Name your favourite BioFuel Technology

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by Singularity, Feb 20, 2006.

  1. cato less hate, more science Registered Senior Member

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    I didn't say that there was no such land, I simply said it may not be worth destroying the soil and causeing other environmental damage for a small net gain of energy.
     
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  3. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    Can you support any of these three implicit claims?

    True there are many old studies of US production of alcohol fuel that show it is negative net energy but most everyone now agrees that even in the US it can be a small positive energy source. It is very good use of land and definitely positive and economically attractive to make cane based alcohol in tropical lands.

    As far as "enviromentaly damaging", yes there is some polution produced by the fluid discharged after the alcohol has been distilled from it, if it is just dumped in the river etc, but not hard to do this with zero enviromental impact*. Certainly crop produced alcohol is the only economically feasible way to REDUCE CO2 already released into the air as part of an energy system.

    As part of the cane plant (roots and lower stock) is plowed under and the crushed cane after passing thru a cow makes the soil more fertile why do you speak of "destroying the soil"?

    Support you implicit (and I think false) claims or retract them.
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    * It is not a toxic discharge like associated with solar cell production. You could drink a gallon every day and probably the worst that would happen is your teeth might decay more often.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 23, 2006
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  5. Singularity Banned Banned

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    Billy T

    I think methane is bad for Enviornment
     
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  7. cato less hate, more science Registered Senior Member

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    soil distruction:
    http://www.growbiointensive.org/biointensive/soil.html

    other damage:
    link:http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/arei/ah722/arei2_3/arei2_3waterqimpacts.pdf


    link:http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_envi...s-and-benefits-of-industrial-agriculture.html
     
  8. cato less hate, more science Registered Senior Member

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    I think the reason people think it is a good idea is because it looks like one on paper. at least until realize what the real costs may be. paying less for fuel may be offset by the cost of clean water and lower crop yield increasing the cost of food.
     
  9. Light Registered Senior Member

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  10. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    It is, but less so than most other fuels. It is CH4 so when it burns you get CO2 + 2H2O. I do not recal the heats of combustion of carbon and hydrogen but am reasonably sure hydrogen's is greater, so perhaps 75% of the energy release is associatd with water production. - Zero enviromental damage. That is, compared to the combustion of coal, which gets 100% of the energy release from carbon combustion , methane combustion is only about 25% as damaging as coal fuel. (this of course is assuming that the CO2 man is releasing is damaging to the environment, as many believe, but quite a good case for the opposite can also be made, especially in a world needing to grow more food.)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 25, 2006
  11. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    Yes it is possible to destroy soil, create polution etc, but not necesary. Your references speak of large scale industrial agriculture as sometime practiced in the US and of leaving ground without plant cover for long periods and of fertilizer (chemical, I assume) run off into streams. etc.

    Based on these possible mal practices, you are claiming that one should avoid biofuel production? In Brazil, very little chemical fertilize is used for growing cane and the crushed cane produced,after juice is extracted for the sugar, is often passed thru cows to fertilize the ground in a very natural way. (Some is burned to facilitate the distilation and/or produce electric power locally.) The main erosion problems are associated with areas that have had their virgin timber clear cut and then DO NOT GET PUT TO AGRICULTURAL USE. I have never seen coutour plowing as widely used as I have in Brazil, where once one leaves the steep, fully-forested, coastal mountins, the land is gentil sloping for the most part with little errosion.

    Summary, Yes you can rape the land, but you need not when using it. I have already agreed that growing biofuel in US is not as economically or energetically efficient as in tropical countries, but just because the US FDA can find examples of poor pratices in US does not mean that all agriculture or even biofuel agriculture is not worth the enviromental cost for the "small" energy gain as you asserted.

    Agriculture is the most economically attractive form of solar energy utilization and properly done, self sustaining, if not actually soil improving. Just look at the Amish / Plain People of the Pennsylvania - after 200 year of farming the same land it is more fertile than when they started. They too don't use chemical fertilizer, whose production eats up much of the net energy yield of biofuels and makes the system net "small," perhaps even negative for Iowa's corn derived alcohol.
     
  12. cato less hate, more science Registered Senior Member

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    I don't think it is possible to produce the amount of biofuel required to put a dent in demand without harming the environment. yeah, the bazillions can produce cheap biofuel, because they cut down the rain forest, and use that soil. producing cheap biofuel and maintaining the environment is likely impossible. you should show me the research that has been done that proves that you can manage the land like the Amish and still produce large amounts of cheap biofuel.

    I agree that it is probably better than current solar cells, thats why I think algae is a good idea. but the problem of maintaining the large pools required for such an operation needs to be solved. it may not be possible to solve the problems with biofuel. we may simply have to choose to wait until our fossil fuel supplies become low enough that it becomes economical to grow biofuels and maintain the environment.
     
