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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 Carnot » Thu 23 Jul 2015, 04:36:56

Neo master,

Our discourse related to Red Rock. You brought up this example and I replied with a well crafted opinion that highlighted several problems:

1. Cost

2. Rather optimistic yields.

What do you reply with. Another snide comment on my employment.

Let us first understand a few facts of life.

Firstly the fossil fuel industry may have a checkered past but who brought the fossil fuel industry into being. Mankind.

Fossil fuels have allowed mankind to do many good and bad things.

Probably the worst outcome of fossil fuels is that it has allowed the global population to expand beyond the carrying capacity of the planet.

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 for your last cut and past pieces I would reply with, " Is that the best you can cut and paste". It is not original work and you are deluded if you believe what Lux and Frost and Sullivan types write. The fastest route to bankruptcy is to base all your strategic thinking on drivel like this. Many companies have taken drivel like, forgotten the basic on thermodynamics, invested in biofuels and lost their shirts.

The Neste process works, but have they made any money. Not enough to justify the investment. I know because I have spoken with them and thy are very guarded about what they say in public. Do the maths and you can see why. It is based on hydroprocessing animal and vegetable oils, The product works but the cost of the feedstock is the killer and always will be. Just how much veg oils and animal fats are there. Simple answer, not enough to power a population for 7 billion and rising, and there never will be.

So neo master Graeme, how about reasoned original response to Red Rock. Oh, and by the way just what are your qualifications for you master status. You seem to be ever so ready to belittle mine. Just how qualified are you (or not).
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby SeaGypsy » Thu 23 Jul 2015, 05:48:39

Master is a posting count based status. Experts have some generally accepted specialty area, nobody is always right.

Graeme has been bugging people here for years, gets annoyed with demands to participate, sees himself as a 'green news Bible' guy. Not much point investing so much argument, just cut & paste back at him.
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby Carnot » Thu 23 Jul 2015, 06:14:48

Sea Gypsy,

You are right but without Graeme posting his nonsense this forum would be pretty dead. He posts his drivel and some of us step up to the plate if we are not so bored with his polemic offerings and have the time. When we get bored we go quiet. Only by rebutting the claims in the drivel he posts can we get the point over on the thermodynamic limitations of any biofuel. We have to say it loudly and often enough, because that is what all the green BS does. Get enough idiots to republish the biofuel dream and Joe Public will believe it. It is not far from the antifracking mob. They managed to get Joe Public behind the cause on what is very flimsy evidence. That does not mean that fracking is without risk, it is just that the risk is overplayed. In Graemes case he promotes his so called green fuels with scant knowledge of the subject, especially with respect to the thermodynamic issues. None of us are perfect. I will reply to Graemes drivel when I have the time and when I am able to comment on the subject in a meaningful way.
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby SeaGypsy » Thu 23 Jul 2015, 06:24:12

Sure, well at least your side makes rational sense. What was the figure on embodied human equivalent energy being 2 years of 12 hour days in a liter? From memory dieoff.org has all that basic stuff, don't believe it? Get out of your car & push it as far as you can drive it on a liter of petroleum.

I have decided a few years ago some people just don't get thermodynamics & never will. One of the most pixiedust areas of modern man. To those of us who do get it it seems totally absurd that so many can't.
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby Carnot » Thu 23 Jul 2015, 06:37:28

You would not want to push my car (Prius). That would require you to push it 13.1 miles which is the long term average. No joke at all.

You are 100% correct on the thermodynamics. I cannot understand why most people cannot get it because it is not that difficult- or at least the basics aren't. EROEI seems to also be beyond the limit of even so called learned people. So we have no hope of politicians ever understanding our dilemma.

Dieoff is a good website. It is the reason I started to consider what would happen post Peak Oil. I am resigned to the doomer view.
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby isgota » Thu 23 Jul 2015, 06:43:49

Carnot wrote:More world class BS. Cellulosic ethanol expected to be competitive by 2020-2030. It was supposed to be competitive 100 years ago. In 2008 it was ready to go. In 2015 there is virtually no significant production, and those plants that are running operating well below capacity. It was not competitive 100 years ago, it is not competitive now, and it will not be competitive in 2030. It is a net energy loss.


