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(Trust.org)   "Environmentally responsible biofuel" is looking more like "artificial grass" and "military intelligence"   (trust.org ) divider line
    More: Ironic, United States, corn ethanol, Renewable Fuels Association, animal fats, chemical industries, renewable sources, fuel pump, GHG  
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1341 clicks; posted to Business » on 04 Jul 2013 at 11:50 AM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



34 Comments     (+0 »)
 
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2013-07-04 11:14:20 AM  
I wonder what the cost of making biodiesel from fat and a few chemicals is vs. the cost of refining diesel fuel from underground petroleum deposits?  Any fat pressed from seeds would work.  Get cheap corn, cottonseed, soy, etc.

I wonder what the cost of converting existing sewage treatment plants to biogas plants would be?  Instead of waste, you get a gas that is mostly propane and a good fertilizer for crops.

I wonder what would happen to the electric grid if every new building larger than a backyard shed was required to produce at least 1MW of solar power from solar panels, with tax bonuses for going larger than that.
 
2013-07-04 11:57:54 AM  
The author doesn't think the companies involved do this to make money? That's the only reason they do it. They don't car if it's sustainable, renewable, radioactive, Republican, Democrat, Presbyterian, green, red, yellow, whatever, as long as they make money.
 
2013-07-04 12:22:05 PM  

Timid Goddess: I wonder what the cost of converting existing sewage treatment plants to biogas plants would be?  Instead of waste, you get a gas that is mostly propane and a good fertilizer for crops


I can't speak to all waste water treatment facilities, but the main one in Calgary does actually use the methane it produces to power a part of the facility
 
2013-07-04 12:26:32 PM  
Hmm, it's almost as if certain powerful corporations want biofuels to be a commercial failure.

Since then, sugarcane ethanol has flowed into the United States, while corn ethanol has been shipped to Brazil to meet demand there.

You do have to sort of admire companies who are able to game the system like this. I remember a similar one about driving rail cars full of biodiesel back and forth across the Canadian border. If only they would put half this much effort into actually developing cellulosic processes, butanol, etc...

Timid Goddess: I wonder what would happen to the electric grid if every new building larger than a backyard shed was required to produce at least 1MW of solar power from solar panels, with tax bonuses for going larger than that.


Do you have any idea of the area required to collect 1MW of solar power? Hint: it's a lot larger than a backyard shed.
 
2013-07-04 12:31:34 PM  

Ivo Shandor: Hmm, it's almost as if certain powerful corporations want biofuels to be a commercial failure.

Since then, sugarcane ethanol has flowed into the United States, while corn ethanol has been shipped to Brazil to meet demand there.

You do have to sort of admire companies who are able to game the system like this. I remember a similar one about driving rail cars full of biodiesel back and forth across the Canadian border. If only they would put half this much effort into actually developing cellulosic processes, butanol, etc...

Timid Goddess: I wonder what would happen to the electric grid if every new building larger than a backyard shed was required to produce at least 1MW of solar power from solar panels, with tax bonuses for going larger than that.

Do you have any idea of the area required to collect 1MW of solar power? Hint: it's a lot larger than a backyard shed.


My apologies, I meant 1W or bigger.  I believe that is about a square foot, depending on how the cells in the panel are wired.
 
2013-07-04 12:33:14 PM  

Timid Goddess: I wonder what the cost of converting existing sewage treatment plants to biogas plants would be?  Instead of waste, you get a gas that is mostly propane and a good fertilizer for crops.


"Washington, D.C.- The U.S. Department of Energy today issued the following statement in support of the commissioning of the world's first tri-generation fuel cell and hydrogen energy station to provide transportation fuel to the public and electric power to an industrial facility, located at the Orange County Sanitation District's wastewater treatment plant in Fountain Valley, California. The fuel cell commissioned today is a combined heat, hydrogen, and power system that co-produces hydrogen in addition to electricity and heat, making it a tri-generation system. The hydrogen produced by the system is sent to a hydrogen fueling station that will be open to the public and can support between 25 and 50 fuel cell electric vehicle fill-ups per day.  The fuel cell also produces approximately 250 kW of power for use by the wastewater treatment plant. This on-site approach to hydrogen production advances hydrogen infrastructure technologies that will accelerate the use of this renewable fuel."

