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(SFGate)   Remember 99 years ago, when Israel's first president came up with a way to make a better biofuel than ethanol? No? Well, fortunately a bunch of scientists do   (sfgate.com) divider line 74
    More: Cool, biofuels  
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8804 clicks; posted to Geek » on 17 Jan 2013 at 8:35 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-01-17 08:57:20 AM  
Just once I'd love to read one of these that ends with: "The team has already secured $2B in funding and construction of several industrial scale plants will begin in different states within three months."

Five to ten years.... it's always friggin five to ten years.... except fusion... they've settled on 50 years as their mantra.
 
2013-01-17 09:00:54 AM  
who predicted it will be five to 10 years before the fuel is ready to be mass-marketed.

Yawn... I find that doubtful.

www.lightparty.com

That car was just late-model in the pic. The stuff is roughly 85 octane, can be shipped in pipelines, and is always 5-10 years from mass marketing.
/Yes, I did a paper on this back in high school
//Class o'98
 
2013-01-17 09:02:49 AM  
Weizmann used a bacterium called Clostridium acetobutylicum to ferment sugars and turn them into acetone, butanol and ethanol.

He called it The Dip.
 
2013-01-17 09:13:29 AM  
Huh. I thought he turned water into wine.....
 
2013-01-17 09:15:57 AM  
a.tgcdn.net

Squish these up and you could make bio-fuel.
 
2013-01-17 09:39:45 AM  
*counts on fingers
subtracts 1947
divides by 99
wait, I have to start over*
 
2013-01-17 09:50:53 AM  
Wasn't this a plot point of those abysmally bad Left Behind books from the nineties?

/ Actually it's not, but it is rather close, and slightly more plausible.
 
2013-01-17 09:55:45 AM  
What about that Tesla guy? He came up with some stuff that we won't "discover" for at least decades.
 
2013-01-17 10:19:05 AM  
The discovery, published in the journal Nature, means corn, sugar cane, grasses and other fast-growing plants or trees, like eucalyptus, could be used to make the propellant, replacing oil.

I, for one, welcome our new Australian overlords.
 
2013-01-17 10:32:20 AM  
Does this mean we'll finally stop using a food crop for fuel?

Keep in mind using corn for ethanol literally kills poor Mexicans, so every tree hugger, and politician pandering to Iowa, who backs corn ethanol has blood on their hands.

/America's donations of surplus corn went down, and the purchase prices went up, thereby making cornmeal more expensive for poor Mexican villagers. Link
 
2013-01-17 10:42:18 AM  
And the Nazi's were using biofuel during WWII this is nothing new.
 
2013-01-17 11:00:03 AM  
America needs to get off the Corn teat.
 
2013-01-17 11:01:27 AM  
Biofuels are a dead-end technology; they always have been. By the time they are developed enough to serve as a stop-gap, the technology they were meant to transition to will already have been developed.
 
2013-01-17 11:07:31 AM  

Fizpez: Just once I'd love to read one of these that ends with: "The team has already secured $2B in funding and construction of several industrial scale plants will begin in different states within three months."

Five to ten years.... it's always friggin five to ten years.... except fusion... they've settled on 50 years as their mantra.


I suspect when oil is nearly gone and prices have risen to extreme levels as well as oil company profits, at that exact moment the last feasibly produced drop is being consumed then miraculously they'll find an alternative.
 
2013-01-17 11:15:30 AM  
My theory, which is mine, goes like this:

The powers that be know that the human race is doomed. But since they're a bunch of anti-intellectual nihilists, the plan is to strip the Earth of easily accessible and useful resources before we go so that whatever species takes our place will be forever damned to a low-energy agrarian lifestyle like Jesus wanted.

it's obvious when you connect the dots.
 
2013-01-17 11:31:32 AM  

PirateKing: My theory, which is mine, goes like this:

The powers that be know that the human race is doomed. But since they're a bunch of anti-intellectual nihilists, the plan is to strip the Earth of easily accessible and useful resources before we go so that whatever species takes our place will be forever damned to a low-energy agrarian lifestyle like Jesus wanted.

it's obvious when you connect the dots.


Are_you_a_wizard.jpg
 
2013-01-17 11:41:23 AM  
Funded by:
static.guim.co.uk
 
2013-01-17 11:47:37 AM  
Anything fast growing?

Like farking HEMP?

/surprised at first mention
 
2013-01-17 11:58:45 AM  
Efficient and scalable conversion of cellulose to fermentable sugars is still the greatest barrier to biofuel production.
 
