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Biofuels

Discussion in 'General Industry Questions' started by Squizzy246B, Mar 30, 2008.

  1. Squizzy246B

    Squizzy246B Administrator

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    Some discussion on Biofuels


    The whole article is here: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1725975,00.html
     
  2. bear

    bear Senior Member

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    Not the pot of gold they said it would be

    It is a mess isn't it? There is some new process iv'e been following off and on for awhile that looks promising. Some guy built this plant in ST. Louis, Missouri that uses high pressure and water with high heat to create short carbon chains. a little more processing and you have fuel. What goes in? almost anything that has carbon. tires, parts from animals plastics, just about anything we throw away. the plant was placed next to a chicken/turkey processing plant on the hope that the good old us would outlaw the use of chicken parts for feed. they didn't, :Banghead now they don't get all those parts for free and they have to be bought. Still, with the plant buying these chicken parts they are making fuels for about $1.40 a gallon last i read, and cleaning up waste to make it. don't know why the eco crazies haven't been on this yet but it sounds like a good idea to me. :drinkup
     
  3. bear

    bear Senior Member

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    I'd enjoy hearing other's thoughts on these fuels and any experiments anyone has run.
     
  4. CascadeScaper

    CascadeScaper Senior Member

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    Ethanol is a joke. Even if we could produce enough of it to supply our fuel needs 100%, which it will never, ever be able to do, the cost is still going to be absolutely astronomical as well as causing food price increases. Hydrogen is the fuel of the future, it just isn't there yet. Hydrogen is renewable, 100% emission free (water vapor), and it is a stable fuel source. Problem is, hydrogen isn't quite cheap enough to produce, yet. Eventually the cost of production through scientific advances will lower the cost of hydrogen production, but I'm guessing it'll be 20 years or so.
     
  5. joispoi

    joispoi Senior Member

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    I read a lot of 'he said', 'she said' and 'I was told'. The article was a little sparse on footnotes. I wish the author had used the space to write an objective article about the limits and feesability of large scale biofuel production, instead of the panic-toned opinion piece that was published.


    The phrase 'global emergency' has been thrown about so often and so lightly that it discredits anyone who puts it to paper. In today´s journalism, sales come before accuracy.
     
  6. euclid

    euclid Senior Member

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    E-85 and bio-diesel has been used for close to 100 years, the original diesels used peanut oil, and Henry Ford used E-85 to take the knock out of the early Ford engines. The reluctance to use other means is the madness we are facing right now. E-85 never has seen any good reviews and it has been cheap enough to process and compete again gas to make it worth the effort.
    There are a lot of smart people in this world who have figured this problem out but there ideas are locked up in a safe somewhere to prevent them from ever using this knowledge. And what makes matters worse is nothing that is being produced is good enough to prevent global warning. That subject to me is for another topic of discussion. I'm all for alternative fuels and energy as long as there enough locations that can be used and where it is widely distributed and so far that hasn’t worked out.
     
  7. dayexco

    dayexco Senior Member

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    what ii really like about the ethanol industry....for last 3-4 yrs...it's been a mil a year in sales for us in site piping. is it a feasible fuel? not when it takes a 52 cent per gallon subsidy.
     
  8. euclid

    euclid Senior Member

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    In the 1970's e-85 all but stopped production due to no demand. Gas was much cheaper to refine and the taxes were much higher for e-85. Brazil uses E-85 like crazy and they grow crops specifically for e-85. In the US if crops were grown for e-85 production then the prices would go up and the market would make it not profitable for e-85. Right now the biggest down fall is the mileage for e-85 is not like that of gas but I believe that is a minor set back when you look at the inability to produce e-85. Canada has more e-85 stations than we do here so it is pretty clear the mind set right now.
    The technology in diesels are far superior and Audi is racing diesels in endurance races, and VW was going to introduce the diesel rabbit but didn't because Americans don't want to get 54 MPG and have a peppy diesel under the hood that isn't noisy.....:beatsme
     
  9. srs_mn

    srs_mn Well-Known Member

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    One of the worst problems with corn ethanol production, other than it takes more energy to make it than you get out of it, is that it uses tremendous quantities of water to produce the crop and then refine the ethanol...
    I don't doubt that the looming water shortages in this country, and worldwide, will make the oil shortage problems seem tame by comparison. For example, the Ogallala Aquifer, supplying the Great Plains, could be depleted at current rates of drawdown in as little as 25 years; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogallala_Aquifer
    I don't know what the answer is, but I'm pretty sure that it's not going to be ethanol.
    srs_mn
     
  10. Deere9670

    Deere9670 Senior Member

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    with $6 corn I couldent be happier! Keep that ethanol rolling!
     
  11. Turbo21835

    Turbo21835 Senior Member

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    Ethanol does not take more oil to produce than energy it creates. It takes 1 gallon of oil to produce 1.3 gallons of ethanol. Where Brazil shines is what they use for fermentable material. They use sugarcane. It has a higher sugar content than corn. That makes it a better product to use from the start. Then, add the fact that after they crush and press the cane, they dry it and burn it for power in the plant. From what I can remember, 1 gallon of oil is needed to produce 8 gallons of cane based ethanol.

