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THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby pstarr » Fri 06 Jan 2017, 01:30:38

Why not processes all the other stuff (like the biomass, sewerage etc) into synthetic petroleum using the Fischer–Tropsch process, and nuclear for power? Sounds like a go!
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby eclipse » Fri 06 Jan 2017, 22:28:00

That's what I've been trying to say. If high EROEI nuclear is the backbone of our power system and the backbone of an electric transport system (trains, trams, trolley buses and EV's), then there's more than enough biomass (including sewerage, forestry off-cuts, etc) to do niche liquid fuel markets.

Semi related to this topic from a petro-chemical feedstock perspective is Plasma Burners that can recycle EVERYTHING in your local tip into useful building and construction and petro-chemical feedstock by prodcuts. Once Plasma Burners become cheap enough, it's the end of landfill tips, and the start of converting old jogging shoes, lawn clippings, asbestos sheets, sunglasses and a thousand other bits of plastic and soiled nappies/diapers all into useful stuff again!
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby eclipse » Sat 07 Jan 2017, 06:24:17

So the problem is we need a cubic mile of oil a year, or a cube 1.6km on a side.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cubic_mile_of_oil

Tim Flannery has suggested kelp as a CO2 sequestering mechanism, where 9% of the oceans are gargantuan kelp farms, probably with robotised harvesting systems, and this soaks up 40GT of Co2 a year.

40GT per year is 10 times the oil refined in 2008.
https://www.statista.com/statistics/265 ... tric-tons/

The real problem, though, is if we're trying to sequester kelp farms the size of 9% of the ocean's, where do we put it all? We've already seen that we're burning just 10% for oil! (I'm seriously weirded out thinking of biomass as an oil replacement! I gave that up years ago!) What to do with the other 90%? Apparently it works out to about just under a cubic km of dried fibre every week!

What about biochar to help sequester CO2 in farmland soils?

What about to cows to feed them and eliminate their methane burps?
Indeed, if it can feed all our cows, and they don't need grass or other supplements but can live of kelp? (I don't know!?) Then it could reduce their grazing impact on the environment as well. I wonder what other ruminants basically just need biomass that their 4 stomachs can break down? Goats? Sheep?

If we could harvest 9% of the world's oceans in kelp, the world's oil multinationals would be saved. That leaves a bad taste in my mouth, as I had hoped electric transport would clear up the air over our cities.
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Sat 07 Jan 2017, 08:06:13

eclipse wrote:So the problem is we need a cubic mile of oil a year, or a cube 1.6km on a side.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cubic_mile_of_oil

Tim Flannery has suggested kelp as a CO2 sequestering mechanism, where 9% of the oceans are gargantuan kelp farms, probably with robotised harvesting systems, and this soaks up 40GT of Co2 a year.

40GT per year is 10 times the oil refined in 2008.
https://www.statista.com/statistics/265 ... tric-tons/

The real problem, though, is if we're trying to sequester kelp farms the size of 9% of the ocean's, where do we put it all? We've already seen that we're burning just 10% for oil! (I'm seriously weirded out thinking of biomass as an oil replacement! I gave that up years ago!) What to do with the other 90%? Apparently it works out to about just under a cubic km of dried fibre every week!

What about biochar to help sequester CO2 in farmland soils?

What about to cows to feed them and eliminate their methane burps?
Indeed, if it can feed all our cows, and they don't need grass or other supplements but can live of kelp? (I don't know!?) Then it could reduce their grazing impact on the environment as well. I wonder what other ruminants basically just need biomass that their 4 stomachs can break down? Goats? Sheep?

If we could harvest 9% of the world's oceans in kelp, the world's oil multinationals would be saved. That leaves a bad taste in my mouth, as I had hoped electric transport would clear up the air over our cities.

Before you worry about which nine percent of the worlds oceans to convert to kelp farms you might try a single square mile somewhere easy and prove the concept start to finish. Kelp taking CO2 out of the water is simple enough but how you keep the carbon from re entering the atmosphere and how that saves any oil or oil companies is not clear.
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby pstarr » Sat 07 Jan 2017, 14:09:47

vtsnowedin wrote:Before you worry about which nine percent of the worlds oceans to convert to kelp farms you might try a single square mile somewhere easy and prove the concept start to finish. Kelp taking CO2 out of the water is simple enough but how you keep the carbon from re entering the atmosphere and how that saves any oil or oil companies is not clear.

You do not keep the carbon from entering the atmosphere. It happens all on its own.

Kelp is cellulose, a carbohydrate. When a kelp dies its carbs remain. Just like a tree. Another example of carbon-dioxide fertilization, aka 'global greening'.
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby eclipse » Sat 07 Jan 2017, 16:25:34

vtsnowedin wrote:Before you worry about which nine percent of the worlds oceans to convert to kelp farms you might try a single square mile somewhere easy and prove the concept start to finish. Kelp taking CO2 out of the water is simple enough but how you keep the carbon from re entering the atmosphere and how that saves any oil or oil companies is not clear.