More and more we'll see municipalities begin to recognize the revenue streams from waste water and biomass.
 
2013-07-04 12:39:33 PM  
Obvious tag on vacation?  If you are converting oil from McDonalds into biodiesel in your back yard, that's one thing.  But growing endless square miles of corn to make Ethanol has always been a terrible idea.  My theory has always been that George Bush went on his Ethanol kick just to prove that green tech sucks.  Well that and the massive kickbacks that he and his people no doubt received from the corn lobby.
 
2013-07-04 12:48:23 PM  

Timid Goddess: I wonder what the cost of making biodiesel from fat and a few chemicals is vs. the cost of refining diesel fuel from underground petroleum deposits?  Any fat pressed from seeds would work.  Get cheap corn, cottonseed, soy, etc.

I wonder what the cost of converting existing sewage treatment plants to biogas plants would be?  Instead of waste, you get a gas that is mostly propane and a good fertilizer for crops.

I wonder what would happen to the electric grid if every new building larger than a backyard shed was required to produce at least 1MW of solar power from solar panels, with tax bonuses for going larger than that.


Good grief, where would you put all those solar panels? If each 3'x5' panel produced 200 Watts you'd need 5000 of them, that's 75,000 square feet or about 1.72 acres. For large commercial buildings that's probably doable, residential not so much. Or am I not understanding how you got the 1MW number?
 
2013-07-04 12:49:26 PM  

ArmednHammered: Timid Goddess: I wonder what the cost of making biodiesel from fat and a few chemicals is vs. the cost of refining diesel fuel from underground petroleum deposits?  Any fat pressed from seeds would work.  Get cheap corn, cottonseed, soy, etc.

I wonder what the cost of converting existing sewage treatment plants to biogas plants would be?  Instead of waste, you get a gas that is mostly propane and a good fertilizer for crops.

I wonder what would happen to the electric grid if every new building larger than a backyard shed was required to produce at least 1MW of solar power from solar panels, with tax bonuses for going larger than that.

Good grief, where would you put all those solar panels? If each 3'x5' panel produced 200 Watts you'd need 5000 of them, that's 75,000 square feet or about 1.72 acres. For large commercial buildings that's probably doable, residential not so much. Or am I not understanding how you got the 1MW number?


I see I'm late, never mind ;-)
 
2013-07-04 01:00:08 PM  
I recall reading about a group that was trying to develop a strain of algae that would produce some sort of biofuel. Seems to make a lot more sense to me than using a food crop. Go out in the desert or some other non arable land that gets a lot of sun, and set up big tanks of water. Strained and treated, the water could probably be reused. Hell, with the right algae you could use seawater. Put a fish farm next to the thing maybe.

Anyone who has kept an aquarium can tell you how fast algae is capable of blooming.
 
2013-07-04 01:22:53 PM  

miniflea: I recall reading about a group that was trying to develop a strain of algae that would produce some sort of biofuel. Seems to make a lot more sense to me than using a food crop. Go out in the desert or some other non arable land that gets a lot of sun, and set up big tanks of water. Strained and treated, the water could probably be reused. Hell, with the right algae you could use seawater. Put a fish farm next to the thing maybe.

Anyone who has kept an aquarium can tell you how fast algae is capable of blooming.


The algae they are using is actually a slow growing variety that tend to get "fat" instead of reproducing (However that means that contamination by other algaes would be troublesome)
There is currently a venture in Alberta between Canadian Natural Resources LTD and  Pond Biofuels to use waste CO2 for oilsands extraction to make more fuel, while at the same time reducing the environmental impact of the tar sands (Pond also has a bunch of other similar ventures with high pollution industrial companies, this one is notable however because of the scale of production the facility will be capable of)
 
2013-07-04 01:27:51 PM  
The author doesn't think the companies involved do this to make money? That's the only reason they do it. They don't car if it's sustainable, renewable, radioactive, Republican, Democrat, Presbyterian, green, red, yellow, whatever, as long as they make money.