    The backing of corn ethanol is a political boondoggle. It sure helps our farmers, but it hurts everyone world wide. With inflation rampent, and less grain in storage. We are in for some crazy grain prices. Its already crazy, I think its going to get worse, or better depending on how you look at it. Comming from a farm background, and my family still works 200 acres, its going to be a good year for us. Last year we got $5 a bushel for wheat, this year we locked in at $12 a bushel.

    Other alternatives, I cant see anything that will work any time soon. Hydrogen, its got potential. It will use a lot of water, just like ethanol. It will take a lot of energy, just like ethanol. With all our systems based of fossil fuels, there is no way around using them. We need to use them efficently as possible. We need to use more nuclear power. Really, we also need to keep using coal. We have at least a 400 year supply of coal. With gassfication of coal, we dont have anywhere near the emissions we used to have. Flyash byproduct is good for use in cement, and soil drying. We need to take a look at methane also. A steady supply from our waste in landfills is somewhat promising.

    Global warming caused by us? I highly doubt the emissions that we are releasing are any where near as bad as what was released during the industrail revolution. Look at tempratures right now. They have remained steady, or decreased. Ice caps melting? Maybe. Caused by us? Ok, tell me why the ice caps on Mars have been melting. It has more to do with sun activity than it does what we are doing.
     
  12. drewtam

    drewtam Member

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    From the literature research I've done, I also don't think it will be ethanol. One of our better options is to use GTL (gas-to-liquids) and CTL (coal-to-liquids) (old) technology. Also the US and China has enough coal for hundreds of years, which is a big economic and political bonus. GTL and CTL create very good fuels, cetanes in the 70-80's and octanes in the 90-110's. This fuel is already profitable. Several US 'coal' states are trying to build these plants. China already has 3-4 under construction and I think Russia is building some too.

    But my speculation has a twist. We can take carbon materials from various natural sources: switchgrass, corn and soy stalks, sea water, and lastly- atmosphere. Combined with nuclear energy we can create hydrogen from fresh or sea water. The hydrogen and carbon can be combined efficiently to create these same high quality diesel, gasoline, lpg, and natural gas fuels. The mixture depends on the pressure and temperature of the reaction. The refinery equipment is simpler than the CTL and GTL equipment since the inputs (CO2, H2O and H2) are pure.

    The result is a great way of storing energy from nuclear; its transformed into the hydrocarbons.

    It'll work with current infrastructure. No crazy liquid hydrogen or LNG schemes.

    It would be carbon neutral - the fuel burned creates carbon dioxide and water. This can be pulled from the atmosphere directly by machinery, by the ocean, or by the crops and used in the synthetic cycle again.

    And the US or any nation can be energy independent. :usa
     
  13. Gmads

    Gmads Well-Known Member

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  14. bear

    bear Senior Member

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    Here is aWiki entry i have dug upon an interesting way of going about things perhaps short term. Pretty neat idea; I always wondered why something like this couldn't be done. Pair this process with some hydro dams, windfarm, or solar plant and it could possibly do some good, if it ever gets totaly off the ground. Enjoy!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_depolymerization
     
  15. euclid

    euclid Senior Member

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    Good point about water shortages and droughts. When I grew up in the Panhandle of Texas we used a lot of water and there were ranches and farms that had several Cat generator/pumps running 24/7 so you can only imagine the amounts of water they used to water there crops. If hydrogen is the wave of the future it must be coming from coal because we can't meet the demands at our current rate.
     
  16. euclid

    euclid Senior Member

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    I did a term paper several years ago and it addresses many of the points in this article. What is noted is the supply and demand of oil and the products. Looking at India and China and even in a radius of 36 inches around you I'm sure you'll see a lot of plastic/materials made from oil. When we examine the US alone and transportation and that includes everything and petrol products and then look at the rest of the world it is pretty clear there is a problem and the highest bidder will get the oil and it will cost the world a lot for the products provided.
    I briefly mentioned about diesel cars and the innovations now and the 1980's with the smoke and low horsepower to turbos and less smell and great fuel mileage. Our nation in general with complain everyday at how we are being done wrong but we refuse to demand better mileage vehicles. Even the 10 wheelers are able to provide better mileage and still be productive which means to me we have the skillz but corporates types are counting the money. The world sees this attitude and they figure if those rich Americans can do it then we can too.
    I lived in Darwin Australia (NT) for 3 years in the early 1990's and I had a Holden Monaro with a stroked 400 S/B and it had a 4 speed tranny and would bark the heck out of second gear. So after a set of rear tires and being at the petrol pump every other day I sold me ole trusty hot rod for a more conservative car, Ford Laser (Escort) in the US and at $2.00 a liter back then I wasn't going to the petrol pumps as much and I learned a valuable lesson about trying to drive like those V-8 Supercars!!!!:pointhead