Tag Archives: fuel

What exactly is ‘sustainable’ about Amazon’s new jet fuel?

Amazon’s fleet of aircraft, which is soon to surpass 80 Boeings, enables the e-commerce giant to deliver everything from dog food to Dysons within two days. It’s an impressive logistical feat, but it comes with a heavy carbon footprint — and is particularly conspicuous given the company’s recent pledge to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040. To start to address the issue, Amazon Air announced on Wednesday that it will buy up to 6 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel, which it says will reduce its aircrafts’ emissions by 20 percent.

While the purchase is a small step that won’t substantially reduce the company’s overall carbon footprint, it may help boost demand for alternative fuels, which are currently too expensive to be competitive with conventional jet fuel.

What makes sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) “sustainable” is not necessarily that it produces fewer carbon emissions than conventional jet fuel when it’s burned in an airplane — it’s that it has a smaller carbon footprint when the entire life cycle of the fuel is taken into account. (In addition, many SAFs burn more cleanly, spewing less soot and other pollutants from a plane’s engine.)

SAFs can be made from a number materials, like various plant oils and crops like poplar and switchgrass. Many of the SAFs under development are made from reusable waste products, like used cooking oil, animal fat, municipal solid waste, and corn leaves, stalks, and cobs. Amazon plans to use a blend of jet fuel and SAF derived from animal fats and oils, produced by the fuel company World Energy.

To assess the emissions reductions claimed by Amazon’s SAF, you need to assess every step of its life cycle, compared to that of conventional jet fuel. Jet fuel starts as crude oil in the ground. It has to be pumped, shipped, or sent via pipeline to a refinery, where it is refined and then shipped again to the airport before it’s burned in an engine. The process for Amazon’s SAF, on the other hand, involves growing and delivering food for livestock, feeding and processing the animals, delivering the fat to a refiner and refining it, getting the fuel to the airport, and burning it in the plane. By saying that this fuel will reduce emissions by 20 percent, Amazon and World Energy are essentially claiming that this whole chain of events generates 20 percent fewer emissions than the one for the crude oil the company would have used instead.

Annie Petsonk, international affairs counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund, called Amazon’s purchase an “important baby step” because it could boost demand for sustainable fuels. Today, SAFs are deep in the “valley of death” that frustrates many new energy technologies, she said. Sustainable fuels tend to be more expensive than conventional jet fuel, and investors don’t want to support the innovations that could bring prices down until there’s a bigger market. Some state and federal incentives exist to lower the price, but they still don’t make the price of SAFs competitive with conventional jet fuel, which is especially cheap at present due to the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Petsonk said Amazon’s purchase will help demonstrate that SAFs work and that major companies are willing to pay a premium for them. Her team calculated that switching from conventional jet fuel to the new fuel could reduce the company’s emissions by about 12,000 metric tonnes of CO2. (Achieving this reduction could be jeopardized if production of the fuel has indirect climate impacts, such as causing other companies that use animal fat to switch to palm oil, thereby contributing to deforestation.)

Given that Amazon’s 2019 self-reported carbon footprint was more than 50 million metric tonnes, a 12,000 metric tonne reduction is a drop in the bucket. But at this point, the options to reduce aviation-related emissions are still relatively limited. There are other SAFs that boast larger carbon reductions, but they are still in the early stages of development. The Illinois-based biotech startup LanzaTech is one of the leaders in the space. It produces a form of sustainable ethanol for jet fuel by capturing the emissions from steel mills. Another company, Velocys, is building a plant in the U.K. to supply British Airways with jet fuel made from household waste that would otherwise go to a landfill. Both companies boast a 70 percent reduction in greenhouse gases compared to conventional jet fuel.

Right now SAFs make up just a fraction of a percent of the fuels burned in airplanes, Petsonk said. But with governments around the world excusing the industry from its emissions reduction goals, Amazon’s adoption of sustainable fuel does move the needle, however slightly.

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What exactly is ‘sustainable’ about Amazon’s new jet fuel?

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7 Ways to Reduce Your Gas Consumption

When it comes to eco-friendly living tips, few things are as important as reducing your gas consumption overall. We’re talking about gasoline here?not to be confused with natural gas, another resource that bears consideration.

When it comes to using less gas, some tips are straight-forward and common-sense, while others require a little more creativity to pull off. Here are my top seven tips for reducing your gas consumption.

