportunities for Bioenergy and Bioproducts that the Tropics offer. Companies, investors, researchers, and policy makers must work to realise the full potential of the Tropical Bioeconomy, along with the opportunities and threats we are posed with, in order to sustainably develop and transition innovations from research to market and address global issues in an environmental, social and economical context.
Just as the Federal Government is developing a Northern Australia Strategy, TABBS 2015 will bring together key international industry stakeholders to explore the Bioeoncomy in the Tropics – Bioenergy and Bioproducts markets, trends, products and innovations on a global scale. TABBS 2015 will further investigate issues and opportunities around supply and demand, sustainability and industry regulation.
By capitalising on our strong research capabilities and opportunities of the Tropical Bioeconomy, we are well placed to address issues such as energy independence, food security, better health outcomes and environmental processes – all of which need to be kept in balance to reach a sustainable and prosperous social and economic future.
LSQ believes that strong partnerships are vital to achieve this once unimaginable future, where the private sector with the innovation and capital – and the public sector with consistent policy support work together as one. READ MORE