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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 lpetrich » Tue 16 Feb 2016, 12:07:10

Carnot wrote:But is has also provided us with many of the things we take for granted. Think how different life would be if we did not have fossil fuels:

No clean drinking water
No means of travel other than by foot, horse or some wind powered device.
No continuous electricity supply
No space heating
No internet
No wind power
No pv power
No hydro power
No biofuels (yes that is the reality)
Very limited choice of foods
Very limited health care

Need I go on, because the list is endless. What can and will your green fuel alternatives provide in the future. Very little indeed, because most of it, if it ever materialises, will be consumed in production. Either a limited at best, or a net negative energy gain.

As if only fossil fuels can possibly make such things possible. Is that a law of nature?

Does anyone have any good numbers about the EROEI and fuel per unit land for biofuels? Either actual numbers or projected ones. Also, how much of the energy input can feasibly be supplied by non-biofuel renewable sources. I think that renewable-source electricity generation is a largely solved problem, so the larger fraction of electricity the better. One can run Haber-Bosch nitrogen fixing entirely off of electricity if one chooses, for instance.
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby americandream » Wed 30 Mar 2016, 22:20:35

Scientists have made a huge leap in lessening our dependence on fossil fuels, managing to break down raw biomass without using chemicals for the very first time. The result was record high amounts of clean liquid hydrocarbon fuel, according to a new study.

https://www.rt.com/news/337785-biomass- ... els-study/
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby SeaGypsy » Thu 31 Mar 2016, 06:38:42

"Small particles of Platinum...." Chemicals which aren't chemicals? This article reeks.
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby Subjectivist » Thu 31 Mar 2016, 07:31:26

americandream wrote:Scientists have made a huge leap in lessening our dependence on fossil fuels, managing to break down raw biomass without using chemicals for the very first time. The result was record high amounts of clean liquid hydrocarbon fuel, according to a new study.

https://www.rt.com/news/337785-biomass- ... els-study/


First, we don't have enough biomass to replace current fossil fuel demand. Second, heating and pressurizing this soul of biomass and metal catalysts takes a lot of energy, so is this process even energy positive?
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby americandream » Thu 31 Mar 2016, 15:48:43

Subjectivist wrote:
americandream wrote:Scientists have made a huge leap in lessening our dependence on fossil fuels, managing to break down raw biomass without using chemicals for the very first time. The result was record high amounts of clean liquid hydrocarbon fuel, according to a new study.

https://www.rt.com/news/337785-biomass- ... els-study/


First, we don't have enough biomass to replace current fossil fuel demand. Second, heating and pressurizing this soul of biomass and metal catalysts takes a lot of energy, so is this process even energy positive?


Haven't a clue mate. Put it out there to see what the more informed had to say about this.
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby vox_mundi » Wed 02 Nov 2016, 15:17:02

Fuel from sewage is the future – and it's closer than you think

Image

Video - The technology, hydrothermal liquefaction, mimics the geological conditions the Earth uses to create crude oil, using high pressure and temperature to achieve in minutes something that takes Mother Nature millions of years. The resulting material is similar to petroleum pumped out of the ground, with a small amount of water and oxygen mixed in. This biocrude can then be refined using conventional petroleum refining operations.

Wastewater treatment plants across the U.S. treat approximately 34 billion gallons of sewage every day. That amount could produce the equivalent of up to approximately 30 million barrels of oil per year. PNNL estimates that a single person could generate two to three gallons of biocrude per year.

Sewage, or more specifically sewage sludge, has long been viewed as a poor ingredient for producing biofuel because it's too wet. The approach being studied by PNNL eliminates the need for drying required in a majority of current thermal technologies which historically has made wastewater to fuel conversion too energy intensive and expensive. HTL may also be used to make fuel from other types of wet organic feedstock, such as agricultural waste.

In addition to producing useful fuel, HTL could give local governments significant cost savings by virtually eliminating the need for sewage residuals processing, transport and disposal.

"The best thing about this process is how simple it is," said Drennan. "The reactor is literally a hot, pressurized tube. We've really accelerated hydrothermal conversion technology over the last six years to create a continuous, and scalable process which allows the use of wet wastes like sewage sludge."

In addition to the biocrude, the liquid phase can be treated with a catalyst to create other fuels and chemical products. A small amount of solid material is also generated, which contains important nutrients. For example, early efforts have demonstrated the ability to recover phosphorus, which can replace phosphorus ore used in fertilizer production.

An independent assessment for the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation calls HTL a highly disruptive technology that has potential for treating wastewater solids. WE&RF investigators noted the process has high carbon conversion efficiency with nearly 60 percent of available carbon in primary sludge becoming bio-crude. The report calls for further demonstration, which may soon be in the works.

PNNL has licensed its HTL technology to Utah-based Genifuel Corporation, which is now working with Metro Vancouver, a partnership of 23 local authorities in British Columbia, Canada, to build a demonstration plant.

"Metro Vancouver hopes to be the first wastewater treatment utility in North America to host hydrothermal liquefaction at one of its treatment plants," said Darrell Mussatto, chair of Metro Vancouver's Utilities Committee. "The pilot project will cost between $8 to $9 million (Canadian) with Metro Vancouver providing nearly one-half of the cost directly and the remaining balance subject to external funding."

Once funding is in place, Metro Vancouver plans to move to the design phase in 2017, followed by equipment fabrication, with start-up occurring in 2018.

"If this emerging technology is a success, a future production facility could lead the way for Metro Vancouver's wastewater operation to meet its sustainability objectives of zero net energy, zero odours and zero residuals," Mussatto added.
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby pstarr » Wed 02 Nov 2016, 16:00:30

Video - The technology, hydrothermal liquefaction, mimics the geological conditions the Earth uses to create crude oil, using high pressure and temperature to achieve in minutes something that takes Mother Nature millions of years.

