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Daox 10-15-2008 01:42 PM

How green are biofuels?
I just found this image while surfing at lunch today. Pretty interesting and sums up the current and up comming technologies for making biofuels.

Blister 10-15-2008 03:02 PM

As someone who use to make their own booze, I was telling people 3 or 4 years ago that ethanol was a losing proposition. Too much energy and time in with not enough power coming out... unless you're a drunk.

I also foretold the food price increases globally a year before we saw the prices actually rise just due to the govt's insistence that ethanol was "the way". Since they're still paying landowners NOT TO GROW corn on their land, it's obviously an issue of commerce and not an intelligent, caring move towards energy independence. So, all those red blocks next to ethanol are somewhat of a justification for me. To bad it's the poor who are paying the price.

If potatoes had been popularized more than corn, the price increases would have had less of an impact. Ask the russians, you can get gobs of alcohol out of potatoes.

The wood gas issue is one that kind of makes me angry. I had pictures on an old computer of several 1920 and 30's model tractors with wood gas assemblies (gasifiers) built right onto them. This technology could be current and very promising but it fell out of interest sometime in the 40's. Of course, back then family owned farms ran the grain based market economy instead of globalists.

Soybeans are a good idea for biodiesel IMHO. They have a chemical in them that mimics estrogen and increased levels of estrogen-like substances in food have been linked to everything from increased cases of prostate cancer to cystic fibrosis... so taking soybeans out of the food equation wouldn't be that bad to me.

One thing that's not mentioned here is the waste products, especially where biodiesel is concerned. Instead of cold pressing these crops for their oils, they extract them chemically to get more oil from them. Cold pressing the crops actually produce usable by-products that can mostly be used in the livestock market as high protien food additives. When they extract it chemically, what's left over is useless to anyone who doesn't have a high level of money and technology available to them.

Six years ago I produced a 90% sustainable farming program step-by-step that was based on only biodiesel and methane as fuels, all available from the land and animals on the farm itself. They ran all ICE's on the farm, supplying 90% of the power needed for tractors, electricty and a few minimalized processes. Unfortunately, you needed around 200 acres to make any kind of profit but 100 acres can sustain itself if livestock is present along with some self-restraint (no joy riding or power after 9pm).

All my figures were taken from journey to forever. Only a handful of people were interested but the article I wrote was offered for free on various forums under nicknames. Some adopted the process and hybridized it to fit what they were doing. Felt good but never even made a dent in commercial agricultural practices and will probably never see any form of legislation due to the labor involved. You actually have to work to make it work. lol

As long as legislators with corporate ties have the control over these things, we will never see anything, I mean ANYTHING, that will help out the average Joe in his struggle to become self-sufficient or save money.

The example is right here in front of us on this forum. If the true care of the govt was to cause us to be energy independent, none of these homebrew mods would be necessary. They would be available at every autoparts store. With the missile crisis of the 60's and the fuel rationing of the 70's one would think that we would have gotten our heads screwed on straight by now. I wont even mention the great depression. Instead of paying people NOT TO GROW crops they would subsidize wind and solar tech for those who can't afford them and instead of homeland security, there would be homeland technology...etc.

Hemp would be promising as well... it grows like weed (lol...weed)... strip the outside for clothing fibers and strip the inside of it oils. There you have it: Free tee shirts with every fill up.

NeilBlanchard 10-15-2008 03:29 PM


I heard recently that diesel from soybeans still lets the resulting material be used for stock feed. Soy can also be made into biodegradable plastics.

Jatophra, a fast growing willow tree, sunflowers, corn stalks, animal manure, human sewage, compost, and I'm sure that there are other things that can produce biodiesel, alcohol, methane, etc. or used in co-generation plants.

groar 10-15-2008 04:38 PM

Currently in France we have E85 (85% ethanol and 15% gasoline) but only few gas station are selling some. The ethanol comes from sugar beet.
All the diesel has at least 5% of diester from rapeseed. Very few biodiesel are sold, it's mainly used in buses.

iirc to convert all gasoline to Ethanol, 7.5% of all French cultures should be converted to sugar beet. If currently the price of sugar, done from sugar beet in France, is constant, it may not be constant if Ethanol is generalized.

We have enough fertilizer, pesticide and water problems without adding so much more intensive culture.


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