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By Robert Rapier on Dec 1, 2010 with 167 responses

Cellulosic Ethanol Reality Begins to Set In

Delusional Mandates

It is hard to believe that just a few short years ago, Congress mandated a massive increase in usage of cellulosic ethanol. This was remarkable, because no commercial cellulosic ethanol facilities even existed at the time. But people like Vinod Khosla were busy testifying before Congress that the only thing holding the industry back was more funding, and if they would provide the funding we could replace all of our gasoline consumption with cellulosic ethanol.

So Congress mandated  in the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act that we would use 100 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol in 2010, 250 million gallons in 2011, and then rapidly expand to 16 billion gallons per year by 2022. At the time, I saw a very appropriate analogy that summed up the situation: “It’s like trying to solve a traffic problem by mandating hovercraft. Except we don’t have hovercraft.”

I tried to bring a dose of reality to the debate in this blog. I have worked on cellulosic ethanol myself. I know first hand the challenges. Biomass has low energy density relative to fossil fuels, and thus a conversion facility must have easy logistical access. In most cases, this means that biomass must be sourced close to the facility. This puts some limits on the size of biomass facilities, so they suffer from the lack of economies of scale. I have harped on this logistical issue for years, and a newly released study from Purdue reiterates the points I have made: “Without solving the logistical issues, commercial production of second-generation biofuels will not take place.”

Further, cellulose generally makes up less than 50% of the composition of biomass, limiting the biomass fraction that can be converted into ethanol. The fraction that is converted ends up as a dilute beer of generally around 4% ethanol and 96% water. This makes the energy requirements of purifying cellulosic ethanol very high. Of course if you listen to Bob Dinneen and the guys at the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), they say the issue is that not enough money is being thrown at the problem. But that’s their answer to anything ethanol-related: We need more money.

Commercialization attempts for cellulosic ethanol date back over 100 years. Germany was the first to commercialize cellulosic ethanol in 1898. Commercialization came to the U.S. in 1910, when Standard Alcohol Company built a cellulosic ethanol plant in Georgetown, South Carolina to process waste wood from a lumber mill. Standard Alcohol later built a second plant in Fullteron, Louisiana. Each plant was designed for 5,000 gallons of ethanol per day from wood waste, and both were in production for several years. Both plants were eventually closed due to lack of economic viability.

Snap Back to Reality

In early 2010, 100 years after the first cellulosic ethanol plant was built in the U.S., the EPA recognized that the cellulosic ethanol mandates could not be met. They subsequently reduced the 100 million gallon mandate for 2010 to 6.5 million gallons. (Actual qualifying production of cellulosic ethanol through October 2010 is zero gallons). MIT Technology Review posed the question What’s Holding Biofuels Back? I responded with the answer in What’s Really Holding Cellulosic Biofuels Back. I have maintained that future mandates would also have to be cut, and the EIA recently indicated that they agree, at least for 2011:

EIA cuts cellulosic producers from 2011 list

The U.S. DOE’s Energy Information Administration has completed its predictions for next year’s cellulosic biofuels production and estimates that actual production levels will be much lower than anticipated. Earlier this year, the U.S. EPA proposed a reduction in the cellulosic biofuels portion of the 2011 renewable fuel standard (RFS) to between 5 and 17.1 million gallons, down drastically from the 250 million gallons initially called for in the 2007 RFS. But according to an Oct. 20 letter sent from EIA Administrator Richard Newell to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, the EPA’s reduced target is still too high. The EIA suggests that a more likely 2011 production total for cellulosic biofuels is approximately 3.94 million gallons. Additionally, the EIA said half of the facilities on the EPA’s list won’t produce biofuels next year.

So the EIA projects that 2011 cellulosic ethanol production will be 3.94 million gallons, less than 2% of the originally mandated amount. They suggest that the EPA, having cut the 2011 estimate from 250 million to the range of 5 to 17.1 million gallons, is still much too optimistic, and that half of the facilities that the EPA expects to produce cellulosic fuel will not. Following the EIA story, the EPA has come back and revised their 2011 numbers down to 6.6 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol.

Better Late Than Never

Back to the EIA report, they were quite frank in their assessment of Range Fuels. If you recall, I was the first to point fingers at the vast disconnect between Range Fuels’ early, hyped up promises and the constantly diminishing expectations of what they would actually deliver:

Broken Promises from Range Fuels

I contrasted the more than $320 million that they have taken in and the promises of a 100 million gallon cellulosic ethanol plant (which they had said would cost $150 million) with this year’s admission that they would only have 4 million gallons of methanol capacity. But you wait, they insisted. They were going to get that plant up on methanol, and then switch over to ethanol and all would be right in the world. But they just needed more money.

Oh, I had my critics. Defenders of Range — including Range themselves — began to come out and insist that I didn’t know what I was talking about. Well, the EIA had something to say about that:

Range Fuels Inc., which was excluded from the EPA’s proposal, is expected by the EIA to provide 1 million gallons of methanol next year. The plant’s Soperton, Ga., capacity is 4 million gallons, however, “we assumed a 25 percent utilization rate due to its repeated inability to meet stated production goals,” Newell wrote.

Repeated inability to meet production goals. Range Fuels is starting to look like the Pets.com of the cellulosic ethanol world. They won’t be alone, but they are the highest profile example of cellulosic hype colliding with cellulosic reality.

Conclusion – Technological Breakthroughs Can Not Be Mandated

Personally, I don’t believe large-scale commercialization of cellulosic ethanol will ever be viable due to the aforementioned fundamental issues with biomass conversion and efficiency, and will ultimately be relegated to the role of a niche fuel provider (as discussed in Biofuel Niches). The heart of the problem here was the idea that technology can be mandated. Imagine that in 2005 Congress put forward a mandate that lung cancer would be cured by 2010, breast cancer by 2012, and by 2020 all cancers would be cured. People would think they were absolutely daft, because more people understand the difficulties involved in coping with cancer. On the other hand the general public doesn’t have a clue of the difficulties in economically turning cellulose into fuel, but they did hear a lot of hypesters in the news saying that it would be easy — as long as you get that Silicon Valley “know how” working on the problem. But the Silicon Valley players learned that Moore’s Law doesn’t apply to the energy business.

It is great to have lofty goals, but when you start to base your energy policy on fairy dust, you are setting yourself up for massive problems down the road. Technology breakthroughs can’t simply be mandated. Sometimes critical breakthroughs happen, and sometimes they don’t. In the case of cellulosic ethanol, commercial viability remains out of sight.

  1. By Wendell Mercantile on December 1, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Technological Breakthroughs Can Not Be Mandated

    Well made point. It’s like the number of times Congress or a state assembly has decided to repeal the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

    That just points to the problem that far too many of our politicians are lawyers with no scientific or engineering background.

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  2. By perry on December 1, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    I can’t see cellulosic having much of a future either. I think the biofuel of choice will be butanol. Packs more energy, and blends with gas or diesel.

    Solazyme, Gevo, Amyris, Codexis, DDCE, Gevo, POET, Sapphire Energy, LS9, Novozymes and Abengoa Bioenergy formed the top 10 after the first week of subscriber balloting for the 50 Hottest Companies in Bioenergy.

    “Butanol technologies surged in heavy voting over the weekend, with Gevo reaching #2 and Cobalt knocking on the door of the top 10,” said Biofuels Digest editor and publisher Jim Lane. “Microbial fermentation – whether it is Solazyme, Gevo, Amyris or LS9 – is ruling the roost. Although we note that enzyme companies like Novozymes, Codexis and Genecor are right in the mix, too.”

    http://biofuelsdigest.com/bdig…..bioenergy/

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  3. By paul-n on December 1, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    Perry,  Butanol may be a nice fuel, and has some definite handling advantages as you point out, but it suffers the same problem as cellulosic ethanol – no one has come up with a viable way to produce it from biomass.  The separation from water for a fermentation process is more energy intensive than ethanol, and to make it by a thermochemical process, you are better off to just make methanol.

    There aren’t even any demo cars running on butanol to prove up engine reliability.

    The 50 hottest companies might just as well be called the 50 hypest companies.  How many of those companies, other than the corn ethanol producers, are actually producing a fuel product you can buy?  How many of them are profitable, if you absent all the grants, etc?