2013-01-17 12:00:42 PM  
I always hated the idea of Biofuels. I mean, whoever thought, "Let's burn food for fuel!" was a good idea should be removed from their position and made to feed the hungry for at least a year.
 
2013-01-17 12:06:22 PM  
This sounds like a terrifid idea!
 
2013-01-17 12:09:44 PM  
Israel had a president 99 years ago? During Palestine's Second Aliyah?

/the first died in a place crash
 
2013-01-17 12:37:16 PM  

Reverend Monkeypants: Anything fast growing?

Like farking HEMP?

/surprised at first mention


Fark that, Hemp grows slow next to Kudzu.
 
2013-01-17 12:39:20 PM  
Spaz-master


Funded by: BP.jpg

I note your silence on MTBE -forced on california motorists by democrat environmentalists- that now contaminates CA and NV waterways.


MTBE contamination is soaring
The American Water Works Association, representing 4,700 U.S. water systems, estimates nationwide MTBE cleanup and water replacement costs at $29 billion - and rising

Thanks california environmentalists!
 
2013-01-17 12:58:40 PM  

OnlyM3: Thanks california environmentalists!


Pretty much anything they push for turns out to be worse. Remember they hated paper grocery bags, and now the plastic ones are considered evil?

And don't get me started on over-fighting forest fires. Turns out it's actually a better idea to let the underbrush get cleaned out once in a while.
 
2013-01-17 01:02:09 PM  
Actually, it was "California Environmentalist" who opposed the use of MTBE (after CONGRESS, mandated its use as an oxygenating agent in gasoline.) Ethanol's use in the blending of gas was encouraged in California, as a REPLACEMENT for MTBE and California began phasing out the use of MTBE back in the late 90's.

BTW, this whole "FOOD CROPS" for ethanol is over-hyped as well. The vast majority of corn grown in the US (for at least the last 70 yrs or so) was never intended for human consumption. It is known commercially as "dent corn" (from the small "dent" in the kernel's top of most species) and is grown almost exclusively for animal feed and/or ethanol production.

When used for ethanol, first the corn kernels are processed in a manner which removes most of the sugars, but preserves the solids. The sugar solution is allowed to ferment to produce ethanol, while the solids (called "Distiller's Grains") are sold for use directly as, or as an ingredient of, animal feed. Thus, the corn that is grown for ethanol, would have other wise been grown and sold as animal feed in the first place, not it merely serves a dual purpose - producing both ethanol and animal feed.

What Chaim Weizmann did was basically a variation on the Fischer-Tropsch process of turning organic matter into liquid fuels. The question is today, what enzymes/bacteria/etc. are going to be the most effective means of breaking down organic materials into useful by products (like butanol, hydrogen, etc.) in the most energy efficient manner.

It isn't just BP that has dropped hundreds of millions of $'s into this line of research, but Dow Chemical, Gevo, and Shell Oil are all in the game. Matter of fact, Shell just built a butanol refinery in texas this last year in an effort to commercialize the product.
 
2013-01-17 01:24:05 PM  

dennerman: I always hated the idea of Biofuels. I mean, whoever thought, "Let's burn food for fuel!" was a good idea should be removed from their position and made to feed the hungry for at least a year.


Biofuels do not have to be made from food stuff. You can use grasses, garbage, or, as TFA suggests, eucalyptus.
 
2013-01-17 01:31:23 PM  

lawboy87: Actually, it was "California Environmentalist" who opposed the use of MTBE (after CONGRESS, mandated its use as an oxygenating agent in gasoline.) Ethanol's use in the blending of gas was encouraged in California, as a REPLACEMENT for MTBE and California began phasing out the use of MTBE back in the late 90's.

BTW, this whole "FOOD CROPS" for ethanol is over-hyped as well. The vast majority of corn grown in the US (for at least the last 70 yrs or so) was never intended for human consumption. It is known commercially as "dent corn" (from the small "dent" in the kernel's top of most species) and is grown almost exclusively for animal feed and/or ethanol production.

When used for ethanol, first the corn kernels are processed in a manner which removes most of the sugars, but preserves the solids. The sugar solution is allowed to ferment to produce ethanol, while the solids (called "Distiller's Grains") are sold for use directly as, or as an ingredient of, animal feed. Thus, the corn that is grown for ethanol, would have other wise been grown and sold as animal feed in the first place, not it merely serves a dual purpose - producing both ethanol and animal feed.

What Chaim Weizmann did was basically a variation on the Fischer-Tropsch process of turning organic matter into liquid fuels. The question is today, what enzymes/bacteria/etc. are going to be the most effective means of breaking down organic materials into useful by products (like butanol, hydrogen, etc.) in the most energy efficient manner.