Even with actual technology and yields of cellulosic ethanol, it's quite risky to say "it will not be competitive in 2030". Can anybody guess what the crude oil price is going to be in 2030?

And that "100 year history" of cellulosic ethanol trying to prove is a dead end is actually a bit of red herring to me. Those processes were based in acid hydrolisis, while the new ones are enzyme based. Advanced molecular biology wasn't available 100 years ago.

Regarding the problems of production of the cellulosic ethanol commercial plants, here is an informative take on it, I find specially interesting what Iogen (one of the most veteran companies in the field) tells:

Image

And again, there is no proof cellulosic ethanol has a net energy loss. The Pimentel & Patzek probably is the only paper that states that, and they didn't considered the energy in lignine in its calculations.

That changes the final result a lot.
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby SeaGypsy » Thu 23 Jul 2015, 07:01:28

In terms my 5 year old daughter might begin to get, an area roughly the size of Australia covered in ultra high tech algae farming gear with miracle algae which doubles its weight in oil every week will provide equivalent fuel to what we mostly suck out of the ground right now. Just sounds like hooey to me. She might like the idea though & it's her future!
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby Carnot » Thu 23 Jul 2015, 07:47:20

Isgota,
Thanks for at least reading my post. I stand by what I say. When will it be competitive?

I have a presentation form Iogen from February 2006 titled, " Cellulosic Ethanol. Ready to go". I can email it to you if you wish. Total drivel with claims of 1 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol by 2015.

Go where? It went nowhere. 1n 2015 This process is still stuck in the development stage with all sorts of excuses being offered as to why it does not do what was claimed for the past 100 years. Total drivel with claims of 1 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol by 2015. Well 2015 is here and 1 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol is not anywhere in sight. Meanwhile Iogen are now nearly there and Shell are not (quit)

Even if, and that remains a big if , enzymatic hydrolysis can be made to reliably function in the pre-treatment step just what will the overall energy balance be including counting the lignin. Will it provide a significant net energy gain, especially after all inputs are considered. Could it run in a stand alone cycle with ethanol or other biofuels being used in the entire life cycle. Hmm. I doubt it. What about the loss of soil organic carbon ( just ignore that one). What about drying the wet lignin prior to combustion or do you have something else envisaged for the lignin. The lignin market is only so big (or small). Your source was the venerable Biofuels digest. I used to read that claptrap and believe it. Then I did the thermodynamics and realised it was little more than a voicepiece for some of the most unlikely processes ever envisaged ( I will not say SCAMS but many turned out that way).

Thermodynamics rule. If cellulosic ethanol is so damned good it should have replaced corn ethanol by now, but has not. It is an will remain an industry long on claims not supported by hard facts, and above all production.
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby isgota » Thu 23 Jul 2015, 08:18:03

Well Iogen has now a commercial plant completed. And the funny thing is after Shell stopped working directly with them, now are working indirectly via Raizen.

R&D of new technologies always take more time and money than expected (and many fail!), what matters is if finally there is a workable process.

Many of your questions about carbon soil, lignin, etc. I have talked before in this forum, giving papers. And basically many cellulosic plants are expected to be energetically self sufficient burning lignine, and even exporting electricity to the grid, are all those engineers wrong?

And actually, I think the biggest problems of cellulosic ethanol development is not thermodynamics related, but kinetics, undesirable by-products, and so on.
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby Carnot » Thu 23 Jul 2015, 09:23:14

I wish I had your confidence. I do not. The path is littered with empty promises and claims.

What is the EROEI of these plants? What is the net energy gain? Are all the inputs included, say in the Pimental way which is the real way to calculate. These plants would have to service in a world without fossil fuels from field to wheel. That means all the inputs would have to come from biofuels. Do you think that this can happen. Or will the process consume all it produces and more. Give me that answer because I think it will be hugely negative.
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby Graeme » Thu 23 Jul 2015, 17:42:20

isgota, Thanks for your input here. The fossil fools don't want to know about new enzymes or any new innovation. They will mislead you.