    Take out the ethanol producers, and the remainder  put together probably aren’t even producing as much bioenergy as the 40MW cogen plant at my local pulp mill.

     

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  4. By Optimist on December 1, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    A few years back California tried to mandate zero emissions vehicles. With much the same level of success.

    The bigger issue is this: It is extremely troubling to see the Federal Governement dictating that ye shall produce X gal per year of fuel Y. As you implied here, there is no basis (scientific or otherwise) for these proclamations. Other than: “But he said…”

    The government should be looking at using a modest budget to encourage the production of certain types of fuel (such as renewables). Incentives work, especially if used intelligently.

    But what am I saying? There won’t be a serious debate about energy, or any other issue, coming out of Washington DC for the foreseeable future…

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  5. By perry on December 1, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    Paul N said:

     How many of those companies, other than the corn ethanol producers, are actually producing a fuel product you can buy?   


     

    There’s the rub Paul. The ability to produce cellulosic and butanol has been around as long as CTL and GTL. Like those technologies, all it takes for viability is a crude oil price at stratospheric heights. And subsidies, of course. Prayers wouldn’t hurt either.

     

    I’ll probably be peddling like Fred Flintstone before any of those make much of an inroad. But, I think butanol has the best chance of success. Until fuel cell prices come down a bit more, at least.

     

     

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  6. By Wendell Mercantile on December 1, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    But, I think butanol has the best chance of success

    Perry~

    Butanol is a very good motor fuel, however since no one has yet figured out a practical, economic way to make it in quanity, you should change your sentence to read: “But, I think methanol has the best chance of success.”

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  7. By perry on December 1, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    For that to happen, nat gas has to stay cheap the next time oil makes a moonshot Wendell. And it has to stay cheap for the years it will take to scale the effort up. We’ve pinned our hopes on cheap nat gas before, only to have them crushed.

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  8. By Wendell Mercantile on December 1, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    Perry~

    Coal is also a good feedstock for methanol. There are three good, viable ways to make methanol:

    1. From natural gas
    2. From coal
    3. From syngas out of a biomass gasifier

    Name the feedstocks you know for viable butanol production.

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  9. By perry on December 1, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    They’re made from the same feedstocks Wendell. And butanol is a higher chain, so it will always be more expensive than methanol when it’s made from syngas. I’m not pinning many hopes on butanol from syngas though. The EROI sucks, and anything made from hydrocarbons will get pricier as crude oil goes up. There are a lot of new techniques being worked on for butanol from biomass. Non-syngas methods. Algae might even be a promising feedstock.

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  10. By rrapier on December 1, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    The 50 hottest companies might just as well be called the 50 hypest companies.

    Exactly. Range Fuels was on top of their list a few years ago.

    RR

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  11. By Rufus on December 1, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    I wouldn’t call “Poet” a “hypie” company. They Are the largest Ethanol producer on planet earth. (1.3 Billion Gallons/Yr. or somesuch.)

    Novozymes? Pretty serious company, there.

    The guys with nothing to lose but other people’s money always jump in and get the gummint money, first. Then they jump in, and if what they’re doing works, fine; if it doesn’t, aw well.

    The Poets of the world have to be careful. They’re playing with a lot of their own money, AND their good reputations. Poet has studied Inbicon, and Novozymes produces the enzymes for the Danish cellulosic ethanol producer. Poet is buying tens of thousands of bales of cobs, and light stover as we speak.

    Fiberight says the tax situation gets better on Jan 1, and that they will begin “producing for volume,” then.

    I wouldn’t give up on cellulosic just yet.

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  12. By PeteS on December 1, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    1.3 billion gallons a year, huh? That’s about 25 million barrels a year. Subtract a bit for the lower energy density of ethanol and you’ve got, what, about a day’s worth of US oil imports?

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  13. By Rufus on December 1, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    Nah, we import a bit over 10 Million Barrels/Day of Oil, and Products.

    Figure “Two Days.”

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  14. By Rufus on December 1, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    We’re up there playing around with $87.00/bbl, today. That will translate, eventually, in gasoline in the $3.00/gal, range.

    Considering that Corn ethanol will be getting close to “Max” Capacity by the end of 2011, and that a certain amount of “Cellulosic” is Mandated, and I’d like to be producing some alky from waste, or switchgrass this year.

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  15. By Wendell Mercantile on December 2, 2010 at 12:27 am

    Algae might even be a promising feedstock.

    Perry~

    Of course it’s promising — what do you think petroleum is made of? Lot’s of things are “promising.” But we will soon be in the position were we have to push ahead and use something that is proven.

    I’m certainly not against research and development, but out of all the ‘promising’ R&D projects people, companies, and universities do, only a handful will hit pay dirt and there’s no way to predict exactly when that will be.

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  16. By paul-n on December 2, 2010 at 1:59 am

    Rufus, I did give POET and co their due, by saying “with the exception of the corn ethanol companies”.

     

    Novozymes also produces stuff, (enzymes, of course), but their cellulosic enzymes have not led to much cellulosic ethanol being produced (this may not be the fault of their enzymes).

     

    Meeting the cellulosic mandate is easy – someone can just do it by acid hydrolysis.  Not cheap, of course, but if the oil co’s need to buy it to meet the mandate, they’ll pay the price.  I can just see a game of chicken between them as to who will actually do the buying.

     

     

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  17. By moiety on December 2, 2010 at 3:37 am

    Paul N said:

    Perry,  Butanol may be a nice fuel, and has some definite handling advantages as you point out, but it suffers the same problem as cellulosic ethanol – no one has come up with a viable way to produce it from biomass.  The separation from water for a fermentation process is more energy intensive than ethanol, and to make it by a thermochemical process, you are better off to just make methanol.


     

     In general correct but a small addemendum; butanol is more energy intensive to prodcue because when using the same feedstocks, a more dilute butanol beer is produced (Butamax put it like this; a 100 MGY ethanol plant converted to butanol will produce 80MGY butanol (corn))*. If you could produce the same concentrations, butanol would be less energy intensive to produce.

     

    *Gevo have a similar view. Their retrofit on a 21 MGY ethanol is proported to produce 16 MGY isobutanol in 2011-2012.

     

    http://biofuelsdigest.com/bdig…..nd-dupont/

    http://biofuelsdigest.com/bdig…..y-q1-2012/

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  18. By perry on December 2, 2010 at 6:04 am

    Wendell Mercantile said:

     Lot’s of things are “promising.” But we will soon be in the position were we have to push ahead and use something that is proven.


     

    Can’t argue with that Wendell. Replacing petroleum in the energy mix will be a herculean task. We weren’t very good at using oil efficiently, but we better get damned good at using everything else the best way possible. Oil provides about the same amount of our energy as natural gas and coal combined. But, if we try to replace oil with liquid fuels made from coal and nat gas, we will triple the use of them, because 50% of their energy is lost in the process. If we increase our use of coal and natural gas by 200%, we’re right back to square one. Starved for energy, and looking like deer in the headlights. Liquid fuel has its advantages, but our focus has to shift to squeezing the maximum energy possible from each resource.

    A bushel of corn contains 314,000 btu’s. Convert it to ethanol and 40% of that heating value is lost. To add insult to injury, a lot of natural gas is used in the process. That doesn’t mean I don’t prefer ethanol to imported oil. I absolutely do. But, we can use the resource more efficiently by simply burning it for electricity. People like the range an ICE offers. But, those days are coming to an end. As much as we huff and puff, we’ll never replace oil with liquid fuels from other sources. Not in affordable quantities, at least.

    Methane from a large sewage treatment plant can be converted to enough methanol to run 100 cars a day. Or, the same methane can provide electricity for 250 homes, run 250 cars, and provide heat as well, if a combined heat, hydrogen, and power system(CHHP) is employed. We can meet our energy needs, and we can do it without suffering drastic lifestyle changes. But, if that’s gonna happen, we’ve  got to get smarter about using our remaining resources.

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  19. By Kit P on December 2, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Perry was doing pretty well for a while, almost a whole day before working hydrogen into a thread.   

     

    “But, if that’s gonna happen, we’ve  got to get smarter about using our remaining resources.”

