Biofuel: Scientist's warning/The great green con

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by dong20, Mar 25, 2008.

  1. dong20

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    I've long been frustrated by the biofuel hype. Some biofuels are better balanced, (fuels based on algae for example) but the current fuels are far from being as green as producers and motor manufacturers (and Mr. Branson) and Government would have us believe.

    My criticism isn't so much that they're bad, more that they're not good and, that there are better alternatives. Some of these may require more investment of course, which is obviously a bar to early adoption. Perhaps, though I'm unconvinced, biofuel could be useful as a 'stop gap' but a long term solution ...?

    Anyway, after all the election bunfights this may make a change of venue.:biggrin1:

    A couple of starters or three:

    Scientist's 'green fuel' warning - Yahoo! News UK
    Royal Society: UK gov needs to grow a biofuels policy | The Register
    Biofuels: The great green con - Business Analysis & Features, Business - Independent.co.uk
     
  2. Phil Ayesho

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    Biofuel is idiocy compounded with avarice.

    ALL biological solutions to energy involve carbon.


    And turning crops from arable land into car fuel is stupid. All the arable land in the US turned entirely over to biofuel production, would only reduce our reliance on foreign oil by 35%
    At todays, rate of consumption.

    And we would have nothing to eat.


    Hydrogen split from seawater using hydroelectric, geothermal, wind, tidal or nuclear sources is the only reasonable solution because hydrogen is the only fuel that burns clean.


    Why spend trillions on a stopgap measure when we could simply start in on a permanent solution?
     
  3. JustAsking

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    I agree that biofuels are not a really great alternative. It is no secret that the gain is only a factor of 1.3 or so, meaning you get 1.3 units of energy from it from every one unit you put in.

    Here is a good article on how it compares to other energy sources.
     
  4. Domisoldo

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    Most Americans have plenty of fat reserves that could alleviate the food shortage:wink:.

    I would be more inclined to say that that we would have nothing to drink, a far more severe problem.
     
  5. dong20

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    And we may be about get a little more of it.

    "Some 220 square miles of ice has collapsed in Antarctica and an ice shelf about the size of Connecticut is "hanging by a thread," the British Antarctic Survey said Tuesday, blaming global warming."

    Massive ice shelf on verge of breakup - CNN.com

    I'm inclined to agree, but if that 'permanent' solution is years away? Biofuel may achieve a political momentum that's hard to stop. People don't want to face even short term hardship for long term gain.
     
  6. Phil Ayesho

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    Biofuel is nothing but another way to divert tax moneys to the corn belt states that rely entirely on agriculture.


    It has ZERO impact on warming, zero impact on pollution, and zero impact on oil imports.

    Its just another political shell game to try and get Iowans to vote for somebody...



    The thing is this... we need a stimulus to the economy... what finally got the US out of the post Korean war dumps was Eisenhower spending a lot of money on infrastructure in the form of the Interstate highway system ( he had seen and taken advantage of the German Autobahn during WWII)

    Yeah it took over a two decades to build... but the interstate highway system TRIPLED the GNP of the US.


    As with all great changes... the sooner we start, the sooner the problem will be solved....


    Its our reticence to invest the time and money... our dithering over trying to find a solution that won't cost very much, or won't disrupt existing businesses that is literally killing us.


    The interstates killed the railroad business...

    so what? The railroads screwed up because they thought they were in the railroad business... if they had realized they were in the transportation business, they would have been investing in Kenworth and Freightliner.

    If Hydrogen kills the oil business, then it will be because they don't realize they are actually in the energy business...
     
  7. pronatalist

    pronatalist Active Member

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    A growing world of people, needs more cheap and abundant and dependable energy. So increase supply!

    I see the interest in biofuels as healthy, at least far better than the "environmental" fantasy of "clean" hydrogen. At least ethanol and biodeisel, are normally liquids at room temperature, a very useful property for portable energy storage, as is needed for cars. Hydrogen and batteries, are not very energy-dense, which means they fall short of the needed "range" requirement for cars. People trying to get somewhere, don't need to be stopping all the time for a refuel or for a charge.

    If we are to reject biofuels, do so for the logical or "scientific" reasons, not for the hype. At least biofuels are trying to "think outside the box," and escape through innovation, the evil clutches of the greedy oil monopoly corporations. Such as ethanol yielding 28% less gas milage, is not particularly helpful, althoug I have heard the idea that there may be other formulations. I also hear that ethanol dissolves rubber hoses, and can't be used in the higher concentrations, except in "flex-fuel" vehicles, which I find that "flex-fuel" has been so far, largely a SUV gimmick for getting around idiotic large-vehicle discriminating CAFE requirements. Congress allows the assumption that half the time, ethanol will be used, although the current percentage is more like 1%.

    And why does it have to be "all or nothing?" As it stands now, biofuels seem to be a "stop-gap" measure, exploring some options to ease rising demand on oil, while enviro-wackos and oil corporations and government conspire to constrain supply, to oppress the working poor, all in the name of "the environment," or dare we just admit it's a profit-making price-gouging scheme?

    Much the same reason why my replacement central air conditioning is a heat pump. Doesn't mean I plan to heat necessarily with electricity rather than natural gas. I like the quietness of the gas hot water baseboard radiators and the gas logs. But I at least have the option of switching to electricity, if they jack up the natural gas prices any more. Why not? I could get a heat pump for about the same price as the A/C only. In a stupid market of constrained supply for greedy profits, we might be smart, to "explore" a few other options, if or as we may need to.
     
  8. faceking

    faceking Active Member

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    Dennis Miller had a brilliant, pragmatic, yet simple comment on fuel/energy.

    I'm paraphrasing, but basically: don't worry about the amount of oil consumption we are undertaking, we have decades upon decades upon decades of oil in the ground.... the best thing we can do is run out, that way ingenuity will take hold with fervor driven by the opportunity for scientists and corporations to make millions upon billions by the opportunity to be on the forefront of the new technology.

    I think he's spot on.
     
  9. faceking

    faceking Active Member

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    And to think it only cost about $150B (give or take) in today's dollars to build the whole thing.

    FWIW, Ike gets most of the credit, but most forget there were many administrations that put the wheels in motion on this (Ike got to pull the trigger). FDR and Truman did a lot of the architecture (figuratively speaking) for the system... leveraging what Woody Wilson had put into place decades earlier.
     
  10. JustAsking

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    Except for waiting until we run out, I tend to agree with this. I believe that it will be Big Oil that will fund and perform the research into alternate energy sources.

    Its not that I am a fan of Big Oil. I just think they are the only ones besides the government who has the resources and has a stake in energy production.
     
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