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5 Ways To Go Green At Home

In the past 5 years or so, the need to “go green” has been emphasized to great effect in much of the world. Environmental efforts once seen as tedious and unnecessary are now recognized as vitally important, and this has led to greater consideration of energy and resource efficiency. While we still have a long way to go in terms of large-scale efforts to improve and preserve the Earth’s environment, there are more and more ways each year to do your part in your own home. So with that in mind, here are 5 tips for going green at home.

1. Use A Smart Thermostat

Really, there’s only one noteworthy “smart” thermostat on the market, but it seems safe to assume more will follow. The Nest thermostat exists not only to improve your home comfort, but to heat and cool your home in the most energy-efficient way possible. The thermostat learns your preferences and habits, and automates itself to accommodate those preferences without wasting time heating and cooling the home when not necessary.

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Can I make my own biodiesel at home and is it safe?

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With UK fuel prices surging towards the £1.50 mark, interest in biofuel and namely biodiesel has increased vastly. Producing and running your car on your own fuel does sound like a very romantic and thrifty idea but there a few points that you should consider before taking the plunge into the world of biodiesel.

Will using biofuel damage my car?
One of the biggest differences between biodiesel and forecourt diesel is the fuel’s viscosity (thickness). Most modern diesel engines are equipped with fuel pumps that are not designed to deal with the “thicker” biodiesel. Using blends above b5 (5% biodiesel) could result in failure of the fuel pump in a very short period. Biodiesel also has a higher water content than conventional diesel so its recommended that the engine oil and filters should be changed more frequently to avoid corrosion.

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Posted in Biofuel Home Production, News

Why are you paying more for Hybrid Car Insurance?

Hybrid cars might cost you much less in fuel but have you ever wondered why the typical hybrid costs more to insure than policies for conventionally powered cars?

It’s easy to put this cost down to the higher ticket price of the car but there are more factors that you might not have considered. Unfortunately, these are very much out of your control.

Most people buy hybrids to save on fuel, meaning they may well drive many more miles than the usual motorists. More miles equals an increased the risk of being in an accident, obviously more risk means higher premiums.

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Electric cars could cost the UK government £24 billion a year

According to research by a major UK comparison website, electric cars could cost the UK government a staggering £24 billion in lost revenue if we all opted for battery powered transportation.

The electric car market performed very well in 2012 with sales nearly doubling in the first nine months of the year. The growth has been attributed by a number of factors including the increase in electrically powered marques on offer and the continuation of the UK Government’s electric car grant scheme. The scheme for qualifying cars allows buyers to enjoy a £5000 grant from the government towards the purchase price of the vehicle  The scheme was introduced in January 2011 and according to government sources, 3,021 claims have been made through the Plug-in Car Grant scheme up to the end of 2012.

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[Sponsored Video] Shell Presents Lets Go. Putting the “Mix” into energy

Most people will know Shell as the forecourt of choice for refilling your car, but you might be surprised to know that Shell are putting just as much effort into providing alternative and renewal energy as they do to make sure your car stays fueled.

Shell’s “Lets Go” campaign is a new initiative to support and promote the production of cleaner energy. They have committed to spend 100 billion dollars  by 2014 for  new energy production and development across many sectors.

Amongst other things, Shell have invested in Reizen who produce over 500 million gallons of sugar cane bio-ethanol each year. According to Shell, fuel produced from sugar can slash a massive 70% from the total carbon footprint compared to gasoline.

Most new cars today are ready to support the next generation of biofuels blends such as B5 biodiesel. Under the EU’s renewable energy directive, 10% of transport fuel must come from renewable sources such as biofuel by 2020. The UK has its own target for the use of biofuel with legislation requiring 5% of transport fuel to come from renewable sources by 2013.

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US commits $62 million in biofuel research grants

The US Department of Agriculture and Energy Department have announced funding totaling £62 million as they try and boost the impact of alternative fuels, namely biofuel.

With the US in deep financial trouble, the government has been keen to keep on top its energy security and domestic supply. They have also been moving forward with advancements in biofuel usage for its armed forces, looking to develop biofuels that are able to support current engine and vehicle platforms that are already in service.

In an interview, US Energy Secretary Stephen Chu said the goal of the research investment grants is to continue to drive technological breakthroughs and additional cost reductions in the industry while reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil and supporting American industries and American jobs. He went on to say, “By pursuing new processes and technologies for producing next-generation biofuels, we are working to accelerate innovation in a critical and growing sector that will help to improve U.S. energy security and protect our air and water.”