     

    What do you mean ‘we’ Perry?  Some of us are already smart enough!  Nuclear power can supply all the energy the world needs.  The French are not any smarter than us and the get about 80% of their electricity from nukes and have spare capacity to charge batteries at night.  Nukes could be used to provide process steam (CHP) for cellulosic ethanol biomass production.  

     

    After you have answered a flank bell on a nuclear powered ship, you are not going to let anyone tell you we are running out of energy.  Do not know how the Jetsons will do it in the future but unless they lose brain function, they will figure it out.  Don’t forget old school.  Good old Franklin stoves can not be beat for biomass efficiency.  The invention of the air tight stove brought us 90% of the way from the cave to the comfort of heat pumps.   

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  20. By paul-n on December 2, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Perry, I’ll correct you on a technicality before Rufus does.  The other 40% of corn is not “lost”, it is simply not converted, and remains as high protein animal feed.  The % yield of ethanol from corn is not too different from the % yield of gasoline from crude oil – the remainder of oil is not lost either, but used for other products..

    our focus has to shift to squeezing the maximum energy possible from each resource.

    Indeed, but there will also need to be an effort to minimise the resource(energy) use in the first place.  A

    AS for the  CHP, it can be done, and places like Sweden have done it – in fact some Euro cities have had it for over a century.   But doing it here, on a community scale, will be a hard sell.  Other than some niche applications for biogas or biomass, all the chp we are likely to see will be NG and probably for individual buildings, rather than community scale.

     

    Overall though, we can indeed make changes to use a lot less oil, and energy in general.  There will be minor inconvenience, but it won’t be the end of life as we know it!

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  21. By perry on December 2, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Paul N said:

      The other 40% of corn is not “lost”, it is simply not converted, and remains as high protein animal feed.  The % yield of ethanol from corn is not too different from the % yield of gasoline from crude oil – the remainder of oil is not lost either, but used for other products..


     

    Paul, I’m referring to process efficiencies. Ethanol is a terribly inefficient way to get energy from corn. ICE’s are a terribly inefficient way to get energy from oil. It would be much more efficient to reform the gasoline onboard a FCV. Had we had the abilty to do that from the beginning, peak oil would be at least 100 years away, instead of right around the corner.

     

    “With an EV average of 250wh/mile, we could go about 280 billion miles just on the industrial inputs of electricity and NG needed to get gasoline. Or, we could go 300 billion miles on gasoline in vehicles that average 20mpg. Combined efficiency for EVs is around 37%, while ICEs are around 17%. We dump more than twice as much carbon into the atmosphere and god knows what kind of pollutants, compared to NG which is pretty clean in terms of electricity generation, and electricity already being used. I’m surprised we’re not using the gasoline to grow ethanol from pine trees…”

     

     http://www.evnut.com/gasoline_oil.htm

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  22. By Dan on December 2, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Here is the 2010 actual production of cellulosic fuels from the EPA:
    http://www.epa.gov/otaq/fuels/…..fsdata.htm

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  23. By rrapier on December 2, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Here is the 2010 actual production of cellulosic fuels from the EPA:

    Thanks for that, Dan. Been looking for those numbers. So the number to date is zero. I would have guessed under a million gallons, but I would have thought someone would have made some small amount.

    I will update the essay.

    RR

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  24. By Wendell Mercantile on December 2, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Here is the 2010 actual production of cellulosic fuels from the EPA:

    Thanks Dan. Interesting. The EPA hasn’t left a spot in their production table for methanol. Fuel methanol must not even be on the their radar screen.

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  25. By rrapier on December 2, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Wendell Mercantile said:

    Here is the 2010 actual production of cellulosic fuels from the EPA:

    Thanks Dan. Interesting. The EPA hasn’t left a spot in their production table for methanol. Fuel methanol must not even be on the their radar screen.


     

    http://www.ethanolproducer.com…..le_id=7168

    The EPA also addressed fuel pathways in its final ruling and said it is

    continuing to evaluate certain pathways and fuels. There is currently no

    pathway for methanol to generate cellulosic RINs, which is what Range

    Fuels is currently producing at its Soperton, Ga., facility. The EPA

    said it has engaged Range Fuels to discuss adding a pathway for its

    cellulosic methanol. “For the purposes of projecting cellulosic volumes

    for 2011, we believe that the methanol from Range Fuels has the

    potential for being approved for generation of cellulosic RINs and is

    therefore appropriate for being included in the volumes that we believe

    are potentially attainable in 2011.”

    I would guess that applies to mixed alcohols as well. Maybe Mark R. can weigh in on that.

    RR

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  26. By Wendell Mercantile on December 2, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    This should be of interest to Rufus — one of the unintended consequences of corn ethanol — adverse effects on water quality in Mississippi: Corn Crops for Biofuels Production Have Unintended Consequences on Water Quality and Quantity in Northwest Mississippi

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  27. By Benny BND Cole on December 2, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Another excellent report from RR.
    If oil goes to more than $100, we probably get $4 gasoline, and biofuel then makes some sense. Production will go up.
    The PHEV makes sense around $5 to $6 a gallon.
    CNG makes sense right now, and the CNG infrastructure is expanding. I saw a CNG car yesterday in Los Angeles. They are common in Thailand (along with LPG).
    Of course, all along consumers ill use less and less, driving higher mpg vehicles.
    I goota say, I think this one problem that will solve itself–despite ethanol, not because of it. Oh, and the government either has to tax gasoline or get out of the way. But standing in the way, locked arm-in-arm with the farm lobby, is a poor choice.

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  28. By Wendell Mercantile on December 2, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Had we had the ability to do that from the beginning, peak oil would be at least 100 years away, instead of right around the corner.

    Huh? In 1910 peak oil was already one-hundred years in the future.  You’re trying to blow a hole in the space-time continuum. Wink

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  29. By Rufus on December 2, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Markets are “interesting,” today.

    Oil is up to $88.00/bbl, gasoline, wholesale unleaded at $2.35/gal, but corn is down a dime, and ethanol is off $0.04/gal.

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  30. By Rufus on December 2, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    That was a strange article, Wendell. We grow very little corn in N. Mississip.

    Lots of beans, and cotton. Some rice. Some corn (not much) over to the east of the area.

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  31. By perry on December 2, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Wendell Mercantile said:

    Huh? In 1910 peak oil was already one-hundred years in the future.  You’re trying to blow a hole in the space-time continuum. Wink


     

    And, if we had used the oil twice as efficiently, it would still be 100 years in the future. We’ll be having the same conversation about nat gas and coal some day. Why, oh why, didn’t we use it more efficiently?

     

    Methanol from NG has a process efficiency of about 50%. The ICE is 25% efficient. Combined, the system efficiency is only 12% or so. That compares to a gas/ICE system efficiency of about 20%.

     

    Hydrogen from NG has a process efficiency of 75%. A FCV is 60% efficient. That’s an overall efficiency of 45%. Almost 4X better than methanol. I know I’m starting to sound like a commercial. My apologies. It’s just that we have to start putting a premium on stretching resources, instead of just ease and convenience.

     

     

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  32. By rrapier on December 2, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    Oil is up to $88.00/bbl, gasoline, wholesale unleaded at $2.35/gal, but corn is down a dime, and ethanol is off $0.04/gal.

    I think that’s a bet that the VEETC will expire. If it does, I think ethanol prices will be off for a bit as production has gotten ahead of the mandate. But I don’t think that’s going to last long.

    I asked someone in D.C. this morning who is very close to the debate, and they said 50-50 chance of expiring, and if they renew it will probably be at 36 cents.

    RR

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  33. By Rufus on December 2, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    That all makes a lot of sense.

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  34. By Rufus on December 2, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    Also, I think China has “wrapped up” its Corn buying. I read, somewhere, this morning that grain/corn exports have slowed way down.

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  35. By jay on December 2, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    Excellent article and commentary as usual, Robert.  Interesting mention of Standard Alcohol Company from a historical perspective. Wow, with 5,000 BPD they could have competed against Range Fuels and won a century ago.

    Which leads me to ask, which of the various alcohol fuels do you think best addresses the primary need of the marketplace, like scalability? Methanol, butanol, DME, or just more (and more) ethanol?  I see you mentioned higher mixed alcohols in a follow-up comment. Looking at Standard Alcohol Company (the current company) and E4 Envirolene there is a lot to like.