Otherwise known as thermodepolymerization>Fischer-Tropsch: has been tried (on turkey guts, human waste etc.) and failed to return a net-positive energy. The high-pressure and temperature are generated by burning COAL or PETROLEUM . . . so why not just use COAL and PETROLEUM?

There's that EROEI bugaboo . . . always ruining the techies fun. Bastards :(
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby StarvingLion » Wed 02 Nov 2016, 21:32:01

British Columbia is a shit hole. They will end up eating their own shit.

They even have the most ridiculous joke of a fusion "company" going....

General Fusion is a Canadian company based in Burnaby, British Columbia, which was created for the development of fusion power based on magnetized target fusion. As of 2015 they were developing subsystems for use in a prototype to be built later
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby eclipse » Thu 05 Jan 2017, 21:59:59

pstarr wrote:
Video - The technology, hydrothermal liquefaction, mimics the geological conditions the Earth uses to create crude oil, using high pressure and temperature to achieve in minutes something that takes Mother Nature millions of years.

Otherwise known as thermodepolymerization>Fischer-Tropsch: has been tried (on turkey guts, human waste etc.) and failed to return a net-positive energy. The high-pressure and temperature are generated by burning COAL or PETROLEUM . . . so why not just use COAL and PETROLEUM?

There's that EROEI bugaboo . . . always ruining the techies fun. Bastards :(


Unless you're using fission, which has an EROEI of 75, or breeder reactors like the IFR or MSR, which recycle fuel and do away with the very high energy cost of mining and refining uranium. In that case you're talking about getting 60 to 90 times the energy out of the fuel, and possibly getting an EROEI in the hundreds, maybe even approaching a thousand according to some papers I've read! We're just lucky that the atomic bonds in uranium deliver 2 MILLION times the energy of the poor old chemical bonds in petroleum.

With NREL saying today's night-time spare capacity could charge about half the American fleet, and with robot-cabs on the way that will reduce taxi-cab costs by eliminating the driver's salary and be so cheap it at least halves today's car fleet over time as individual car ownership dies and corporations rush to supply us not with car-as-a-product but transport-as-a-service, then ground transport is solved by EV's, maybe with some boron powder recycled as an energy carrier thrown in for good measure (and truckin', at least according to Dr James Hansen). The chief technology adviser for Telstra (Australian telco) has advised that he thinks making human driving illegal by 2030 is not only possible, but desirable! Just chew on that for a moment! The implications for individual car ownership and energy models are immense. We may not have to build 2 billion cars, but 'only' 200 million.
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I think the eventual EV (and possibly boron) take over is now inevitable. My main concern is how to clean up international shipping fuel and airlines? With a high enough front end EROEI, what back-end process is going to be the cheapest? And what other climate-sequestering industries are going to emerge, especially if they have other side benefits?

Biologist, climate champion, and former Australian of the year Dr Tim Flannery has suggested massive kelp farms could sequester all our CO2 emissions each year. "“Seaweed grows at 30 to 60 times the rate of land-based plants, so it can draw out lots of CO2,” Flannery told E360 in a recent interview." ...
“If you cover 9% of the world’s oceans in seaweed farms, you could draw down the equivalent of all our current emissions — more than 40 gigatons a year.” ... Seaweed farms can also reverse ocean acidification. Off the coast of China, there are about 500 square kilometers of seaweed farms producing edible seaweed for the food market. PH levels have been shown to rise as high as 10 around these seaweed farms. At the moment with an acidified ocean it is 8.1. ... You could buffer oceans,” he said. “They are fantastic places for growing fish, shellfish, or prawns, just because of that buffering impact.”
goo.gl/n6iFdG

What are the implications?
1. This could grow into a massive industry to reverse ocean acidification & climate change
2. Huge producer of food, through seaweed itself, associated fish, shellfish & prawn production
3. Seaweed can be fed to cows, which has been shown to reduce their methane burps close to zero https://goo.gl/J27gw0
4. Massive amounts of non-farmland carbon-neutral biomass to replace niche liquid fuel markets like airline fuels
5. (As a fan of breeder reactors that eat nuclear waste, I see most land transport coming from nuclear powered electricity. This will be via trains, trams, trolley buses and robot-taxi-cabs charged mainly on existing night-time spare electricity supply. As already mentioned, Robot taxi-cabs could reduce individual car ownership to 10% of today's, and NREL have calculated that 50% of the American fleet could be charged at night.)
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6. When washed, this could become a massive source of fertilisers for farming
7. Also a massive source of biomass for biochar, to permanently store away carbon and enrich our farmlands at the same time, rather than being a biomass scam that destroys our farmlands.
8. In summary, it could restore the oceans, farmlands, food supplies, and industrial sustainability of certain niche liquid fuels markets all in one massive hit!
Dr James Hansen recommends breeder reactors that convert nuclear 'waste' into 1000 years of clean energy for America, and can charge all our light vehicles and generate "Blue Crude" for heavy vehicles.
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby pstarr » Thu 05 Jan 2017, 23:37:28

Is this thread about IFR, MSR, robot-taxi-cabs, or seaweed farms?

Call me confused
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby eclipse » Fri 06 Jan 2017, 00:41:03

All right, I'll sumarise:
1. If we assume nuclear power is going to do the bulk of electricity
2. Trains, trams, trolley buses and EV's are going to do the bulk of land transport
3. EROEI from nuclear is high enough to process whatever synthetic fuel we need to crank up or process from biomass, sewerage, or just cracking water to get hydrogen... then....
4. We 'only' need to replace shipping fuel and airline fuel!

So, what if we grow enough kelp in the oceans to replace those?
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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!
https://eclipsenow.wordpress.com/recycle/
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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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