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Author Topic: BIODIESEL Debunked  (Read 4226 times)
JohnEd
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« on: November 28, 2007, 05:03:42 PM »

I am not endorsing this but it made sense...at least on first cut.  Saw this on PBS somewhere:

Bio D takes more fuel to produce than it yields and that makes it a net polluter.  They counted everything including the gas the farmer used in his pickup.  I didn't hear them say anything about BD yielding less energy per gallon and getting fewer MPG.

BD inflates the price of grain.  Our grocery bills are going up where grain is an ingredient.

Increased grain prices are putting the hurt on cattle feed lots and driving the cost of beef up and upsetting the industry with all the unknowns.

Foreign countries are not getting aid because the grain is being consumed domestically.

Third world countries are exporting their grain into the world market because of the upswing in prices.

It went on and on.......

I guess you could file this under "Always a down side somewhere".

A "net increase in pollution?"  Does anybody have data on this?

Thought this would be of interest considering all the latest chatter on "alternative fuels".

Thanks all,

John
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« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2007, 05:13:20 PM »

The biggest clincher is the claims that if they are going to rely on seed/fruit/grain to produce ethanol or biodiesel, everyone will have the choice of driving or eating, not both.

Of course if they can get the fermentation process to work efficiently on green waste, that will help a lot - although then the use of fertilisers will need to increase and that will take more oil so that will require more alternatives to replace it -- round and round. The cycle needs to be broken, not just tinkered with around the edges.

I propose that in the interests of the world at large, we bus nuts each make up a set of ramps, drive our bus up on to them ---   and leave them there forever.  Think of the fuel saved.
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Tim Strommen
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« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2007, 05:56:48 PM »

And the food supply issue has another twist - all of these estimations on how we can "break our petrolium addiction" assumes a reatining of the status-quo.

Now what happens as the climate changes?  Some areas which were previously rich for agriculture become desert wastelands - making the over-all supply of grains to product fuel and food from, much smaller.

I enjoy watching the bio-fuel people do their "it's this easy!" demos where they take a pre-processed product, like vegtable oil - and add a catalyst based on petrolum (methenol) to get the biofuel.  The energy it takes to harvest and process that vegtable oil is more than it takes to process the crude oil we currently use.

It's similar to a clever sales person telling you how much fun you can have by spending the million dollars (without spending too much time on the getting the million dollars part Grin).

Biofuel has fewer BTUs per gallon than regular petrolium fuel does.  This is why it is less efficient to use biofuels than petrol.  You end up using more biofuel than you would petrolium to do the same ammount of actual work.  Some of the crazy biofuel people try to side-step this shortcoming by showing "how this super-efficient engine can get you that 'work' back" - without consideration that the same super efficient engine with petrolium is still the same percentage more powerful. (conservation of mass)


I saw a similar documentary on the work some kids are doing out at UC Santa Cruz (I think that was the school).  They realized that in nature, a process usually has multiple input streams and multiple outputs, to maximize the efficiency. What the set out to do is take care of a drinking water problem and a fuel supply problem - by having green alge feed on grey/black waste water (cleaning the water without chemicals), and then farming the green alge for bio-mass fueling (this has more BTUs than liquid biofuel) which can boil water and turn a turbine - then sending the steam under the lake heating the water the alge is in (alge likes warm water) and returning the water to the filter and returning the ash of the consumed alge to the filter fields for even better purification.

A process like this only needs dirty water and a starter batch of alge as fuel - this is something we don't have a shortage of...  The whole concept is very efficient and cyclical - and doesn't consume much other than waste.  The result is a clean burn, and clean water (fair trade?).

The problem with fuels in the country though, stems from the fact that as the fuel industry made people money - the govenment started cashing in on that trade with taxes.  It's in the government's interest to continue the fuel industry since a lot of business in the US is fuel related (all industries in one way or another buy fuel), so the taxable income of our country would be threattened if the industry all of a sudden went away.

Throw that complication to a group of people who are having enough trouble fixing Social Security - and they won't even want to think about losing the fuel industry (they'd probably fight to the death - or go to war...).

-Tim

P.S. Pardon my if I'm a cynic - I like hyper efficient systems, but it's hard to find one these days.  In the end, you can't beat nature. -T
« Last Edit: November 28, 2007, 06:01:25 PM by Tim Strommen » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2007, 06:06:43 PM »

there have also been studies that show that in the US, if all farmable land was converted to grow Fuel Grain...that is would still not meet the demand of the trucking industry alone, let alone POV cars, boats trains and planes.