    • 138 octane C1-C10 higher mixed alcohol fuel
    • Synthesized from any carbon feedstock at 79 percent conversion efficiency
    • Seamless blendstock for all types of petroleum fuels and coal
    • Water soluble and biodegradable
    • Gasification/Steam driven GTL chemistry set
    • EPA registered & approved for blending and use in all 50 states since 2001

    I’m not a scientist, I’m an entrepreneur and this fuel seems like the right one to me. Frankly I have not come across a better method of manufacture or a better fuel and I’ve been doing diligence for four years.  In fact I’ve recently started a company to develop a higher mixed alcohol project in western Montana. So I’ve made my choice of the biofuel horse I’m going to back, but I’m interested in hearing your perspective. Thanks!

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  36. By russ-finley on December 2, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    Purdue is all about agriculture and engineering. If there is bias in the study, I would guess it is to protect corn ethanol from a potential competitor, not that it needs protecting from cellulosic ; )

    I recall when Khosla was given carte blanch to promote his celllulosic investments over on Grist magazine in unending articles that he would cut and paste from other publications where he had also been given free reign to write whatever he wanted. Ever wonder why billionaires can always get their articles accepted by any publication? They tend to stimulate sycophantic behavior (such is human nature). I suppose that speaking truth to power takes courage because real courage entails risk.

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  37. By BilB, Australia on December 2, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    I think it is way too early to be looking for final outcomes. This is some of what is going on with established ethanol players.

     


    http://sugarcaneblog.com/2010/…..echnology/

    http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/…..l-by-2013/

    http://www.greencarcongress.co…..00716.html

     

    But then there are reports that Atlantic currents are starting to affect Brazillian climate over the Amazon, overriding the traditional influence of the Pacific’s El Nonos. If this trend continues then all bets are off as to how our future will play out. There is a study from the Royal Society (well researched from my quick scan) which talks of a possible 4C world by 2060. That would mean a rapidly changing climate and stability in everthing farming being nil. Mid western US farmers are talking of weather disruption already with regular 1 in 1000 year rainfalls. I suspect that everything that we are doing now is little more than deckchair rearrangement.

     

     

     


     

     

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  38. By Optimist on December 3, 2010 at 3:56 am

    Cheer up, Bill!

    People are pretty adaptable.

    And who knows: Maybe you can bowl the English out cheaply tomorrow…Wink

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  39. By perry on December 3, 2010 at 4:33 am

    Jay said:

    • 138 octane C1-C10 higher mixed alcohol fuel

     

    That made no sense to me at first. The more complex a molecule, the more it costs to make with syngas. But, if you mixed three quarts of methanol with a quart containing butanol, pentanol, decanol etc., you should be able to make a fairly cheap gallon of fuel. The idea would be to bring the 50,000 btu methanol up to the 90,000 btu’s claimed by E4 Envirolene.  

     

    But, a 79% conversion efficiency using syngas? Methanol is only 50-60% efficient, and it’s all downhill from there. Claims like that would make me think twice about a company Jay.

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  40. By perry on December 3, 2010 at 4:44 am

    Come to think of it, you can mix methanol half and half with gasoline to get a gallon containing 90,000 btu’s. You could probably even get the EPA to approve it for blending. But, why would you want to?

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  41. By paul-n on December 3, 2010 at 5:12 am

    I’d like to see you try and get the EPA to approve that! Presently even flex fuel vehicles aren’t allowed to run intermediate mixes – either E15 or less, or E85.

     

    As for why would you want to-?  Well, there are two reasons I can think of right away;

    1. if you can get methanol cheaper per btu than gasoline, or even close to, given its better combustion properties.  Right now it is $1.38/gal, but for most of this year was $1.10, and last year got as low as $0.60/gall.  If I was operating a vehicle fleet in Canada, where road fuel (diesel or reg. gasoline) is currently $4.31/gal, and I could buy methanol at $1.54 (incl 12% tax), that is equivalent to $3.10/gal, and the engine will run cleaner and cooler.  If your vehicle  needs premium unleaded the cost difference is greater still.
    2. if you have access to cheap, low octane gasoline (e.g. 70 or so) and mix that with methanol you will have a fuel that has an octane rating good enough for any gasoline engine.  

    As for Jay’s comments on conversion efficiency – he could be talking either energy, or carbon content – let’s see if he clarifies that.  Just because commercial ones achieve X level of efficiency does not mean you can’t do better, it just means that is their most cost efficient operating point – there are ways to improve the efficiency, such as using an external fuel source instead of autothermal reforming, or advanced heat recovery, but they may cost you more money or more equipment to do.

     

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  42. By perry on December 3, 2010 at 5:36 am

    Paul N said:

    I’d like to see you try and get the EPA to approve that! Presently even flex fuel vehicles aren’t allowed to run intermediate mixes – either E15 or less, or E85. 


     

     Yeah, but it wouldn’t be used as a stand alone fuel Paul. The idea would be to mix it, yet again, with gasoline. Probably in blends of 10% or less. The selling point would be that it’s just as good an oxegenate as ethanol, but has more energy content. I’m sure it could be made more cheaply than ethanol. Still, it seems like they’re putting lipstick on a pig. We need to stretch our hydrocarbon resources. Liquid fuels from syngas is terribly inefficient.

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  43. By Dave N. on December 3, 2010 at 8:10 am

    My occasional drive-by:

    The Boston Consulting Group just put out a paper called “What’s Next for Alternative Energy?” in which they are rather upbeat on biofuels prospects to become competitive:
    “Advanced biofuels are moving rapidly down the cost curve and are on a path to becoming cost competitive in the next few years.”
    I received it at work and wasn’t sure if I could share it, but it’s on the internet at this link – http://www.bcg.com/documents/f…..e65667.pdf
    I’m curious what everyone’s thoughts are on it. These guys are good big picture people but I’m not sure how good they are at understanding what’s it’s like “on the ground” for those actually developing biofuels processes.

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  44. By perry on December 3, 2010 at 8:48 am

    Thanks for the link Dave. Very optimistic projections. Wind power became competitive in the last 10 years, so I don’t see any reason these other technologies can’t do the same in the next 10 years. They think advanced biofuels will be “truly disruptive” to fuel markets by 2025. Yowsa….

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  45. By paul-n on December 3, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Perry, I don’t quite understand what you are getting at  - mix methanol 50/50, and then mix that again to less than 10% – why bother with the two-step mixing?

     

    Also, the oxygenate requirements are a historical artifact from earlier engines that did not burn cleanly.  The oxygenate only needed to be 5%, and now is not really needed at all.

    The trick, IMO, with alcohol blends, is finding the sweet spot where the % of alcohol makes a significant improvement in performance.  This seems to be around the 30% mark, in an engine that is tuned for it – i.e. that can adjust its timing and mixture for optimal efficiency.  Higher alcohol blends allow the engine to run leaner without causing overheating or excess NOx, which makes for higher efficiency, but this is not how normal engines, even flex fuel ones, are set up.

     

    As for the BCG report, it does contain any great revelations, and some spurious predictions.  Biofuels will be”disruptive”, implies they will displace oil, but there is no hope of them scaling up to anything close to current oil usage.  It says they will be competitive but face the hurdle of huge capital costs – which makes them not competitive.  It says wind is competitive today, and yet it is not.

    The only part I really agree with is that “fossil fuels  will likely remain the dominant fuel for the next two decades.

    I am not sure who the intended audience is for that report – sounds like it is perhaps designed to make potential investors feel good about biofuels companies.   Would be interesting to know who funded said report.

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  46. By Rufus on December 3, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Perry, Flexfuel engines ARE allowed to run on any blend between E0 and E85 (actually, I think even E100 is allowed, but I don’t feel like looking it up.)

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  47. By rrapier on December 3, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    The Boston Consulting Group just put out a paper called “What’s Next for Alternative Energy?” in which they are rather upbeat on biofuels prospects to become competitive:

    I think they are dead wrong about cellulosic ethanol. They say 2009 cost of production is $2.39, and $1.99 in 2010. Right now the available subsidy for cellulosic is over $1/gallon; if their projections were correct plants would be getting built.

