Name your favourite BioFuel Technology

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by Singularity, Feb 20, 2006.

  1. CANGAS Registered Senior Member

    Among the top of my favorites is Biowillie, known outside Texas as Biodiesel, simply the oil of cottonseed or the like, with no or little reformulation.

    I don't understand the furor over hemp. While maryjane is related genetically to hemp, hemp is extremely weak in intoxicating agent. You would verbatim have to smoke a ton of hemp to become stoned. Hemp is not dope. Hemp is just rope.
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  3. MetaKron Registered Senior Member

    Trouble with cottonseed oil is, have you seen the plants? They are the frailest of weed-like things that have almost no substance to them. A single cottonseed plant provides a few dozen very small seeds and millions have to be gathered to make a barrel. A single hemp plant produces several pounds of oil.
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  5. Singularity Banned Banned

    I wonder if the villagers actually need oils in that quantity.

    But if they use diesel then they must replace it with some form of BioFuel, i vote for Hemp.

    But the real revolution will be if they can steal landslide amount of business from the oil Mugghals and end the Kingships once and for all.

    I mean think, no need of crude, no need to attack and kill millions of like they did in Iraq.
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  7. MetaKron Registered Senior Member

    It's amazing what we've become numb to. The oil moguls are the only reason the U.S. attacked Iraq. Bush has even admitted that it was for the oil.
  8. Roman Banned Banned

  9. erich_knight Erich J. Knight Registered Senior Member

    I thought the current news and links on Terra Preta soils and closed-loop pyrolysis would interest you.
    SCIAM Article May 15 07;

    After many years of reviewing solutions to anthropogenic global warming (AGW) I believe this technology can manage Carbon for the greatest collective benefit at the lowest economic price, on vast scales. It just needs to be seen by ethical globally minded companies.

    Could you please consider looking for a champion for this orphaned Terra Preta Carbon Soil Technology.

    The main hurtle now is to change the current perspective held by the IPCC that the soil carbon cycle is a wash, to one in which soil can be used as a massive and ubiquitous Carbon sink via Charcoal. Below are the first concrete steps in that direction;

    Tackling Climate Change in the U.S.

    Potential Carbon Emissions Reductions from Biomass by 2030by Ralph P. Overend, Ph.D. and Anelia Milbrandt
    National Renewable Energy Laboratory

    The organization 25x25 (see 25x'25 - Home) released it's (first-ever, 55-page )"Action Plan" ; see; Documents/ActionPlanFinalWEB_04-19-07.pdf
    On page 29 , as one of four foci for recommended RD&D, the plan lists: "The development of biochar, animal agriculture residues and other non-fossil fuel based fertilizers, toward the end of integrating energy production with enhanced soil quality and carbon sequestration."
    and on p 32, recommended as part of an expanded database aspect of infrastructure: "Information on the application of carbon as fertilizer and existing carbon credit trading systems."

    I feel 25x25 is now the premier US advocacy organization for all forms of renewable energy, but way out in front on biomass topics.

    There are 24 billion tons of carbon controlled by man in his agriculture , I forgot the % that is waste, but when you add all the other cellulose waste which is now dumped to rot or digested or combusted and ultimately returned to the atmosphere as GHG, the balanced number is around 24 Billion tons. So we have plenty of bio-mass.

    Even with all the big corporations coming to the GHG negotiation table, like Exxon, Alcoa, .etc, we still need to keep watch as they try to influence how carbon management is legislated in the USA. Carbon must have a fair price, that fair price and the changes in the view of how the soil carbon cycle now can be used as a massive sink verses it now being viewed as a wash, will be of particular value to farmers and a global cool breath of fresh air for us all.

    If you have any other questions please feel free to call me or visit the TP web site I've been drafted to co-administer.

    It has been immensely gratifying to see all the major players join the mail list , Cornell folks, T. Beer of Kings Ford Charcoal (Clorox), Novozyne the M-Roots guys(fungus), chemical engineers, Dr. Danny Day of EPRIDA , Dr. Antal of U. of H., Virginia Tech folks and probably many others who's back round I don't know have joined.

    Also Here is the Latest BIG Terra Preta Soil news;

    The Honolulu Advertiser: “The nation's leading manufacturer of charcoal has licensed a University of Hawai'i process for turning green waste into barbecue briquets.”

    About a year ago I got Clorox interested in TP soils and Dr. Antal's Plasma Carbonazation process.


