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« Methane from Wood Chips to Fuel 75,000 Cars | Main | New Gas-Transportation Method Eyed »

December 08, 2006


Peter Hunt

Nice to see such improvements but methanol issyill apreferred fuel in terms of cost and resource utilizaton. Just find me a resiliant fast acting set of mmicrobes that will handle wood waste and the celuloses in an anaerobic system such as exhist in the guts of termites and some ungalates.

ANFLOW of Oak Ridge NL had some back in the 70's. Check it out.


I think that is how the latest cellulosic ethanol plants work Peter. Two digestion steps, the first turns the cellulose into starch, then the second turns the starch into ethanol.

It's a very energy intensive process that wastes more fossil fuel than it replaces.

Powdered cellulose from wood waste run in a fuel cell/turbine at 75% efficiency to electricity. The cO2 used to feed algae solar collector biofuel systems. That is a much better use of these materials.

And cellulose products that have already begun to decompose can be added into biodigestors along with manure, human waste, and other farm waste to produce biogas to run in fuel cell power plants. Organic fertilizer and cleaner groundwater, lakes, and rivers the byproducts.

That organic fertilizer can substitute for chemical fertilizer and manure spreading that runns off into the wetland ecosystem generating huge amonuts of extra methane, a 20 times worse gHG than cO2. Organic fertilizer locks into the soil biochemically instead of producing nitrogen pollution through fertlizer runnoff.


And furthermore, bioengineering bacteria that will eventually leak into the environment is insane. Imagine the disaster if these bacteria throw off the natural balance in the micro-ecosystem of soil and wetlands.

More wacky bottomline thinking likely to make the situation worse. The only consideration is higher profits for the subsidy sucking, oil burning agribizz ethanol boondoggle.


The advantage yeast retains over all other microbes that have been tried for ethanol production to date, is that the most ethanol-tolerant yeasts can survive in over 20% ethanol. The concentration of the ethanol solution you can produce in the bioreactor is vitally important to the overall economics of the process, because the most expensive unit operation in the whole process is distilling the ethanol out of this aqueous solution. The higher concentration you start with, the smaller the equipment can be and the less energy used in running the distillation columns.


Organic fertilizer locks into the soil biochemically instead of producing nitrogen pollution through fertlizer runnoff.

A half-truth. The nitrogen in dead biomass is not subject to runoff because it is not water-soluble. But for the same reason it is not availalble as a plant nutrient. Once it becomes water-soluble through the action of soil bacteria, it is, like synthetic fertilizers, available to plants, and subject to runoff.


Continuous extraction of the ethanol from the fermenting mash using a wind powered vacuum pump and stored solar heat improves the energy equation Cyrus.

Along with reverse osmosis separation (using wind powered pumping)of the water/alchohol mixture from the mash, starch, sugar, and bacteria. That makes this bio-engineered yeast completely unecessary.

Feed the system with CO2 emission recycling algae grown in solar collectors and the whole process actually reverses global climate change and replaces gasoline. But algae turned into biodiesel is even more effective.

Ethanol is a very poor fuel, especially when used in internal combustion engines at 14% efficiency. Biodiesel from algae used in fuel cell/microturbine backup generation in plugin vehicles is the real answer.

That reduces fuel consumption and gHG emission for transportation to 10% of present levels.

Forget ethanol, it's a corporate corruption/ crooked government scheme to rob taxpayers and consumers. Nothing more. Biodiesel is easier to refine and contains more energy, and it is a lot safer.

Like gasoline, ethanol explodes, biodiesel is a lot safer. That is why boaters prefer diesel to gasoline engines. A lot of fires and explosions on boats are caused by gasoline fumes.


Well Cyrus, actually I meant organic fertilizer used in restored soil.

I should have made that clearer. Organically farmed soil is a living ecosystem, it hungers for nitrogen and other nutrients, and the nitrogen in organic fertilizer is biochemically ready to lock right into the ecosystem and unlikely to runnoff unless a much higher concentration is used than is needed for optimum growth.

Chemically farmed soil is inert, essentially a hydroponic growing media that needs a constant solution of fertilizer washing over it to produce optimum growth.

But it is not in a closed system like actual hydroponics, so the fertlizer mostly runs off into the rivers, lakes, and groundwater, try a glass of untreated well water from farm country if you don't believe me. Try washing with it?

Organic soil has bacteria and many other organisms all through it, symbiotic organic fertlizer factories. Absorbing and transforming organic fertilizer into the exact biochemicals their partner plants need.

Mother nature, too complex to throw agrichemicals at and expect good results.

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Agenzia hostess torino

Very appreciate able blog..MIT researchers have engineered a new strain of yeast that can tolerate elevated levels of both ethanol and glucose, while producing ethanol faster than un-engineered yeast.I like it very much, Thanks for giving this blog.

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This is the first yeast that can do that at an industrially interesting rate and efficiency

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