That's where the ethanol mandate comes from in the first place...money flowing from the farm co-ops and grain companies to the Congressmen.   Everything else is just rearranging the chairs to see where the cash flows.
 
2013-07-04 01:36:21 PM  

Timid Goddess: Ivo Shandor: Hmm, it's almost as if certain powerful corporations want biofuels to be a commercial failure.

Since then, sugarcane ethanol has flowed into the United States, while corn ethanol has been shipped to Brazil to meet demand there.

You do have to sort of admire companies who are able to game the system like this. I remember a similar one about driving rail cars full of biodiesel back and forth across the Canadian border. If only they would put half this much effort into actually developing cellulosic processes, butanol, etc...

Timid Goddess: I wonder what would happen to the electric grid if every new building larger than a backyard shed was required to produce at least 1MW of solar power from solar panels, with tax bonuses for going larger than that.

Do you have any idea of the area required to collect 1MW of solar power? Hint: it's a lot larger than a backyard shed.

My apologies, I meant 1W or bigger.  I believe that is about a square foot, depending on how the cells in the panel are wired.


If I remember correctly the earth gets about 110 watts per square foot during perfect conditions. Solar cells are then rated as a percentage of how much of that energy they can capture. I believe that around %15 is normal. So under perfect conditions you'd get about 16 watts per square foot.
 
2013-07-04 02:20:41 PM  
"Environmentally responsible ethanol biofuel is looking more like "artificial grass" and "military intelligence"

Fixed.  There are more options in the universe than corn ethanol and sugarcane ethanol.

/"artificial grass"?
 
2013-07-04 02:34:03 PM  

Timid Goddess: Ivo Shandor: Hmm, it's almost as if certain powerful corporations want biofuels to be a commercial failure.

Since then, sugarcane ethanol has flowed into the United States, while corn ethanol has been shipped to Brazil to meet demand there.

You do have to sort of admire companies who are able to game the system like this. I remember a similar one about driving rail cars full of biodiesel back and forth across the Canadian border. If only they would put half this much effort into actually developing cellulosic processes, butanol, etc...

Timid Goddess: I wonder what would happen to the electric grid if every new building larger than a backyard shed was required to produce at least 1MW of solar power from solar panels, with tax bonuses for going larger than that.

Do you have any idea of the area required to collect 1MW of solar power? Hint: it's a lot larger than a backyard shed.

My apologies, I meant 1W or bigger.  I believe that is about a square foot, depending on how the cells in the panel are wired.


Got a roof?  Get more than X sunlight a year?  Put panels on it.  Why is this so hard?
 
2013-07-04 02:44:25 PM  

Dafatone: Got a roof?  Get more than X sunlight a year?  Put panels on it.  Why is this so hard?


Americans are trained from a very young age to automatically give up when it comes to anything that might hurt the interests of Big Oil.  We're actually told that windfarms cause mysterious illnesses due to operating at evil, damaging ultrasonic frequencies.   Here's an article about the same thing cropping up in Australia ... but only around windfarms where corporate propaganda is targeting people to worry about it.
 
2013-07-04 02:57:40 PM  
So, do rooftop solar panels go on top of the shingles or do the panels replace them?
 
2013-07-04 03:05:46 PM  

Hollie Maea: Obvious tag on vacation?  If you are converting oil from McDonalds into biodiesel in your back yard, that's one thing.  But growing endless square miles of corn to make Ethanol has always been a terrible idea.  My theory has always been that George Bush went on his Ethanol kick just to prove that green tech sucks.  Well that and the massive kickbacks that he and his people no doubt received from the corn lobby.





Yeah kid, we burn the food in our crappy car-trucks so we can go to the mall to buy clothes we don't need. Yeah, we eat there too.
encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com
 
2013-07-04 03:14:33 PM  
My brother actually works in intelligence for the Air Force(he actually has a commendation from the NSA) and when we were IM'ing each other last night he was wondering why they had a huge stack of Wii Us at the PX in Doha. My answer was "military intelligence".
 
