New study finds unexpected adverse side effects from biofuel crops

A new study by Lancaster University has found that the use of fast-growth trees and other biomass crops being currently grown in increasing quantities by agro businesses  for biofuel use is in fact harming the environment due to the emissions of the chemical isoprene.   Mixed with other pollutants isoprene forms toxic ozone, which not only adds to air pollution but reduces yields of other agricultural crops.

Check out the full article

California Water Consumption Footprint Report Released

Not that water consumption is going to be highest on our minds here in soggy Fenland after an especially wet year… but in California the Pacific Institute has just released a study of the state’s water consumption footprint – no prizes for guessing it is going to be pretty high – actually on average 1500 gallons/per person/per day – but the study makes interesting reading as they have analysed it in detail – including factoring in water used in producing goods and food imported from elsewhere. And 90% of the water used is for agriculture, in particular for meat and dairy products, with 4% for domestic use.
There are no doubt going to be parallels in industralized countries world wide.
Read about it here:

Fossil Fools? UK Government gives the all clear for extreme energy extraction

The UK Government this week gave the go ahead for the controversial and envirionmentally damaging process of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”. UK  Energy companies such as Cuadrilla Resources and many others, are set to rapidly exploit on-shore and offshore prospects of shale gas and coal bed methane.

Operations at Cuadrilla’sTest wells near Blackpool had been suspended last year following the occurrence of two “minor” earthquakes.  The fracking process has been mired in controversy around the world, but most especially in USA, where an orgy of fracking operations have polluted ground water, released radioactive materials, destroyed farmland and already caused significant envirionmental damage. Some US States and Canadian provinces have now banned fracking operations as a result.

Each well is drilled deep into the shale or coal beds – these are then hydraulically fractured by injecting millions of gallons of water and tons of sand mixed with  toxic chemicals to allow the gasses trapped in the rock to be released. Compared with regular oil/gas wells the wells are active for a relatively short time. A large-scale industrial operation, many wells need to be drilled across the concession , each with associated access roads and infrastructure needing to be built across what are often greenfield sites/farmland.

See  for much relevant information and the lowdown on the situation here in the UK.

And for what we can expect in the very near future check out  which documents what is happening over in the USA right now.





Peterborough’s Green Back Yard Project to become a Co Operative

In preparation for the project becoming a cooperative, a public meeting was held on 5th December, and an interim board of volunteers was elected. They will be working on the many aspects of forming a cooperative in order to get the funding to purchase the Rams Fair Site outright from the City Council.

Those elected were as follows:

  • Chair – Ben Middleton
  • Volunteer Coordinator – Dave Hughes
  • Operations Coordinator – Renny Antonelli
  • Treasurer – Gwyn Hughes
  • Media – Jay Gearing
  • Fundraising – Sophie Antonelli

The aim is to raise the necessary funds to purchase the land outright from the council, as  this is the only option available for the project to remain at its city centre location. The Council otherwise intends to sell the land for residential/commercial property development as part of its South Bank development plans.


Save the Green Back Yard Fundraiser

Charter’s Bar are holding a Save The Green Back Yard Fundraiser event on Saturday 15th Sept from 2pm till late – lots of live bands, bar, craft stalls etc!

Charter’s Bar is the barge moored on the South Bank of the Nene next to the London Road Bridge!

US Biofuel plant to convert solid waste to ethanol

USDA to provide $105M loan guarantee to Fulcrum Sierra Biofuels; municipal solid waste to ethanol

6 August 2012

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a $105-million loan guarantee to Fulcrum Sierra BioFuels, LLC to finance development of a facility to convert municipal solid waste into advanced biofuels. With the loan guarantee finalized, the company will secure bank financing, which when combined with private equity capital provided by Fulcrum, will fully fund construction of the municipal solid waste to renewable transportation fuel facility.

The Sierra BioFuels Plant will be located approximately 20 miles east of Reno, Nevada in Storey County. The plant will produce 10 million gallons of ethanol annually as well as renewable energy to be used at the plant utilizing processed municipal solid waste as a feedstock. Fulcrum Sierra uses a two-part thermo-chemical process:

  1. Gasification converts the MSW into a synthesis gas, or syngas. Heat released in the gasification process is recovered to create steam for use in the plant.
  2. The syngas is catalytically converted into ethanol using our proprietary alcohol synthesis process.

USDA, through its Rural Development Biorefinery Assistance Program (Section 9003 of the 2008 Farm Bill), approved an 80% loan guarantee to finance the project, with a conditional commitment that Fulcrum Sierra BioFuels, LLC must meet before loan closing.

The announcement is part of a larger USDA effort to produce advanced biofuels in every region of the country. USDA has funded 7 additional biorefineries that are using feedstocks like agriculture residue, woody biomass, municipal solid waste, and algae in states from Florida and Michigan to New Mexico. USDA is also investing in research by coordinating with five regional research centers to work on the science necessary to ensure profitable biofuels can be produced from a diverse range of feedstocks.


Family Day August 1st at the Green Back Yard!

Join Peterborough’s  Award winning Green Family of the Year 2012, for a Family Day at the Green Back Yard – we’ll be making Fondue as its also Swiss National Day – so bring some cheese and bread!  Where: The Green Back Yard, Oundle Road, Peterborough  When: Weds 1st August 2012 from 11am