Sugar to Methane?

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Carcano, Aug 23, 2008.

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  1. Carcano Valued Senior Member

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    McCain has stated he backs a repeal of the ethanol tariffs imposed on Brazilian imports, but I wonder if importing sugar and converting it to methane fuel for vehicles would be cheaper.

    Ive read that the caloric value of a kilo of sugar is about the same whether its converted to ethanol or methane...but what about the net gain of energy???

    Seems to me that far more energy is required to convert sugar to ethanol than to methane.

    http://gas2.org/2008/04/29/natural-gas-cars-cng-fuel-almost-free-in-some-parts-of-the-country/
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2008
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  3. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

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    What "net gain" of energy are you talking about and which conversion process (sugar->methane)??
     
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  5. Carcano Valued Senior Member

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    This idea has already taken off in India where a German company Biogas Nord is building plants that use bagasse (sugar stalks):

    http://indicview.blogspot.com/2007/03/german-firm-to-make-biogas-from-bagasse.html

    "While FuelCell Energy is looking at generating power from biogas in an ultra-clean way, Biogas Nord has set its eyes on the huge potential to generate biogas in India.

    German company, Biogas Nord is one of the world's biggest biogas companies. It takes its first step into India's rapidly growing biogas market with a contract for the construction of a large biogas plant for a sugar factory in Maharashtra. The Shree Tatyasaheb, is a sugar factory that produces 40,000 tons of bagasse a year. The biogas plants not just produce biogas, but also leave behind high-quality fertilizer. A big plus for the environment is that it prevents the emission of the greenhouse gas methane from the bagasse.

    "The highly efficient biogas plants installed by Biogas Nord AG are based on a flow-storage process. This involves the operation of several tanks (fermenters) with biomass substrate continuously flowing through them".

    The contract was worth 1.8 million euros, and Biogas Nord would well be setting its sights on the 165 sugar factories in Maharashtra, which is about half the number in India."
     
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  7. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

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    While that IS interesting and I'm glad to see it being done, bagasse is cellulose - not sugar.

    You didn't address either one of my questions, did you not understand them?
     
  8. Carcano Valued Senior Member

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    Heres a short documentary from China on how rural villages are using manure to generate enough biogas to replace the firewood for their stoves.

    What has been discovered in India however is that pure sugar can out-perform manure by 40 to 1 for any given weight:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMreH1YUs90
     
  9. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

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    Evidently you DIDN'T understand my questions because you keep dodging them. Go back and read them again and either answer or just admit that you don't know.
     
  10. Carcano Valued Senior Member

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    If you dont understand your questions I suggest a short trip to google.com.
     
  11. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

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    What a VERY stupid attempt at a cop out! But at least that settles it - you just proved that you had no idea what you were talking about in your initial post.:bugeye:
     
  12. Carcano Valued Senior Member

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    At least one town in Sweden is already running the city buses on Biogas, along with some heavy fleet vehicles.

    This solves a number of problems with one stroke:

    1. Fuel production.
    2. Sewage disposal.
    3. Fertilizer production.
    4. Toxic emission reduction (Methane is the cleanest of all hydrocarbons).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1isMvdPyr7Q
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2008
  13. buckybeam Registered Member

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    fossil fuel is the best way. sugar cane and corn are just going to create more green house gases and more pollution via fertilizer per btu than fossil fuel. its a fact. im all for cheaper and better energy. im putting the finishing touches on a heat exchanger for solar heating. my south facing roof is wasted space. id also like to put in a wind generator. we are on a hill and have excellent wind year round, that's the next project. saw your thing on cng. im sure that the cng is so cheap cause of the lack of taxes. bio deisel is the same, recycling is awesome. you get a bit of a better return on electricity run vehicles due to regenerative braking lack of tax and more efficient coal operated plants. most electric is coal powered. currently i cannot afford a more economical hybrid. plus to get one would mean to trade in my suv (I need one... sorry) and then all ive done is passed the buck... so no change. and if you include the cost of making the vehicle, you are better to keep it and make it run longer. i did a brief letter concerning this... ill paste it.


    ok im pushing it a bit....

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    were is this methane link.....
     
  14. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    Do you have a source for that? Since the CO2 that you release when you burn biomass was taken out of the air in the first place when you grew the crop, it seems like there would be much less greenhouse gas released from biomass vs. fossil fuel.
     
  15. buckybeam Registered Member

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    In 1995 the USDA released a report stating that the net energy balance of corn ethanol in the United States was an average of 1.24. It was previously considered to have a negative net energy balance. However, due to increases in corn crop yield and more efficient farming practices corn ethanol had gained energy efficiency.

    so you 1.24 times the energy put in. but, other studies dont give it that much credit citing close to 25% loss in energy. so who do you believe. neither study includes the extra transportaion required to bring in food stores from further distances due to lack of produce because of the switch to growing corn. also the studies do not have a way to account for pesticides and fertilizers ruining the environment and co2 released in production. these fuels are not really green alternatives. they are short term economic alternatives and farmer get rich quick schemes. not knocking any of that, it would be great if i grew corn... haha. they also keep fuel control in the hands of the oil companies.

    the figures are getting better. sugar cane is the best at 8. you get 8 times more energy than put in. keep in mind that the cane is burnt before harvesting and it is a very messy unclean burn.

    im certain that the best alternative is to continue using fossil fuels and start gearing up to nuclear power. then make the switch. electric vehicles will be less expensive and more reliable (distance wise) then we will have lots of clean cheap energy.
     
  16. buckybeam Registered Member

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    depending on how its done the cellulose method is supposed to be the best.

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  17. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

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    Well, of course it is! That's exactly why I said I was glad to see it being done.
     
  18. jargon Registered Member

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    i agree with imposing tariffs - go mccain - save us some money who cares about brazil
     
  19. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

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    That's just nonsense!
     
  20. buckybeam Registered Member

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    Last edited: Aug 25, 2008
  21. buckybeam Registered Member

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  22. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

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  23. OilIsMastery Banned Banned

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    "It is possible to convert methane into a complex mixture of higher alkanes and alkenes at high pressures and temperatures but not carbohydrates, the fundamental building blocks of plants." -- Geoffrey P. Glasby, 2006
     
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