# BioFuels vs. Hydrogen economy

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by ElectricFetus, Jun 9, 2003.

?

## Which is the fuel of the future

20 vote(s)
48.8%
2. ### Biofuels

21 vote(s)
51.2%
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1. ### ElectricFetusSanity going, going, goneValued Senior Member

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Which will be the fuel economy of the future? Biofuels (ethanol, methanol, bio-hydorcarbons) or Hydrogen?

I choose Biofuels because they are cheaply maintain in liquid form (hydrogen is a gas and not easy to store) Biofuels are made from agriculture waste, sewage waste, vegetable fat, wood pulp, carbohydrate crops. Biofuels can be made energy positive (takes less energy to make then is produced) unlike Hydrogen. Biofuels are renewable and produce no net increase in CO2. Biofuels can and are mix in with fossil fuels silently so there is no need for radical change in designs and implementation can be done progressively at any rate.

3. ### aghartRegistered Senior Member

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372
I think hydrogen will get it, simply because bio fuels will probobly 'smell' and will not be popular with the motorist. So hydrogen because the motorist wields so much power

5. ### apendrapewOral defecatorRegistered Senior Member

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577
Without a doubt, biofuels make more sense than hydrogen as of now. Perhaps later down the road, we'll stumble upon a good way of producing electricity via cold fusion and we'll use hydrogen as a medium for energy transferral.

I wonder how biofuel will compare with gasoline though. I read a while back in howstuffworks.com or something or other about a gallon of gasoline containing 30,000 Calories. If they could make biofuel that good, that'd rock. It would be so much better than hydrogen cars. But I don't get it. Why are they making such a big deal about hydrogen cars? They really don't make sense. Automobile companies and governments should be more focused on gas-electric hybrid cars and biofuel cars.

7. ### Alien MastermindRegistered Senior Member

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213
Bio fuels (aka biomass) are totally renewable. This and the fact that they can produce quality fuel is alone enough to say that they are better. I believe that in Japan they already use a sort of fuel for cars, which is totally produced from food waste. They say it is very polution-free also.

8. ### NasorValued Senior Member

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6,230
The difference, of course, is that biofuel is actually a source of energy where as hydrogen is simply a way to store energy.

9. ### ElectricFetusSanity going, going, goneValued Senior Member

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LOL! biodiesel (well most are) are chemically identical to diesel so no it would not smell different, Ethanol is common alcohol: I don't see any objections from people about the smell of their vodka, as for methanol it smells the same as Ethanol except methanol is the stuff you hear about when some dumb ass moonshiner goes blind or kills himself with after taking a shot glass worth.

apendrapew:
Ethanol contains only 2/3 as much energy as gasoline, methanol only 1/2, but both burn better and more efficiently. Many cars running E10 (10% ethanol 90% gasoline) experience a 5-10% increase in mpg over 87% octane, while cars running on E85 (85% ethanol) experience a reduction by ~20%. Bio diesels made from animal or vegetable fat are chemically identical to normal diesels so no difference is expected.

Alien Mastermind,
All gasoline sold in Brazil is E22 (22% ethanol) and the ethanol percentage is raised or lower to account for oil price increases. Ethanol can be made much more cheaply (right now at $17 a barrel) then gasoline (right now at$23 a barrel) can be mined, and in the future as demand for oil increases and production peaks out oils price will go up greatly! The only problem is there is not enough refineries that can make ethanol at this time that even comes close the matching demand for fuel.

10. ### NasorValued Senior Member

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6,230
That's not entirely true. Most biodiesel fuels burn cooler than conventional diesel. This is good, since it doesn’t normally get hot enough to produce the various nitrogen-oxygen compounds that cause smog, as well as all sorts of other yucky environmental problems. The down side is that it isn't as efficient per gallon and you get more 'smoke' from incomplete combustion. I would guess that it's probably a little better for the environment on the whole.

I went to an American Chemical Society seminar where a guy gave a talk on biodiesel. He went into much more detail, but that's all I can remember off the top of my head.