2013-07-04 03:14:43 PM  
The combination of corn ethanol and drought has also driven up the cost of tasty things like steak and bacon, and this is unacceptable.
 
2013-07-04 03:34:51 PM  

Dafatone: Why is this so hard?


[ ] HOAs.
[ ] Rush Limbaugh.
[ ] Snow.
[ ] When I get around to it.

Pick any that apply.
 
2013-07-04 03:49:22 PM  

Ivo Shandor: Hmm, it's almost as if certain powerful corporations want biofuels to be a commercial failure.


Hmm, it's almost as if certain powerful corporations want the Federal Government to be their commercial success based on grants and elimination of competitors.

// You don't really think Green companies are in it for hugs and kisses do you?
/// Gore has made over 100 million off of companies dependent on government research grants.
 
2013-07-04 03:50:34 PM  

LouDobbsAwaaaay: Dafatone: Got a roof?  Get more than X sunlight a year?  Put panels on it.  Why is this so hard?

Americans are trained from a very young age to automatically give up when it comes to anything that might hurt the interests of Big Oil.  We're actually told that windfarms cause mysterious illnesses due to operating at evil, damaging ultrasonic frequencies.   Here's an article about the same thing cropping up in Australia ... but only around windfarms where corporate propaganda is targeting people to worry about it.


You are an idiot. My 14 year old comes home weekly telling me how Green Energy is better. My 9 year old wants me to recycle.
 
2013-07-04 03:51:30 PM  

Flab: Dafatone: Why is this so hard?

[ ] HOAs.
[ ] Rush Limbaugh.
[ ] Snow.
[ ] When I get around to it.

Pick any that apply.


Or you could go for "initial installation costs" as the primary reason.  Very few Americans are willing to pre-pay thousands of dollars for something that won't recoup costs for 8-10 years.
 
2013-07-04 04:06:40 PM  

MyRandomName: Flab: Dafatone: Why is this so hard?

[ ] HOAs.
[ ] Rush Limbaugh.
[ ] Snow.
[ ] When I get around to it.

Pick any that apply.

Or you could go for "initial installation costs" as the primary reason.  Very few Americans are willing to pre-pay thousands of dollars for something that won't recoup costs for 8-10 years.


I mean, I'd like to see federal and/or state incentives to building owners.
 
2013-07-04 04:21:15 PM  

Dafatone: Got a roof? Get more than X sunlight a year? Put panels on it. Why is this so hard?


Roofs have to be replaced. Also, you want anyone to go up on your roof, fall off, and sue your ass? Also, regular convertors or microconvertors (i.e. technological change)? Why put up nascent technology today? Also, why spend a ton of money up-front to save a few bucks on ongoing monthly costs?

You act like it's a simple choice, but it isn't. When the technology is better, easier to maintain, less expensive, then people will adopt it.

It's not free, and there's a cost to it. There's no certainty that what you get is worth it compared to the next thing (like flexible panels you can throw over your roof for a fraction of the install cost, and you could roll up & take with you when you move houses).
 
2013-07-04 04:26:09 PM  

MyRandomName: Flab: Dafatone: Why is this so hard?

[ ] HOAs.
[ ] Rush Limbaugh.
[ ] Snow.
[ ] When I get around to it.

Pick any that apply.

Or you could go for "initial installation costs" as the primary reason.  Very few Americans are willing to pre-pay thousands of dollars for something that won't recoup costs for 8-10 years.




A hem.
upload.wikimedia.org
I guess you're right, though. They get all their smug up front.
 
2013-07-04 04:34:15 PM  

legion_of_doo: Dafatone: Got a roof? Get more than X sunlight a year? Put panels on it. Why is this so hard?

Roofs have to be replaced. Also, you want anyone to go up on your roof, fall off, and sue your ass? Also, regular convertors or microconvertors (i.e. technological change)? Why put up nascent technology today? Also, why spend a ton of money up-front to save a few bucks on ongoing monthly costs?

