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Old 01-24-2008, 08:44 AM   #1
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UN thinks bio fuels may hurt environment/economy

http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/science....ap/index.html

Ok, they're basically saying that bio fuels will take up a bunch of resources. Two of the big ones are land and water. Although this won't necessarily be the case, thank God they're considering these hypothetical scenarios. The absolute worst thing we could do is bet all of our money on something we haven't thought through.

Personally I think that growing specific crops devoted to bio fuel is quite a dumb idea. What we need to do is harnest waste products from current crops. Corn husks contain glucose, cellulose, and other energy storing molecules. I can't remember the name of the publication I read this in, but it suggested that the husks be stripped prior to export. This would actually have a benefit of reduced shipping mass too.

I'm sure corn isn't the only product that contains currently unused material and I believe more research needs to be done in this area. Think about the idea here. You're not using more water or land or any other resources in the production of the natural material. It's going to be there no matter what.

I imagine there are acres upon acres of renewable resources that are deemed unacceptable every season. Here's another possible source of energy. Albeit relatively small, every bit helps.

I've said it time and again, we can no longer rely on a single source of fuel. Not only did it get us into trouble in the past, it's just not feasible.

Anyway, that's my take on the situation. Diversify and use what already exists but doesn't currently have a use. Heck, that's how we got hooked on gasoline in the first place. It was abundant and a true use couldn't really be found until the engine came about. If I remember correctly, H. Ford wanted to use ethanol, but gasoline was cheaper. Go figure.
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Old 01-24-2008, 07:57 PM   #2
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Yes...

Castro has talked about this too. I am with them in that you shouldn't link fuel sources to food sources.

Waste seems like the better idea.

I guess Spielberg had it right in back to the future. Right?
The little port on the Delorian for stuffing all sorts of waste to be used as fuel.

I think ethanol is a horrible idea.
They really need to leave corn and soy alone.
If they go with corn then the price of food( beef etc...) will shoot up.
If they go with soy, then I am going to be in a bad spot because I am vegetarian and the majority of my food is soy.

And I need to stay alive on the cheap. You understand.
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Old 01-24-2008, 10:55 PM   #3
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This items were brought up for years. Gasohol was used in the midwestern part the United States since the late 70's through a subsidy. It's nothing new. Why would they expect to do the same thing and get different results?
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Old 02-07-2008, 10:32 AM   #4
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if the whole world population would go veggy there would be quite some farmland freed for growing fuel... not that it'll happen... but perhaps peopele are so car addicted they'll sooner change their eating than their driving habbits, don't know....

recycling leftover bits seems like a good idea...
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Old 02-08-2008, 02:52 AM   #5
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if the whole world population would go veggy there would be quite some farmland freed for growing fuel... not that it'll happen... but perhaps peopele are so car addicted they'll sooner change their eating than their driving habbits, don't know....

recycling leftover bits seems like a good idea...
You're probably not going to grow biomass on land that currently is pastured, that land is usually reserved for that purpose precisely because food animals aren't as picky as plows.

That being said, we could grow algae for biomass fuel. Just take a body of water, seed it and then harvest. Trouble is that introducing fuel compatible algae will change the ecology of the local area. I'm sure someone will note this and raise objections.

Addicted to cars? Thank zoning laws for such things. When we were free to start businesses in our own neighborhoods people were able to walk to work or to get what they needed. Today the automobile enables zoning, which mandates more use of cars in turn. Unfortunately people today use their homes as piggy banks which forces zoning because of property values.

This will probably change as oil becomes more scarce. We'll have to compromise about what sort of businesses we'll have nearby. No pig farms but certainly a small shop or office next door will not be objectionable. When this happens communities will start to flourish again.

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Old 02-20-2008, 08:40 PM   #6
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getting slightly off topic...They JUST broke ground on our new biofuel plant here in the town where I live (about 900 population). Local gov welcomed them with open arms - now heres the fun thing about it.....they won't sell ANY of their product local!! That's ethanol and biodiesel they'll be making and I won't be able to buy a drop unless I drive 5 hours to where they'll be selling it.
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Old 02-21-2008, 03:11 AM   #7
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if the whole world population would go veggy there would be quite some farmland freed for growing fuel... not that it'll happen.
Wouldn't you need that land for food?
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Old 02-23-2008, 08:15 AM   #8
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Take a look at the yards of houses in any moderate climate. Notice all of the grass, weeds, whatever. Then take a look at how much land is used for cultivating such relatively useless crops as sodgrass.

So long as we, in the US at least, continue to embrace the idea that it is ok for neighborhood associations and municipalities to dictate what you can and can't grow in your front yard, we have ABSOLUTELY NO RIGHT to talk about a shortage of farmable land.

That said, I like my front lawn, which is no more than about 150 square feet, and we use it often as a recreational space. BUT, our back yard is increasingly devoted to growing our own food. What saddens me is to look at my neighbor's houses with more extensive setbacks and miniscule back yards, and knowing that they really don't have a useable growing area because of arcane homeowner association rules. Not that most of them would do anything with it anyway, but that's not the point.

The point is hypocrisy. In other words, tending to one's own assets first before naysaying the actions of others.

Obviously this in no way makes the point one way or the other for whether bio-fuels are truly viable on a mass scale, but it boils down to the philosophy that true change always begins at the individual level.

What's growing in your back yard?
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Old 02-28-2008, 06:42 PM   #9
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One point often overlooked about biofuels is the total energy balance.
In other words it takes more energy to produce a litre of biofuel than is generated from burning the end product.

Subsidies given to farmers , refiners and consumers help hide the fact it is basically a poor option albeit one which is politically popular.

Cheers , Pete.
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:25 PM   #10
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Big gas ran off a lot of the renewable fuel competition back in the first half of the 20th century by undercutting them on price. We did used to have alternatives. One of the industries they cut out was turpentine distilleries, by making artificial turpentine from oil and undercutting them. Now, turpentine is not a good motor fuel, but it can be made from virtually any biomass, including lawn and garden waste, as can methanol, methanol is high octane, turpentine low... a blended mix of these would be a reasonable fuel.... or indeed we could use modern steam cracking techniques to produce a better fuel out of waste derived turpentines.

We have a problem with our forests not being allowed to catch fire... small frequent burns improve the health of the forest, it's low temperature doesn't penetrate the soil and doesn't kill the trees. But current policy (mostly) is not to let it happen. So this biomass builds up and builds up, until finally, unstoppably a fire starts that consumes everything and bakes the earth to a depth of 2 feet, leaving a hardened, blackened sterile moonscape that takes decades to repair....

... so what if we raked that crap out of there and made fuel out of the damn stuff???

Biofuels aren't in general an energy and resource sink, but ethanol derived from corn is. It's very unfortunate that all biofuels are going to be tainted by the failure of ethanol, the ethanol collapse, it's gonna be like the dotcom bubble bursting. There are much higher BTU per acre crops possible, biodiesel works out a lot better than ethanol given the right source crops. Methanol works out a lot better than ethanol, you don't have to be half as picky what you make it from.

Some days I think I should take out a massive bankloan, buy the rights to collect organics off the city, and make out like a bandit on using the free fuel to run a powerstation and make bio-gasoline...

Then other days I just wanna get started on a universal gas convertor (similar principle) and carburettor, that runs your car off anything from toenails through fast food grease.
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