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Old 05-26-2008, 10:26 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Legislation is already starting against wood burning in some states. You need to invent a way to extract the energy without creating smoke. Any ideas? This is a big one. Did you know you can heat wood in a chamber and burn the gas in an engine?
Outdoor boilers are being banned in many states that I know of, but don't confuse an outdoor boiler with a modern indoor woodstove. Catalytic or not, the new EPA woodstoves burn very efficiently and cleanly if used properly.

Nearly all outdoor boilers seem to be designed with a grade 2 knowledge the combustion process, therefore they are about 1/3 as efficient as an indoor woodstove and pollute around 100 times as much.

The major problem with indoor woodstoves is the lack of automated fire management, we run ours very hot and therefore burn as much "smoke" as we can but this requires supervision until the fire stabilizes. We aim for a stove top temp of 800F so combustion temps must be 1400F or more. I should try to record a video of adding a single peice of paper into the stove at these temps. It takes about 45 seconds to a minute for it to slowly be reduced to ash, you can see everybit of energy being pulled out of it. Many people still run their indoor stoves to cold in an attempt to burn overnight, and they produce lots of smoke. With an automated draft control, woodstoves could be very efficient even for those that don't have the knowledge or time to monitor and control them properly.
I have read that a company is thinking of developing one as a retrofit so hopefully they will become common soon.

Woodstove are also carbon neutral, and for us, we are people most effected by the pollution that is emitted. Obviously they aren't so great for an urban environment if everyone has one but I imagine they could added at a density of 1 per block without a major air quality reduction.
Ian

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Old 05-26-2008, 08:43 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Any biofuel that competes for agricultural resources (arable land and fresh water) is ultimately a bad idea.

Biofuels have to grow in deserts and use salt water. Otherwise they cause the price of food to go up.

It has to rock to be a corn farmer these days. Corn has tripled in price since the ethanol subsidies were enacted. I've seen it over $10/bu on the CBoT. But that means the price of corn flour has also tripled. Tough times in Mexico where corn flour is a staple.

Ethanol (actually denatured alcohol) does have its virtues. It has fabulous octane rating. The Corvette used as a pace car at the Indy 500 had a John Lingenfelter LS7 modified to run on E85. Lingenfelter's company jacked up the compression, advanced the ignition timing and increased the fuel injector size and with Emerson Fittipaldi at the wheel that 'Vette easily did the 150 MPH pace speed these open-wheelers need these days.
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Old 05-29-2008, 03:13 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Big Dave View Post
Any biofuel that competes for agricultural resources (arable land and fresh water) is ultimately a bad idea.

Biofuels have to grow in deserts and use salt water. Otherwise they cause the price of food to go up.

It has to rock to be a corn farmer these days. Corn has tripled in price since the ethanol subsidies were enacted. I've seen it over $10/bu on the CBoT. But that means the price of corn flour has also tripled. Tough times in Mexico where corn flour is a staple.
In my area I would guess that agricultural production could be increased by 100% easliy if it made economic sense to do it. Myself and 4 neighbors have 250 acres of unused fields and no one is knocking on our doors asking to rent them, and I'm nt pricing out a tractor to do it myself. This land is not prime farmland but it all was farmed in the recent past. Because modern industrial agriculture is so fuel dependent that I don't think farmers are coming out much ahead than they were before ethanol, especially on less than ideal land. Government subsidies had artificially lowered the price of corn to where it made sense to convert it to ethanol, now ethanol subsidies still promote corn being used even with a tripling in value.

Corn ethanol seems to be a disaster as a biofuel, corn is hard on the land, takes a huge amount of fertillizer, and is energy intensive to harvest and process. I do think that a process to utilize cellulouse could be implemented well with crops that produce well without so many energy inputs.

