The first filling station in Raleigh selling E85 had its grand opening on 16 November. The Crown Express Mart is at 1210 New Berne Avenue and also sells B20 biodiesel.
A complete map of biofuels filling stations in North Carolina is on the Find Fuel part of this site and you can even get directions.
The dispensing pumps at the Crown Express Mart also have a North Carolina connection. They were made in Greensboro by Gilbarco Veeder-Root, which is one of the largest manufacturers of blender pumps and pumps for E85. Although the pumps are currently set up to sell E85, which is a blend of gasoline and up to 85% ethanol, they will allow instant blending, so the owner of the filling station can sell E50, E40, E20 or any other ethanol- to-gasoline mix that the marketplace dictates is viable. Steve Walk, the Executive Director of Protec Fuel, which installed the blender pumps, says that he believes in the next year or so, an E-15 mix will become a popular seller. E15 will usually cost less per gallon than pure gasoline and can be used in any modern gasoline engine. He said he believed the market for E15 would pick up substantially in 2012, especially if the price of oil continued to rise.
Some motorists weren't sure if their cars could handle E85 or if they were driving a flex-fuel vehicle. There are currently about 40 models of cars that can handle higher ethanol blends. The easiest way to tell is to look for badging on the rear of your vehicle, or visit the NC Biofuels flex-fuel vehicle list.
It is an exciting day for Kathy Proctor, North Carolina resident and Forsyth Tech student. She left this morning for Washington, D.C. to represent the hopes of future workers in the new advanced biofuels industry sector. After President Obama's recent tour of Forsyth Tech in North Carolina, Kathy was one of 20 U.S. citizens invited by the First Lady to attend the State Of The Union Address this evening.
"What a great honor it is to represent the people who have lost their jobs. We need to retrain and get back into the workforce," Proctor said. She knows first-hand how important training and education can be to one's employment prospects.
Seeing jobs disappear year after year in the furniture industry in which she had worked for years, Kathy worried her job was at risk and went back to school to train for a career in a new field. She was, as she feared, laid off soon after in 2009.
Kathy Proctor represents many N.C. residents who are shifting careers due to economic changes in our state. As traditional manufacturing jobs are disappearing, people are looking for education and opportunity in North Carolina's fast-emerging industries such as the biofuels industry.
Steven Burke, resident and CEO of the Biofuels Center of North Carolina, says, "Kathy Proctor’s excitement about new jobs and new opportunities exactly matches that of the entire state. For both, North Carolina’s commitment to large biofuels capacity merges personal, economic, strategic, and agricultural gain. A state seldom has the opportunity to create a new industry sector that fits so well with its resources, can yield financial benefit both individually and statewide, and so clearly compels its citizens."
The biofuels industry is growing strong in North Carolina, and area colleges are developing new courses to help prepare students to join a new workforce. Forsyth Tech, one of North Carolina's 58 community colleges, now offers a wide range of programs in biotechnology and transportation technology fields. Forsyth Tech is housed in nine locations throughout Forsyth and Stokes counties, and is in the process of building a new center in Stokes County to further expand its Transportation technology programs.
Kathy will graduate this year from Forsyth Tech with an associate's degree in science and hopes to work as a biofuels technician. As advanced biofuels such as biogasoline, Fischer-Tropsch diesel, jet fuels, and others, the need for trained industry technicians like Kathy will increase substantially.
** Image Credit: photo by Lisa O'Donnell, Winston Salem Journal
If economists are to be believed, the economic recovery should mean we can all begin breathing a little easier. It should result in more people with jobs and our everyday purchases becoming easier to afford. But while world economic recovery is great news, it comes with an unwelcome surprise when it comes to buying gasoline in the U.S.
According to a U.S. Department of Energy report by Wood MacKenzie, world oil demand reached an all-time quarterly high in the third quarter of 2010. Times may be tight for the average family in the U.S., but business is booming again overseas, particularly in manufacturing and other industrial sectors, and the demand for oil to produce and transport manufactured goods is booming, too.
What does this mean to you? Expect the cost of the gas you fill your tank with to go up.
The gasoline at your local station and thousands of industrial products are made from oil. With demand going up and because oil is a finite resource, the U.S. will increasingly have to compete on the open market with the billions of people in developing economies who are switching from bicycles to cars. And that massive growth will mean your gas will cost more per gallon.
