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Bio-fuel : A good alternative





nanobid
We are all great corcerned about the limited storage of fossil fuel. There are many other conventional sources of energy, but we can think about BIO-FUEL. I'm not expert about this, but let's share our views here.
kelseymh
nanobid wrote:
We are all great corcerned about the limited storage of fossil fuel. There are many other conventional sources of energy, but we can think about BIO-FUEL. I'm not expert about this, but let's share our views here.


So why aren't you sharing your views? All you seem to do is post topics and definitions, without either asking a question or making a statement. Why don't you start a discussion, instead of telling others to do so?
GoldenEagle
kelseymh wrote:
nanobid wrote:
We are all great corcerned about the limited storage of fossil fuel. There are many other conventional sources of energy, but we can think about BIO-FUEL. I'm not expert about this, but let's share our views here.


So why aren't you sharing your views? All you seem to do is post topics and definitions, without either asking a question or making a statement. Why don't you start a discussion, instead of telling others to do so?


For my senior chemical engineering project (1 semester long) to get my Bachelor of Science, I worked on creating a process to create biofuels from cellulosic materials such as corn husks, acorns, switchgrass and corn cobs, all readily available materials that currently have very limited uses. We designed everything from the initial furnaces up through the heat exchangers needed to pull off the process. The best part? Using our figures (we assumed a Tax cut on the final product and a tax penalty on Carbon Dioxide emissions) our factory process would be profitable AND sustainable at 100 million gallons created per year.
ocalhoun
GoldenEagle wrote:
Using our figures (we assumed a Tax cut on the final product and a tax penalty on Carbon Dioxide emissions) our factory process would be profitable AND sustainable at 100 million gallons created per year.


How close to profitable was it without tax incentives?
GoldenEagle
I believe the tax incentives were only a 20% impact on our profitability. I think we were $121 million in the black. I'll see if I can dig up our finalized (50+ pages?) report on it. It had a full breakdown of EVERY stream's flow rates, composition (by component and phase), and physical properties like Temperature, Pressure, etc.

Either way, it ought to have worked.
kelseymh
GoldenEagle wrote:
I believe the tax incentives were only a 20% impact on our profitability. I think we were $121 million in the black. I'll see if I can dig up our finalized (50+ pages?) report on it. It had a full breakdown of EVERY stream's flow rates, composition (by component and phase), and physical properties like Temperature, Pressure, etc.

Either way, it ought to have worked.


If the information is public, this would be excellent to post (and also, I think, to put up on the arXiv as a preprint).

The major problem I've seen with most biofuel systems (corn ethanol in particular) is that it diverts existing food crops. The consequence is that for any national-scale system, you have to massively increase industrial-scale farming (with all the attendant environmental and climatic effects), completely offsetting any environmental improvement from the reduction in fossil-fuel use.

It sounds, from your precis, that your proposal did not have that limitation.
GoldenEagle
kelseymh wrote:
GoldenEagle wrote:
I believe the tax incentives were only a 20% impact on our profitability. I think we were $121 million in the black. I'll see if I can dig up our finalized (50+ pages?) report on it. It had a full breakdown of EVERY stream's flow rates, composition (by component and phase), and physical properties like Temperature, Pressure, etc.

Either way, it ought to have worked.


If the information is public, this would be excellent to post (and also, I think, to put up on the arXiv as a preprint).

The major problem I've seen with most biofuel systems (corn ethanol in particular) is that it diverts existing food crops. The consequence is that for any national-scale system, you have to massively increase industrial-scale farming (with all the attendant environmental and climatic effects), completely offsetting any environmental improvement from the reduction in fossil-fuel use.

It sounds, from your precis, that your proposal did not have that limitation.


That would be correct. The goal was to create an economically feasible pathway from non-food crops to biofuels.

I also did a project that DID have the conflict, but sought utilize the corn for both processing of ethanol and corn oil using a Front-End fractionation. That was more of a hands-on project.
ocalhoun
GoldenEagle wrote:
I believe the tax incentives were only a 20% impact on our profitability. I think we were $121 million in the black.


