Biodiesel primed to flourish in 2011

With an expected economic recovery underway and oil prices rising, the biodiesel industry is looking to produce "as much as a billion gallons" and be profitable in 2011.

Washington, D.C. — Boom times are ahead for a biodiesel industry that struggled just to stay alive in 2010.

The industry could produce as much as a billion gallons in 2011, nearly triple this year's production, said Gary Haer, chairman of the National Biodiesel Board.

Congress this month revived a critical $1-a-gallon tax subsidy that had lapsed at the end of 2009, and the industry also will benefit in 2011 from increased federal mandates on refiners to use biodiesel.

Federal stimulus funds available for Ohio Biofuel companies

Federal stimulus funds are political hot potato as the Novemeber 2010 election draws near, but it is still good to know where the money is being spent. According to Biodiesel Magazine,  the Ohio Department of Development will be using "$8 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, to help biodiesel and ethanol companies fund new or additional refining equipment." The $8 million is being awarded to applicants in amounts from $500,000 up to $1,000,000 in order to make Ohio a leading biofuels producer her in the U.S. The state of Ohio received a total of $96 million in total from the ARRA State Energy Program.

Interested applicants must reside in the state of Ohio and be able to invest at least 25% of the total equipment cost. The project must also be completed with 12 months and provide a direct economic benefit to Ohio. According to the article, "applicants will be judged on four categories: project readiness, financial ability to meet the 25 percent requirement,biowillie economic/employment impacts on Ohio and possible job creation and retention during construction phases." Perhaps a group like CinciTDI should initiate a business venture to produce and distribute biodiesel like BioWillie?

Diesel to emerge as a leading fuel of the future

The demand for diesel vehicles and improvments will continue to grow in North America if Hart Energy study is accurate.

"Because of diesel fuel's unique attributes - its energy density, low-sulfur content, widespread availability and compatibility with biofuels - it is easy to recognize diesel's emergence as a leading fuel of the future." - Hart Energy Consulting

Mocroalgal biodiesel within the next 10 to 15 years

According to a Journal Science article by René H. Wijffels and Maria J. Barbosa, we are still a few years away from algae biodiesel becoming an affordable alternative to petroleum diesel, synthetics or grown feedstocks, but opportunities for companies are on the horizon for microalgae visionaries.

Microalgae are considered one of the most promising feedstocksfor biofuels. The productivity of these photosynthetic microorganismsin converting carbon dioxide into carbon-rich lipids, only astep or two away from biodiesel, greatly exceeds that of agriculturaloleaginous crops, without competing for arable land. Worldwide,research and demonstration programs are being carried out todevelop the technology needed to expand algal lipid productionfrom a craft to a major industrial process. Although microalgaeare not yet produced at large scale for bulk applications, recentadvances—particularly in the methods of systems biology,genetic engineering, and biorefining—present opportunitiesto develop this process in a sustainable and economical waywithin the next 10 to 15 years.

Softening up America's resistance to diesel engines

With buyers paying  a premium for diesel cars on the second hand car market, and new car demand strong, European car manufacturers are selling more and more clean diesel vehicles compared to gas only vehicles. With this trend, one would think U.S. car companies would be planning ahead and making more of an effort to include a diesel or two in their models line up? 

An article, Diesel Picks Up Speed in the WSJ, writes that Audi's 3 million dollar campaign highlighting clean diesels help to turn Audi buyers on to their A3 TDI and Q7 TDI. Buyers now choose a diesel TDI  "in about half of the A3 compact sedans sold in the U.S., and 40% of Q7s." Although their advertising focuses on "green," the excellent power and better efficiency is equally as attractive.

Engines running on diesel now emit about 30% less in greenhouse gases than gasoline engines and fetch up to 40% better mileage, according to auto maker estimates.Diesel also burns more efficiently than gasoline, and so generates power more effectively than either gasoline or hybrid.

  WSJ - Diesel Picks Up Speed 

National Traffic Safety Administration investigating HPFP issue

The folks on the TDI Club have been tracking and reporting a problem with the "High Pressure Fuel Pumps" on A6 VW TDI models. According to an article in the Detroit News and a Left Lane News blog post, the National Traffic Safty Administration has now launch an official investigation.