    In fact, the true cost of cellulosic ethanol production is closer to $4/gallon than $2. On some of the other fronts, I think renewable fuels will become more cost competitive, mainly because oil prices will climb.

    RR

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  48. By Tesla_X on December 3, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    What are your thoughts on BlueFire?

    They seem poised for progress and are waiting on the DOE/USDA Loan Guarentee process.

    Their current status:
    http://www.heraldonline.com/20…..es-52.html

    Site Pics:
    http://bfreinc.com/fulton-cons…..n-progress

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  49. By paul-n on December 3, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Rufus, that was my mistake about the flex fuels vehicles, not Perry’s – they are indeed allowed any blend, at least, up to E85 anyway – couldn’t find anything definitive about E100.  The real problem is not epa certification of the fuel, of course, it is certification of the vehicle.

     

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  50. By russ-finley on December 3, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    RR said:

    But people like Vinod Khosla were busy testifying before Congress that the only thing holding the industry back was more funding, and if they would provide the funding we could replace all of our gasoline consumption with cellulosic ethanol.

     

    Huh. Look who’s back. Khosla’s latest article in Greentch media.

    Vinod has realized that corn ethanol is not a bridge to cellulosic as he used to argue. By hogging up the market, it has always been a roadblock, he just didn’t get it until he started seeing comments under ethanol articles suggesting as much ; ):

     

    “The reality is that they and other innovative efforts will be hindered, not helped, by continuing corn ethanol subsides.”

     

    However, he still insists:

     

    “Corn ethanol has helped in the development of the biofuels infrastructure and by serving as a stepping stone for the next-generation of biofuel technologies”

     

    Note that he is relying on articles from an environmental organization, the NDRC, for much of his epiphany instead of RR’s articles …; )

     

    Biodiversivist

     

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  51. By Kit P on December 3, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    I’m curious what everyone’s thoughts are on it.

    DaveN, judging from what they said about electricity generation; BCG are clueless.  I did find the curves on pg 13 interesting.  It would appear that it will take me between 20 and 30 years to break even driving a BEV.  If you drive 30 to 40 miles a day and oil is a $150/barrel then you could break even in 3 years.

     

    What is apparent is the main contradiction of BEV.  True 80% of commuters could use BEC but it would be grossly expensive.  The best way money is not to spend it in the first place.  On the other hand when oil is a $150/barrel, corn ethanol will be looking pretty good.  

     

    The disconnect is the BCG is advising about buy stocks and I am looking at how we meet our energy needs.  A company selling useless widgets might be a good buy if useless widgets are popular with consumers.  What is the market for Hoola Hoops? 

     

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  52. By rrapier on December 3, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Russ Finley said:

    Note that he is relying on articles from an environmental organization, the NDRC, for much of his epiphany instead of RR’s articles …; )

     

    Biodiversivist

     


     

    Just to close the circle, the NRDC cited some of my stuff when they were making their arguments:

    Robert Rapier has a great blog on the redundant and ridiculous biofuels tax credits, which given our huge Renewable Fuel Standard pay the oil companies to do what they’re legally obliged to do. I’ve written about the need to reform the biofuel tax credits (here, here, and here), especially the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC)—the main tax credit that overwhelmingly goes to corn ethanol. But Rob does a great job of crystallizing the wasteful situation we find ourselves in. He likens having the tax credit for fuels that are already mandated to paying people to obey the speed limit.

    Now there’s some irony for you. Laugh

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  53. By Rufus on December 3, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Just one thing. After watching the Biodiesel tax credit go down, and witnessing the probable demise of the VEETC, absolutely, No One would take the “Cellulosic Producers’ Credit” into consideration (remember, it expires Dec 31, 2012) when deciding to invest Tens of Millions of Dollars in a Cellulosic Ethanol Refinery (and, most especially, after watching Khosla’s super-hyped projects turn to crap.)

    Look for a couple of very small, self-funded projects actually starting up. Right now, without some sort of very positive move from either Poet, or Fiberight I wouldn’t invest a plugged nickel in anything.

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  54. By carbonbridge on December 3, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    Perry said:

    Still, it seems like they’re putting lipstick on a pig. We need to stretch our hydrocarbon resources. Liquid fuels from syngas is terribly inefficient.  …That made no sense to me at first. The more complex a molecule, the more
    it costs to make with syngas.  …Come to think of it, you can mix methanol half and half with gasoline to
    get a gallon containing 90,000 btu’s. You could probably even get the
    EPA to approve it for blending. But, why would you want to?


     

    A little late in reading last four daze of posts on this blog.  Perry, you really need to start a new thread about Hydrogen Hallucinations and spend your time there with other misinformed advocates of H2 instead of throttling off on a newbie’s first post.  When I add 56,000 Methanol BTU’s to 112,000 Gasoline’s BTU’s I come up with 168,000 BTU’s and then divide by 2 — I get 84,000 BTU’s — not 90,000 as you are listing above.  And methanol isn’t 50k BTU’s – it is closer to 56k BTU’s.

    Perhaps someone has done extensive and confidential due diligence on something to which you obviously don’t have a clue — yet you pipe up like you are the expert here.  Not the first time.

    –Mark

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  55. By thomas on December 3, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    Perry said:

     It’s just that we have to start putting a premium on stretching resources, instead of just ease and convenience.


     Perry you were born a century too late.  In the 20th century gross energy consumption was the rule.  The most successful nations used the most energy. The 21st century will be dominated by the nations that can create the most GDP with the least amount of energy–energy efficiency.    The switch from gasoline powered ICEs to some alternative is probably going to be a 50+ year fork in the road.  Why would we want to trade long term energy competiveness for short term “ease and convenience”. We’re entering a “stretching resources” era.

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  56. By thomas on December 3, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Ignore my last post. I misread your post Perry.

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  57. By perry on December 3, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    CarbonBridge said:

     Perry, you really need to start a new thread about Hydrogen Hallucinations and spend your time there with other misinformed advocates of H2 instead of throttling off on a newbie’s first post.  When I add 56,000 Methanol BTU’s to 112,000 Gasoline’s BTU’s I come up with 168,000 BTU’s and then divide by 2 — I get 84,000 BTU’s — not 90,000 as you are listing above.  And methanol isn’t 50k BTU’s – it is closer to 56k BTU’s.

    Perhaps someone has done extensive and confidential due diligence on something to which you obviously don’t have a clue — yet you pipe up like you are the expert here.  Not the first time.

    –Mark


     

     If you want to be mean, just call me fat and ugly Mark. Then, you’d be half right, at least. Number one, I said nothing in the post about hydrogen. GTL and CTL are 50% efficient, at most. That’s not efficient. Second, I can link you to a number of sites that show gasoline having 125,000 btu’s per gallon. Mix it with 56,000 btu methane and voila….90,000 btu per gallon.

     

    And third, who made you hall monitor? If someone has to be an expert to “pipe up” around here, the comment section would be an awful boring place. The guy was asking for opinions and I gave mine. For your information, he’s posted before too.

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  58. By carbonbridge on December 3, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Robert Rapier said:


    http://www.ethanolproducer.com…..le_id=7168
     

    “For the purposes of projecting cellulosic volumes

    for 2011, we believe that the methanol from Range Fuels has the

    potential for being approved for generation of cellulosic RINs and is

    therefore appropriate for being included in the volumes that we believe

    are potentially attainable in 2011.”

    I would guess that applies to mixed alcohols as well. Maybe Mark R. can weigh in on that.

    RR


     

    RR:  To really ‘weigh in’ on this subject, I’d have to post several chapters.  Try reviewing this one clip below.

    From the EPA re: Renewable Fuel Standard Program (RFS-2) – March 18, 2010

    http://files.eesi.org/dunham_031810.pdf

    Herein, I don’t see methanol itemized on this EPA RFS-2 form.  Yet I would NOT be surprised that Range Fuels can/will get their small volumes of MeOH being produced from their Sooperton, GA, demo GTL wood gasification plant added to this RFS-2 listing – especially IF they are in active conversations with the EPA.  Because this particular methanol is produced from renewable pine chips – I do think it will qualify.