The final solution is just use a fraction of the energy we use now, then the demand for any fuel is less and biofuels can play a significant role without affecting food prices. Our consumption based society will finally be seen as unsustainable and we can work on being carbon neutral and nutrient neutral(sustainable agriculture, not industrial agriculture).
I imagine north america will be alot more like western europe which isn't so bad. Integrated public transportation and all that. The average family won't own 2 cars and won't need to.
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Old 05-29-2008, 08:51 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndyIan
I imagine north america will be alot more like western europe which isn't so bad. Integrated public transportation and all that. The average family won't own 2 cars and won't need to.
Ian
France is one of, if not the most densely populated countries in the world. The only thing that passes for wilderness is the French Alps, which is covered with mountaineers year round. Western Europe is "progressive" because they need to be. The problem with people is that they don't consider diets until they become obese.

Europe destroyed their land. North America is well into the process. What ever happened to learning from others' mistakes?

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Old 05-29-2008, 11:33 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by IndyIan View Post
In my area I would guess that agricultural production could be increased by 100% easliy if it made economic sense to do it. Myself and 4 neighbors have 250 acres of unused fields and no one is knocking on our doors asking to rent them, and I'm nt pricing out a tractor to do it myself. This land is not prime farmland but it all was farmed in the recent past. Because modern industrial agriculture is so fuel dependent that I don't think farmers are coming out much ahead than they were before ethanol, especially on less than ideal land. Government subsidies had artificially lowered the price of corn to where it made sense to convert it to ethanol, now ethanol subsidies still promote corn being used even with a tripling in value.

Corn ethanol seems to be a disaster as a biofuel, corn is hard on the land, takes a huge amount of fertillizer, and is energy intensive to harvest and process. I do think that a process to utilize cellulouse could be implemented well with crops that produce well without so many energy inputs.

The final solution is just use a fraction of the energy we use now, then the demand for any fuel is less and biofuels can play a significant role without affecting food prices. Our consumption based society will finally be seen as unsustainable and we can work on being carbon neutral and nutrient neutral(sustainable agriculture, not industrial agriculture).
I imagine north america will be alot more like western europe which isn't so bad. Integrated public transportation and all that. The average family won't own 2 cars and won't need to.
Ian
I couldn’t agree more. Right now it has become very fashionable to bash Bio-Fuels but it doesn’t make sense to me as I see a future of electric cars and vehicles that cant use electric running on bio-fuels. How else are we going to solve our CO2 problems?

Agricultural resources diverted to fuel production is not the problem, the problem is we have never properly applied the correct value to our resources. An article that I recently found states that the U.S. spent $611.3 billion between 2000 and 2005 on agricultural subsidies, that averages to $101.9/year (source http://www.speroforum.com/site/article.asp?id=14305 ) and yet another source I found stated that ethanol subsidies were $7 billion for 2006 (source http://zfacts.com/p/807.html ).

While corn to ethanol is really not the solution because it has an energy payback of 1.3:1, If you look into what Bio-D gets and Brazilian ethanol are getting it becomes much more promising (3:1 and well over 4:1) showing that Bio-Fuels actually will work. What current subsidies and regulations are doing is paving the way for future crops to hit the ground running.

It seems silly to complain about the $7 billion in subsides on ethanol compared to $101 billion the U.S. spends on agriculture and the $101 billion really shows that we have not been paying the market rate for food for a real long time. Where I am from there has been no money to be made in farming for 20 years. Where are the incentives to increase food production if there is no money to be made and why should farmers struggle just so people can have cheap food that they waste. We need to start pricing our resources properly and production will shift away from goods that we no longer need and to ones that we do.
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Old 06-01-2008, 01:16 PM   #26 (permalink)
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"Western Europe is 'progressive' because they need to be. The problem with people is that they don't consider diets until they become obese. Europe destroyed their land. North America is well into the process. What ever happened to learning from others' mistakes?"