Today's seaweed is farmed for food additives and sushi.
In a study conducted by the Philippines it showed that plots of approximately one hectare can have a net income from eucheuma farming that was 5 to 6 times that of the minimum average wage of an agriculture worker. In the same study they also saw an increase in seaweed exports from 675 metric tons (MT) in 1967 to 13,191 MT in 1980, which doubled to 28,000 MT by 1988.[12]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seaweed_farming

Tim Flannery is talking about expanding that to 40,000,000,000 MT. We already farm 2.5 MILLION tons. But this would give us 40 cubic kilometres of woody waste to dispose of each year. We already know how to biochar any dried biomass waste. 40 cubic kilometres into a biochar unit would produce maybe 20 cubic km of biochar and 20 cubic km of synthetic gas to replace petroleum and natural gas? Gosh that's a lot, and makes renewable energy look viable! Solar during the day, seaweed syngas at night. We could use just a fraction of the 20 cubic km as biochar for soil remediation (which it does great, but tends to break down in a half life cycle of about 80 years). But to truly sequester CO2 long term, we'd have to bury it deep. Where? Can we put biochar in an industrial compressor, maybe with a little concrete powder, and plop it back in the ocean to sink down deep?
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Sun 08 Jan 2017, 08:01:35

pstarr wrote:
vtsnowedin wrote:Before you worry about which nine percent of the worlds oceans to convert to kelp farms you might try a single square mile somewhere easy and prove the concept start to finish. Kelp taking CO2 out of the water is simple enough but how you keep the carbon from re entering the atmosphere and how that saves any oil or oil companies is not clear.

You do not keep the carbon from entering the atmosphere. It happens all on its own.

Kelp is cellulose, a carbohydrate. When a kelp dies its carbs remain. Just like a tree. Another example of carbon-dioxide fertilization, aka 'global greening'.

What happens to the kelp after it is harvested matters. If allowed to rot on the surface the carbon it contains get released or if it is burned or processed into fuel the carbon it contains returns to the atmosphere as CO2. So no gain there. Tilled into the soil as a fertilizer directly or as biochar temporarily stores the CO2 in the soil but would end up in the crops grown on that soil and follow that path back to the atmosphere. An 80 year half life would be an excellent result for biochar as a farmer would only need to treat a small percentage of his land each year to get ahead.
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby eclipse » Sun 22 Jan 2017, 23:40:31

We forgot to discuss the fish! This works out to be about half a kilo of fish per day per person in a world of 10 billion!

All the protein we could want, all the fossil-fuel replacement we could want, all the NPK fertilisers we could want, and all the biochar we could want, all from one gigantic industry. Anyone already know an industry that basically runs the world? 8) Basically, if big oil ever get onto this, I say let them at it!

“The most exciting, if least well understood, of all the biological options involve the marine environment. Seaweed grows very fast, meaning that seaweed farms could be used to absorb CO2 very efficiently, and on a very large scale. The seaweed could be harvested and processed to generate methane for electricity production or to replace natural gas, and the remaining nutrients recycled. One analysis shows that if seaweed farms covered 9% of the ocean they could produce enough biomethane to replace all of today’s needs in fossil fuel energy, while removing 53 gigatonnes of CO2 (about the same as all current human emissions) per year from the atmosphere. It could also increase sustainable fish production to provide 200kg per year, per person, for 10 billion people. Additional benefits include reduction in ocean acidification and increased ocean primary productivity and biodiversity. Many of the technologies required to achieve this are already in widespread use, if at a comparatively minuscule scale.”

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/ ... m-flannery
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby Tanada » Mon 23 Jan 2017, 10:49:00

My understanding is kelp forest will only grow on the continental shelf, so forget the whole surface of the ocean stuff. Then you have to add in the fact that Kelp do have water temperature and sunlight requirements that limit how much of the ocean shelf could viably be used to farm kelp. Third, not all wildlife does well in kelp forest regions, so you need to reserve good size chunks of the shelf for sea grass where the Manatees can graze and all the other variations that you get in the continental waters.

Put all those factors together and MAYBE you can grow Kelp forest on 10 percent of the continental shelf or about half a percent of the total ocean surface. That is still an admirable thing to do because Kelp is a great food source, not just for human beings but also for grazers like cattle and omnivores like swine. Counting on it to replace all fossil fuels? Not so much.
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby baha » Mon 23 Jan 2017, 12:45:16

Here you are, clutching to the departing meme. I love red meat and I am not a big fan of seafood. But oil is the last thing I want to do with food.
IOW - why turn food to oil? why not just eat it?
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby eclipse » Mon 23 Jan 2017, 16:14:27

My understanding is kelp forest will only grow on the continental shelf, so forget the whole surface of the ocean stuff.