When I was in college, the cost of a gallon of gas was under a dollar. If you had told me that just 10 or so years later, it would be nearly $4.00 a gallon, I wouldn't have believed it. Think about that: In the last 10 years, the cost of gas has at least tripled. If you think gas prices are hard to afford now, do the math: If the rising cost of gas remains consistent, 10 years from now gas could be $11.00 or $12.00 a gallon. I'm hoping that this won't be the case, but the laws of supply and demand show the trends heading upward--the more you use, the more it will cost.
So, if we demand less, will that make the cost of fuel go down?
Drastic changes in fuel consumption could help, but conserving the amount of fuel we consume in order to decrease demand is not as easy as it sounds. We rely on fuel for just about everything: Many of us work far from our homes and don't have access to public transport to be able to get to work to earn a paycheck. Road trips and other fun family activities have traditionally relied on gasoline. Even our food is planted, harvested, and transported to processing facilities or our local market using fuel. Think about your average week: Is there an average week in which you don't use fuel or support fuel usage in some way or another? Probably not. Switching to a more fuel efficient vehicle or a hybrid can have an impact, but not everyone can afford a new car.
Is there anything we can do about rising gas prices?
Yes. The answer may lie not in creating less demand for fuel, but simply demanding something better: U.S. citizens need better fuel options. We want to maintain the American lifestyle we are used to, but we want to fuel it with something that is better for the environment, something that is affordable, and ideally, something that creates jobs at home and puts money back into local communities. In North Carolina, we have a goal of replacing at least 10 percent of the fuel that is imported into the state with locally grown and produced biofuels. The Biofuels Center of North Carolina has calculated that if biomass were treated as a strategic resource, the state could profitably produce more than the 600 million gallons a year it needs to reach that 10 percent goal--and help keep the price at the pump lower in the process. And the nice thing is that when you fill up, you'll be putting money directly back into the North Carolina economy, rather than sending it overseas.
Photo credit: Photo was taken in New Hill, NC by Donald Lee Pardue on Flickr.
Advanced biofuels, or biofuels that are more like gasoline and can use existing fuel infrastructure on a commercial scale, appear to be closer than previously thought. According to Jim Lane, from Biofuels Digest, commercialized advanced biofuels could be available commercially in 1-3 years...an improvement over the previously predicted 5 year timetable.
"Progress in advance biofuels has been slow for the past two years. But industry leaders reported a quickening pace towards commercialization last week in San Francisco at Advanced Bioenergy Markets, one of the last major gatherings of industry CEOs before the close of the year. In contrast to the “five years away” and subsidy-driven discussions that framed advanced biofuels conversations just two years ago, CEOs are widely reporting that they expect their companies to reach commercial scale within 12-36 months, with costs in the $0.75 to $2.50 per gallon range."
Image credit: Jurveston on Flickr
**from Biodiesel Magazine**
The U.S. EPA has released final 2011 volume requirements for the renewable fuel standard, RFS2. While the agency reduced the volume requirement for cellulosic biofuel due to low production estimates, the standard for advanced biofuel has been maintained at the statuary level of 1.35 billion gallons. According to the EPA, the standard for advanced biofuel is able to be maintained because the agency believes that production of other advanced biofuels, such as biodiesel, renewable diesel, and sugarcane ethanol, will be sufficient to fill the gap caused by the disconnect between the statuary requirements for cellulosic biofuel and the actual volume of the fuel that is expected to be produced.
The 2011 volume percentages for RFS2’s four nested pools are:
- Cellulosic biofuel—6.6 million gallons (6.0 million gallons of ethanol equivalent volume)
- Biomass-based diesel—0.80 billion gallons (1.20 billion gallons of ethanol equivalent volume)
- Advanced biofuel—1.35 billion gallons (1.35 billion gallons of ethanol equivalent volume)
- Renewable fuel—13.95 billion gallons (13.95 billion gallons of ethanol equivalent volume)
These volumes represent the minimum amount of renewable fuels that must be consumed in the U.S. during 2011. According to the EPA, volumes of cellulosic biofuel or biomass-based diesel consumed above and beyond these requirements will count towards the advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel volume requirements. Together, the four categorical standards ensure that approximately 8 percent of all fuel used within the U.S. next year will be renewable. Read More >