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Posted in Bioethanol, Biofuel for Military, Biofuel for Transport, News

Australian drivers get free E-10 fuel to help dispel myths of biofuel

A fuel retailer in New South Wales, Australia was giving drivers free E-10 (10% bio-ethanol fuel) yesterday as tried to reverse the reluctance many motorists have with using the alternative fuels.

Australian law dictates that fuel retailer must ensure 6 per cent of all petrol sales are ethanol, however motorists have been heading straight for the the regular or premium unleaded pump instead. This has left many fuel retailers at risk of missing their biofuels sales target.

The service station filled about 700 cars during the hour-long promotion, with a one kilometer queue of motorists waiting for their free fill up.

Acting Premier Andrew Stoner praised the use of E10, stating that it was a cheaper alternative for cash strapped motorists and was better for the environment, “When you think about V8 Supercars using 100 per cent ethanol, I think that serves as a vote of confidence for the product,” he said.

Many motorists are still very skeptical with using ethanol with some motoring organisations claiming that its may cause damage to engines and fuel systems if used too frequently. The Australian Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries website helps drivers of both cars and motorbikes identify which vehicles are suitable for fuels that contain ethanol, fuel retailers openly advertise this to help re-assure drivers.

Many thrill seeking motorcycles state that the drop in performance that E-10 provides is more than enough of a reason to choose regular unleaded. E-10 has a lower octane than normal fuel, causing engines to develop less power.

If you choose to install a kit that enables your car or motorbike to run on bioethanol it’s wise to let your insurance company know. The last think you want its a cancelled policy after claiming on you bennetts bike insurance after dropping your pride and joy.

Using E-10 in small motorbikes or marine equipment that used two stroke engines is not recommended however you should always check with your manufacture.

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Posted in Bioethanol, Biofuel for Transport, News

San Francisco’s Christmas trees to become biofuel

San Francisco will host it’s 25th annual “Treecycling” program which turns the unwanted decorative trees into biofuel.

The trees will be collected from residents in January in an effort to divert the fir trees from Bay Area landfills. They will be collected curbside, chipped and sold in to energy-generating facilities in Tracy and Woodland to be used as biomass, said Bob Besso, Recology’s waste reduction and recycling manager.

Over  514 tons of Christmas tree “fuel” was collected last year in San Francisco and hope to top that figure this new year.

Using the tree’s as a solid fuel is seen to be much more environmentally friendly than disposing to landfill. The rotting down of the trees releases methane gases which are more harmful than the burning of the biomas. Read more ›

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Savings available through biofuel vehicle ownership

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Savings available through biofuel vehicle ownership

We are all more than aware that fuel prices are starting to become untenable. A recently survey conducted by MoneySupermarket.com revealed that nearly one million motorists are now prepared to give up driving altogether due to rising fuel prices.

The problems with electric

Major car manufacturers such as Nissan have been quick to develop vehicles which do not rely on fossil fuels. It currently costs the average motorist about £1,870 per year in fuel costs alone to run a normal fossil fuel vehicle such as a Ford Focus. In comparison, it is believed that it would only cost £350 per year to charge up Nissan’s new all electric Leaf model using mains electricity in order to complete the same distance.

However, one of the major problems with such vehicles is the high initial purchase costs which are beyond the reach of the average motorists. The Nissan Leaf costs over £12,000 more to buy from new than a Ford Focus; an additional expenditure which would take almost 8 years to recoup in fuel costs alone before overall savings began to be experienced.

In addition to this they are also very impractical; with Nissan new electric Leaf model only capable of completing 100 miles between charges; with recharges taking multiple hours to complete. This problem is compounded by the lack of recharging stations which are currently in place throughout the country.

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Posted in Biodiesel, Bioethanol, Biofuel for Transport, News

Agave could pave the way for new biofuel crops

Agave plantations could pave the way for bofuel crops

A recent study has found that abandoned agave plantations in Mexico and Africa could be reclaimed for biofuel crops. The research suggests that the plants used to distil tequila could be used as an alternative crop source that does not compete for land used by food crops.

The found that agave derived ethanol could produce good crop yields on hot, arid land and with relatively little environmental impact. The agave plant consists of large rosettes of fleshy leaves, it produces high levels of sugar, ideal for converting to alcohol for use as a fuel.

Much of the biofuel crops of the US is produced using corn which has been blamed to record corn grain prices.

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Posted in Bioethanol Production, Biofuel Production, News

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