Live Near Your Work

If you’re currently renting or if you’re considering moving, make it a priority to relocate your home near where you work. Commuting is one of those things that many of us see as a necessary evil, but the shorter you make your commute, the better. Not only will you waste less gas, you’ll enjoy a higher quality of life. If you work in a big city, take public transit to get to work each day. Your reduction in transportation costs will likely even out the higher rent you’ll be paying.

Clean Out Your Car

Extra weight in your car means that it takes more gas to haul you and your personal belongings around. If you have a lot of junk in your trunk, store it somewhere else.

Carpool … There’s An App for That!

Carpooling remains a fantastic way to reduce gas consumption. Think about it this way: If everyone in the US commuted with just ONE other person, we’d be reducing the fuel consumption burned during rush hour by half! Carpool with friends, coworkers and family whenever possible. Don’t know anyone going to the same part of town as you? Download Carpool by Waze, a handy app that lets you connect with fellow carpoolers.

Use Cruise Control

When you’re on the highway, use cruise control. This will help you avoid choppy breaking and accelerating as much as possible. Your car probably knows how to coast better than you do, and setting your car to cruise control will help you save gas in the process.

Learn to Coast

When cruise control doesn’t seem like a viable, safe or convenient option, learn how to coast. While driving, consciously make an effort to avoid breaking unless its absolutely necessary. Instead, if you see a red light up ahead or a car slowing down in front of you, let your foot off the gas right away, giving yourself plenty of time to slow down without the break. By avoiding unnecessary breaking, you will help reduce your need to accelerate later and you’ll be saving gas by doing so.

Don’t Idle for more than 1 Minute

If you pull up to wait for a friend or to drop something in a mailbox, turn your car off if you believe you’ll be stationary for more than one minute. Idling burns gas with little to no return on investment.

Use the A/C on Low

You might think that opening your windows is a more eco-friendly option than using air conditioning, but that’s not necessarily the case. According to Cars Direct, having your windows open while driving reduces fuel efficiency by making your car less aerodynamic. If it’s cool outside, windows up and no A/C is the way to go. But if it’s hot outside and you need to keep things cool, roll up your windows and use A/C on a low setting.

Related Articles:

5 Ways to Make Your Car More Eco-Friendly
5 Ways Drivers Can Safely Share the Road With Cyclists
Why You Shouldn’t Drive in the Left Lane

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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7 Ways to Reduce Your Gas Consumption

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Are Fuel Additives Really Green?


As gas prices trend upward, you may be wondering about ways to maximize the fuel economy in your car. One commonly assumed option is adding a gasoline additive when you fill the tank, and there are plenty on the market.

In fact, it’s estimated the fuel additive market will reach over $11 billion by 2024, with environmental concerns one of the top reasons. This leads to the question: Are fuel additives actually eco-friendly?

What Is a Fuel Additive?

Simply put, fuel additives are products that will increase gasoline’s octane rating (so you can buy 87 octane and get the benefits of 89 or 91 octane) or help prevent engine corrosion. They have been around since 1970, when Chevron gas featured a new additive called polybutene amine, marketed as F-310.

F-310 was promoted as reducing emissions by up to 50 percent and increasing fuel economy by up to 7.7 percent. This product has eventually been modified into Techron, arguably the most recognizable fuel additive today.

For F-310, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigated claims of deceptive advertising, and Chevron ended up pulling the campaign. Ever since, the FTC has kept tabs on how fuel additives promote their benefits to consumers.

This hasn’t stopped the market from developing. Because the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires gasoline additive companies to register their products, we know that there are more than 10,000 fuel additives on sale today. Not surprisingly, over 100 have the word “green” in the company or product name.

How Are Additives Regulated?

The additive registration process does not include testing for fuel economy increases or emissions reductions, although manufacturers must include the chemical composition of additives. The EPA makes a point to say that even though a product is registered, that doesn’t imply an EPA endorsement of its benefits.

However, the EPA does have a voluntary testing program called the Evaluation Program for Aftermarket Retrofit Devices, where manufacturers allow their additives to be tested to verify marketing claims. So far, 92 fuel additives have been tested, most recently in 2005, and most have had either “a neutral or negative effect on fuel economy and/or exhaust emissions.”

For some companies, the FTC may step in and challenge claims. This was the case in 2013, when the manufacturer of EnviroTabs was fined $800,000 for stating its product increases fuel efficiency and reduces emissions.