    ConocoPhillips Establishes $22.5 Million Pyrolysis Program at Iowa State 04/10/07

    Mechabolic , a pyrolysis machine built in the form of a giant worm to eat solid waste and product char & fuel at the "Burning Man" festival ;
  10. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Hi Erich - welcome back.

    From your second link I read (its page 117, bottom section):
    "Because char residue from pyrolysis processes would contain about 10% of the original carbon, the carbon storage component that would arise from the incorporation of the char into soils would likely be about 1 tC/ha/yr, compared with ... power systems on the order of 4to 6 tC/ha/yr. ..."

    This "5 times better" process (at sequestering carbon) than tera preta from pyrolysis is to use the bio feed to generate electric power (displace fosil fuel) and then capture and compress the CO2 for deep aquifer or ocean injection. It may be economically more viable also. - I seem to recal there already is such a power plant operating now on the West coast of Norway, but I do not know what % is bio-fuel vs fossil. Think it does use some sawdust as fuel mixed with pulverized coal. Norway also has a lot of hydro-power which produces zero CO2.)
    True this "inject the CO2" approach does not make the soil more productive, but should increase the growth of ocean alge and bottom anchored plants (kelp) if disolved CO2 is the limiting factor.
    Note also that the organtic material simply left in the fields by current agricultural paractice adds between 0.2 to 0.5tC/ha/yr (from top of page117) or is 20 to 50% as efficient in carbon sequestering as tera preta produced by pyrolysis. Considering that ALL fields and forests make this organic litter the cabon naturally (no new cost) sequestered is thousands of times greater than even the most optimistic dreams for artificial tera preta sequestering. As only a very small change in agricultural technic (no til ?) could perhaps increase the current agricultural field sequester, surely by 1%, the potential here is much greater than with tera preta. If you really want to advance economical carbon sequestering, I suggest you look into the factors that influence the storage of litter left in the fields as carbon in soil (your links refs 5, 6, 7 and especialy 8 seem to discuss this, but I did not read them.)

    I will soon go look at your web site, as I hope to find there, what was not here about pryolisis production of tera preta. Namely, where does the heat for the oxygen free pryolisis come from and what fraction of the combustible gases produced during the pyrolysis is consumed if that is the source? (I sure hope it is as to use natural gas would be a crime.)

    SUMMARY 1: Certainly, solar energy and CO2 from the air can produce a great deal of man's fossil energy requirements, including liquid fuels. (I think all needed for vehicles witrh more electric hybrides and buses etc., if more attention were paid to end use efficiencies, which are still by far the most economical way to reduce CO2 releases.) There are basically two approaches to replacing fossil fuels with renewable bio fuels. One, which you favor, is destructive distilation - heat without oxygen present. The other, which I favor, is to grow plants that either:
    (1)grow sugar cane, crush it, ferment juice to alcohol, at least until any celulose can be economically broken down into polisacrides that then can be converted to mix of different sugars.
    I am not very optimisitc that celulose will ever be competive with sugar cane as the production of these polisacrides is extra stage and each of these complex sugars produced will very likely require its own yeast. I.e. they must be separated by several centrifuging stages to just get to the starting point obtained by cheap mechanical rollers crushing cane. I suspect that the cost of arriving at this starting point (separated set of fermentable liquids) with celulous exceeds the total cost of producing ETOH from sugar cane.
    (2)grow plants rich in oils such as the caster bean and some types of palm seeds (Many others like soy beans are valuable food stocks, so I hope not used as the poor suffer enough already.) Palm oil was one of the cheapest eatable oils, but now is recognized as one of the most harmful to health (only man made transfats are worse), so I would like to see it used only for production of diesel fuel, not eaten.

    SUMMARY 2: I continue to think the best path to reduce atmospheric CO2 (by displacement of fossil fuels, mainly*) is plants grown in the tropics (or near them) specifically for fuel production. I think celulose in land fills can help via methane production, but it is too costly to collect unless you need to collect it for some other reason. E.g. Saw mills and cities do already collect it (sawdust and old newspapers etc) and then this celulose is economically competive with natural gas, but unfortunately the CO2 produced by trucks moving it to first use point and then later to the land fill is large (larger?) than compared with the saving made by the "organic methane" displacing "nature gas" methane
    *The plant roots etc. do store also. Perhaps the above .2 to .5tC/ha/yr and then there is the "one time" storage in the tanks of the fuel distribution system (and vehicle tanks).