  13. Anomalous Banned Banned

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    Heres my latest Idea.

    Use fine Crushed Stones for farming in deserts. Mix the fine dust in to desert sand and use it for production of BioFuels. Use the vast deserts.

    Singularity,

    I think its a greate idea, GM BioFuel can be genetically as fucked up as possible, ie. no ones gona eat it so it should be fair to have no limits on fucking upt the genome of thoes plants to get as much fuel as possible.

    Sorry but the Anti-GM food activists think GM is Fucking up food.
     
  14. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    I already posted a study by best university in Brazil in technical agriculture area that surveyed Brazil and found the currently available land with good soil (rainforest does not have it and is being raped for the timber), road access, good rain, etc. and forget the acreage results but if all placed into cane production (would not be as other crops need to be rotated) could supply both US and Brazil's entire mobile fuel needs.

    Sugar cane is one of only a few plants that convert solar energy via a four step, rather than three step process. The four step process is more efficient. Algae would be less efficient than cane until GM gets to work on it, but the real break thru is via "enzymatic processing" of any cellulose source. (Brazil's agricultural centers are working hard on this. - Brazil is very good in modern biotech. Brazil has been on the cover of Science Magazine for some of their DNA sequencing work, etc. A real world leader, but mostly applied to making crops more productive, diseases resistant, etc, except for their cloned cows etc. now in "second generation cloned" work/ studies.)

    Brazil is the world leader in eucalypts* pulp production (for newspapers etc.) Much of the leaves, small limbs, etc are not currently worth transport/ trouble and cost. What is discarded now in the fields will probably supply all US mobile fuel needs some day if cutting the unused grass wet lands, etc is not cheaper or legally prohibited to keep them as wild life tourist attactions.

    PS, current oil prices make "biofuels" produced in Brazil (and in many other lands with 12 month growing seasons, cheap land, cheap labor for cane cutting.) "economical." Why do you think my "flex fuel" car has had only about 50 liters (~ 15 gallons) of gas put into it in the last 2.5 years I have had it? Answer: 100% alcohol is cheaper per mile and adds less air pollution to Sao Paulo's air, which I breathe.
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    *Amazing how fast the genetically selected trees grow. Some that I know were only a few feet tall three years ago are at least 30 feet tall now! Eucalypts, is not native to Brazil, so it is legal to treat it like a crop, plant young trees between the rows of older trees and havest a crop every 4 or 5 years. All the big paper companies are here, "farming pulp" year after year and their capital (the soil) is getting better annually.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 25, 2006
  15. Facial Valued Senior Member

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    Someone a while ago brought up the interesting point that growing crops like corn for ethanol will not mitigate the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Now I don't know if it's really true or not, but I think that extracting biogas from waste isn't such a bad idea because assuming that it displaces ethanol, it will save land space to plant trees and such that will shift the carbon equilibrium towards the earth and not the atmosphere.
     
  16. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    While bio mass fuels do not decrease the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, they do not increase it, as fossil fuels do. That is their value.
     
  17. kazakhan Registered Abuser Registered Senior Member

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    Hmmm... I propose theists as our new bio mass panacea, would solve a lot of problems

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  18. Singularity Banned Banned

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    When U grow plants and trees, arent U converting carbonDioxide into hydrocarbons ?
     
  19. cato less hate, more science Registered Senior Member

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    I guess you have a point Billy T =], I have been thinking along the lines of America the whole time. however, I still think it would deplete the soil. other farming may be less harmful to soil, but I think that any technique that produces biofuels would leave too little waste to mulch back to usable soil.

    well, any co2 you get from the air when it is growing is just going to be sent back into it when its burned + whatever was taken from the ground.
     
  20. Light Registered Senior Member

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    As I said earlier, undereducated. You obviously don't know the difference between hydrocarbons and carbohydrates. Yes, you can burn sugars, starches, etc. but I wouldn't advise trying to eat any hydrocarbons.

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  21. Anomalous Banned Banned

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    Where theres a Will theres a way

    http://www.icajapan.org/virtualtoure/96BayadE.html
     
  22. Carcano Valued Senior Member

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    Don't know if its true, the company Genecor says it has developed tech that can reduce the cellulase cost of making a gallon of ethanol from $5/gallon to about 20 cents/gallon.
    http://www.genencor.com/wt/gcor/ethanol

    Genecor's the same company that makes the stain-dissolving enzymes used in Tide laundry detergent.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2006
  23. Singularity Banned Banned

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    This is revolution man,

    This is it, What we have been waiting for.

    Although I didnt understand what the enzymes are made from, hope thats non polluting.
     

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