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Officially Unofficial Alternative Fuels Thread

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palehorse

Lifer
Dec 21, 2005
11,544
0
76
Originally posted by: Specop 007
If they are working biofuels over that much I have to wonder what the overalll EROEI is?

So, so lets assume they do have a bio product that packs more grunt then hydrocarbons. Do an energy comparison in production. How much energy is used to produce 1 gallon of gas put into my car versus what is produced to make 1 gallon of his gas.

Dont forget his gas, as I have said before, is aat least partially relying on the products of my gas.
...unless he replaces most of his production and distribution cycles with his own product, right?

At some point, it may become energy positive. The question is whether or not even a small increase in efficiency is worth the effort.

I personally believe that any such baby steps are worth it... every inch of progress we make toward a better renewable energy source is worth every penny spent getting there.
 

K1052

Lifer
Aug 21, 2003
36,584
10,548
136
Originally posted by: Specop 007
Originally posted by: K1052

If the biofuel process is signifigantly energy positive it isn't based on cheap oil since the raw material is supplied the vast majority of its energy by the sun, assuming you use a biological farmed feedstock.
We both know its not. But I'll play along for shits and grins. ;)

Ok, so we have a respectablly energy positive biofuel.

What about food prices? My cost for gas becomes something less then a minor annoyance if my food costs have tripled or more.....
It depends very much on the production process and the feedstock used. Coskata has apparently found a way to gasify the cellulose stock and feed it to bacteria which in turn churn out the ethanol. There is already a ton of waste cellulose generated by the agricultural and other industries and there are many plants that can grow on marginal land or other places unsuitable for corn/soy/grain etc.
 

Specop 007

Diamond Member
Jan 31, 2005
9,454
0
0
Originally posted by: K1052
Originally posted by: Specop 007
Originally posted by: K1052

If the biofuel process is signifigantly energy positive it isn't based on cheap oil since the raw material is supplied the vast majority of its energy by the sun, assuming you use a biological farmed feedstock.
We both know its not. But I'll play along for shits and grins. ;)

Ok, so we have a respectablly energy positive biofuel.

What about food prices? My cost for gas becomes something less then a minor annoyance if my food costs have tripled or more.....
It depends very much on the production process and the feedstock used. Coskata has apparently found a way to gasify the cellulose stock and feed it to bacteria which in turn churn out the ethanol. There is already a ton of waste cellulose generated by the agricultural and other industries and there are many plants that can grow on marginal land or other places unsuitable for corn/soy/grain etc.
Why are you so difficult? :p

Ok, lets try this angle.

How much agriculural production would there be without machinery? Enough to process into fuels to run our nation?
 

Specop 007

Diamond Member
Jan 31, 2005
9,454
0
0
Originally posted by: palehorse
Originally posted by: Specop 007
If they are working biofuels over that much I have to wonder what the overalll EROEI is?

So, so lets assume they do have a bio product that packs more grunt then hydrocarbons. Do an energy comparison in production. How much energy is used to produce 1 gallon of gas put into my car versus what is produced to make 1 gallon of his gas.

Dont forget his gas, as I have said before, is aat least partially relying on the products of my gas.
...unless he replaces most of his production and distribution cycles with his own product, right?

At some point, it may become energy positive. The question is whether or not even a small increase in efficiency is worth the effort.

I personally believe that any such baby steps are worth it... every inch of progress we make toward a better renewable energy source is worth every penny spent getting there.
Then you have to look at scale.

i can tell you with a better then average degree of certainty I can produce enough fuel to meet my consumption needs for....well...forever. I own roughly 500 acres. Switchgrass gives an average of 1000 gallons of ethanol per acre. I dont know returns on soybeans for diesel, but lets say 300 per acre.

On about 10 acres of switchgrass and 5 acres of soy I've made enough fuel to run any car I own as often as I want and run the farm equipment to keep growing the crops.

Now scale that up to Americas usage of 25 MILLION barrels PER DAY.

We dont have enough farmland to do it. I personally think these steps arent really worth it. Its essentially buying a small bit of time till the endgame. To do these biofuels on a small scale is doable and looks great on paper. Things become drastically more complicated to go large scale. You really come down to choosing between and energy crisis or a water / food crisis. Pick your poison.
 

