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January 27, 2007

Comments

JohnBo

In reading all the interesting articles and comments on this site it appears to me that ethanol gets far more attention than biodiesel. Also it appears that biodiesel has more potential feed stock than ethanol and is a better (more efficient) fuel. It seems the potential of algae alone swamps ethanol. Am I missing something here? Why isn't there more push for biodiesel? JohnBo

Jimmi

One word is all that is needed... POLITICS!!!

JohnBo

Thanks Jimmi... you made my day! :) JohnBo

Beek

I understand that IGCC is too expensive to catch on in a significant manner. Carbon capture - forget it - it is as real as hydrogen - that is, none.

So unless the price of electricity goes up by 50% or more, IGCC will not pan out. But with all the BEV and PHEV coming along, there is a good chance that electricity prices will double - of course the optimistic study on EV electric consumption not withstanding.

Renewables and nuclear (some consider it renewable) is the only way to go. Problems of nuclear waste disposal if not already addressed, will surely be addressed in the future.

Beek

I understand that IGCC is too expensive to catch on in a significant manner. Carbon capture - forget it - it is as real as hydrogen - that is, none.

So unless the price of electricity goes up by 50% or more, IGCC will not pan out. But with all the BEV and PHEV coming along, there is a good chance that electricity prices will double - of course the optimistic study on EV electric consumption not withstanding.

Renewables and nuclear (some consider it renewable) is the only way to go. Problems of nuclear waste disposal if not already addressed, will surely be addressed in the future.

jcwinnie

Well, Jimmi is spot on and off at the same time. Politics, or more specifically, "money grubbing medacity" is behind the push for ethanol.

The importation issue is valid; and, from a political perspective, who benefits is Big Sugar, i.e., the global conglomerates that are country cousins to the Seven Sisters.

Certainly Big Oil controls the distribution, whether it buys and blends the Booze from Big Sugar or the Bio-diesel from Big Farm.

Yet there is more to it. Unfortunately, bio-diesel comes out poorly in emissions compared with ethanol. In some studies, worst than regular diesel. (Bio-diesel proponents argue that engines tuned to burning bio-diesel would do better. Still there is a need for special treatment, e.g., Blue-Tec, to meet increasingly stricter emissions standards.

From an efficiency standpoint, no question that bio-diesel is the better alternative fuel, although I doubt that we have seen honest projections if farmers started burning it to run the machines to produce it.

From a commodities perspective, it matters very little whether there is a greater demand for corn or oil seed. The Earth Policy Institute is rightly concerned that either will have an inflationary effect on food prices.

And, what repeatedly would seem to be greater concern is the script that is already written. The script is for Syngas to come to our rescue, even though environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club are concerned that Coal to Liquids or Biomass to Liquids will have a more adverse effect on Green House Gas emissions than burning fossil fuels.

Jimmi

I wish we would maximize known renewables like hydro electric. Am I the only one in this blog that thinks our hydro electric system is not fully utilized??? 10 billion kwh a year just at the Hoover dam. Imagine if we can double that... or even double the output of every hydro electric plant. Would it be possible to run dam generators 24/7??? Maybe recirculate water out of the penstocks back over the dam... would this be possible or will there be a nil effect??? Maybe add more penstocks and generators to exsisting dams or would there be too much of an environmental issue to make it feasible???

Wouldn't it be nice to live in a region where you recharge your EV from good ole clean hydro electric power!!!

Somebody please educate me on this so my mind will stop trying to think up scenerios and I can get some decent sleep.

JohnBo

Jimmi the answer is ... POLITICS!!!! The huge potential can't be used due to the yellow stripped sardine or some such dumb thing. JohnBo

amazingdrx

I got a new hydroelectric power scheme that works without dams, propellers, or any interference with navigation, fish, or wildlife Jimmi. And it works all the way along the river. Imagine the Mississippi generating power all along it's course.