It might just be that math is hard... but I don't think I can figure out the answer to my question from this...

The crucial missing information is, 20% of what?
Knowing that, it would be possible to figure out if $121 million is greater or less than 20%, and by how much.
Ankhanu
I've yet to see a bio-fuel plan that was ecologically feasible, for the reasons that Kelsey mentioned... the resources that are used to produce the fuel offset or exceed the fuel benefits received.

Biofuels seem like a decent stop-gap, in many ways, but, the problem is combustion for energy, period. We need a new method of attaining energy and to reduce our reliance upon plastics. It's not an easy prospect and likely requires large leaps in technology and a paradigm shift, neither of which will/can happen unless we (people) truly push for it. But, as always, we won't push until the situation is dire; we're too short sighted.
kelseymh
Ankhanu wrote:
I've yet to see a bio-fuel plan that was ecologically feasible, for the reasons that Kelsey mentioned... the resources that are used to produce the fuel offset or exceed the fuel benefits received.

Biofuels seem like a decent stop-gap, in many ways, but, the problem is combustion for energy, period.


I think I'd put a comma there, rather than a period. There are two energy combustion problems: Large-scale production of baseline energy for urbanized populations (lighting, heating and cooling, factories and other means of production); and small-scale production of energy on-demand for transportation.

The first problem is entirely solvable (in principle) with existing technology combined with some relatively modest improvements in efficiency, materials,
etc. Nuclear power, wind and water turbines, geothermal generation, solar energy
(whether PV or thermal) are all well understood and deployable in the absence of political (not technological) opposition.

The second problem is what biofuels seek to address. Transportation is necessarily small scale (you want to get from your home to your office at some time of day, all three of which variables are uncorrelated (to first order) with the transportation needs of anyone else. Even rail transport of goods is "small scale" in this context, when compared with gigawatt power plants.

Quote:
We need a new method of attaining energy and to reduce our reliance upon plastics. It's not an easy prospect and likely requires large leaps in technology and a paradigm shift, neither of which will/can happen unless we (people) truly push for it. But, as always, we won't push until the situation is dire; we're too short sighted.


And this statement is absolutely true for the second energy problem. Biofuels are a stop-gap, to allow us to use our existing petroleum-based devices and infrastructure, but really solving the problem requires major changes. The exploration of a huge range of alternatives (electric batteries, "personal buses" or "personal rail", transit villages, telepresence workspaces, and so on) reflect the fact that there is no existing solution available, and we don't (can't!) know what paradigm shift is going to happen to produce a solution.
Ankhanu
Oversight correction duly noted Wink

EDIT -
I just watched this, and it's somewhat relevant. I haven't watched the full vid yet though.
pirate
I study geography and geology and it is simple to say that bio fuel is not a good alternative, although it is sustainable and as long as we a growing more than we burn it will never run out but the problem is it is still burning and creating co2, when we have such a wide verity of alternate none carbon, renewable's like: Solar, Wind, Wave etc. bio fuel is not the way forward.


And just no to nuclear, take Chernobyl as a warning.
Ankhanu
Most EtOH is also corn based... which as a crop, especially under such intensive and extensive production is VERY hard on soil, in terms of nutrient depletion, erosion loss, water requirement and fertilizer and pesticide requirements. This seriously impacts the sustainability of the agroecosystem, and thus production
kelseymh
pirate wrote:
I study geography and geology and it is simple to say that bio fuel is not a good alternative, although it is sustainable and as long as we a growing more than we burn it will never run out


These two statements are equivalent. It is only sustaintable so long as the amount grown (for both food and fuel) are less than the amount burned for production. The problem I have seen in analyses is that there isn't a substantial amount of unused cropland available, so whatever crops you use for biofuel are taken away from food usage. It's not quite a "zero sum" situation, but it's pretty close, at least in developed countries.

Quote:
but the problem is it is still burning and creating co2,


This is not correct. The point about biofuel is that it is carbon neutral(*). Whatever CO[sub]2[/sub] is generated by burning is the same as was absorbed from the atmosphere during production (the two reactions are inverse, and conservation of energy gives you the result).