Xavier434

Lifer
Oct 14, 2002
10,382
1
0
Originally posted by: Specop 007
Originally posted by: K1052
Originally posted by: Specop 007
Originally posted by: K1052

If the biofuel process is signifigantly energy positive it isn't based on cheap oil since the raw material is supplied the vast majority of its energy by the sun, assuming you use a biological farmed feedstock.
We both know its not. But I'll play along for shits and grins. ;)

Ok, so we have a respectablly energy positive biofuel.

What about food prices? My cost for gas becomes something less then a minor annoyance if my food costs have tripled or more.....
It depends very much on the production process and the feedstock used. Coskata has apparently found a way to gasify the cellulose stock and feed it to bacteria which in turn churn out the ethanol. There is already a ton of waste cellulose generated by the agricultural and other industries and there are many plants that can grow on marginal land or other places unsuitable for corn/soy/grain etc.
Why are you so difficult? :p

Ok, lets try this angle.

How much agriculural production would there be without machinery? Enough to process into fuels to run our nation?
Specop, I think what you really need to understand is that coming up with an effective way to use biofuels is something that is going to take a lot of time as well as trial and error. I fully understand why you do not support them right now given the current results of our progress, but you really need to be more patient. Even if it turns out that biofuels do not end up playing a part in the final solution to the problem at hand, it is well worth putting in the effort that this country is doing. With each failure that we come up with also comes experience and knowledge. Hopefully, that experience and knowledge will eventually lead to good results.

Also, I understand that there are additional way to try and solve this issue, but I don't believe in putting all of my eggs in one basket. It is a good thing that solutions are being explored from multiple angles.
 

CADsortaGUY

Lifer
Oct 19, 2001
25,162
1
76
www.ShawCAD.com
Originally posted by: Moonbeam
The problem, as I see it, is that in 2010, lead as an octane booster for gas must come out of aviation gas for piston engine planes, and ethanol, an octane booster ruins high compression engine parts, so these inventors, if they have invented anything real, have invented a way to turn ethanol into something less oxygenated and less damaging to rubber and still retards the combustion compression point of lower octane unleaded gas.
Wow, a post I can agree with moonbeam on. :thumbsup:
 

Specop 007

Diamond Member
Jan 31, 2005
9,454
0
0
Originally posted by: Xavier434
Specop, I think what you really need to understand is that coming up with an effective way to use biofuels is something that is going to take a lot of time as well as trial and error. I fully understand why you do not support them right now given the current results of our progress, but you really need to be more patient. Even if it turns out that biofuels do not end up playing a part in the final solution to the problem at hand, it is well worth putting in the effort that this country is doing. With each failure that we come up with also comes experience and knowledge. Hopefully, that experience and knowledge will eventually lead to good results.

Also, I understand that there are additional way to try and solve this issue, but I don't believe in putting all of my eggs in one basket. It is a good thing that solutions are being explored from multiple angles.
Well, let me just say this.
I've done a lot of readin on biofuels. At one time I was pretty optimistic about them as well. Having come from farm country and seen just how crazy ethanol plants are in regards to grain usage and water usage as well as having done a lot of readin about biofuels i can tell you right now, up front. Biofeuls will not say us. If they do I fear the cure is worse then the disease, as we'll end up driving ourselves through a great desert known as the US of A as we've tapped all available water to make the fuel.

But I'm glad some are still optimistic about it. :)
 

K1052

Lifer
Aug 21, 2003
36,584
10,548
136
Originally posted by: Specop 007
Originally posted by: palehorse
Originally posted by: Specop 007
If they are working biofuels over that much I have to wonder what the overalll EROEI is?

So, so lets assume they do have a bio product that packs more grunt then hydrocarbons. Do an energy comparison in production. How much energy is used to produce 1 gallon of gas put into my car versus what is produced to make 1 gallon of his gas.

Dont forget his gas, as I have said before, is aat least partially relying on the products of my gas.
...unless he replaces most of his production and distribution cycles with his own product, right?

At some point, it may become energy positive. The question is whether or not even a small increase in efficiency is worth the effort.