When to Use Fuel Additives

While the jury is still out on improved fuel economy, there are a few areas where fuel additives have been shown to help your car:

  1. Fuel stabilizers can be used in seasonal vehicles (boats, RVs) or classic cars to preserve the gasoline over time.
  2. Fuel injection cleaners are helpful if most of a commute is via short trips where the engine doesn’t heat enough to burn off the carbon that accumulates over time.

Fuel additives have their place if your goal is to beat Vin Diesel in a drag race, but there isn’t much evidence that they will save you at the gas pump or produce fewer emissions. If that’s your goal, here are 11 free steps you can take while driving.

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Are Fuel Additives Really Green?

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Tornado Storms Through Kansas

At least one tornado touched down in central Kansas on Wednesday as severe weather swept through the area. Source:  Tornado Storms Through Kansas ; ; ;

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Tornado Storms Through Kansas

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Wanna See What Happens When You Rely on the Fossil Fuel Sector and Slash Taxes?

Check out Louisiana. Andrew Cline/Shutterstock The state of Louisiana has fallen on hard times, and its situation offers some hard lessons. First, don’t let a right-wing ideologue cut your budget to the bone. Second, don’t hang your whole economy on fossil fuel extraction. The Washington Post reports on the state’s budget crisis: Already, the state of Louisiana had gutted university spending and depleted its rainy-day funds. It had cut 30,000 employees and furloughed others. It had slashed the number of child services staffers … And then, the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards (D), came on TV and said the worst was yet to come. … Despite all the cuts of the previous years, the nation’s second-poorest state still needed nearly $3 billion — almost $650 per person — just to maintain its regular services over the next 16 months. … A few universities will shut down and declare bankruptcy. Graduations will be canceled. Students will lose scholarships. Select hospitals will close. Patients will lose funding for treatment of disabilities. Some reports of child abuse will go uninvestigated. For eight years, under former Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.), Louisiana slashed taxes and played tricks to fill budget holes. Jindal claimed that the tax cuts he pushed through would promote miraculous economic growth and make up for the lost revenue. That didn’t work, of course, just as it didn’t work on a national level under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Read the rest at Grist. See more here –  Wanna See What Happens When You Rely on the Fossil Fuel Sector and Slash Taxes? ; ; ;

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Wanna See What Happens When You Rely on the Fossil Fuel Sector and Slash Taxes?

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Here’s Why the Words “Loss and Damage” Are Causing Such a Fuss at the Paris Climate Talks

It’s not just mitigation and adaptation anymore. Rich Carey/Shutterstock PARIS, France — There’s a big sticking point in the negotiations over a global climate deal, and it centers around this little phrase: “loss and damage.” The concept has become hugely important to developing countries and climate justice advocates at the COP21 talks — and a big headache for developed countries. The conversation around climate aid — money and assistance that goes from rich countries to poorer ones for climate change–related programs — has traditionally focused on two areas: mitigation, which means cutting or preventing greenhouse gas emissions by doing things like building up renewable energy capacity and halting deforestation; and adaptation, which means preparing for future climate changes, by taking steps such as building better drainage systems to deal with higher seas and more severe storms, and shifting to heartier crops that can withstand higher temperatures and lower rainfalls. But now developing countries are pushing for assistance in a third area: loss and damage. This refers to irreparable losses (loss of lives, species, or land taken over by rising seas) and recoverable damages (damaged buildings, roads, power lines) — basically, to what happens when mitigation and adaptation fall short and climate disaster strikes. At this point, no matter how much we cut emissions or how much we prepare for coming changes, there will still be significant loss and damage from climate change. Already, the devastating effects of rising sea levels, hotter temperatures, and extreme weather events are growing rapidly. Small Pacific island nations are experiencing regular flooding, which submerges roads, batters houses and seawalls, and sends populations fleeing. In nations like Bangladesh, farms are ruined by the infiltration of salt water. Read the rest at Grist. Follow this link: Here’s Why the Words “Loss and Damage” Are Causing Such a Fuss at the Paris Climate Talks ; ; ;

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Here’s Why the Words “Loss and Damage” Are Causing Such a Fuss at the Paris Climate Talks

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If Global Warming Is a Hoax…