    I don’t see biodegradable higher mixed alcohols on this same update RFS-2 list either.  But that doesn’t mean that this classification won’t be added as well — as a 90,400 stronger BTU/gal with 30 more octane points than corn ethanol most certainly meets the overall criteria herein.  What I’ve just described is something which is not yet commercial.  I DO see green gasoline listed on the RFS-2, but that new float-on-water hydrocarbon fuel isn’t commercial yet either.  It is something which somebody in this developmental loop said “add it to the list of qualified product fuels.”

    The big picture of the RFS (Renewable Fuels Standard) approved by Congress under the Bush administration was to provide VERY generous $1.01 per gallon tax credits to (new) alternative fuels as a development stimulus.  A pilot demonstration of any new biofuel’s production process is not going to provide the same conversion ratios nor profits when economies of scale begin to demonstrate themselves in much larger world-scale facilities.  I’ve been preparing spreadsheets for a higher mixed alcohol’s demo plant costing $50M.  Yet constructing this same exact E4™ GTL facility 60 times larger in output capacity only costs 6x to 7x as much to build.  This is what economies of scale actually do accomplish.

    The overall objective in the RFS-1 and RFS-2 is to create alternatives to imported petroleum-based fuels.  We’ve already discussed the blend walls herein where fermented corn ethanol has come up to their ‘limits of participation’ in a RFS scheme – and then the recent announcement of Federal OK’s to increase ethanol volumes from 10% to 15% in gasoline for use only in certain year-models of newer cars, etc.  From the list of approved fuel types covered at this stage in the RFS-2 development scheme, it is fairly obvious that ‘non-food’ feedstocks are being pursued irregardless of whether the fuels concocted are float-on-water hydrocarbon oils or readily biodegradable oxycarbon alcohols.

    As startups like Range are experiencing, it sometimes takes more time and more money for workable, profitable solutions to properly scale in the downstream wash.  I wish them the best of luck, not an easy task especially in light of so much earlier fanfare.

    In closing:  “Lignocellulosic’ continues to be a brand new buzz word — and politicians, investors and government grant makers oftentimes can’t actually interpret the difference between 24×7 steam driven continuous GTL catalytic processing in comparison to 7-day batch fermentation methods using extra expensive and extra acidic enzymes which outputs only 40% volumes per batch (true lignocellulosic) when compared to corn kernels fermented as base carbon feedstock.

    Personally, I can’t wait to see when Range starts outputting a (long-planned) blend of synthetic mixed alcohols and then (ostensibly) begins fractionalizing out a very pure ethanol portion from this mixture.  We’ll see…

    –Mark

     

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  59. By carbonbridge on December 3, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Perry said:


    If you want to be mean, just call me fat and ugly Mark.

     

    I said nothing in the post about hydrogen.

    GTL and CTL are 50% efficient, at most. That’s not efficient.

    Second, I can link you to a number of sites that show gasoline having 125,000 btu’s per gallon.


     

    Perry:  I think your comment about ‘lipstick on a pig’ is what was mean.  You may find yourself apologizing for that remark.

    Hydrogen:  Yup.  You are right.  You didn’t extoll hydrogen in one particular post.  However, you keep coming back to it on “other” posts that you make and I’m not the only one here tired of hearing your misplaced excitement for H2.  Please take my advice, begin a new thread on this topic and have fun with it and I won’t waste your time nor meddle with your and other’s enthusiasm.  Compressed hydrogen (even if free) is not suitable for the transportation sector.  Boom!

    Have you ever designed, constructed OR been employed in a Methanol GTL plant or a Fischer-Tropsch (German Hitler-style) synthetic fuels GTL plant?  Have you even ever toured such a facility or do your facts come from internet research?

    Perhaps you might be in for some surprises.  It is not my place here on a public blog to begin educating you relative to confidential GTL reaction kinetics which for obvious reasons remain confidential.  Simply ascertain that pressurized recycle passes of syngas may be lowered by factors of 5x or 6x.  And such efficiency gains might grow stronger fuel molecules and add extra zeros to a bottom line.  Can you follow me?

    Like you, I’ve gone to internet listed tables which show gasoline to have 125,000 BTU’s and even ethanol to feature 86,000 BTU’s.  Both of these numbers are wrong.  Lotsa numbers plucked off the internet are wrong.  I have found numbers in published Merck Manuals to be wrong. 

    When you spend $500 per whack out of your own wallet to begin testing fuel samples at 3rd Party Credible Lab Facilities as I have for the past decade, then you’ll understand that 90% of the gasoline on the U.S. market today is very close to 112,000 BTU’s per gallon.  Diesel will typically come in at close to 120,000 BTU’s per gallon.  And pure, 199.8 proof anhydrous ethanol scales in at about 75,500 BTU’s.  Go dig a little deeper on your earlier posted number of 50,000 BTU’s/gal for methanol.  Then maybe you’ll find after a whole lot of different numbers are popping up — that MeOH is closer to 56,000 BTU’s.  Then correctly perceive that it takes 2x methanol’s volumes to travel the same distance as average gasoline (after) the ICE has been properly adjusted for air/fuel ratio and highly advanced spark ignition for neat methanol.  Then maybe ask yourself why C1 methanol being manufactured in world-scale, clean, steam-driven GTL facilities since 1923 has been purposefully kept out of consumer’s gas tanks…except for Indy 500 race cars for 37 years until MeOH was replaced by corn ethanol four years ago.

    Have you ever driven hydrogen compressed to 15,000 psi and then regulated such pessures down to your ICE powered SUV?  I have not…  Too dangerous — and I’ve even refused a couple of rides to see/feel this experience myself.  No thanks.  You could have had my offered seat to ride shotgun.  Hummmm…

    Have you ever personally driven neat methanol or neat ethanol fuels?  I have beginning back in 1988.  I have poured distilled water into these neat alcohol fuels at carefully measured amounts and driven many thousands of miles on these and other alternative and BIODEGRADABLE new fuels in the past couple of decades.  I’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of other people’s money documenting the combustion efficiencies of what higher mixed alcohols delivers in comparison to C1 methanol or C2 ethanol or gasoline, diesel, etc. 

    I’m not any hall monitor here on RR’s blog.  But I’ll call a spade a spade when I see it from time to time and your lipstick on a pig comment isn’t going to go away anytime soon with me.  New member poster Jay was highlighting some points he’s learned in the past four years of confidential due diligence, the last year of this diligence was in concert with me and what I’ve co-patented with others.  So who the hell are you to call him out as you’ve publicly done without first asking for any explanation? 

    You really don’t have a clue sir and your own arrogance and inexperience are showing.  Please cool those jets a little and initiate a personal H2 discussion thread and run with it.  Thank you in advance.

    –Mark

     

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  60. By Kit P on December 3, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    Missed it someplace
    Mark, but what is the energy input to the process?

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  61. By carbonbridge on December 3, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    Kit P asks:

    –what is the energy input to the process?


     

    Gasification or Reformation of any solid or gaseous substance which isn’t radioactive, Kit.

     

    Both processes are well understood worldwide. 

    Kinda like click, let’s produce clean synthesis gas–what’s next?

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  62. By jay on December 3, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    Perry,

    In an earlier comment you used “lipstick on a pig” as a colorful way to describe your thoughts about higher mixed alcohols. What is a pig, in this context of use? Please elaborate if you care to.

    I personally believe we’re going to be putting lipstick on a 24/7 piggy bank that could then lead to the creation of more “we never close” piggy banks in hometown America, and only time will tell who is correct. 

    There’s no other alt fuel on the planet as well positioned at this point in time as E4 Envirolene, in my opinion. A proven scalable blend of higher mixed alcohols made from any carbon poop, solid, liquid or gas, epitomizes what it will take to “stretch” our hydrocarbon resources. Not only stretches them, but also causes these dirty fuels to combust more completely and cleanly as well.

    We’re talking gas, diesel, and coal. Cleaner.  Enviro-benefits of combustion accrue soon after: Atmosphere and water cleaner. Landfills getting emptier. And wallets of investors getting fatter making a domestic clean fuel that drops right into your gas tank. Perhaps even your brother has a job at one of these new fangled 24/7 piggy banks.