I personally believe that any such baby steps are worth it... every inch of progress we make toward a better renewable energy source is worth every penny spent getting there.
Then you have to look at scale.

i can tell you with a better then average degree of certainty I can produce enough fuel to meet my consumption needs for....well...forever. I own roughly 500 acres. Switchgrass gives an average of 1000 gallons of ethanol per acre. I dont know returns on soybeans for diesel, but lets say 300 per acre.

On about 10 acres of switchgrass and 5 acres of soy I've made enough fuel to run any car I own as often as I want and run the farm equipment to keep growing the crops.

Now scale that up to Americas usage of 25 MILLION barrels PER DAY.

We dont have enough farmland to do it. I personally think these steps arent really worth it. Its essentially buying a small bit of time till the endgame. To do these biofuels on a small scale is doable and looks great on paper. Things become drastically more complicated to go large scale. You really come down to choosing between and energy crisis or a water / food crisis. Pick your poison.
Don't forget that the waste cellulose from whatever you planted on the other acreage would also be fed into the cellulose processor.

There isn't going to be one huge leap that lets us replace oil based fuels overnight (or even in a decade+) but these sort of technologies are moving us along the way.
 

K1052

Lifer
Aug 21, 2003
36,584
10,548
136
Originally posted by: Specop 007
Originally posted by: Xavier434
Specop, I think what you really need to understand is that coming up with an effective way to use biofuels is something that is going to take a lot of time as well as trial and error. I fully understand why you do not support them right now given the current results of our progress, but you really need to be more patient. Even if it turns out that biofuels do not end up playing a part in the final solution to the problem at hand, it is well worth putting in the effort that this country is doing. With each failure that we come up with also comes experience and knowledge. Hopefully, that experience and knowledge will eventually lead to good results.

Also, I understand that there are additional way to try and solve this issue, but I don't believe in putting all of my eggs in one basket. It is a good thing that solutions are being explored from multiple angles.
Well, let me just say this.
I've done a lot of readin on biofuels. At one time I was pretty optimistic about them as well. Having come from farm country and seen just how crazy ethanol plants are in regards to grain usage and water usage as well as having done a lot of readin about biofuels i can tell you right now, up front. Biofeuls will not say us. If they do I fear the cure is worse then the disease, as we'll end up driving ourselves through a great desert known as the US of A as we've tapped all available water to make the fuel.

But I'm glad some are still optimistic about it. :)
Conventional ethanol production from corn is extremely water intensive, there is no doubt about that. However that particular technology is not what we're talking about here.
 

Harvey

Administrator<br>Elite Member
Administrator
Oct 9, 1999
35,052
28
86
I disagree with this statement in the article:

SwiftFuel mixes with gasoline, can be stored in the same tanks as gasoline, and be shipped in the same pipelines as gasoline. It is made entirely from biomass, which means it has a net zero carbon footprint and does nothing to increase global warming.
Burning any fuel containing carbon produces carbon dioxide. A fuel that doesn't is hydrogen, which oxydizes hydrogen to produces only water vapor.
 

Xavier434

Lifer
Oct 14, 2002
10,382
1
0
Originally posted by: Specop 007
Originally posted by: Xavier434
Specop, I think what you really need to understand is that coming up with an effective way to use biofuels is something that is going to take a lot of time as well as trial and error. I fully understand why you do not support them right now given the current results of our progress, but you really need to be more patient. Even if it turns out that biofuels do not end up playing a part in the final solution to the problem at hand, it is well worth putting in the effort that this country is doing. With each failure that we come up with also comes experience and knowledge. Hopefully, that experience and knowledge will eventually lead to good results.

Also, I understand that there are additional way to try and solve this issue, but I don't believe in putting all of my eggs in one basket. It is a good thing that solutions are being explored from multiple angles.
Well, let me just say this.
I've done a lot of readin on biofuels. At one time I was pretty optimistic about them as well. Having come from farm country and seen just how crazy ethanol plants are in regards to grain usage and water usage as well as having done a lot of readin about biofuels i can tell you right now, up front. Biofeuls will not say us. If they do I fear the cure is worse then the disease, as we'll end up driving ourselves through a great desert known as the US of A as we've tapped all available water to make the fuel.