That would require people to think ... and they would rather turn on American Idol and turn their brains off.
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Old 06-01-2008, 01:28 PM   #27 (permalink)
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To get the most from our fuels, we need two things:

1. Engines designed around and dedicated to burning 100% pure ethanol.

2. Pure gasoline for our current vehicles.

Automakers can bump up the compression ratio and change the fuel maps for existing engines that burn only ethanol. That way they'll be able to squeeze as much power as possible from it.

Also, by getting the ethanol out of our gasoline, existing cars will get an instant 10% mpg boost.

However, running ANY amount of ethanol in cars designed for gasoline is foolish. No good comes from giving gasoline engines ethanol. The reason the oil companies aren't up in arms about it is because it doesn't actually decrease gasoline consumption. The volume displaced by the ethanol is on par with the MPG decrease. That extra volume may as well be air. The only favors done here, are for the corn farmers.
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Old 06-01-2008, 10:39 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Brit Hume read this short bit on Special Report about 1 week ago:

"A provision in the farm bill vetoed by President Bush but made law when the veto was overridden by Congress calls for up to $16 billion more in crop subsidies than previously projected. The program is called Average Crop Revenue Election or ACRE.

The Washington Post reports it gives farmers the option of trading in their traditional subsidies for a government pledge to give them 90 percent of the difference between what they make in a given year and their usual income. The hitch is the formula for determining benefits pegs the payments to current record prices for grain. So if prices fall back to normal levels, huge subsidies will result.

One farming blog is urging readers to sign up for the program, calling it
'lucrative beyond expectations.'

Defenders of the farm bill say grain prices will not come down much in the five years the legislation is in effect meaning food prices will stay close to their current record high levels."
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Old 03-06-2009, 11:10 AM   #29 (permalink)
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I got to see David Blume speak not too long ago.

He's the author of THE book on making your own ethanol.
He is a big fan of making alcohol from SUSTAINABLY grown crops.

He also won an award for his reporting on how oil businesses were buying up corn futures, artificially, driving up the price. (NOT food vs fuel, which is more media spin than anything)

There is a big ethanol plant about 20 miles from my house, which has just gone bankrupt. They put a TON of money into the place to get up and running, and then the price of ethanol dropped in half, once the "corn-bubble" popped.

Who will buy it? Perhaps an oil company? They would get a really good deal on the place. We do have more and more government requirements for "clean energy", and big businesses would do well to diversify.

We do have some county planners who are presenting the concept of an Eco-Business park on that property. Would be really cool if that went through!
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Old 03-06-2009, 01:58 PM   #30 (permalink)
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My opinion is the biggest problem with any "green", or energy concern is everyone spends all their time trying to defecate all over anyone's ideas that nobody ends up doing anything.

"easy to criticise, hard to create"

Ethanol is NOT the solution that will save the world.

But it IS a bridge away from petroleum which IS a finite resource (how can it not be?)

Most importantly, ethanol is something that runs in our countless millions of existing cars with minimal adjustments, so we don't have to take millions of working machines and throw them away and waste energy and resources building new ones.

Throwing away a working, already-delivered-to-its-theater-of-operation machine is ecologically irresponsible and also retarded.

Sure, let's keep building next-generation vehicles that don't need liquid fuel and stuff... but let's ALSO keep using the machines we have so we don't have to figure out what to do with several hundred million hunks of metal and plastic eh? They'll wear out on their own eventually.

Frankly, if you want to fix the problems caused by humans, the only logical solution is to stop making so many humans. Not by genocide, not by war, not by eugenics, just by waiting longer to start having kids. Have as many as you want, but wait till you're 25 at least. In 100 years, you can have 5 generations breeding at age 20, or 4 generations breeding at age 25, get it? Nobody is prevented from having kids, nobody is oppressed, no rights are being denied anybody, no holocaust is needed. Just everyone getting on board and waiting to have kids until they're older... and better able to afford/raise kids too.

Until people realize the solution to the problems of man is less men, and all get on board with a solution instead of just nagging and whining and criticising it... we may as well be shoveling sand against the tide with a broken spork.

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