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Daily news and top headlines for manufacturing professionals

EPA Proposes Reducing Biofuel Mandate

November 15, 2013 2:28 pm | by Dina Cappiello and Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press | News | Comments

The Obama administration wants to reduce the amount of ethanol in the nation's fuel supply, acknowledging the biofuel law championed by both parties in 2007 is not working as well as expected.The new proposal announced Friday is unlikely to mean much for consumers at the pump.

Plant Design: Efficient Budgeting And Resource Conservation For Food Manufacturers

November 15, 2013 2:09 pm | by Kerry Mowlam, Division Manager, Stellar and Frank Freeman, Senior Mechanical Engineer, Stellar | Articles | Comments

We find that many plants are now undergoing expensive retrofits because future needs were not appropriately considered. Not only are retrofits expensive, but if new equipment is not sized and sequenced effectively, it can significantly affect your energy costs.

Next Generation Of Biofuels Still Years Away

November 14, 2013 7:56 am | by Jonathan Fahey, Associated Press | News | Comments

The failure so far of cellulosic fuel is central to the debate over corn-based ethanol, a centerpiece of America's green-energy strategy. Ethanol from corn has proven far more damaging to the environment than the government predicted, and cellulosic fuel hasn't emerged as a replacement.

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High Court Considers Whistle-Blower Protections

November 13, 2013 8:19 am | by Mark Sherman, Associated Press | News | Comments

The provision at issue at the Supreme Court protects people who expose the kind of corporate misdeeds that arose at Enron. But there is a dispute over whether the protection covers only employees of publicly traded companies or also applies to contractors hired by the companies.

Industry Takes Aim At AP Ethanol Investigation

November 12, 2013 10:10 am | News | Comments

In an unusual campaign, ethanol producers, corn growers and its lobbying and public relations firms have criticized and sought to alter the story, which was released to some outlets earlier and is being published online and in newspapers Tuesday.  

The Secret, Dirty Cost Of Obama's Green Power Push

November 12, 2013 7:42 am | by Dina Cappiello and Matt Apuzzo, Associated Press | News | Comments

The ethanol era has proven far more damaging to the environment than politicians promised and much worse than the government admits today. As farmers rushed to find new places to plant corn, they wiped out millions of acres of conservation land, destroyed habitat and polluted water supplies, an Associated Press investigation found.

Japan Starts Up Offshore Wind Farm Near Fukushima

November 11, 2013 7:43 am | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

The wind farm near the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant is to eventually have a generation capacity of 1 gigawatt from 143 turbines, though its significance is not limited to the energy it will produce.        

Demand Response Programs Lower Electricity Costs, But Also Pose Risks

November 6, 2013 3:42 pm | by David Cousineau, Kimberly Frank, and Jeffrey Fuisz, Kaye Scholer’s Energy & Infrastructure Group | Articles | Comments

Many industrial manufacturers with the ability to control their electricity usage are now taking advantage of demand response programs to help reduce their energy costs. Demand response programs pay participants to reduce electric energy usage for short periods of time. 

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EU Seeks Nuclear Power Disaster Insurance Plan

November 5, 2013 2:00 pm | News | Comments

The European Commission's energy chief says the bloc's executive arm will present a proposal on mandatory disaster insurance for nuclear power plants in coming weeks.Guenther Oettinger said Tuesday the proposal should be one of the first items on the European Parliament's agenda following elections in May.

Report: 30 Pct. Renewable Energy Mandate Doable

November 5, 2013 11:39 am | by David Eggert, Associated Press | News | Comments

Michigan is positioned to double its share of electricity from wind and other renewable sources within two decades but risks falling behind other states if nothing is done, state officials said in a final report issued to Gov. Rick Snyder on Monday.

Microsoft Enters 20-Year Deal For Texas Wind Power

November 4, 2013 1:53 pm | by Ramit Plushnick-Masti, Associated Press | News | Comments

It takes a lot of energy to store all the data 1 billion people and 20 million businesses plug into their computers, phones, tablets and gadgets. So as part of an effort to become carbon neutral, Microsoft Corp. has entered a 20-year deal to buy power from a new wind farm in Texas.

Pa. Taxpayers Foot Growing Bill For Gas Subsidies

November 4, 2013 11:10 am | by Marc Levy, Associated Press | News | Comments

The discovery five years ago that the Marcellus Shale, the nation's largest natural gas reservoir, could spew big profits and cheap, homegrown energy has, in turn, spurred gas-friendly state officials to run up a growing taxpayer-funded tab to encourage the use of the hydrocarbons.

Volatile Prices At Gas Pumps Give Drivers Whiplash

November 4, 2013 8:46 am | by Jonathan Fahey, AP Energy Writer | News | Comments

The problem, analysts say, is a fuel system increasingly vulnerable to short-term shocks. That's because refiners try to keep stocks of gasoline low to save money, just as other manufacturers aim to operate on a "just-in-time" inventory schedule.   