It isn't just BP that has dropped hundreds of millions of $'s into this line of research, but Dow Chemical, Gevo, and Shell Oil are all in the game. Matter of fact, Shell just built a butanol refinery in texas this last year in an effort to commercialize the product.


OK, this is why I love Fark. Not only do I get to read all the witty, some more so than others, comments, I often learn a little something too.
 
2013-01-17 01:32:50 PM  

Dansker: dennerman: I always hated the idea of Biofuels. I mean, whoever thought, "Let's burn food for fuel!" was a good idea should be removed from their position and made to feed the hungry for at least a year.

Biofuels do not have to be made from food stuff. You can use grasses, garbage, or, as TFA suggests, eucalyptus.


Sounds like I need to educate myself on the subject a bit more before I spout off again. For now I'll stick to non-controversial topics like gun control, politics, and religion.
 
2013-01-17 01:39:37 PM  
yah, i burned 8 gallons of HPLC grade n-butanol in my truck. good acceleration and power, zippy under the pedal. cleaned everything out - pass'd emissions no problem up to two years later, running cheap gas. only problem was a check engine light during for a 'too lean mix' OBD code off the oxy sensor. this stuff is good.
 
2013-01-17 01:39:54 PM  

ThisIsntMe: Reverend Monkeypants: Anything fast growing?

Like farking HEMP?

/surprised at first mention

Fark that, Hemp grows slow next to Kudzu.


Kudzu can grow up to 8 inches a day IIRC.

Maybe someone will figure out a way to make biofuel out of the plastic water bottles that will be covering every square inch of the planet 15 years from now.
 
2013-01-17 01:42:17 PM  

dennerman: and is grown almost exclusively for animal feed and/or ethanol production.


how is animal feed not part of the our food?
 
2013-01-17 01:45:24 PM  

OnlyM3: The American Water Works Association, representing 4,700 U.S. water systems, estimates nationwide MTBE cleanup and water replacement costs at $29 billion - and rising

Thanks california environmentalists!


uh... cali eco freaks hate MTBE and have since the beginning.
 
2013-01-17 01:48:51 PM  

dennerman: Dansker: dennerman: I always hated the idea of Biofuels. I mean, whoever thought, "Let's burn food for fuel!" was a good idea should be removed from their position and made to feed the hungry for at least a year.

Biofuels do not have to be made from food stuff. You can use grasses, garbage, or, as TFA suggests, eucalyptus.

Sounds like I need to educate myself on the subject a bit more before I spout off again. For now I'll stick to non-controversial topics like gun control, politics, and religion.


That's the ticket!
 
2013-01-17 01:52:26 PM  

Soulcatcher:
Maybe someone will figure out a way to make biofuel out of the plastic water bottles that will be covering every square inch of the planet 15 years from now.


I don't think plastic bottles count as biomass. But yeah, turnn
 
2013-01-17 01:53:57 PM  
... turning plastics back into oil would be a neat trick, is what I was trying to say.
 
2013-01-17 02:00:21 PM  

utah dude: yah, i burned 8 gallons of HPLC grade n-butanol in my truck. good acceleration and power, zippy under the pedal. cleaned everything out - pass'd emissions no problem up to two years later, running cheap gas. only problem was a check engine light during for a 'too lean mix' OBD code off the oxy sensor. this stuff is good.


That was an expensive fill up! Might I as why you burned all that n-butanol up? My assumption was it was going to be "disposed of" anyway at some insane cost to your company by a waste disposal company and you took one for the team - but damn that's an expensive 1/2 tank of gass.
 
2013-01-17 02:03:13 PM  

lawboy87: BTW, this whole "FOOD CROPS" for ethanol is over-hyped as well. The vast majority of corn grown in the US (for at least the last 70 yrs or so) was never intended for human consumption. It is known commercially as "dent corn" (from the small "dent" in the kernel's top of most species) and is grown almost exclusively for animal feed and/or ethanol production.


I think the problem was farmers switching from food corn to dent corn because there were higher profits from government subsidies and the growing biofuel market.  This reduced the food crops which increased prices and that hurt the lower classes in Mexico the most.
 
2013-01-17 02:06:09 PM  
If fuel were made out of eucalyptus it wouldn't matter if the smog got bad because the air would be like cough drops.
 
2013-01-17 02:13:25 PM  

Dansker: ... turning plastics back into oil would be a neat trick, is what I was trying to say.


Turning plastic into oil is cheap using thermal depolymerization.
 
2013-01-17 02:17:55 PM  

cig-mkr: And the Nazi's were using biofuel during WWII this is nothing new.