WVO on the otherhand has some rational thought.......but as soon as that starts to go mainstream.....that stuff will cost money too
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« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2007, 06:36:30 PM »

Your list is a direct copy of the reasons for not producing  methanol and is probably just as accurate but the message doesn't seem to be getting through.

The whole thing is a tax subsidized gimmick for increasing the price of corn-trouble is that the whole country pays through the nose.
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« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2007, 08:20:31 PM »

I'm a big opponent of the current bio-fuel frenzy.  The only persuasive argument I have heard in favour of bio-fuel is that any new technology takes time to hit peak efficiency.  There may be some truth to that.  What I fear is that north america will destroy its livestock industry chasing bio-fuel and, once the taxpayer wakes up and says "WTF are we doing?" it will be too late because the livestock industry will have gone off-shore.  We're already at a huge disadvantage to South America.  Its not a popular song to sing though cuz the bio-fuel promoters have locked onto the green message and they make us naysayers sound like dinosaurs.

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« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2007, 10:57:32 PM »

Bob Dole had a private exec jet parked at National(Reagan) Airport in DC.  He used it exclusively and paid $225 each way shuttling to Kansas.  I guess it is OK cause he paid his ticket worth of charges and fed tax.  The logo on the tail was "Archer Daniels Midland". Bob D was a huge proponent of corn for methanol and Gummint subsidies for the Big Agre corps.  God knows I would vote for any assistance we can give our farmers but we seem to be driving the little farms out of business with our Gummint aid to Mega Corps.  Somebody please send help!  Quick! Angry Angry Angry Grin

I will not roll my bus up on ramps and never use it again. Cry  I even want it in my funeral procession along with that New Orleans street band playing me into the ground. Cool Shocked Cheesy Grin

Tim,

Yours was a great post.  No apology for the emotion.  The situation deserves it.  You are NOT a cynic....they would not have written.  You are sarcastic.  Webster says that "is the humor of the master".  Write often and long....Please.  If they don't like it they can tune out...whoever they are. Huh

Your admiring Bus Knut, Wink

John
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« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2007, 11:30:38 PM »

I don't think that there is any question that there are problems with biofuels at present.  However, as with many other technologies, production creates innovation and efficiency.  Someone bought the first telephones with all their limitations and no one to talk to.  I started using a car phone in the 80's.  They cost a fortune at the time, and service sucked, and was also expensive.  If there is money to be made, things generally progress.  Anyone remember the first transistor radios?  Now Intel says it can put millions of transistors in the space the period at the end of this sentence takes up.  The first computers took up buildings and were nothing more than calculators.  The call "Go west young man" did not necessarily mean that everyone should go west--just the malcontents and pioneers.  It also may be that the government is generally wrongheaded in what it pushes.  Ethanol produces 1.6 units of energy for every single unit it takes to produce it.  That is not much of a gain.  Corn is just not the best crop to use.  Brazil is managing to become energy independent using ethanol as an important fuel.  However, sugarcane produces over 6 units of energy for every unit used in production.  A far better choice!  There are crops that can be grown here that will do as well.  It would seem that real innovation in fuel and energy won't come from the government or corporations that are doing great as things are.  I consider the grass roots alternative energy movement a good sign.  By the way, if biodiesel uses more energy to produce that it gives back, I don't understand how biodiesel can be selling at the pumps here (including taxes) for 30 to 40 cents less than regular diesel.
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« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2007, 11:46:59 PM »

I don't wish to be argumentative and don;t want to make this topic even the slightest bit Political..so here's my question...with a couple of comments:

Looking back, historically speaking, can you think of one item which the Environmentalist Whacko's have sold the American people (other than 3 Mile Island) which wasn't a total crock of crap?

The Tom-Tenn cut, a shortcut to the Gulf of Mexico, was held up for years to protect the Snail Darter.  (A total load of BS)

Atlanta GA is currently in serious trouble (water-wise) because the Corps of Engineers is required , by Law, to keep up the flow from Lake Lanier into the Chattahoochee River to protect some weird fish that no one ever heard of. Thanks to the Tree-Huggers.