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A Balancing Act: Jets, Sustainability And Innovation

October 29, 2013 2:55 pm | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, Manufacturing.net | Boeing, Pratt & Whitney, Pratt & Whitney, United Technologies Corp. | Articles | Comments

Any facet of aerospace, from production to the actual act of flying massive jets around the world, would appear, at face value, to be in direct opposition to sustainability, or being kind to the environment. And while that’s true to a degree, it would be ingenuous to state that there’s no concern for the environment among any of the wide array of companies involved in the aerospace industry.

The Theology Of Global Warming

October 28, 2013 11:28 am | by Karl Stephan, Consulting Engineer, Texas State University, San Marcos | Blogs | Comments

Last Saturday, October 19, was the date of the Second Annual Global Frackdown. In case you didn't hear, the Global Frackdown is an international day of activism on which people who believe that global warming is an oncoming train that's about to knock us silly, gather in groups and protest the oil industry's practice of fracking.

Across America In 12,000 Solar Cells

October 24, 2013 4:01 pm | by Melissa Fassbender, Associate Editor, PD&D | Articles | Comments

The Solar Impulse is a revolutionary solar powered plane with “the wingspan of a 747, the weight of a mid-sized car, and the power of a scooter.” With more than 10,000 solar cells on board, the plane completed its journey across America on July 6th, 2013.

Major Pension Funds Ask For Climate Change Study

October 24, 2013 1:43 pm | by Kevin Begos, Associated Press | News | Comments

Some of the largest pension funds in the U.S. and the world are worried that fossil fuel companies may not be as profitable in the future because of efforts to limit climate change. Now, they're asking for details on how the firms will manage a long-term shift to cleaner energy sources.

Volvo: Cordless Electric Car Charging Possible

October 24, 2013 11:03 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, Manufacturing.net | News | Comments

Volvo Car Group has today announced that an advanced research project, conducted in partnership with Flanders’ Drive, has ended in results that using inductive charging for electric vehicles has “a promising future.” The company appears confident that with more regulatory insight, there is a good possibility that future electric vehicles will only need to be parked in the customer’s garage, for example, to be charged automatically.

Certifying Energy Management

October 24, 2013 8:21 am | by Lucas Lopez-Videla, Marketing Specialist, Bureau Veritas Certification North America | Blogs | Comments

Regardless of the industry they serve, most organizations and companies have a highly vested interest in efficiently managing the energy they consume. Effective energy management is essential to helping an organization reduce emissions and conserve resources.

Judge Mulls Restraining Order In Wind Turbine Suit

October 22, 2013 9:36 am | by Randall Chase, Associated Press | News | Comments

Gerald Lechliter, a retired Army colonel, sought the restraining order in a broader Chancery Court lawsuit. He filed the suit last year challenging construction of the wind turbine on land that had been set aside for open space and the process in which it was approved and funded.

OSHA Proposes $280K In Fines Over NH Power Plant

October 22, 2013 7:52 am | News | Comments

The U.S. Labor Department's OSHA has proposed more than $280,000 in fines against contractors working on a power plant in Berlin, N.H. OSHA says workers were exposed to serious and potentially fatal injuries from cave-ins, falls, scaffold collapses, crushing, lead and electrocution hazards. No one was killed or seriously hurt.

Q&A: The Next Wave Of Technology

October 21, 2013 7:21 pm | by Lindsey Jahn, Associate Editor, Food Manufacturing | Articles | Comments

Using microwave energy for food processing offers many advantages over conventional thermal processing systems. Benefits include: instant on and off, less start up time, faster heating, high energy efficiency, smaller equipment footprint, precise process control and clean heat technology.

UK Looks To New Nuclear Plant To Secure Energy

October 21, 2013 8:14 am | by Danica Kirka, Associated Press | News | Comments

Britain has agreed to build the country's first nuclear power plant in a generation, ignoring concerns raised by the Fukushima meltdown in Japan as the U.K. seeks to secure its future energy needs and cut greenhouse gas emissions.     

Chevron Halts Shale Gas Search After Protests

October 18, 2013 7:41 am | News | Comments

Chevron says it has suspended searching for shale gas in northeast Romania following protests in the capital and the local area against fracking.The company said in a statement Thursday its priority was to "conduct these activities in a safe and environmentally responsible manner."

Britain Opens Nuclear Market To China

October 17, 2013 8:17 am | News | Comments

Britain's finance minister announced Thursday his government will allow a Chinese company to own a majority stake in a new nuclear power plant as it tries to curb demand for fossil fuels.George Osborne made the announcement while he visited a nuclear power plant in southern China.

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