According to posts on the TDIClub forum, owners suffering damage from a HPFP failure have expensive repair costs nearing $10,000. Hopefully VW will positively address this for current and potential TDI owners.

The agency is looking into 37,889 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI models after getting seven complaints on that model and year "alleging that while driving and without warning the engine limped and then stalled almost immediately."

Jon Hamilton's Fall TDI Tuning session set for 9/18/2010

If your TDI is in need of a little more get up and go, a trip to see Jon Hamilton in Marysville might be just what you need. His Fall Tuning Session will be September 18, 2010 starting at 8AM.

Greetings Fellow TDI Enthusiasts:

Want to improve your fuel economy? What to increase your horsepower, torque, and overall responsiveness? Jon's Auto LLC is proud to present the return of Jeff from "Rocketchip" ( to our shop. This semi-annual event will be held on Saturday September 18, 2010 @ 8 AM. We will be doing chip tuning, injector installs, FREE VAG-COM computer diagnostics, and other minor work if necessary.

This will be a first come first serve event or you may drop off your car Friday evening or Saturday morning and avoid the wait. We ask that you call or e-mail us with your intention to attend so we can give Jeff an approximate tune count.

Tuning session location is:
Jon's Auto LLC
22291 Route 4
Marysville, Ohio 43040
We accept cash, check or credit card.
If you have any questions, please feel free to drop us an email or call. For pricing or technical questions, please contact Jeff directly at 717-676-8755.

More information availible at the TDIClub forums

Stick with VW: A review of the pricey 2010 Audi A3 TDI

After reading the Winding Road review of the 2010 Audi A3 TDI, there isn't a good reason to envy those forking over additional dollars to own the Audi (over $30K).

2010 Audi A3 TDI

Comments from the review:

We relished the torquiness of the 2.0-liter TDI, with its 236 pound-feet of torque on tap for passing maneuvers. Strangely, this motor suffered from turbo lag, something we didn’t experience in its VW cousins. It takes a bit to get used to, with a lighter foot offering better initial acceleration than a mashing of the throttle. The turbo lag situation was exacerbated by the S-tronic dual-clutch gearbox, which was great when underway, offering quick upshifts and precise downshifts. From a stand still, though, it was annoyingly dimwitted. The gearbox waited too long before shifting from first to second, and was hesitant to transmit power in the first place. Audi was the pioneer of dual-clutch transmissions, which makes an issue like this frustrating. We would happily order a manual in our personal A3 TDI, except that Audi doesn’t offer one. We understand the DCTs are more fuel-efficient, but if a six-speed stick is offered on Jetta TDIs and Golf TDIs, why not the A3 TDI?

"Dumbed down" changes to 2011 VW Jetta might offend some?

Hmm ... I'm not sure all Volkswagen Jetta TDI advocates are going to like some of these 'cost cutting' changes? See James Healy's comments in his USA Today article.

Among changes to keep costs down, items likely to be vilified as evidence Jetta has been "dumbed down" to get more mainstream buyers:

•Rear suspension is a so-called "semi-independent torsion beam" instead of true "multi-link" independent rear suspension on the previous version. The latter is valued because, when properly executed, it improves ride, handling and steering. A GLI sport version due next spring will have independent rear suspension.

•Rear brakes are old-style drums on most models, not the discs of the 2010. (VW insists third-party tests show its drums stop as well as, or better than, rivals' discs.)

•Trip computer, the device that tells you miles per gallon, miles to empty and so on, isn't offered on the lower models, though is standard on the top version.

Algae for biodiesel research continues

For alternatives to petroleum, the hype has recently been about EVs and almost all auto makers are rolling out their electric vehicles, yet for most American automotive owners they are far from practical considering the miles of highway and distances we travel. For that, efficient clean diesels running biodiesel makes a lot of sense ... here's a NYTimes article offering some positive news on this carbon neutral renewable fuel especially if it is produced from genetically engineered algae.

Algae are attracting attention because the strains can potentially produce 10 or more times more fuel per acre than the corn used to make ethanol or the soybeans used to make biodiesel. Moreover, algae might be grown on arid land and brackish water, so that fuel production would not compete with food production. And algae are voracious consumers of carbon dioxide, potentially helping to keep some of this greenhouse gas from contributing to global warming.