I'm as 'green' as the next guy but the power given to these Whacko's is part of the reason we are in the shape we're in today.

My two cents.....

Bob
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« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2007, 11:57:24 PM »

By the way, if biodiesel uses more energy to produce that it gives back, I don't understand how biodiesel can be selling at the pumps here (including taxes) for 30 to 40 cents less than regular diesel.

Oh, that's easy. It's subsidized.

Here's the deal:

The government guarantees farmers a set price for corn, just barely above cost of production. So, farmers grow lots of corn, no reason not to, they can't lose money. There's a surplus of corn, so price goes way low, government kicks in their bit to farmer to keep them afloat. Farmer decides he needs to get better yield to get more money. Agri-corps come up with new seed that can be planted more densely, just need to use lots of fertilizer, which they happen to make. Farmers produce more corn, which drives prices even lower. Government kicks in their bit to keep farmer barely afloat. Lather, rinse, repeat. The sad part is that in this scenario, the farmer will *never* achieve better than break-even, and an unforeseen problem like a combine blowing an engine can send him into bankruptcy.

Now the really funny part here is that the same agri-corps that produce the seed and the fertilizer are also the ones buying the corn. But they don't buy it at the government set price, they buy it at market price (much lower). So in effect, the subsidies paid to the farmer don't actually benefit the farmer at all, they benefit the agri-corps. They have every incentive in the world to keep this cycle going until corn costs $.10 a bushel.

As for the petroleum use, a large part of it is used in producing the fertilizers needed to plant those high-yield varieties of corn. Once you add that to the petroleum burned by the farm equipment and the transportation, it's not *possible* to get more energy out of the corn than what was put in. But, because the agri-corps didn't pay the full cost, they can still make a profit.

And to make the whole thing worse, one of the biggest sources of groundwater pollution is now runoff from excess fertilizer.

WVO is a great thing, it's making use of something that would have been thrown away. Biodiesel, ethanol and every other corn product out there is an ecological and economic disaster fueled by pure greed.
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JohnEd
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« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2007, 01:58:21 AM »

Msheldon,

There you go again using verifiable fact, figures and eyewitness testimony to support your side of the argument. Wink  Why do you hate America Angry  Why won't you support the troops? Roll Eyes  Do you want to fight them here? Undecided

Great post guy.  It is supported by the Fed cause they are involved in the entire scam.  Even the Dems are paying homage at the Bio trough and that really really scares me.

We have to do something to help the small farmer get unhooked from this system.  Recently the Fed did its part by vetoing a move to restrict the use of the term "organic".  The small farmer was getting firmly in that nitch and starting to show a serious profit.  Trashing the legal definition made that market open to Big agri.  So if it ain't local you can't really be sure amigo.

Again thanks for your post and please, write often and long,

John
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The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." Plato
“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”
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« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2007, 04:29:43 AM »

Thanks for this post, I have been slamming this trend for bio, ethanol for some time and have felt like I was the only one who could see what was going on. The $10 box of cornflakes is not far away!
 It appears that oil money is behind this. I also believe, but cannot prove that big corporation money funds many but not all enviromentalists. Think about it, if you have lots of oil to sell and somebody wanted to build a nuclear power plant, who better and cheaper to fight it for you than the people?
 Gotta go, the paranoids are after me again.
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« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2007, 05:23:58 AM »

Earlier this year while searching the internet for bio diesel, I came across a report done as a treatise for a doctorate at a Canadian university. The report compared the efficiencies of processing varies grains to make bio diesel. I sent the writer a personal letter and asked him if the fuel produced was energy positive. His reply was that it was not part of his study and he was was not interested. Do you suppose that this is the problem?

For hundreds of years (long before there was a need for engine fuel) man knew the benefit of fermenting and distilling corn!!
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« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2007, 06:36:30 AM »

If it was truly energy positive, I have no doubt that you wouldn't have a chance at keeping the big energy producers away from the proffit.

Since it seems to rely on gubberment subsidies & hype (rather than scientifically solid studies showing a net energy gain), I smell a con.

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« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2007, 06:41:15 AM »

Lets see, a 55 gallon plastic barrel for the mash, a copper "turnip tank" to cook the mash, a "puke tank", some 3/4 copper pipe for a "worm".  Hmm, oh, you mean you aren't supposed to drink this stuff?  LOL Jack
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