But I'm glad some are still optimistic about it. :)
I don't really think biofuels are going to save us either to be honest. I'm mostly just hoping that someone comes up with something efficient enough to buy us the time we need to develop the real solution. I am also hoping that the motivation to come up with that perfect biofuel that everyone wants will also stimulate more research for alternative solutions in general whether they involve biofuels or not.
 

CADsortaGUY

Lifer
Oct 19, 2001
25,162
1
76
www.ShawCAD.com
Originally posted by: Harvey
I disagree with this statement in the article:

SwiftFuel mixes with gasoline, can be stored in the same tanks as gasoline, and be shipped in the same pipelines as gasoline. It is made entirely from biomass, which means it has a net zero carbon footprint and does nothing to increase global warming.
Burning any fuel containing carbon produces carbon dioxide. A fuel that doesn't is hydrogen, which oxydizes hydrogen to produces only water vapor.
yes, their statement is off, but so is yours unless you can come up with a zero co2 emitting source for energy to produce hydrogen.
 

Specop 007

Diamond Member
Jan 31, 2005
9,454
0
0
Originally posted by: K1052
Don't forget that the waste cellulose from whatever you planted on the other acreage would also be fed into the cellulose processor.

There isn't going to be one huge leap that lets us replace oil based fuels overnight (or even in a decade+) but these sort of technologies are moving us along the way.
Let me make sure I understand.
So I grow wheat. i harvest the wheat which is used for flour to feed the masses. The chaff and straw from the wheat (Whats thrown out the back of the combine) is then recycled and used for the biofuel?

Is this what your stating?
 

K1052

Lifer
Aug 21, 2003
36,584
10,548
136
Originally posted by: Specop 007
Originally posted by: K1052
Don't forget that the waste cellulose from whatever you planted on the other acreage would also be fed into the cellulose processor.

There isn't going to be one huge leap that lets us replace oil based fuels overnight (or even in a decade+) but these sort of technologies are moving us along the way.
Let me make sure I understand.
So I grow wheat. i harvest the wheat which is used for flour to feed the masses. The chaff and straw from the wheat (Whats thrown out the back of the combine) is then recycled and used for the biofuel?

Is this what your stating?
Yep
 

Harvey

Administrator<br>Elite Member
Administrator
Oct 9, 1999
35,052
28
86
Originally posted by: CADsortaGUY
Originally posted by: Harvey

Burning any fuel containing carbon produces carbon dioxide. A fuel that doesn't is hydrogen, which oxydizes hydrogen to produces only water vapor.
yes, their statement is off, but so is yours unless you can come up with a zero co2 emitting source for energy to produce hydrogen.
I was talking about the physics and chemistry of the fuel, and my point was only that their SwiftFuel is not "carbon neutral."

All things considered, their fuel may be a good idea, but in making that determination, I think it's important to have a true understanding of the advantages they claim. The rest is academic.
 

Specop 007

Diamond Member
Jan 31, 2005
9,454
0
0
Originally posted by: K1052
Originally posted by: Specop 007
Originally posted by: K1052
Don't forget that the waste cellulose from whatever you planted on the other acreage would also be fed into the cellulose processor.

There isn't going to be one huge leap that lets us replace oil based fuels overnight (or even in a decade+) but these sort of technologies are moving us along the way.
Let me make sure I understand.
So I grow wheat. i harvest the wheat which is used for flour to feed the masses. The chaff and straw from the wheat (Whats thrown out the back of the combine) is then recycled and used for the biofuel?

Is this what your stating?
Yep
So then your going to rely on fertilizer applications to keep yields up i assume? Stripping off the biomass also quickly deteriorates your soil. If that dead biomass isnt kept in the soil the only source of nutreints is what you add.
 

K1052

Lifer
Aug 21, 2003
36,584
10,548
136
Originally posted by: Specop 007
Originally posted by: K1052
Originally posted by: Specop 007
Originally posted by: K1052
Don't forget that the waste cellulose from whatever you planted on the other acreage would also be fed into the cellulose processor.

There isn't going to be one huge leap that lets us replace oil based fuels overnight (or even in a decade+) but these sort of technologies are moving us along the way.
Let me make sure I understand.
So I grow wheat. i harvest the wheat which is used for flour to feed the masses. The chaff and straw from the wheat (Whats thrown out the back of the combine) is then recycled and used for the biofuel?