11. ### ElectricFetusSanity going, going, goneValued Senior Member

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those biodiesel are actually unconverted vegetable oil (fats) some very radical thinkers ask why the hell should we waste the time and energy in pulling the hydrocarbons off the lipids why not burn the lipids raw, hence: peanut oil was the first diesel fuel and may be the last.

12. ### ThaugRegistered Senior Member

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124
I saw a website where a guy made his truck/car run on McDonalds french fries oil. Im not sure if its true or not.

13. ### NenarTronianTeenaged TranshumanistRegistered Senior Member

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1,083
Plus, biofuels can be pretty easily ( i think) converted and recombined into hydrogen gas... WCF surely knows all about this

14. ### ElectricFetusSanity going, going, goneValued Senior Member

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18,523
Surely, in fact Direct Alcohol Fuel Cells (DAFC or DMFC or DEFC) do it automatically, there efficiency is about 40% making them 25% better then the best ICE. Still why would you waste the energy and time converting bio-fuels to hydrogen gas?

Last edited: Jun 16, 2003

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16. ### NasorValued Senior Member

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6,230
So that you don't release pollution when you burn it?

17. ### ElectricFetusSanity going, going, goneValued Senior Member

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18,523
What pollution??? Alcohol in a fuel cell releases no CO or NOx so it pollution free. Bio-fuel do produce C02 but that is recycled by the plant that are used to make bio-fuels resulting in no net increase in C02 levels, making hydrogen from water or bio-fuel would be less energy efficient, also read Chagur post and link above hydrogen is not a benevolent as you might believe.

18. ### apendrapewOral defecatorRegistered Senior Member

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Since Biofuels are obviously much better than liquid Hydrogen, why are more money and attention being spent on the devopment of hydrogen powered cars? It seems like the public is only hearing good things about hydrogen.. and they're like, "whoo hoo!! in 10 years everyone will be driving a clean hydrogen powered car!!" Sort of.

Here's something that's been lingering in the back of my mind. The 1.2 billion dollars that Bush put torward the development of a commerically viable hydrogen powered car seems like a lot, but it's really not because the technology is its own problem. I think that he did this to get people off his ass so he could say that he's done something to contribute to the environment since he's an oil-man. I think they really know hydrogen economy not going to work and that's precisely why they're investing in it.

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Exactly!

20. ### aikenRegistered Member

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3
Ethanol is considered a biofuel. It is mostly produced from livestock-feed corn right now, but there are some very promising research projects underway to produce it economically from cellulose (waste paper, urban waste, yard waste, forest by-products) by using enzymes to convert it to sugar and then to refine and distill it into ethanol.

Another interesting avenue of building efficient "Hydrogen-powered" cars is to use on-board reformers to extract hydrogen from the ethanol before passing it into the PEM fuel cell.

Ethanol is mostly compatible with our existing fuel infrastructure, so with a few minor retrofits (replacing seals, etc) in ten years we could be pumping moonshine into the fuel tanks on our cars.

21. ### aikenRegistered Member

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3
Also, I believe that at this time, direct-ethanol or direct-methanol fuel cells are incapable of producing the power required for a vehicle. It's been a while since I looked at them, though.

22. ### Chagur.Seeker.Registered Senior Member

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2,235
I can just see it now ... "But really Officer, I was just siphoning some
fuel for my lawn mower."

:m:

:m:

23. ### ElectricFetusSanity going, going, goneValued Senior Member

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18,523
This is sick! 6 to 6, has no one been reading? tell me what makes hydrogen so competitive???

aiken,

Take a look again at DAFC I have seen some reports on major improvement in there power output and efficiency.

Chagur,

Ethanol is mix with gasoline these days and no one in there right mind would dare drink it, even when they make Ethanol "pure" for fuel cells and the sort they probably will mix other stuff in like methanol making it very toxic if drunk, most of all most state require you to be of drinking or near drinking age to pump gasoline so it should not be a problem... would be a cheap way to have a moonshine party.

Last edited: Jun 21, 2003