    Beyond this, nobody and nothing has to change for this clean fuel to grab a share of the oxy fuels market very quickly upon large scale production. The infrastructure of petroleum can accommodate higher mixed alcohols, no problem. Unlike ethanol.  It’s ready to turn on, and from what I’ve seen, read, heard, and paid good money to get credible professional advice on the subject of green fuels, nothing else in green liquid fuels even comes close, comparatively speaking. 

    Seems like hidden or partially obscured agendas, some artful rhetorical redirection, and just plain dumb comments lobbed by pseudonymous posters are a factor on this board. Could be just plain pigheadedness, perhaps emboldened by not knowing how, or when, to sign one’s own name. :-)

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  63. By rrapier on December 4, 2010 at 1:17 am

    Looking a bit more at what Khosla wrote at Greentech:

    At a broader level, the tragedy is that corn ethanol has lead to a general perception in the media that all biofuels are the same, and has soured the nation on all biofuels to the point where we are ready to throw the baby (cellulosic next-gen fuels) out with the bath water.

    LOL. One of the biggest things that soured the nation on biofuels was all the hype that failed to deliver. And Khosla led that charge.

    RR

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  64. By paul-n on December 4, 2010 at 2:16 am

    It would be interesting to know, just how many gallons of biofuels Khosla’s various enterprises have actually delivered, and compare this to the (government) money that has been spent.  I’m sure it would make the VEETC look like  bargain.

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  65. By perry on December 4, 2010 at 7:47 am

    Jay said:

    Perry,

    In an earlier comment you used “lipstick on a pig” as a colorful way to describe your thoughts about higher mixed alcohols. What is a pig, in this context of use? Please elaborate if you care to.


     

    This is an energy blog Jay. My attraction to it, is the lively discussions regarding just about any type of energy you can think of. I think just about everyone here wants the same thing. A clean, sustainable, future. Mark has been ripping into me lately, because I’ve come to believe H2 is the best way forward. Others believe methanol, or mixed alcohols, is the answer. Still others think ethanol, or some other biofuel, is the future. Then, we’ve got EV’s, PHEV’s, and ICE’s that get super high mileage. Nuclear gets touted pretty frequently. All of these get nitpicked ever which way from Sunday. There’s no consensus here, or anywhere else, on which way forward is best.

     

    The ‘lipstick on a pig’ comment was a reference to the sustainability of liquid fuels from NG and coal. Like oil, they are finite resources that will some day be gone. We should make the best use of them. As much as I support ethanol, I’m the first to admit it isn’t the best use of resources. Burning the corn for electricity, and putting the juice in an EV, would be much more efficient. The same goes for NG and coal. If they DO need to be steam reformed for fuel, H2 is produced in the first step of the process. The highest conversion efficiency for H2 from NG I’ve seen claimed to date is 75%. Anything made from that takes more work. You claimed a 79% rate for mixed alcohols. If that is true, please notify the Nobel Committee. Someone  is due an award.

     

    I can assure you my agenda isn’t hidden, or partially obscured. Like everyone else here, my agenda is a clean, sustainable, future. I’m not an expert, and have never pretended to be. I did spend most of my youth working in the oilfields, but that’s neither here, nor there. I don’t get any particular pleasure from being anonymous. I try not to say anything that would embarrass my mother if she were listening. For the record, here’s my name, address, and phone number. It’s a MagicJack, so if I get a bunch of annoying calls, I can just unplug the darned thing.

     

    Perry Addison

    5804 Glasco Dr.

    Marrero, LA. 70072

    504-355-3871

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  66. By rrapier on December 4, 2010 at 11:36 am

    Perry said:

    I can assure you my agenda isn’t hidden, or partially obscured. Like everyone else here, my agenda is a clean, sustainable, future. I’m not an expert, and have never pretended to be. I did spend most of my youth working in the oilfields, but that’s neither here, nor there. I don’t get any particular pleasure from being anonymous. I try not to say anything that would embarrass my mother if she were listening. For the record, here’s my name, address, and phone number. It’s a MagicJack, so if I get a bunch of annoying calls, I can just unplug the darned thing.

     

    Perry Addison

    5804 Glasco Dr.

    Marrero, LA. 70072

    504-355-3871


     

     

    And for the record, posted on the old blog before coming here as “Maury.” Launched into a vicious attack on me on the day he left, calling me names, accusing me of intellectual dishonesty, and saying that my criticisms of ethanol were driven by my business interests. You can see some of those comments following this post. Never recanted nor apologized; just showed up here again one day using a different name. 

    RR

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  67. By Kit P on December 4, 2010 at 11:53 am

    “substance which
    isn’t radioactive, Kit.”

    Everything is
    radioactive Mark! The problems with biomass and coal as a fuel is
    trace elements, what does not go out the stack is concentrates in the
    ash. Coal plants release large amount of radioactive material. Milk
    is food until you spill on the Hanford site, then it is low level
    radioactive waste by the WAC code. Mark you may want to give up
    eating and maybe more from Montana to find a location with a lower
    dose. Let me suggest Richland Washington near Colombia genrating
    station.

     

    When someone like
    Mark does not tell you what the energy source is for their process
    that puts them in misclassification system as a BS artist. If they
    are looking for investors, they are scam artist.Let the record show I did ask Mark nicely what the soruce of energy was.

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  68. By Walt on December 4, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Jay said:

    There’s no other alt fuel on the planet as well positioned at this point in time as E4 Envirolene, in my opinion. A proven scalable blend of higher mixed alcohols made from any carbon poop, solid, liquid or gas, epitomizes what it will take to “stretch” our hydrocarbon resources. Not only stretches them, but also causes these dirty fuels to combust more completely and cleanly as well.

    We’re talking gas, diesel, and coal. Cleaner.  Enviro-benefits of combustion accrue soon after: Atmosphere and water cleaner. Landfills getting emptier. And wallets of investors getting fatter making a domestic clean fuel that drops right into your gas tank. Perhaps even your brother has a job at one of these new fangled 24/7 piggy banks.

    Beyond this, nobody and nothing has to change for this clean fuel to grab a share of the oxy fuels market very quickly upon large scale production. The infrastructure of petroleum can accommodate higher mixed alcohols, no problem. Unlike ethanol.  It’s ready to turn on, and from what I’ve seen, read, heard, and paid good money to get credible professional advice on the subject of green fuels, nothing else in green liquid fuels even comes close, comparatively speaking.


     

    Is it ok to shift the topic to other alcohols beyond ethanol, or discuss other technologies beyond cellulosic ethanol on this blog?

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  69. By rrapier on December 4, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Walt said:

     

    Is it ok to shift the topic to other alcohols beyond ethanol, or discuss other technologies beyond cellulosic ethanol on this blog?


     

    As long as it is in context, and not overt promotion. Methanol is certainly topical for this thread, though.

    RR

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  70. By Kit P on December 4, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Cleaner

    Cleaner how Jay?  If you want to do business in the US you are going have to answer that question.  EPA and OSHA regulations still have to be followed.

    Burning the corn for electricity, and putting the juice in an EV, would
    be much more efficient.

    Of course Perry is wrong and does not have a clue.

    Like everyone else here, my agenda is a clean, sustainable, future.

    Again Perry you are wrong.  My agenda is to ensure people today have an adequate supply of energy that is safe and has insignificant environmental impact. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  71. By paul-n on December 4, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    I have opened a new thread for mixed alcohols here - if we are going to get into specifics of chemistry, production, etc, which I would like to do, lets move the discussion there.

    For this thread, even though we have gone off topic, it would seem there is little disagreement that cellulosic ethanol will not be a big producer in the near future, though some operations will continue to be a big consumer of money.

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  72. By Walt on December 4, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Robert Rapier said:

    Walt said:

     

    Is it ok to shift the topic to other alcohols beyond ethanol, or discuss other technologies beyond cellulosic ethanol on this blog?


     

    As long as it is in context, and not overt promotion. Methanol is certainly topical for this thread, though.

