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EERE Network News -- 04/12/06

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  • EERE Network News by way of Tom Gray
    [] [] A weekly newsletter from the U.S. Department of Energy s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). The
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 12, 2006
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      A weekly newsletter from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). The EERE Network News is also available on the Web at: www.eere.energy.gov/news/enn.cfm

      April 12, 2006

      News and Events

      Energy Connections

      • EIA: Gasoline Prices to be Higher this Summer

      News and Events

      DOE to Offer $52.5 Million for Hydrogen Research

      Photo of a couple and their two young daughters posing in front  

      Honda leased its fuel cell vehicle to this California family last year, but President Bush wants fuel cell vehicles to be an option for all of today's children by the time they are ready to drive.
      Credit: Honda

      Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman announced last week a three-year, $52.5-million solicitation to support basic research in hydrogen storage materials, catalysts, and membranes. The solicitation, to be released later in April, will help overcome the scientific challenges associated with the production, use, and storage of hydrogen. It will also address the challenges identified in the report "Basic Research Needs for the Hydrogen Economy," released by DOE last year. The solicitation supports President Bush's Hydrogen Fuel Initiative, which aims to develop hydrogen fuel cell vehicles that meet consumer requirements by 2015, thereby allowing a mass-market penetration of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by 2020. See the DOE press release, the President's Hydrogen Fuel Initiative, and the DOE report (PDF 7.2 MB). Download Adobe Reader.

      Secretary Bodman made the announcement while speaking to the 2006 World Congress of the Society of Automotive Engineers. During his speech, Secretary Bodman implored all automakers to make vehicles that run on clean burning E85 fuel, a mixture of 85 percent ethanol with 15 percent gasoline. The Secretary announced that DOE will soon solicit proposals for public-private partnerships to make E85 more widely available. Secretary Bodman also expressed his desire to see automakers expand their hybrid-electric vehicle line and noted that DOE is requesting more funding for advanced batteries to allow hybrid vehicles to achieve higher fuel efficiencies and travel farther on all-electric power. See Secretary Bodman's speech on the DOE Web site.

      Toyota Camry Hybrid to Reach Dealer Showrooms in May

      Photo of the Toyota Camry Hybrid.  

      The Toyota Camry Hybrid is 40 percent more fuel efficient than the standard
      four-cylinder Camry.
      Credit: Toyota

      Toyota Motor Sales announced last week that the 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid will be available in May with a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $25,900. That's a premium of about $6,450 over the cost of the four-cylinder 2007 Toyota Camry LE, but the hybrid version has more kick with 187 horsepower, compared to 158 horsepower in the four-cylinder Camry. The Camry's Hybrid Synergy Drive System combines a 40 horsepower motor with a four-cylinder, Atkinson-cycle engine that delivers 147 horsepower to the vehicle's continuously variable transmission. The Camry Hybrid is expected to achieve 40 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 38 mpg on the highway, for a combined fuel economy of 39 mpg, a 40 percent improvement over the standard four-cylinder Camry. Toyota expects the Camry Hybrid to be certified as an Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV), the California Air Resource Board's most stringent emissions classification for fuel-burning vehicles. See the Toyota press release.

      IRS Releases Tax Credit Figures for Ford and Toyota Hybrids

      The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced last week the official dollar amounts for federal tax credits earned with the purchase of Toyota and Ford hybrid vehicles. Anyone who purchased a new 2005 or 2006 Toyota Prius since January 1st may receive a credit of $3,150 on this year's taxes, while smaller credits can be earned by buying the Toyota Highlander Hybrid or the Lexus RX400h. For Ford, the 2006 Escape Hybrid with front wheel drive earns the largest credit, at $2,600, while the four-wheel-drive Escape Hybrid and Mercury Mariner Hybrid earn a credit of only $1,950. The agency has not announced the tax credit figures for Honda, but since the earlier estimates by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) proved accurate for Ford and Toyota, those estimates are probably a reliable guide for Honda. After each automaker sells 60,000 hybrid vehicles, the tax credits will begin to phase out. See the IRS press releases on the Ford and Toyota hybrids, and for Honda, see the ACEEE estimates (PDF 74 KB). Download Adobe Reader.

      Corn Oil Extraction Yields New Benefits for Ethanol Producers

      Several ethanol producers have recently placed orders with Veridium Corporation for the use of a technology that extracts corn oil from distiller's dried grain, an ethanol by-product. The ethanol plants sell the extracted corn oil back to Veridium for additional revenue. Veridium, in turn, sells the corn oil to Mean Green Biofuels, Inc., which is currently selling the corn oil on the open market, but eventually plans to convert the corn oil into biodiesel. Veridium has received five orders for its Corn Oil Extraction Systems, which it installs at no cost in exchange for buying back the corn oil at below-market costs. The company has installed a system at an ethanol plant in North Dakota, and plans to install systems at ethanol plants in Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin later this year.