(*)That does not, obviously, take into account the additional "burning" (energy expenditure) needed for the agriculture in the first place. Which was the point I made in my earlier posting.

Quote:
And just no to nuclear, take Chernobyl as a warning.


This comment demonstrates a fair bit of ignorance of the technical issues. The Chernobyl accident was caused by (a) a substantially outdated, one might say "primitive," reactor design, combined with (b) deliberate actions by the operators to disable safety systems. It does not in any way demonstrate that nuclear power is inherently dangerous, but rather that nuclear power needs to be deployed with as many automatic, non-human, and failsafe (the Fukushima meltdowns demonstrate this issue) safety systems as possible. There are a number of proven technologies which meet those requirements.
menino
I believe bio fuels are a good source of fuel, and rather than be an alternative, it can be an additional source of fuel to solar, wind and nuclear power.

My only concern is if they need to genetically modify current foods for this purpose, even to get a better use of it.
Ankhanu
menino wrote:
My only concern is if they need to genetically modify current foods for this purpose, even to get a better use of it.


Incorrect... well, at least in the use of "genetically modify" to mean direct manipulation of the genome. Classically selectively bred strains (selective breeding IS genetic modification, it just doesn't need modern technology) work fine.
Selecting or modifying for higher oil content has already been done in several species, including corn and soy. Further modification could be useful in increasing yield, but it's not a requirement of production.
yagnyavalkya
Bio fuels are a good alternative
milkshake01
Bio-fuels are good for the environment. Just that it will take a very long time for people to start using it.
zaxacongrejo
i belive they are but thanks to the 7 sisters in my country they are banned
the only way you can have them is doing them by yourself
wich for biodisel its easy but you will have to spend some money to start your production
tonberry
Take everything that the two most literate guys here are saying and add another problem: parts.

Biofuel will destroy every piece of metal it comes in contact with. Give it time. If you have doubts, you can check even the simplest of tests university students make. I'm sure they are easy to find online. Or do one yourself: get or produce few liters of biofuels and fill it in a small tank. Insert some metal parts and just leave it. For comparison, do the same thing with normal fuel. You will be surprised by the results.

The whole biofuel thing is just another Greenpeace sort of hippie crack hype that screams "go green!" without the will to spend 5 minutes with the simplest of data. The damage from usage makes any 'profitable' 'unprofitable' and the costs of producing new car parts to replace the corroded ones (CO2 emissions during production of those parts) makes any 'ecologic' into 'un-ecologic'.

Nuclear energy is the safest and the most ecological source of energy there is. It is not a matter of my or your opinion, it is a matter of basic math. But everyone will have his/her opinion anyway Wink
kelseymh
tonberry wrote:
Take everything that the two most literate guys here are saying and add another problem: parts.

Biofuel will destroy every piece of metal it comes in contact with. Give it time. If you have doubts, you can check even the simplest of tests university students make. I'm sure they are easy to find online. Or do one yourself: get or produce few liters of biofuels and fill it in a small tank. Insert some metal parts and just leave it. For comparison, do the same thing with normal fuel. You will be surprised by the results.

The whole biofuel thing is just another Greenpeace sort of hippie crack hype that screams "go green!" without the will to spend 5 minutes with the simplest of data. The damage from usage makes any 'profitable' 'unprofitable' and the costs of producing new car parts to replace the corroded ones (CO2 emissions during production of those parts) makes any 'ecologic' into 'un-ecologic'.

Nuclear energy is the safest and the most ecological source of energy there is. It is not a matter of my or your opinion, it is a matter of basic math. But everyone will have his/her opinion anyway Wink


I'm very confused, and I wish you had actually provided citations to literature (since random Internet searches can find anything you want, without any verification or truth to them). Biofuel, as used in cars, is nothing more or less than diesel fuel. It is diesel fuel manufactured from non-fossil hydrocarbons. If your claim were true, then diesel fuel would be just as "universally corrosive", and it is not.
johans
I think and i have heard that there are new inventions that water can be one use of a fuel car.. I that way it can help a lot on our Earth.
tonberry
You don't take bacteria into equation. Fuel remains fuel and organic soup drastically changes its content with time. The corrosiveness of biofuel is not some super secret conspiracy theory, it is a pretty known fact.