Why will it only grow there? Tim Flannery is a biologist.

Then you have to add in the fact that Kelp do have water temperature and sunlight requirements that limit how much of the ocean shelf could viably be used to farm kelp.

We would obviously build floating frames that they could attach to, keeping them up in the sunlight zones even in deep waters.

Third, not all wildlife does well in kelp forest regions, so you need to reserve good size chunks of the shelf for sea grass where the Manatees can graze and all the other variations that you get in the continental waters.

Of course! Respect the mangroves and wetlands and many, many other threatened ecosystems. But build the kelp out in deeper waters - if possible. That's the key. That's what we have to establish. Why would a biologist like Tim Flannery put so much emphasis on something that was intrinsically impossible?

Put all those factors together and MAYBE you can grow Kelp forest on 10 percent of the continental shelf or about half a percent of the total ocean surface.

But we haven't established the first, main factor - that kelp cannot be intentionally farmed in deep waters - with peer reviewed sources.

That is still an admirable thing to do because Kelp is a great food source, not just for human beings but also for grazers like cattle and omnivores like swine.

Yes, there is even a strand of kelp that cuts cattle methane burps by 99%! A special seaweed can be fed to cows to supplement their diet a little with drastic results: it eliminates their methane burps, which have been shown to lose 15% of the cow's potential growth gains! https://goo.gl/J27gw0

Counting on it to replace all fossil fuels? Not so much.

I'm not. I'm counting on high EROEI breeder reactors that eat nuclear waste, and can generate all the diesel we need from the CO2 and hydrogen in seawater. (Recyclable boron powder is another contender as an energy carrier to replace oil).
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So this is not some desperate fallback. We have dozens of today's designs of nuclear reactors that can keep us going, and dozens of viable designs of future breeder reactors to eat all today's waste. That's not the problem here. I'm just asking... what if? What if I've been wrong for 6 years, and nuclear is NOT the only way? What if a renewable grid could actually be backed up by a carbon-tax funded seaweed industry that produces fuel AND food?

Bottom line?

I haven't found a peer-reviewed source that says we cannot grow kelp in 9% of the world's oceans.
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby Tanada » Mon 23 Jan 2017, 21:36:44

eclipse wrote:Bottom line?

I haven't found a peer-reviewed source that says we cannot grow kelp in 9% of the world's oceans.


That is an exercise in futility called trying to prove the negative. If someone says we can go to the moon and you say I don't see any evidence we can not that is all well and good, but you need evidence we can before you should accept the idea. I know we have gone to the moon because I was alive when it happened and one of the things we did in physics class way back when in college was look at the films the astronauts brought back, provide conclusive evidence that they were walking around in vacuum in a gravity field about 1/6th that of the field of the Earth.

It is all well and good to say you have not seen any proof we can not grow kelp over 9 percent of the world ocean surface, but lack of evidence against is a very great distance from evidence it can be done. Has anyone built a set of these kelp grow frames you wrote of and placed them in deep water covering even a few dozen acres? Have they proven to be robust over several years of service and demonstrated a high productivity rate over those same several years? A theory by anyone is a good place to start, but science requires actual proof of the separate steps of the theory and proof that all the steps work together as expected.
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby eclipse » Mon 23 Jan 2017, 21:57:46

So these Professors are just making it up?
Seaweed farms alone have the capacity to grow massive amounts of nutrient-rich food. Professor Ronald Osinga at Wageningen University in the Netherlands has calculated that a global network of "sea-vegetable" farms totaling 180,000 square kilometers -- roughly the size of Washington state -- could provide enough protein for the entire world population.

The goal, according to chef Dan Barber -- named one of the world's most influential people by Time and a hero of the organic food movement -- is to create a world where "farms restore instead of deplete" and allow "every community to feed itself."

But here is the real kicker: Because they require no fresh water, no deforestation, and no fertilizer -- all significant downsides to land-based farming -- these ocean farms promise to be more sustainable than even the most environmentally-sensitive traditional farms.
http://www.theatlantic.com/internationa ... ge/248750/
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby Tanada » Mon 23 Jan 2017, 22:45:26

eclipse wrote:So these Professors are just making it up?
Seaweed farms alone have the capacity to grow massive amounts of nutrient-rich food. Professor Ronald Osinga at Wageningen University in the Netherlands has calculated that a global network of "sea-vegetable" farms totaling 180,000 square kilometers -- roughly the size of Washington state -- could provide enough protein for the entire world population.

The goal, according to chef Dan Barber -- named one of the world's most influential people by Time and a hero of the organic food movement -- is to create a world where "farms restore instead of deplete" and allow "every community to feed itself."