Is this what your stating?
Yep
So then your going to rely on fertilizer applications to keep yields up i assume? Stripping off the biomass also quickly deteriorates your soil. If that dead biomass isnt kept in the soil the only source of nutreints is what you add.
That assumes you are taking all of it or if your climate allows not planting cover crop/using green manure.
 

Xavier434

Lifer
Oct 14, 2002
10,382
1
0
Originally posted by: Specop 007
Originally posted by: K1052
Originally posted by: Specop 007
Originally posted by: K1052
Don't forget that the waste cellulose from whatever you planted on the other acreage would also be fed into the cellulose processor.

There isn't going to be one huge leap that lets us replace oil based fuels overnight (or even in a decade+) but these sort of technologies are moving us along the way.
Let me make sure I understand.
So I grow wheat. i harvest the wheat which is used for flour to feed the masses. The chaff and straw from the wheat (Whats thrown out the back of the combine) is then recycled and used for the biofuel?

Is this what your stating?
Yep
So then your going to rely on fertilizer applications to keep yields up i assume? Stripping off the biomass also quickly deteriorates your soil. If that dead biomass isnt kept in the soil the only source of nutreints is what you add.
You are correct that the excess biomass does make the soil more fertile, but does anyone here really know how much more fertile it makes the soil? I don't. I do know that they use a lot of extra fertilizer applications anyways though. I guess what it really boils down to is whether or not that excess biomass could contribute more towards this country if used as a biofuel instead of fertilizing soil. I have no idea how the numbers would add up if that decision were to be made.
 

Specop 007

Diamond Member
Jan 31, 2005
9,454
0
0
Originally posted by: Xavier434
Originally posted by: Specop 007
Originally posted by: K1052
Originally posted by: Specop 007
Originally posted by: K1052
Don't forget that the waste cellulose from whatever you planted on the other acreage would also be fed into the cellulose processor.

There isn't going to be one huge leap that lets us replace oil based fuels overnight (or even in a decade+) but these sort of technologies are moving us along the way.
Let me make sure I understand.
So I grow wheat. i harvest the wheat which is used for flour to feed the masses. The chaff and straw from the wheat (Whats thrown out the back of the combine) is then recycled and used for the biofuel?

Is this what your stating?
Yep
So then your going to rely on fertilizer applications to keep yields up i assume? Stripping off the biomass also quickly deteriorates your soil. If that dead biomass isnt kept in the soil the only source of nutreints is what you add.
You are correct that the excess biomass does make the soil more fertile, but does anyone here really know how much more fertile it makes the soil? I don't. I do know that they use a lot of extra fertilizer applications anyways though. I guess what it really boils down to is whether or not that excess biomass could contribute more towards this country if used as a biofuel instead of fertilizing soil. I have no idea how the numbers would add up if that decision were to be made.
It really depends how you grow it. Crop rotations alone play a huge part in keeping soil healthy. The latest fad these days is no till which helps even more.

the point is if you start stripping your biomass you lose the health of your soil. I have a feeling to get any meaningful biofuel you need to strip most all of your biomass. Which puts you back to relying on hydrocarbons to keep your soil healthy.

Another catch .22 in the process. Have biomass for fuel or have biomass to keep your soil healthy.
 

Xavier434

Lifer
Oct 14, 2002
10,382
1
0
Originally posted by: Specop 007

It really depends how you grow it. Crop rotations alone play a huge part in keeping soil healthy. The latest fad these days is no till which helps even more.

the point is if you start stripping your biomass you lose the health of your soil. I have a feeling to get any meaningful biofuel you need to strip most all of your biomass. Which puts you back to relying on hydrocarbons to keep your soil healthy.

