English 302 Research Grant Proposal [The Future of Biodiesel in the U.S.] Mohammed Hamideddin Professor: Prof. Nichols 11/03/2008 Introduction Did you know the U.S. has 5% of world population yet it consumes more than 25% of the world’s energy? On February 2006, President Bush stated that the U.S. must utilize technology such as hybrids to reduce foreign oil dependency. What Bush failed to understand, is that the power source used when charging a hybrid is coal. The amount of oil needed to mine coals and ship it to plant to be burned is extremely high yet people don’t realize that. Do we want to encourage the use of more oil to supply the coal power? It is clear that the answer from you is no. Therefore, we must look into a cleaner, greener, cost- effective solution that will solve our problem of foreign oil dependency. The key to this problem is simply the use of biodiesel. Did you know biodiesel has the highest lifecycle energy return than any existing fuel? Although plug-in hybrid vehicles are a good choice, a diesel-hybrid powered by biodiesel is definitely the best choice. Not only will it reduce foreign oil dependency, but improve our economy, and make our environment clean. The U.S had plans to make biodiesel out of soybeans from 1998. Ten years later, we remain to use nonrenewable resource that not only harm our environment but harm our economy with the dependence of foreign oil. Nowadays, concerns about the potential of global climate have been increasing. In addition, declining air, human health concerns, and water quality are encouraging the development of biodiesel. This issue should be prioritized over many other important issues. Senator Barack Obama stated that his number two priority was the usage of renewable resources to end foreign oil dependency. We should all believe in change! Literature Review The end of nonrenewable resources means the beginning of permanent dependence of the United States to foreign countries. The U.S consumes more than 25% of the world’s energy with only 5% of the world’s population. In fact, it imports 60% of its petroleum fuel from different nations all around the world (“Biofuel Production System”). Alternative energy sources have become one of the most important topics discussed by researchers today. The U.S Department of Energy is seeking a solution to replace nonrenewable energies to renewable resources such as biodiesel and ethanol that will reduce negative impact on the environment. Alternative energy refers to energy sources which are not based on the burning of fossil fuels. The National Renewable Energy Laboratories have an interest in this field of study because of the undesirable effects of pollution both from burning fossil fuels and from nuclear waste byproducts. Fortunately, there are many means of harnessing energy which have less damaging impacts on our environment. Because consumption remains high and is continuously increasing while production of petroleum is decreasing, the United States has found alternative ways to produce energy. The U.S Department of Energy has focused on two alternatives: ethanol and biodiesel. In the United States, the majority of the current biofuels are ethanol produced from corn and biodiesel produced from soybeans. In BioFacts: Fueling a Stronger economy, it shows that the majority of ethanol is produced in the Midwest “where about 13 million cubic meters (400 million bushels) of corn and other starch crops are used to produced 3.8 billion liters of ethanol annually” (Strawn and Hinman 1) . One of the problems researchers encounter is that when producing ethanol and biodiesel, water is required to raise the crops and to make them into biofuels. This means that large amounts of water may be a restriction for this production to be successful. Another biofuel alternative is cellulosic ethanol which is produced from the cellulose of plants. Because cellulose of plants cannot be digested by humans, the use of these plants will not affect the food supply of humans. Thus, the plants used would be non-edible plants like wood chips, switchgrass, or miscanthus. With proper organization, researchers estimate an average of 2.45 billion metric tons of cellulosic biomass could be available each year producing a yield of 1.02 trillion liters (Strawn and Hinman 2)! However, scientists in the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are concentrating their effort to produce an efficient process of converting cellulose to ethanol. If this field continues to improve, we will encounter drastic efficient and economical changes in biochemical conversions of biomass to ethanol production. Research has shown that cellulosic is more efficient than corn ethanol and emits 85% less greenhouse gases than gasoline (“Biofuel Production System”). A very important alternative seen today is biodiesel, a clean green diesel fuel. Biodiesel is a result of recycled restaurant greases that can be biochemically transformed. Many question if biodiesel can be used in their cars, generators, or even boats. The answer is absolutely yes. Biodiesel can be used 100% where you use diesel fuel except when the weather is cold because it thickens more than diesel and requires special equipment (Challenges and Opportunities 17). There are many solutions to this problem. Instead of the rubber seal used