In a place where I live every year there is a week or so of "open days" at the universities when selected lectures are open for everyone. Few years ago, there was a string of lectures on renewable energy sources and in that similar time few foreigners supposedly famous for their research on the topic had shown up to speak about them. Biofuels were one of the topics and it was well-covered and pointed to the issue that I pointed in my last post. Research about corrosive abilities of biofuels was shown, which boils down to some species of bacteria being responsible for this problem.

Citation from one source I was able to find now that explains the process: "Biodiesel is not corrosive initially, but the fatty acid methyl esters it contains are readily hydrolyzed by microbes, which transform it into organic acids and highly corrosive hydrogen sulfide. Researchers found that organisms from a variety of environments (including some samples derived from seawater from Key West, Fla.) took less than a month to degrade the fuel."

And one link for further reading, biofuel responsible for leak because of its corrosive qualities is here.

Another article, this one stressing the importance of corrosion-resistance containers for transportation of biofuels: here
muntja
i've read that brazil is all the way or close to all the way independent from importing fuel due to their own biofuel that they produce. this was a few years ago;

i'm not saying biofuel isn't worth it, i'm actually for that. But, do not like hearing that fossil fuel is limited. There is still tons of it, not only in the US but the whole world... it will be around forever and ever even if the rate of use increases.

that's not to say that fossil fuels don't provide bad side effects, and that's why i'm for biofuel.

But, instead of biofuel... i'm not sure why we don't just use magnets... seems like that way you could produce unlimited power...
1683598
Ankhanu wrote:
I've yet to see a bio-fuel plan that was ecologically feasible, for the reasons that Kelsey mentioned... the resources that are used to produce the fuel offset or exceed the fuel benefits received.

Biofuels seem like a decent stop-gap, in many ways, but, the problem is combustion for energy, period. We need a new method of attaining energy and to reduce our reliance upon plastics. It's not an easy prospect and likely requires large leaps in technology and a paradigm shift, neither of which will/can happen unless we (people) truly push for it. But, as always, we won't push until the situation is dire; we're too short sighted.


Another sustainable green fuel is biogas which is easily produced using cheap methods. Here in the Pacific region, it is becoming more popular and widely used as an alternative to kerosene or wood based stoves for cooking.
codersfriend
I hope this would be used worldwide someday. This would be a great alternative to petroleum. Especially in the country I live in, the Philippines, which is an agricultural land, would benefit a lot to this.
Insanity
I think the problem with biofuels is that it takes so much resources to produce it in terms of water and energy that it's just not that efficient. There's also the problem of using farmland to grow fuel instead of food, which might be needed in some parts of the world. And it's not the cleanest form of fuel to be burning when we're already at so many green house gases in the atmosphere. While it's true that these emissions won't be as significant as the ones generated by burning fossil fuels, they still contribute. They may be biogenic and part of a shorter carbon cycle, but if we turn to other sources like solar, wind, or geothermal that don't have the emissions like biofuels, it might be a better path to go down. This is important because there's a limited amount of funding available for researching new technologies for producing energy, and the best way to use them is to fund something that is more beneficial than biofuels.
Insanity
I think the problem with biofuels is that it takes so much resources to produce it in terms of water and energy that it's just not that efficient. There's also the problem of using farmland to grow fuel instead of food, which might be needed in some parts of the world. And it's not the cleanest form of fuel to be burning when we're already at so many green house gases in the atmosphere. While it's true that these emissions won't be as significant as the ones generated by burning fossil fuels, they still contribute. They may be biogenic and part of a shorter carbon cycle, but if we turn to other sources like solar, wind, or geothermal that don't have the emissions like biofuels, it might be a better path to go down. This is important because there's a limited amount of funding available for researching new technologies for producing energy, and the best way to use them is to fund something that is more beneficial than biofuels.
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