Another catch .22 in the process. Have biomass for fuel or have biomass to keep your soil healthy.
Well, I don't want the soil to become less healthy. I would expect the farmers to use additional fertilizing applications to make up for the difference. My problem is that I do not know how much of additional fertilizer is needed, how much it will cost, and whether or not that cost is lower than the amount being saved as a result of the biofuel allowing the country to rely on oil less. I also do not know whether or not the end result would be higher, lower, or neutral changes to gas prices. It's all about the numbers and I don't have any of them to work with. That makes it impossible for me to come up with an educated guess about how effective this method would prove to be.
 

smack Down

Diamond Member
Sep 10, 2005
4,507
0
0
Originally posted by: Harvey
Originally posted by: CADsortaGUY
Originally posted by: Harvey

Burning any fuel containing carbon produces carbon dioxide. A fuel that doesn't is hydrogen, which oxydizes hydrogen to produces only water vapor.
yes, their statement is off, but so is yours unless you can come up with a zero co2 emitting source for energy to produce hydrogen.
I was talking about the physics and chemistry of the fuel, and my point was only that their SwiftFuel is not "carbon neutral."

All things considered, their fuel may be a good idea, but in making that determination, I think it's important to have a true understanding of the advantages they claim. The rest is academic.
No the statement is correct. All the carbon that is released in burning the fuel comes from the air.
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
67,158
3,853
126
Partial solutions can come from using biomass that is not returnable to the soil easily such as saw dust or garbage, rice hulls, etc. CO2 from smoke stacks at steal mills can be converted to gas by genetically engineered bacteria. The design of organisms to carry out industrial processes is where the future is, in my opinion.

The basic approach is to set up a selective pressure, like an advantage to duplication for CO2 conversion efficiency and then grow millions of genetically randomly designed bacteria in that medium and select out any that have conversion efficiency in making some component of burnable gas. Because the robotic techniques for manufacturing the variants is growing exponentially huge combinations of synthetic life will be possible to create. Basically we can now massively accelerate the evolution of industrial life forms. Big changes are coming, I think.
 

CADsortaGUY

Lifer
Oct 19, 2001
25,162
1
76
www.ShawCAD.com
Originally posted by: Harvey
Originally posted by: CADsortaGUY
Originally posted by: Harvey

Burning any fuel containing carbon produces carbon dioxide. A fuel that doesn't is hydrogen, which oxydizes hydrogen to produces only water vapor.
yes, their statement is off, but so is yours unless you can come up with a zero co2 emitting source for energy to produce hydrogen.
I was talking about the physics and chemistry of the fuel, and my point was only that their SwiftFuel is not "carbon neutral."

All things considered, their fuel may be a good idea, but in making that determination, I think it's important to have a true understanding of the advantages they claim. The rest is academic.
And that's the part I was agreeing with you about. The part I disagreed with is your hydrogen comment. It's just as misleading as their claim.
 

Harvey

Administrator<br>Elite Member
Administrator
Oct 9, 1999
35,052
28
86
Originally posted by: CADsortaGUY
Originally posted by: Harvey
Originally posted by: CADsortaGUY
Originally posted by: Harvey

Burning any fuel containing carbon produces carbon dioxide. A fuel that doesn't is hydrogen, which oxydizes hydrogen to produces only water vapor.
yes, their statement is off, but so is yours unless you can come up with a zero co2 emitting source for energy to produce hydrogen.
I was talking about the physics and chemistry of the fuel, and my point was only that their SwiftFuel is not "carbon neutral."

All things considered, their fuel may be a good idea, but in making that determination, I think it's important to have a true understanding of the advantages they claim. The rest is academic.
And that's the part I was agreeing with you about. The part I disagreed with is your hydrogen comment. It's just as misleading as their claim.
Then you've failed dismally in your attempt to disagree with me. :)

I agree with you that generating hydrogen is costly. It requires power. The laws of physics tell us that, even with a theoretical 100% efficient conversion system, you can only get back as much energy by burning it as it takes to separate it, and there is no 100% efficient conversion system so the process, itself will expend some energy.

It doesn't necessarily require energy from a source that generates CO2. For example, hydro-electric power wouldn't, but it's a bit inconvenient to carry the river and the dam with you in the trunk. :p

The same is true for rechargable electric cars. The power that is supposed to recharge the plug-in car has to come from somewhere... like your friendly local power plant that uses whatever technology they happen to use.

Getting back to what I said, SwiftFuel may be a good alternative to petroleum derived fuels. It may be cleaner. It may be cheaper. It may not compete with food-based fuels. My ONLY point was that, in the article, they claimed it's carbon neutral, and it isn't.

Don't sweat it. We disagree about enough that you don't have to force this issue. :cool:
 

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