Call a venture capitalsist!

amazingdrx

Check out "Engineer's" comments about using hydro dams in tha Pacific northwest to smooth out the power availability from wind farms operated by the utility he works for.

https://gristmill.grist.org/story/2007/01/25/1030/4044#comment3

Very interesting! Fish preservation has shutout this excellent option. But this other hydro generation scheme would make this possible again.

amazingdrx

"I hope we never see fuel cells used in vehicles"

I agree on not using hydrogen fuel cells Jim.

But Boeing is developing a very light sofc/microturbine backup generator that runs on liquid fuel for their airliners. I am thinking this might be a precursor to sofc/turbofan engines for airliners.

These type of generators would be great ion serial plugin hybrids, since they would give the same utility as an iCE vehicle with 5 times the mileage. And reduce the very expensive battery component of the serial plugin hybrid to cover only a little over the average trip between charging opportunities.

A battery for a 200= mile range in an EV? Around 14k for the Altairnano battery. But sofc/microturbines look like they can be mass produced fairly inexpensively. So maybe 2k for the batteries and 2k for the sofc/microturbine? that beats 14k for batteries.

Jimmi

RE: "The huge potential can't be used due to the yellow stripped sardine or some such dumb thing. JohnBo"

You must answer me this JohnBo... how would recycling water back over a dam that already exists affect the yellow stripped sardine or any other wildlife in the region that has not already been affected by the initial construction of the exisisting dam??? Would recycling water back over the dam affect overall river flow more so than it is now??? What would the net effect be if you invest a tiny sum of capital for some water pumps and structural housing to flow water back over a dam with a result of electricity production increase of (and this is a guess) 50%-500% (low end pessimism and high end optimism)??? At the low end you're talking about a potential of 5 billion kwh a year.

Now let's look at the more simple idea of just adding penstcks and generators to an existing dam...

The current penstocks and generators of the Hoover Dam can only take so much water flow. Let's say for instance that you have heavy snowfall during the winter or heavy rains in the spring to melt all that snow. If the water flow of the Colorado is greater than the penstock's capacity... than the dam will utilize it's spillways to prevent overflow. Wouldn't one think that if spillways are needed.. than there are times that the capacity of the penstocks are maxed out. This fact tells me that additional penstocks can be utilized and taken advantage of... rather than just having the water flow through the dam.

And answer me this...

How would additional penstocks and generators added to an existing dam affect the yellow stripped sardine or any wildlife in the region that has not already been affected by the initial construction of the exisisting dam??? Would adding penstocks and generators affect overall river flow more so than it is now??? What would the net effect be if you invest a small sum of capital to add additional penstocks and generators with a result of electricity production increase of 50%-150%??? Adding 2 penstocks would increase production during peak flood levels (which is basically when the generators are in use anyways) 50%... to a potential total of 15 billion kwh a year. Adding 4 would double production to 20 billion kwh a year to the region. if you add 6.. well you get the picture. But wait.. there is more... the Hoover dam really isn't just a dam... it's a dam system with four other dams down stream to help control water flow to regions close to populations and for irrigation purposes. Eventhough the generators pale in comparison to Hoover Dam... additional penstocks can be added to those facilities also. Which just means more power!!!

The invention of sliced bread was just utilizing existing means for a desired result. Sometimes you don't have to invent something new... just reinvent something that already exists.

If politics are to blame here and we voted these people into office... than either the general public needs to educate themselves or I need to immigrate to Canada!!!

DocX... please elaborate on that idea you mentioned above... I'm all ears.. or eyes for that matter.

Guest

The current penstocks and generators of the Hoover Dam can only take so much water flow. Let's say for instance that you have heavy snowfall during the winter or heavy rains in the spring to melt all that snow. If the water flow of the Colorado is greater than the penstock's capacity... than the dam will utilize it's spillways to prevent overflow. Wouldn't one think that if spillways are needed.. than there are times that the capacity of the penstocks are maxed out. This fact tells me that additional penstocks can be utilized and taken advantage of... rather than just having the water flow through the dam.

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Bodman also said that he did not see a 51-cent-a-gallon subsidy to U.S. farmers remaining in place beyond 2010 or import tariff on ethanol of 54 cents a gallon beyond 2008.

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