    Also as you have been very enthusastic in the past about several energy system promotions (some of which at leastI have helped you see may have been just scams) I think you will find this 100 year old scam interesting. Unfortuantely, it probably is the reason modern cars are not battery driven, and less CO2 produced for transport. See
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 13, 2007
  11. MetaKron Registered Senior Member

    All that we will accomplish by sequestering carbon will be the decrease of harvests and of plankton in the oceans.
  12. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Even though in last post here, I said:
    "True this "inject the CO2" approach does not make the soil more productive, but should increase the growth of ocean alge and bottom anchored plants (kelp) if disolved CO2 is the limiting factor."

    I do not think CO2 is very limiting in most of the ocean, especially near the shore where the economic harvesting is done. This because near the shore is where there is usually huge transport of CO2 from air into the ocean by the "white caps" that form on waves entering more shallow water. These tiny bubbles not only increase the local air/water interface by at least and order of magnitude*, but also as they become smaller the surface tension increases their internal pressure and this "drives" the atmospheic gases in more rapidly. In the case of CO2 absorption is also facilitated by chemisity (I forget the details) but as you may know for opening carbonated water bottle, huge (compared to O2 or N2) quanties of CO2 disolve in water under pressure.
    *this bubble area for the entire ocean is unknown. It is a significant uncertainity in all models of global warming due to CO2 increase. Perhaps the ocean air interface is twice as big as the area of the oceans so the rate of CO2 removal by absorbtion into the ocean may be underestimated by a factor of two if only area of the ocean is used. (More than that when the higher internal pressure inside the tiny bubbles is considered.) This removal process is comprable with plants growing on land or may exceed that, I think, but do not know much about long term climate modeling. (except that it is quite uncertain

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  13. MetaKron Registered Senior Member

    I really don't think that carbon dioxide can cause global warming.
  14. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

  15. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    There was a thread on this, which I tried to find, but here is link to another scam, from long time ago, which has PS and footnote about the the energy in strong salt water. (There is a lot!):

    His "burning salt" yields less energy of lower quality (heat) than the high quality RF energy he puts in! Not sure he realizes this, so perhaps he is just ignorant and not just a dishonest con-man.
  16. MetaKron Registered Senior Member

    Since his message is "look into it" I don't think he's dishonest or a con man. Also, maybe he knows something that you don't, Billy.
  17. MetaKron Registered Senior Member

    But one thing is for certain. We don't know exactly how the radio waves split salt water but we do know that they do it. This is a demonstration of an actual mechanism by which radio waves can damage organisms and we don't know how little or how much it takes.

    Also worth considering is the idea that the radio waves trigger sonoluminescence.
  18. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Never said he was: I said:

    " ... perhaps he is just ignorant and not just a dishonest con-man. "

    I said this because in the video, he seem to be sincere, but I also think GWB is "just ignorant and not just a dishonest con-man" (when it comes to his Alcohol from corn program etc.)

    GWB is so naive and dumb that with his sincerity, he is the perfect "front man" for the neocons who have wanted to conquer the oil lands of the Mid-East for years. (Even during Clintion's administration, but Clinton was too smart to let them get US into an unwinable war that actually reduces oil production as it has in Iraq. All Clinton allowed was the US Navy to throw a few "million dollar Tomahawks" into tents in Afganistan - good "test flights" so not total waste, as GWB's Iraq war is.)
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 21, 2007
  19. Carcano Valued Senior Member

    This just in from Brazil!

    Can Magnets Boost Ethanol Production?

    Brazilian researchers report that exposure to magnetic fields increased ethanol yields by as much as 17 percent.

    "Brazil gets a third of its fuel from sugarcane-based ethanol, and ethanol producers want to increase that figure by refining the fermentation process. Brazilian labs are exploring everything from the genetic engineering of yeast to new approaches to producing ethanol from agricultural waste. In research to be published next month in the American Chemical Society journal Biotechnology Progress, Brazilian researchers claim to have demonstrated a seemingly unlikely means to higher yields: magnetic fields.

    The researchers at the University of Campinas, in Brazil, say that they boosted ethanol yield 17 percent and shaved two hours off of a 15-hour fermentation process simply by circulating the fermentation brew past six magnets, each about the size of an overstuffed wallet. "The fermentation time can be reduced, and consequently, the production cost can also be reduced," says Victor Haber Perez, the University of Campinas food engineer who led the research team.