in fuel systems, non rubber seals could be replaced. Also, many chemists suggest a blend of 20% biodiesel with any diesel fuel without making any equipment changes (“Biodiesel” 1). Why isn’t biodiesel being used by more people? Although it is new and environmentally safe, it is more expensive. The U.S Department of Energy is working with the biodiesel industry to reduce its cost. Yes, it is important to replace nonrenewable resources with renewable ones but more importantly we have obligations to save our environment. The U.S Department of Energy is using many of its monetary funds to increase production and availability of biodiesel and ethanol due to their reduction of environmental hazards. Biodiesel, as mentioned above, is made from cooking oils. It is no more toxic than table salt, thus, making it safe to handle. Also, if it spills on the ground it quickly degrades into natural organic excess. Many biologists use biodiesel in marine environments to reduce the impact on wildlife. NREL clearly states that biodiesel reduces greenhouse effect. The recycling of carbon from carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to carbon in plant material and back to the atmosphere results in no accumulations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Biodiesel “procures 78% less carbon dioxide than diesel fuel. While biodiesel produces 2661 grams of carbon dioxide, petroleum diesel fuel produces 12, 360 grams per gallon” (“Biodiesel” 2). In addition to biodiesel, ethanol is non-toxic, water soluble, and biodegradable. Scientists point out that if a large fuel spill occurs it would be less dangerous than many other fuels. Also, ethanol lowers the carbon monoxide emission from vehicles. Overall, the environmental advantages and economic boost of biodiesel and ethanol could provide a great alternative fuel for transportation. Today, interest in renewable energy sources is growing rapidly. The main reason is because fossil fuels are being depleted fast and the damages it has in the environment such as the greenhouse effect. We can generate some of our own energy using renewable resources thus not having to rely on other countries for our energy.We need to take serious measures for these alternatives to be productive. We must save our future world. The question is: Do we have safe renewable alternatives? Yes, indeed, and this is why researchers, scientists, and chemists have invested timeless efforts for alternative energy. Scientific Abstract Today, there are many alternatives to energy. However, some alternatives are far better than others. Biodiesel hybrid is the best alternative energy that can reduce significantly our dependency of oil to foreign countries. Moreover, it will make our environment cleaner; produce less carbon emission; provide more miles per gallon; improve our economy; and reduces the risk of global warming. The following research proposal will thematically discuss the benefits of biodiesel hybrid and why the United States should use it. Outline Introduction Intro duce topic to readers. Background of topic Literature Review Research about biofuel Comparison of ethanol to biodiesel Scientific Abstract with Outline Executive summary of proposal Research Plan Proposal Argument supporting biodiesel hybrid Benefits of using it Closing Remarks Why Biodiesel hybrid cars are the solution Tie up the report Research Plan My proposal for a biodiesel hybrid car is a model that will reduce foreign oil dependency, improve our economy, and make our environment cleaner. If hybrid cars were fueled with a combination of diesel and biodiesel, a real solution would be offered. It would reduce foreign oil dependency in the short term, while ending oil dependency in the long term. The use of the combination of both biodiesel and diesel would be a 40 percent by volume biodiesel with 60 percent by volume petroleum diesel. Many propose that biodiesel should be used 100% in hybrid cars. This proposal is surely an unrealistic plan that would fail to solve environmental concerns. Unlike many other research plans, the process of producing biodiesel is considered in my proposal to ensure positive results. Biodiesel is obtained from natural oils in soybeans, sunflower, and jatropha. For example, Japtropha is a plant only grown on marginal lands of India, Venezuela, Tanzania. Imagine how much land it would take to create enough biodiesel if 100% of it was used in hybrids cars opposed to 40%. It would be an agriculture business that would cause the land to be even more polluted with pesticides and fertilizers. To prevent this problem, 40% of biodiesel with 60% of diesel would decrease foreign oil dependency dramatically. As mentioned above in the example of Jatropha certain plants and beans can only be grown in certain climates and land. We cannot rely our energy source wholly on a variable factor such as climate. Although biodiesel cannot supply hybrid cars with a full percentage volume, its combination with petroleum diesel is very beneficial. Biodiesel is produced from vegetable oils meaning that it can be produced on a long-term basis. While diesel achieves 250 mpg, a biodiesel hybrid combined with diesel could achieve as much as 500 mpg. In addition, biodiesel has greater lubricity than petroleum diesel. This greatly reduces engine wear for biodiesel