Energy, energy needs, oil guzzling, pollution and socially responsible energy consumption are all areas I'm fairly passionate about. And I'm one of "those" who think democracy and respect for people's rights in the Middle East can only come when the region is free from its dependency on oil. But that's digressing from this mini-post, on progress with biofuels (a blog on energy is for sometime later).
In spite of the constantly depressing stories about oil companies, and talk of opening up the Arctic national wildlife refuge for oil drilling in the US, much progress has been made on alternative energy sources from natural, renewable sources. The various "bio-fuels" discussed come from various sources (ethanol, plant oils etc). Here is an excellent recent post from Outlook on alternative fuels. Well over a year ago, the outstanding site Good news India carried an article on some progress in India on biofuels. Last heard, the railways was considering planting Jatropa trees on its unused land by railway tracks (a good way to increase tree cover in India), and increasing its "biofuel" consumption to 15% of its fuel consumption. That amounts to a few thousand gallons of diesel saved. The IOC is also starting its biofuel field trials with jatropa oil. To learn more about this humble tree (which many of us have seen growing in dry areas all across India as we made our trips on trains) you can visit the jatropa website that I found.
For some superb blogs on energy (with an emphasis on India), read The Indic View.