    A slew of recent reports highlight the importance of cutting the cost of biofuel production and boosting yields. Earlier this month, for example, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development warned that biofuels--as currently produced--will inflate food prices and are a relatively costly way to reduce petroleum imports and carbon-dioxide emissions. (See "The High Costs of Biofuels.")

    Looking to magnets for help isn't as crazy as it sounds. In fact, magnetic-field effects on microbial and mammalian cells are well documented. Biologists now view magnetic-field "pollution" from mobile-phone towers as a likely cause of a decline in the population of some migratory birds that rely on magnetic fields for navigation. And genetic engineers are experimenting with magnetic fields as a tool to control the growth and differentiation of stem cells. However, magnetically enhanced fermentation is a more controversial idea. There have been relatively few studies of magnetic effects on yeast cells--particularly the yeast cells employed in fermentation--and the results have been contradictory.

    In 2003, Brazilian researchers at the Federal University of Pernambuco, in Recife, created a stir with a report that a static magnetic field caused marked increases in the growth of yeast and the ethanol concentration in laboratory-scale fermentations that used Saccharomyces cerevisiae. (S. cerevisiae is the yeast most commonly used in the Brazilian biofuels industry to produce ethanol from sugarcane.) A year later, however, Spanish radiobiologists at the University of Malaga threw that work into doubt, reporting that they had observed no stimulation of S. cerevisiae when it was subjected to a (much weaker, admittedly) magnetic field. They also failed to observe any impact from the alternating magnetic fields used in some earlier studies.

    Perez and his colleagues set out to settle the matter, using controlled experiments in a state-of-the-art industrial bioreactor. They diverted the fermentation mixture of sugarcane molasses and yeast out of the reactor via stainless-steel pipes that passed between six magnets with a combined field strength of 20 milliteslas--roughly halfway between the strengths of the magnets employed in previous tests. The results confirmed the 2003 report from the group in Recife: a static magnetic field increased the yeast's rate of sugar metabolism and boosted ethanol production by 9 percent. The higher 17 percent increase was observed when Perez employed a solenoid--basically, a wire coil around the magnets--to alternate the 20-millitesla field.

    Perez says that he is confident that the magnetic fields will "more than pay for themselves," offsetting the cost of the magnets and their power supply. Applications for patents on the technique have been filed--patents that Perez believes will be applicable to processes that use feedstocks other than sugarcane, such as corn and biomass, to produce ethanol. But Perez acknowledges that more research is needed before the magnetic effect can be applied commercially. "Studies in pilot plants and on the industrial scale need to be carried out to conclude a more complete analysis of the impact on the process cost," he says.

    Hermann Berg, a biochemist at the Saxonian Academy of Sciences, in Leipzig, Germany, says that the Brazilian researchers' results corroborate evidence that he and others have found for magnetic fields' ability to boost bacterial and yeast metabolism. "I believe that it works," says Berg.

    James Weaver, associate director of the Biomedical Engineering Center at Harvard and MIT's joint Division of Health Sciences and Technology, counsels caution while scientists sort out the causes of the increased yields. "This is a controversial area," he says.

    But Weaver adds that there is a lot of research under way that bears watching. For example, he points to a report published in June in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showing that alternating, low-intensity electric fields can stop tumor cells from dividing by disrupting the "molecular machinery" of cell division. (Electric fields attract charged molecules in much the same way that magnets attract metallic particles.) That work, led by researchers at Haifa-based Israeli biotech firm NovoCure, is now in phase III clinical trials as a treatment for patients with glioblastoma multiforme--the most common form of brain cancer.

    The fermentation boost, too, could be due to an electric field induced by the alternating magnetic field, but Weaver believes that all such hypotheses are pure speculation. "Plainly, the effect is very large. It's very interesting, but it's hard to say anything beyond that," he says. "It's the proverbial 'It raises lots of questions, but at this time, no answers."
  20. draqon Banned Banned

    the question now is: is the cost of producing magnetic field outweighs the benefit of magnetic field induced 17% increase in ethanol production?
  21. MetaKron Registered Senior Member

    If alternating the magnetic flux increases the production, instead of using a solenoid, place the magnets so that the flow carries it past alternating poles. Then the producer can use entirely permanent magnets and no extra electrical power except for pumping the mash.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2007
  22. Carcano Valued Senior Member

  23. OilIsMastery Banned Banned

    According to Jane Goodall, all biofuels are terrible for the environment and they literally rape the rain forests. Electricity, hydrocarbons, and nuclear energy are the most green.


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