You act like it's a simple choice, but it isn't. When the technology is better, easier to maintain, less expensive, then people will adopt it.

It's not free, and there's a cost to it. There's no certainty that what you get is worth it compared to the next thing (like flexible panels you can throw over your roof for a fraction of the install cost, and you could roll up & take with you when you move houses).


Yeah, I should have phrased that differently.  I'd like to see a national push with government funding incentives.  Or, heck, even laws.  If you get enough sunlight, the feds will throw money at you to put panels on your roof.
 
2013-07-04 04:53:41 PM  

MyRandomName: Flab: Dafatone: Why is this so hard?

[ ] HOAs.
[ ] Rush Limbaugh.
[ ] Snow.
[ ] When I get around to it.

Pick any that apply.

Or you could go for "initial installation costs" as the primary reason.  Very few Americans are willing to pre-pay thousands of dollars for something that won't recoup costs for 8-10 years.


You wanted me to list serious reasons?
 
2013-07-04 06:46:43 PM  
If I had the money, I'd put solar panels on my roof. In fact, if the government would front me the money at 0% and let me pay it back over, say 10 years, I'd do it.
 
2013-07-04 09:04:35 PM  

I came back from a trip in Hillsborough NJ, and I was impressed by the amount of solar panels there. Large "solar farms" set up in the parkways of various corporations, and every telephone pole in one section of town had a panel on it.



Also, one of the more clever uses that both a new high school in a neighboring community used, and the Liberty Science Museum, was in creating covered parking areas, where the roof was essentially a solar farm: it seemed like a genius approach to getting double use out of solar.
 
2013-07-04 10:39:08 PM  
I will admit that I didn't read the article, but, since trust.org is the least trustworthy domain name I've ever seen, they're not off to a good start.
 
2013-07-04 10:48:42 PM  

buzzcut73: The combination of corn ethanol and drought has also driven up the cost of tasty things like steak and bacon, and this is unacceptable.


It shouldn't since pigs and cows shouldn't be force feed corn.
 
2013-07-04 11:50:31 PM  

MyRandomName: Flab: Dafatone: Why is this so hard?

[ ] HOAs.
[ ] Rush Limbaugh.
[ ] Snow.
[ ] When I get around to it.

Pick any that apply.

Or you could go for "initial installation costs" as the primary reason.  Very few Americans are willing to pre-pay thousands of dollars for something that won't recoup costs for 8-10 years.


And another one that's going to be more of a sticky widget--Force III and Force IV wind zones (which, oh, cover pretty much all of the regions where food grows east of the Rockies).  Solar panels, at least the ones that tend to be available to a consumer market, don't hold up all that well to tornadoes and derechos and hurricane-force winds in general...especially when the storms bringing the hurricane-and-up winds are also dropping sizable amounts of hail.

(And yeah, we get this kind of weather frequently enough in the Ohio Valley that "installing solar panels" will involve either "installing reinforced solar panels behind the 200mph plastic they tend to use for NASCAR Sprint cup vehicles' windshields" or "replacing the farking things every five years thanks to a hailstorm or severe wind event".  It's not uncommon that people have to replace their ROOFS about every 10-15 years because of storm damage.  Let's just say there's a reason that fired-clay roofs and slate roofing has not exactly caught on here...)

Then again...sadly...pretty much a fair amount of the sustainable options are not as doable in those parts of the country that have a Tornado Alley through them, save for (in areas that get plenty of rain) maybe hydro...wind MIGHT be a possibility, though, especially in the Appalachians (yes, there have been the occasional proposals for wind farms in Them Thar Hills, though it usually gets shot down as Coal is King still in that part of the state).  It'll be interesting to see how well the big-ass wind farms in Indiana hold up as they ARE pretty much right in Hoosier Alley...

/y yes, I'd like to see big-ass wind farms in my home state
//does not actually expect to see that until the last coal seam is depleted and the last coal-bearing mountain is turned into a plateau with a Wal-Mart on it and a nasty tailings pond upstream from the last coal-mining town :(
 
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