Questions for climate change deniers. Barnaby Chambers/Shutterstock If global warming is a hoax… …then why was this September globally the hottest September on record by a substantial margin? …then why were seven of the months in 2015 (so far!) the hottest of those months on record (February the hottest February on record, and so on)? …then why is 2015 on track to be by far the hottest year on record? Read the rest at Slate. Source:  If Global Warming Is a Hoax… ; ; ;


If Global Warming Is a Hoax…

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Watch 2 GOP Presidential Candidates Call Out Their Party for Denying Science

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Watch 2 GOP Presidential Candidates Call Out Their Party for Denying Science

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This Deadly Hurricane Is the Strongest Ever in Our Hemisphere

Hurricane Patricia will make landfall today. The strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere is barreling toward Mexico’s Pacific coast, where it is expected to make landfall later Friday. According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Hurricane Patricia now has maximum sustained wind speeds near 200 miles per hour and even higher wind gusts. That makes it a Category 5 storm—the highest rating on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale. Hurricane warnings are currently in effect for much of the Mexican states of Nayarit, Colima, and Jalisco, including the resort city of Puerto Vallarta, whose metropolitan area is home to 380,000 people. Tens of thousands of people are being evacuated, according to the Vallarta Daily. National Hurricane Center Category 5 hurricanes are terrifying. According to the NHC, during a typical storm of this strength, “a high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.” The NHC is predicting that Patricia will make a “catastrophic landfall,” dumping up to 20 inches of rain in some areas, which will likely result in “life-threatening” flash floods and mud slides. There will also be an “extremely dangerous” storm surge that will cause substantial coastal flooding “accompanied by large and destructive waves.” The remnants of the storm could even help produce heavy rainfall along the Texas coast in a few days. Hurricane Patricia’s incredible power may be part of a disturbing pattern. As Chris Mooney reported for Climate Desk a couple years ago, a number of the world’s major hurricane basins have set (or have arguably set) new hurricane intensity records since the year 2000. Just yesterday, #Patricia was a tropical storm. Now it’s the strongest hurricane in E Pacific history. A reminder of our weird new normal. — Eric Holthaus (@EricHolthaus) October 23, 2015 See the original article here: This Deadly Hurricane Is the Strongest Ever in Our Hemisphere ; ; ;

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This Deadly Hurricane Is the Strongest Ever in Our Hemisphere

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3 Reasons Why Bernie Sanders Is Being Overly Pessimistic About Climate Action

The world can’t wait for campaign finance reform. And it doesn’t have to. Albert H. Teich/Shutterstock One doesn’t think of Bernie Sanders, with his ambitious proposals to provide free public college tuition and Medicare for all Americans, as someone whose imagination is unduly constrained by political reality. Yet when it came to climate change in Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate, Sanders was surprisingly pessimistic. “Nothing is gonna happen unless we are prepared to deal with campaign finance reform,” said Sanders, “because the fossil fuel industry is funding the Republican Party, which denies the reality of climate change and certainly is not prepared to go forward aggressively.” Is that true? Is climate action impossible without first getting corporate money out of politics? If so, that’s discouraging for climate hawks. Enacting campaign finance reform would be at least a five-step process: Elect a Democrat president. Luck into a conservative Supreme Court justice leaving the Court while that Democrat is president. Appoint a replacement. Have that judge join the Court’s existing liberal wing in overturning Citizens United v FEC. Then have the very same corporate-funded Congress vote to reform the system that got them elected. The world cannot wait that long to deal with climate change. But it shouldn’t have to. Sanders’ analysis is overly pessimistic for three reasons: 1. He is thinking like a legislator, not a president. There is a lot the president can do to reduce emissions substantially in the next decade or so under existing laws. As I explained on Thursday, Sanders and Hillary Clinton have not yet explained in detail how they would use the Clean Air Act to reduce emissions. Will they regulate carbon emissions from other sources besides power plants, and tighten methane leakage regulation on fracking wells, as Martin O’Malley proposes? Will they ban fossil fuel extraction on federal land? As president, they could do those things, and more, thereby reducing emissions enough to meet the near-term goals we’ll lay out in any global climate agreement reached in Paris this December. Read the rest at Grist. Continued:  3 Reasons Why Bernie Sanders Is Being Overly Pessimistic About Climate Action ; ; ;

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3 Reasons Why Bernie Sanders Is Being Overly Pessimistic About Climate Action

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