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CSN Meeting Agenda, February 7, 2005

Biofuel and the Carbohydrate Economy

(Note: see also Feb. 13, 2006 update to this event)

Speakers and Discussion Panelists:


Networking: 6:00-6:30pm

Introductions: Audience and Panelists: 6:30pm

Speaker presentations will be followed by a discussion of the main issues and opportunities.
What are your interests? With what do you most identify? Possible topics for discussion include:
1. What is a "carbohydrate economy" and why would we want one? See below.
2. What changes are favoring increased use of biofuels? How is the biodiesel market evolving?
3. What's happening elsewhere that could serve as a model here in the US?
4. What are the best source materials for making biodiesel? Why?

Networking and Refreshment Break: ~7:45-8:00pm

Further Discussion and Next Steps: conclude by or before 9:00pm

Speaker and Presenting Company Backgrounds

Ray Newkirk, co-founder and President of Pacific Biofuel, Inc., is a licensed California building contractor and owner of Building Alternatives. His focus for many years has been on “green” building encompassing everything from passive solar building design and construction to alternative building materials from straw bale to bamboo. His extensive research into new alternatives that are healthier for humans and our environment led to his discovery of other problems associated with petroleum products, namely air pollution and associated health risks to humans through burning fossil fuels.

His studies and field applications of many renewable energies have helped drive the honest progression of sustainable building and energy production toward mainstream acceptance. Mr. Newkirk is currently seated on the Santa Cruz Planning Department’s Green Building Working Group charged with revising and improving current building codes and conducts with an eye toward a more livable future. He has appeared in numerous radio, television and live events promoting the use of biodiesel.

Pacific Biofuel Inc. is a small team of dedicated people who care deeply about the state of our planet and the health of her inhabitants; particularly school children who breathe extremely toxic petro-diesel exhaust. The mission of Pacific Biofuel is twofold. 1) To educate the public about the harmful effects of petro-diesel (from asthma to war) and the many benefits of homegrown, vegetable-based biofuels (including biodiesel and ethanol) and 2) To provide these fuels to the public, which includes small and large industries, fleets, maritime, agriculture, heavy equipment, school buses, generator companies, commuters and more.

To this end we are working with numerous private collaborators and public agencies in every aspect of biofuel promotion from crop growing and waste oil collection to fuel production and distribution. We firmly believe the time for biofuels is now, as witnessed by this ever-growing industry and ever-evolving favorable legislation.

Lisa and Henry Carter, Owners. Water Star Motors is on its 12th year in business in Santa Cruz.
Besides really caring about each customer and their vehicle(s) here are some things that set Water Star Motors apart from other auto repair shops:
· Green Business - and stay green daily
· Promote the use of Bio-Diesel in our community
· Husband and Wife team who work together in harmony 24 hours a day.
· They really like what they do and are excellent at it.
· When other shops can't figure out a problem they call Water Star for help or the car comes here to be repaired.
· They look thoroughly at your car and advise you on problems according to a priority of Safety, Reliability, Economy, Convenience and then Appearance.

They continue their quest for excellence: ASE Certified Master Technician, ASE L1 Advanced Engine Performance Specialist, ASE Parts Consultant, ASE Service Consultant, IMACA Certified Air Conditioning Technician, Bosch Authorized Service Center, AAA Approved Repair Center, Automotive Service Council Member.

For more information about the Monterey Bay Area Certified Green Business program ( Green Business Standards for Vehicle Service Facilities, Restaurants.

Mark Moreno, Co-founder, Earthbound Farms (invited); Earthbound Farms uses biodiesel in their on-farm tractors and trucks. This successful organic farming operation has taken the lead in environmental and sustainable agriculture practices with customers rewarding them with exceptional growth. See their website for further details.

David Fairchild, Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District (MBUAPCD), was educated at Harvard, MIT, and Berkely (masters in city planning). David is a member of Institute of Transportation Engineers. Work experience is as follows: Research Assistant, Smithsonian Institution Tropical Research Center, Panama; Research assistant, Harvard-MIT Joint Center for Urban Studies, Venezuela; Asst. Program Officer, US Dept of State AID, Dominican Republic; Associate land use planner, ABAG, Berkeley; Transportation Planner, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; Consultant, CLM Associates, Puerto Rico; Consultant, Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board; Consultant Transportation Planner, Voorhees, Inc., Berkeley; Transportation Planner, City of Palo Alto; Consultant Transportation Planner, Barton Aschman Assoc., San Jose; Director, metropolitan land use and transportation planning study and feasibility study for the Tren Urbano, San Juan Puerto Rico; Principal transportation planner, AMBAG; Consultant transportation planner, CCS, Inc.; Air Quality / Transportation Planner, MBUAPCD (current).

Why the "Carbohydrate Economy" Matters

By Daniel Robin

Carbohydrates come from plants, not from petroleum, thus new stocks of raw materials can be grown each year, providing a supply without end. Soy, corn and sunflower are among the most efficient "factories" for producing these materials. They take energy from the sun and nutrients from the soil and convert them into carbohydrates, oils and biomass. By way of an example, a single corn kernel produces about 800 more kernels in one season. Using renewable resources assures that we won't run out in the future and offsets the political, environmental and social costs of petroleum extraction, refining and transportation. The more renewable resources we use today, the better off the world will be tomorrow.

The term "carbohydrate economy" refers to shifting society's engine toward renewable, environmentally benign materials, where farmer-owned manufacturing enterprises process the crops they grow. The time has finally arrived, as there are now numerous examples where the market economies make sense; in addition, using renewable materials has enormously positive ramifications for people and the environment.

The idea of making things from carbohydrates is not new. It may sound odd now to use hot beverage cups made from cornstarch, or "high tech" lubricants formulated from soybeans and other additives, but 100 years ago plant matter was the basis of almost all products. Petroleum increasingly replaced plants as society's fundamental medium and by the 1980s, nearly eliminated biological materials as a source of products and fuels. Now, due to a confluence of factors - high petroleum prices, low crop prices, increasing costs and risk factors associated with using petroleum, better technology for making plant-based products, and government support - the tide is turning again.

Innovative products and effective marketing drive the shift in consumption patterns that helps build the so-called "carbohydrate economy." This shift would improve self-reliance, reduce environmental and safety risks, preserve petroleum reserves and usher in an era of increased energy security and geopolitical stability.

The vision and values are well established - the term "carbohydrate economy" was coined 15 years ago by David Morris, vice president of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) - but what's truly new and innovative are the technology innovations that make these high performance products cost advantageous.

Hydrocarbons are the class of chemicals based on hydrogen and carbon; petroleum oil and gas are comprised of just these two elements in forms such as methane, octane, etc., while carbohydrates are nitrogen fixers that generate oxygen where they grow. While the hydrocarbons contained in waste products can be recycled and reused, using carbohydrates from the start delivers unique environmental, economic, geopolitical and social benefits unavailable through petroleum. The key is to reduce our petroleum "intensity" and diversify what we use. Many believe that we are already seeing the beginning signs of the end of cheap petroleum.

The environmental costs associated with the production, use and disposal of carbohydrate-based products are greatly reduced. Pollution is no longer generated from extracting and processing crude oil into chemicals, nor are there toxic side-effects from exposure to petrochemical. End-of-life disposal is also not an issue -- the products are biodegradable.

Useful Links and Resources:

See also the Feb. 13, 2006 update (reprise to this event) for further information.


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