GJ, I can't understand why you are so gullible. Didn't you see Carnot was trying to defend the FF industry by listing how life would be different? Then he has the audacity to tell us that the worst outcome of fossil fuels is that they allowed our population to expand. Oh no it isn't the worst outcome. Total extinction of all life on the planet is the worst. That's where we are heading right now.

I will only accept the conclusions in the Lux report:

Renewable diesel producers Neste Oil and Diamond Green Diesel, gasification specialist Red Rock Biofuels, and Edeniq, which makes cellulosic ethanol, were among 13 producers of alternative fuels best positioned to compete with cheap oil, according a report from Lux Research.


BTW, it's not cut and paste, it's copy and paste. If this annoys you so much, I will continue to paste the same so-called "nonsense". It is this because you don't like to read the content.

Building on over 2,000 scientific studies and major assessments, this 700-page e-publication outlines how:

● Development of bioenergy can replenish a community’s food supply by improving management practices and land soil quality
● New technologies can provide communities with food security, fuel, economic and social development while effectively using water, nutrients and other resources
● The use of bioenergy, if done thoughtfully, can actually help lower air and water pollution
● Bioenergy initiatives monitored and implemented, hand in hand with good governance, can protect biodiversity, and provide ecosystems services
● Efficiency gains and sustainable practices of recent bioenergy systems can help contribute to a low-carbon economy by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and assisting carbon mitigation efforts
● With current knowledge and projected improvements 30% of the world’s fuel supply could be biobased by 2050


Brazil Raizen to build more cellulose ethanol plants after 2017 -CEO

Brazil's Raizen said it plans to start building additional cellulose ethanol plants after production costs for the second generation biofuel become competitive with conventional ethanol costs, Chief Executive Vasco Dias said on Wednesday.

Raizen, a joint venture between local conglomerate Cosan SA and Royal-Dutch Shell Plc, inaugurated its first second-generation biofuel plant in Piracicaba.

The plant currently produces cellulosic ethanol at about 1.40 reais a liter, compared with 1.15 reais/ltr for conventional ethanol. Cellulosic ethanol costs are expected to converge on conventional costs in 2017 and drop below them in 2018, Raizen executives said.


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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby davep » Fri 24 Jul 2015, 03:48:57

These plants would have to service in a world without fossil fuels from field to wheel. That means all the inputs would have to come from biofuels.


Or some inputs can be bypassed by avoiding chemical fertiliser etc. And use an old tractor (that gets rid of half of Pimentel's embedded energy costs). Or use perennials to avoid almost all inputs (e.g. chestnuts). Given alcohol (for example) only extracts stuff made from water and C02, the rest of the nutrients stay put (or are used by other processes) meaning there is no net loss of fertility over time due to the alcohol extraction so long as the rest stays on-site.

And remember, yields from small intensive market garden operations are far higher per unit volume than in conventional farms. If we're imagining a post-fossil fuel agriculture, I don't think huge green revolution annual monocropping will remain the norm. It's only the most efficient in terms of cost, where energy is cheap and labour is expensive.
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Re: Biomass Thread

Unread postby Graeme » Wed 29 Jul 2015, 18:22:27

Policy: Define biomass sustainability

The bioeconomy is rising up the political agenda. More than 30 countries have announced that they will boost production of renewable resources from biological materials and convert them into products such as food, animal feed and bioenergy. Non-food crops, such as switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), are the main focus, as well as agricultural and forestry residues and waste materials and gases.

It is one thing to write a report; it is another to put a plan into action sustainably. The biggest conundrum is reconciling the conflicting needs of agriculture and industry. In a post-fossil-fuel world, an increasing proportion of chemicals, plastics, textiles, fuels and electricity will have to come from biomass, which takes up land. By 2050, the world will also need to produce 50–70% more food1, increasingly under drought conditions and on poor soils.


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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby lpetrich » Tue 16 Feb 2016, 13:07:10

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, 23:20:35

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, 07:38:42

"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, 08:31:26

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, 16:48:43

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, 16:17:02

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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