hybrid engines. A great advantage of biodiesel diesel is that it is biodegradable leading to a reduced risk of spills. In 2003, Massachusetts Institute of Technology conducted an experiment to determine the lifecycle efficiencies of the diesel hybrid, gasoline hybrid, and biodiesel hybrid systems. The experiment concluded that biodiesel hybrid systems outperform any product in a far impressive way. Also, it showed that the biodiesel and diesel mixes and performs well even in cold temperatures. A storage study completed over a 2 year period at the University of Idaho found that biodiesel stores as well as diesel fuel. Biodiesel is better for the environment because it is made from renewable resources unlike diesel which is a nonrenewable resource. Biodiesel has lower emissions compared to petroleum diesel. In cars that use diesel, the car emits black and stinky smoke. With biodiesel, the smoke is very clear and clean. Biodiesel reduces the environmental effect of a waste product. Because biodiesel is made out of waste products itself, it does not contribute to nature’s garbage. Instead of throwing these substances away, the ability to turn them into biodiesel becomes an efficient way of recycling. My proposal plan encompasses all aspects of this issue including environmental risks, foreign dependency, and the practicality of such a model. With adequate funding, biodiesel will be mixed with diesel in all gas stations of the United States. If we all decided to be a working hand, we can solve one of our economy’s major problems. One day biodiesel will be cheap and you will be able to make biodiesel in your backyard. You will be able to just manufacture some of your own biodiesel for your own personal use. That day is not too far from today. Closing Remarks Nowadays, with our economy in a catastrophic situation, converting to biodiesel would be the ideal time for our country. It will provide more job opportunities for our citizens and reduce our dependency to foreign countries. We need to depend on our own resources to boost our economy. Biodiesel would be a great start to begin. The day to begin is today. As Dean Acheson states, “Always remember that the future comes one day at a time.” The future lies within the use of biodiesel. Annotated Bibliography People from all around the world are seeking for an alternative product to use other than petroleum. With gas prices skyrocketing, scientists and researchers are seeking alternative solutions for transportation other than petroleum. For the past couple of years, scientists have conducted many experiments on biofuels such as biodiesel and ethanol. Their research reveals that not only can biofuels be an alternative, but they can even make our environment better. So the question is, are biofuels a reliable alternative to petroleum (gasoline)? The method I chose for selecting my articles was a thematic/methodological method. Biodiesel- Clean, Green Diesel Fuel. The United States. Department of Energy. National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Biofuels, 2006. 1-2. This article explains how biodiesel could be used as a clean, green, diesel fuel. It states what biodiesel is made from, and its effects on our environment. In addition, it mentions examples of how biodiesel could be used on vehicles, generators and boats. Moreover, how they reduce air pollution and air toxics. The last thing the article mentions is the blend of biodiesel with other substances such as gasoline, and ethanol. This article will be extremely useful for my research paper, since it has many examples about biodiesel. 2. Strawn, Noni, and Norm Hinman. "Ethanol From Biomass." BioFacts (1995): 1-4 Strawn, Noni, Hinman explain in their article what ethanol is, and the process of making it. It further explains how ethanol can be used as a substantial alternative to the U.S. automotive fuel supply. In addition, they refer to where most of U.S. ethanol production is based in. Moreover, are the environmental effects it has. However, the writers do a poor job in discussing some difficulties that currently being addressed. This article will have some usefulness to my project, for the purpose of its relevant information. 3. Parsons, Joel, Jonathan Lee, Elizet Escalera, and Isaac Rusingiza. Biofuel Production System. Senior Design Project. Jan. 2008. George Mason University. Oct. 2008. This senior design report that was created, by my classmates is a complete report discussing how the production of biofuels could be used as an alternative energy source. This will encourage the U.S. to decrease it’s dependency on foreign countries. After reading this report, I became very interested in biofuels, and decided to choose this topic for my research paper. 4. "Corn Parts for Fuel." The Science Teacher 75 (Sep 2008): 23. This articles which is by an anonymous science teacher, discusses how ethanol can be produced from grass plant and leaves. In addition, it states that United States Department of Agriculture speculates that by year 2030, about 20% of ethanol will be made from grass plant and leaves in corn farms. In addition, it talks about how researchers are looking for ways to lower soil erosion while preserving essential organic materials. This article will not be very useful, since it doesn’t mention a lot of information about ethanol. 