      Veridium estimates that the five Corn Oil Extraction Systems now under order could produce as much as 9.7 million gallons of corn oil per year, which the company will sell for more than $1 per gallon. According to the company, the distiller's dried grain produced by today's ethanol industry contains roughly 300 million gallons of corn oil, 75 percent of which can be removed by the extraction process. Once extracted, the corn oil can be converted gallon for gallon into biodiesel. The company says the corn oil extraction process also increases ethanol plant efficiencies, since it reduces the energy required for drying the distiller's grain, which is sold as cattle feed. See the Veridium press releases and the description of the technology on the Mean Green BioFuels Web site.

      Biodiesel Distribution Expands via Blending at Fuel Terminals

      Pre-blended biodiesel is becoming more widely available to distributors and retailers of biodiesel, according to the National Biodiesel Board (NBB). Last week, Distribution Drive, a subsidiary of Earth Biofuels Inc., announced that Motiva Enterprises' fuel terminal in Dallas, Texas, is now offering biodiesel at any blend level. To support the fuel terminal, Earth Biofuels opened a biodiesel production facility in Durant, Oklahoma, that will produce 10 million gallons of biodiesel per year. Earth Biofuels sells its biodiesel under the "BioWillie" brand name, named for musician Willie Nelson, who is a member of the company's board of directors. Earth Biofuels recently celebrated the debut of BioWillie B20 at fuel stations in San Diego, California, and Glendale, Mississippi. See the NBB press release and the Earth Biofuels press releases on the terminal, production plant, and biodiesel pumps in California and Mississippi.

      The NBB also noted that fuel terminals in Michigan and New York are now offering pre-blended biodiesel. RKA Petroleum Companies added biodiesel to its fuel terminal in Romulus, Michigan, last month, making it the first fuel terminal in the state to offer pre-blended biodiesel. On March 30th, Sprague Energy opened a facility in Albany, New York, that stores approximately 40,000 gallons of pure biodiesel. The biodiesel is blended with diesel fuel at the facility as distribution fuel trucks are filled, eliminating the cost and inconvenience of making separate stops to obtain biodiesel and petroleum diesel. Sprague Energy's facility will supply pre-blended biodiesel to home heating and biodiesel retailers throughout upstate New York, Vermont, and western Massachusetts. See the Sprague Energy press release.

      DOE Conducts Energy Assessments at Two Paper Mills

      DOE launched industrial Energy Saving Assessments last week at paper mills in Perdue Hill, Alabama, and Wallula, Washington. The Alabama River Newsprint facility manufactures 264,000 metric tons of newsprint each year, using about 70 percent virgin fiber and 30 percent recycled paper. In Washington, the Boise Cascade Wallula Mill produces 375 tons per day of paper pulp, 370 tons per day of corrugated cardboard, and 660 tons per day of fine paper. Through its free energy assessments, DOE is helping major manufacturing facilities to identify energy-saving opportunities, primarily by focusing on steam and process heating systems. For instance, a recent visit to a Caterpillar Inc. manufacturing plant in Peoria, Illinois, focused on the company's proprietary heat treatment process furnaces for its transmissions. See the DOE press releases on the visits to Alabama, Washington, and Illinois.

      DOE's Energy Saving Teams have completed visits to 29 large federal facilities and 44 energy-intensive manufacturing facilities as part of the national "Easy Ways to Save Energy" campaign launched in October 2005. The first 21 industrial Energy Saving Assessments have identified a total of $64 million per year in potential energy cost savings. If implemented, these energy-saving measures could reduce natural gas consumption by more than 8 trillion Btu per year.

      Energy Connections

      EIA: Gasoline Prices to be Higher this Summer

      Retail prices for regular gasoline are projected to be 25 cents higher this summer than they were last year, according to DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA). The EIA's Short Term Energy and Summer Fuels Outlook, released yesterday, projects summer gasoline prices to average $2.62 per gallon. The high gasoline prices will be largely due to continued high prices for crude oil, which is projected to average $65 per barrel this year. Other contributors to the high prices are a strong growth in demand for gasoline coupled with new requirements for low-sulfur gasoline and voluntary efforts by refiners to phase out their use of the additive MTBE. As noted by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), the MTBE phase-out is only expected to contribute a few cents to the overall cost. Retail diesel fuel prices are also expected to average $2.62 per gallon this summer, with high prices partly caused by a requirement to phase in ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel beginning in June. See the EIA report and the RFA press release.

      Retail gasoline prices have been on a steady rise in recent weeks. According to the Fuel Gage Report, a publication of the American Automobile Association, yesterday's prices for regular gasoline averaged $2.686 per gallon in the United States, up more than 32 cents per gallon from a month ago. See the Fuel Gage Report.

      This newsletter is funded by DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) and is also available on the EERE Web site. You can subscribe to the EERE Network News using our simple online form, and you can also update your email address, add a subscription to EERE Progress Alerts, or unsubscribe using our " Change My Subscription" page.

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