Salt-tolerant desert plants, halophytes, can be grown on non-arable land using seawater, and processed to create biofuel. Wow. Even better, this is just one part of a process that grows fish and shrimp and mangrove biomass. This astonishing process is being developed by the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium in Abu Dhabi.
Spanish company All-gas is converting wastewater to algae-based biofuel. This has never been done before. They hope to produce enough to power ten garbage trucks for a year by 2015. Let’s hope one day this can be done on a commercial scale.
Sweden extracts pyrolysis oil from wood to create synthetic fuel that now powers much of the country. Amazing, Sweden’s forest stock has increased despite the use of wood for biofuel.
Forest residue is the leading bioenergy source in Sweden, and bioenergy is the nation’s leading energy source. Since the 1970s when 70-80 percent of Sweden’s energy mix came from imported oil, the country has transformed its energy system to the point where oil is almost entirely a transport fuel, while bioenergy is used in district heating, industry and electricity production.
The Biobot converts waste cooking oil into biodiesel that you can pour in your gas tank. It’s small, efficient, is designed for home use, and stores 20 liters of biofuel. The process is fairly involved and requires monitoring. However, rather than dumping cooking grease now you can power a car with it.
The EPA biofuel mandate requires ever increasing amounts of cellulosic ethanol be used in fuel. However production has been nearly zero. The court ruled EPA had overreached in their mandate.
A federal appeals court threw out a federal rule on renewable fuels on Friday, saying that a quota set by the Environmental Protection Agency for incorporating liquids made from woody crops and wastes into car and truck fuels was based on wishful thinking rather than realistic estimates.
Creating biofuel from crops requires large amounts of energy and uses land that food could grow on. Thus the entire process is inefficient, says Hartmut Michel, Chemistry Nobel Prize winner in 1988. In addition, creating biofuel from crops uses considerable amounts of water, which must also be a consideration too.
It’s a bad idea to depend on biofuels as an alternative energy source because of a combination of the high amount of energy needed to make the raw materials and the potential food shortages created by diverting such plants away from the global food supply. We’ve heard these arguments before, but not often with Nobel attached to them.
Jim Smith noted in the comments that electric vehicles are a better way to go.
I did a rough calculation of how much solar PV it would take to run an EV 15,000 miles per year (the number of miles the EPA uses for it’s annual cost estimates) and I compared it to the amount of land it would take to grow enough corn to make enough corn ethanol to fuel an E-85 vehicle. It takes about two acres of corn for the E-85 car and 24 square meters of PV for the EV. That’s a ratio of about 350 to 1. This is just a ballpark number but…. WOW!!!
State security forces in Guatemala are forcibly evicting peasants from their land so biofuel companies can make green, clean biofuel for our cars. Wow, that’s just totally environmentally sustainable, isn’t it?
Helicopters with armed men leaning out were flying overhead, private security guards and paramilitary forces were attacking people, and houses and crops were being burned.
Rising demand for biofuel in the US and EU is mandated by governments. Over 42 million acres of land may now be needed to grow industrial biofuel, which takes away land that was used to grow food.
As is too often the case now, predatory capitalism has taken a good idea, biofuel, and turned it into a potential profit stream to be exploited and commoditized regardless of consequences to the less fortunate or the planet.
A study released by Oregon State University (OSU) economists indicates that the biofuels currently mandated and under production in Europe and the United States “barely reduce fossil fuel use and. . .likely increase greenhouse gas emissions.” They´re also 14 to 31 times more costly than taking other measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Well, this is disheartening. Maybe economies of scale and more research will drop the price of biofuel and cut GHG emissions as well.
Corn ethanol, a bad idea whose time has gone. Buh-bye , unless they try to sneak it through again. But there is major Congressional opposition to this wasteful practice that doesn’t work well, drives up food prices, and exists primarily to give patronage to Big Ag. Biofuel from crop leftovers, wood waste, and algae is the future.