But here is the real kicker: Because they require no fresh water, no deforestation, and no fertilizer -- all significant downsides to land-based farming -- these ocean farms promise to be more sustainable than even the most environmentally-sensitive traditional farms.
http://www.theatlantic.com/internationa ... ge/248750/


By definition until someone builds an example and proves it actually works; yes they are proposing actions based on theories, not showing concrete examples of proven systems.
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby eclipse » Tue 07 Feb 2017, 02:31:35

OK, I've finally found it. It's a free PDF download, and well worth an hour of your time. It certainly sounds feasible to me!

The peer-reviewed paper claims that they have submersible digesters out in the ocean that slowly draw in the kelp when it is ready to harvest, biodigest it, release the energy gases off the top and then recycle all the nutrients back out to the kelp farms in big tea-bags that slowly release nutrients, fertilising the next round of kelp! That's only required out in the open oceans, or about 7%.

They even claim we could return CO2 to 350ppm and reverse ocean acidification THIS CENTURY! goo.gl/aTtfW

The other 2% closer to the coast have their own nutrients from upwelling and coastal sedimentary runoff. This 2% has the potential to feed the human race in seafood and seaweed, act as fertiliser for farms etc, all without a single drop of fertiliser required. 2% of our oceans is a VAST area of seaweed, and already full of nutrients, sometimes over-nutrient rich resulting in dead zones. This TED talk is by another guy, and is 15 minutes you MUST invest to comment on this topic!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8ViaskDSeI
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby Tanada » Tue 07 Feb 2017, 07:42:43

Ah yes, I saw him on TV a while back. I think this was the version I saw released 18 months or so ago.

https://youtu.be/Wz4dhgT0uEY

I like what he wants to do and I wish him the best. I still have serious doubts it will succeed the way he thinks or hopes it will, but who am I to destroy other peoples dreams?
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby eclipse » Tue 07 Feb 2017, 17:27:07

Hang on, he's already doing it. He has an open source model for others to replicate.

But he's not the peer-reviewed paper I'm discussing about the 9% of the world's oceans. He's definitely in the shallow, nutrient rich farming environment. Nutrients are simply NOT a problem for this guy's farm! ;-)

The open ocean farms are here, and it's a doozy of a read. If replicated across 9% of our oceans, it's ALL our energy and ALL our CO2 emissions solved. If you don't imagine 9% of the oceans being farmed, just add whatever mix of renewables and nuclear you think will make it reasonable: half and half, a third of each, whatever. Read the paper. It's amazing how energy efficient their seaweed conversion to energy system is. They don't want to waste energy dragging the seaweed out of the oceans, drying them, and cooking them up. Not at all! And there I was thinking they'd dry it out and biochar it. They're got something far more energy efficient in mind!
http://www.psep.ichemejournals.com/arti ... 57-5820(12)00120-6/abstract
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby eclipse » Sun 26 Feb 2017, 02:05:30

The peer-reviewed paper below shows that we could farm 9% of the world's oceans because the nutrients are recycled in situ. Only 2% of the oceans are nutrient rich, so how is kelp farmed across an extra 7%, which is obviously in the 'oceanic deserts', the nutrient poor areas of the open ocean? The kelp is farmed with a view to using some of the vast space and time of the oceans, for the most energy efficient, easy to collect manner. So when the kelp is ready for harvest, it is slowly hauled in a 6km radius to massive submersible bladders where they are biodigested over 135 days. Then the methane is collected from the top, and the kelp 'compost' is recycled in situ with drip hoses and little nutrient rich 'tea-bags' that are used to grow the next harvest of kelp. So obviously this starts in the nutrient rich 2% of the oceans, and gradually expands out, crop by crop. Thus kelp can be grown in what are now oceanic 'deserts', the nutrient poor areas of the majority of our oceans. The following bullet points then emerge:-

* half a kilogram of seafood per person per day, to feed a world of 10 billion people!
* all the biofuels and biogas we could need to replace fossil fuels and provide the ultimate backup to wind and solar power
* remove ocean acidity
* restore our atmosphere to 350ppm by 2085
In other words, seaweed is a silver bullet to feed the world, save the oceans, and save us from climate change, all in this free PDF. "Negative carbon via Ocean Afforestation". Just register, and download it for free.
http://www.psep.ichemejournals.com/arti ... 57-5820(12)00120-6/abstract

On top of all this, such a VAST amount of kelp would also give us other benefits. OK, so vat-grown meat is a thing.
http://www.nextbigfuture.com/2017/02/la ... opped.html
But what if the feedstock is unsustainable? Could we use processed kelp as a feedstock for all our meat and chicken and turkey needs, so that we would never have to kill real live animals for protein again? Anyone know any biochemists that might work in this field?
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