Jewish biofuel
 
2013-01-17 02:22:21 PM  

Mr. Eugenides: Dansker: ... turning plastics back into oil would be a neat trick, is what I was trying to say.

Turning plastic into oil is cheap using thermal depolymerization.


Unless you mean "cheap" as in "requires less energy input than the process outputs as oil" it's not really a practical form of fuel production.
 
2013-01-17 02:22:43 PM  

fat boy: cig-mkr: And the Nazi's were using biofuel during WWII this is nothing new.

Jewish biofuel


O_o
 
2013-01-17 02:25:10 PM  

OgreMagi: lawboy87: BTW, this whole "FOOD CROPS" for ethanol is over-hyped as well. The vast majority of corn grown in the US (for at least the last 70 yrs or so) was never intended for human consumption. It is known commercially as "dent corn" (from the small "dent" in the kernel's top of most species) and is grown almost exclusively for animal feed and/or ethanol production.

I think the problem was farmers switching from food corn to dent corn because there were higher profits from government subsidies and the growing biofuel market.  This reduced the food crops which increased prices and that hurt the lower classes in Mexico the most.


Came here to say this.

To say "it was dent corn" is disingenuous. Eatin' corn was switched to dent corn, and dent corn became expensive for animals.

So, Mr. Smarty-Pants, you may know the process in detail, but are purposely obfuscating the economics of wasting our time with corn ethanol.
 
2013-01-17 02:29:32 PM  

Dansker: Mr. Eugenides: Dansker: ... turning plastics back into oil would be a neat trick, is what I was trying to say.

Turning plastic into oil is cheap using thermal depolymerization.

Unless you mean "cheap" as in "requires less energy input than the process outputs as oil" it's not really a practical form of fuel production.


Well yeah, exactly. If you have waste plastic, you can use it as feedstock for TDP and the resulting oil is cheap. But turning oil into plastic then oil certainly isn't worth the effort and there are other consumers of waste plastic that will pay more for the stock.
 
2013-01-17 02:30:43 PM  

Soulcatcher: Maybe someone will figure out a way to make biofuel out of the plastic water bottles that will be covering every square inch of the planet 15 years from now.


If I were a real estate speculator, I'd buy up as much municipal landfill as I could acquire.

It's just barren, odd-smelling wasteland at the edges of cities now, but as virgin resources diminish the demand for "mining rights" will grow.

/And then after remediation, sell it off for exurban development.
 
2013-01-17 02:33:05 PM  

Mr. Eugenides: Dansker: Mr. Eugenides: Dansker: ... turning plastics back into oil would be a neat trick, is what I was trying to say.

Turning plastic into oil is cheap using thermal depolymerization.

Unless you mean "cheap" as in "requires less energy input than the process outputs as oil" it's not really a practical form of fuel production.

Well yeah, exactly. If you have waste plastic, you can use it as feedstock for TDP and the resulting oil is cheap.


I'm not calling you a dirty liar, but a citation would be nice, since this is contrary to what I've heard.
 
2013-01-17 03:04:30 PM  

dennerman: I always hated the idea of Biofuels. I mean, whoever thought, "Let's burn food for fuel!" was a good idea should be removed from their position and made to feed the hungry for at least a year.


LOL, and what do you think oil is?

Chemical energy storage will always beat electrical energy storage for density and cost, and the best hardware on the planet for converting solar energy into fuel, is plants. They've had a billion years to figure it out.

/All energy is ultimately solar energy
 
2013-01-17 03:41:08 PM  

Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: dennerman: I always hated the idea of Biofuels. I mean, whoever thought, "Let's burn food for fuel!" was a good idea should be removed from their position and made to feed the hungry for at least a year.

LOL, and what do you think oil is?

Chemical energy storage will always beat electrical energy storage for density and cost, and the best hardware on the planet for converting solar energy into fuel, is plants. They've had a billion years to figure it out.

/All energy is ultimately solar energy


Great now someone has to come in here and explain how nuclear isnt really solar - at least not our solar. Which will bring in the guy who has claimed he's got a fool-proof method of harvest leftover energy from cosmic background radiation and he can get a few femtowatts per square kilometer of gathering surface. My god man, do you know what you've done?
 
2013-01-17 03:42:30 PM  

Dansker: dennerman: I always hated the idea of Biofuels. I mean, whoever thought, "Let's burn food for fuel!" was a good idea should be removed from their position and made to feed the hungry for at least a year.

Biofuels do not have to be made from food stuff. You can use grasses, garbage, or, as TFA suggests, eucalyptus.


SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE KOALAS!
 
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