5. "Environment, Development and Sustainability." Springer 7 (2005): 319-336. This article mentions whether corn is a clean renewable fuel for the future, or a drain on our resources and pockets. It also talks about real problems of ethanol production. Furthermore, it explains the expenses for the production of ethanol such as fertilizer, pesticides, machinery, irrigation and much more. An important point mentioned, is how corn efficiency is half as much as gasoline. This is a serious problem, if the U.S. is seeking for ethanol as an alternative. This article does a good job in stating the real problems with ethanol production. It will definitely be helpful for me to use in my research paper. 6. Fulton, Lew. "Biofuels for transport: A Viable Alternative?" Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Observer (May 2005): 41. Lew Fulton explains in his article the feasibility of biofuels as an alternative to petroleum. He states that, “ Recent projections suggest that ethanol could represent up to 5% of the world’s transport fuel by 2010.” This figure may seem small, but in reality it really plays an impact to gasoline market. In addition, he mentions how in Brazil ethanol accounts for 30% of transport fuel, while in the U.S. its less than 2%. He also, refers how service stations worldwide should go beyond 10% ethanol in volume wise. This article provides good information of the future use of ethanol and where it can lead us. Without a doubt, this article will be enlightening for my research paper. 7. Thurmond, Will. "Biodiesel's Bright Future." The Futurist 41 (Jul/Aug 2007): 27. Will Thurmond discusses the effects of biodiesel to the world’s economy. He mentions how biodiesel production reached 3.8 million tons in 2005, and almost 85% of it productions came from the European Union. He also states how Europe is currently representing 90% of global biodiesel consumption and production. However, the U.S. is increasing rapidly in its consumption in biodiesel. The last thing he mentions is how the biodiesel market will be 2020 market. This article will be very helpful when I discuss the effects of biodiesel in our economy. In addition, it will help to make my research paper more complete and factual. 8. McGinnis, Laura. "Fueling America-Without Petroleum." Agricultural Research 55 (April 2007): 10-14. Mcginnis article explains why the U.S. should not be depending on oil. In fact, they could produce their own renewable energy source from soybeans or corn. One good point stated, is that enzymes could improve the speed, efficiency and cost of ethanol production. After reading many scholarly articles, I found very little useful information in this article. As a result, this article will not very helpful to my research paper. 9. Carlowicz, Mike. "Are You Getting the Right Blend of Biodiesel Fuel?" Oceanus 46 (Sep 2008): 10. Carlowicz informs his readers that what is advertised by retailers across the country is not true. He mentions an example of how retailers advertise biodiesel mixture as having 20 % biodiesel and 80 % petroleum- derived diesel, when in fact it has between 10 and 74 % of biodiesel. In addition, he talks about that improper blending of biodiesel could lead to engine problems especially in cold weather. The primary reason why, is because it could freeze or clog fuel line. As a result of this problem, most manufacturers recommend not using more than 20 % biodiesel. This article provided little information for my paper. It strengthened my paper with the additional information of possible problems that could arise if biodiesel is used as an alternative renewable energy. 10. M. Wang. (2005, August 23). “Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Impacts of Fuel Ethanol (PowerPoint).” Argonne National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy. [Online] Available: http://www.anl.gov/Media_Center/News/2005/NCGA_Ethanol_Meeting_050823.ppt Wang’s presentation provides a good visual illustration of the process of producing ethanol and petroleum. He made it easy for his readers to follow along the diagram to easily compare and contrast petroleum with ethanol. Other than the that, most of the information in the slide will not be helpful towards my research paper. Bibliography: American Biofuels Association. Biodiesel: A Technology, Performance, and Regulatory Overview, Information Resources, Inc., February 1994 Biodiesel- Clean, Green Diesel Fuel. The United States. Department of Energy. National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Biofuels, 2006. 1-2. HYPERLINK "http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6V4S-4SY6YBG-1&_user=650615&_coverDate=01%2F31%2F2009&_alid=805320736&_rdoc=2&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_cdi=5766&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_ct=312&_acct=C000035118&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=650615&md5=519be0ec5d0760fb9f12d5c5306f0bb0" \t "_blank" Biofuels in the U.S. Challenges and Opportunities . Renewable Energy, Volume 34, Issue 1, January 2008, Pages 14-22 S. Kent Hoekman Strawn, Noni, and Norm Hinman. "Ethanol From Biomass." BioFacts (1995): 1-4 Parsons, Joel, Jonathan Lee, Elizet Escalera, and Isaac Rusingiza. Biofuel Production System. Senior Design Project. Jan. 2008. George Mason University. Oct. 2008.