    RR


     

    Robert, can you help me understand overt promotion on your blog?  Obviously you have a broad set of followers who trust your opinions, and certainly you need to be as neutral as possible in your articles to avoid criticism…but would you be open to links to new developments posted to your blog comment section by the inventor or should it only come from a third-party who identifies the technology?  In regard to our technology, I know you are fully aware of direct partial oxidation of methane-to-methanol as you mentioned in another post that you studied it at Conoco Philliips and I assume you do not believe it is a valid technology(?) route to lower methanol costs, but until you come forward with negative comments about the technology space of direct methanol conversion…is there any liberty to reference our developments without it being an “overt promotion”.  If it is not permitted, I will accept your decision.  I decided last week to walk from posting to your blog to avoid any controversy, but after seeing Jay’s last two posts I just need a definition of “overt promotion”.  By the way, I have never submitted my press releases to any IP news wire, or press release service.  I have only sent them to a Michigan tech paper who puts in our developments from time to time, and since methanol gets a bit of the silent treatment on many ethanol blogs I need to know the limits here.

    Otherwise, I suspect posting as Paul recommends will be the only option.  I intend to send out our first press release in a while with a video that will show us lighting on fire the liquids which came from our process that is producing methanol in a single step mobile trailer plant.  The lab reports will support the video and will be hopefully available by end of next week from Houston.  I guess the point is what is wrong with enthusiasm or promotion of technology development that involves methanol?  Every little silly pitch for new ethanol technology flies around the web by a strong PR group and lobby effort.  I am not going to get any coverage by the methanol institute I know this for certain.  Waiting your defintion.

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  73. By carbonbridge on December 4, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Kit P said:

    ……they are scam artist.Let the record show I did ask Mark nicely what the soruce of energy was.


     

    Good morning Kit!

    My reply to you concerning ‘sources of energy’ [to be cleanly converted] was anything gaseous or solid, not radioactive (because we can’t separate that radioactive element out of a finished fuel) and then using worldwide methods of steam reformation or gasification to accomplish this front-end conversion task of source carbonaceous materials which ARE the basic energy source herein.

    Spelling it out further for you:  How about garbage, sewer sludge, ground tires, petroleum coke, or aggie biomass like corn cobs/stover/animal manure, millions of acres of beetle-killed pine, or coal of any rank, tar sands, oil shales, plus methane natural gas or contaminated sources of methane typically loaded with high volumes of CO2 imbedded therein? 

    These are the typical energy sources to be cleanly converted instead of planting, fertilizing, watering, weeding and annually harvesting anything via agriculture where the end process is only isolating a carbon and hydrogen atom from corn starch or other biomass as the building blocks to be recombined with missing oxygen into ethanol…  Same thing goes for algae.  Only a carbon and hydrogen atom grown in this green slime will end up as a finished oily fuel after harvesting, pressing and refining processes.  If algae, switchgrass, miscanthus, palm, corn kernels, cobs, manures, garbage, etc., were gasified – then every carbon atom in their makeup could be isolated then recombined into a new biofuel.  If oxygen from H2O is introduced, then float-on-water oils become water soluble, oil soluble, coal soluble, biodegradable fuel alcohols.

    This isn’t rocket science.  But amid the hyperbole and energy-caused recession – investors, politicians, grant providers and the public remain very confused.

    Kit, I view society’s daily wastes plus tires, coal AND beetle-kill pine as easier, cheaper carbonaceous feedstocks for conversion into profitable biofuels than purposefully growing anything via sunlight photosynthesis on an annual plant/fertilize/water/weed/harvest cycle simply for a carbon atom building block with its associated hydrogen ion.  Herein Perry, — the hydrogen ion of hydrocarbons is principally balancing the magnetic valence of any molecule it is attached to.  No hydrogen gets expensively or dangerously isolated.  These little hydrogen ions are along for the ride, they explode and cleanly combust – yet they are rather insignificant when compared to the BTU’s of carbon atoms which they are attached to.

    These wastes of society plus fossil coal or tar sands are loaded with carbon and hydrogen building blocks.  What is missing is oxygen for this and any other biodegradable alcohol recipe.  The missing oxygen atom is typically derived from H2O when water is first boiled into steam and then separated into H2 and O by a catalyst in a very conventional (worldwide) steam reformer apparatus.

    The easiest conversion to achieve a steady and continuous throughput of mid-stream synthesis gas is via steam reformation of stranded methane like most of the world currently does to produce C1 methanol.  In this configuration, the raw carbon contained within the CH4 methane molecule is combined with H2 and O from steam to become an intermediate synthesis gas of CO, H2, H2, H2. 

    A CO and one H2 from this midstream syngas are next re-arranged via high pressure fixed-bed proprietary catalysis and becomes a finished blend of six, eight or ten fuel alcohols much stronger BTU than basic CH3OH methanol where the MeOH was first produced — BUT the catalytic recombination of C,O & H in midstream syngas continues to recombine two C1 MeOH molecules into a synthetic C2 ethanol molecule.  Then another C1 methanol gets added via catalysis and some C2 volume becomes C3 normal (n) propanol, then grows again into normal C4 butanol, C5 pentanol, C6 hexanol, C7 heptanol, C8 octanol, C9 nananol and finishes up with trace amounts of a C10 decanol all ‘mixed’ together. 

    In the whole run of this blend of stronger BTU mixed alcohols, C2 ethanol becomes about one-half of the finished formula recipe, C1 MeOH from whence it all began – is about 17% by volume — and the higher C3 to C10 alcohols formed in a declining curve comprise about 33% of the total finished volume of higher mixed alcohols.  This patented formula/usage blend of higher mixed alcohols is tradenamed as E4™ ENVIROLENE® and indeed was produced at greater efficiency than MeOH would have been produced by itself. 

    About 5M BTU’s of raw methane (five standard U.S. CH4 Henry Hub units) of methane natural gas becomes a 42 gal. barrel of higher mixed alcohols containing 3.8M BTU’s or about 90,400 BTU’s per gallon in comparison to MeOH at 56,000 BTU’s or EtOH at 75,500 BTU’s.  This is the 79% efficiency factor when first converting raw methane via steam reformation then moving into a ‘methanization’ type of fixed bed GTL reactor (not to be confused with Fischer-Tropsch paraffins needing hydrocracking) on the ‘back-end’ of this GTL flow-through system for recombination and rearrangment of C,O and H as syngas into a finished and biodegradable, liquid blend of longer-chained, yet simple fuel alcohols demonstrating rather superior combustion characteristcs while being produced 24×7 at greatly reduced costs. (–whew!)

    This process is accomplished at far better efficiencies than the 90 yr. old process of producing simpler C1 MeOH as a chemical and plastics base feedstock.  OK?  Can you follow me thus far Kit / Perry / Maury?  What I’ve just described can value-add 1 unit of methane (1M BTU’s) in today’s market as a new liquid biofuel which would fetch about $15 to $17 as new biodegradable liquid fuel when sold at EtOH’s wholesale rack price.  When methane is a target, why not scan the horizon for the largest source of stranded methane in North America?  Last time I looked, it was at Alaska’s northern border in Prudoe Bay.  And there are giants who wish to take a decade and construct a new methane pipeline down through Canada and into the Chicago region.  Perhaps there is another, quicker, more profitable alternative here which would convert this gas into value-added, biodegradable liquids?

    Alternatively, when solids are gasified into mid-stream synthesis gas for the same back-end GTL catalytic rearrangement of atoms to finished liquid fuel, depending upon what solid is cleanly gasified and through exactly WHAT make/model gasifier — something quite similar happens with regards to efficiency of conversion here in counting up how many carbon atoms from the raw feedstock became continously converted 24×7 into a new mixed alcohol blend which is about 20% stronger BTU than ethanol and features about 30 more octane points. 

    Ie: Gasifier A may do a better front-end conversion job of a solid feedstock than Gasifier B – so conversion rates again may reach into the high seventy percentile ranges as long as someone isn’t using an extra expensive high pressure gasifier.  My own preference is for gasification which is accomplished at only 1-2 psi — not gasification units which accomplish this task at 600-800 psi. Synthesis gas produced via gasification is typically a recipe of CO & H2 which works perfectly for the recombination process which I’ve just described.

    I’m not a scam artist nor am I wishing to use RR’s energy blog to promote my own patented angle for biodegradable new liquid energy.  I’d be happy to discuss other questions within limits of public domain vs: confidentiality requirements on another thread.  We’re getting off topic herein amid challenges of being a scam artist putting lipstick on a pig.  Or was it a piggy bank?  Public web pages discussing the above text in far greater detail with links to formula patents to read and assimilate are:

    http://www.standardalcohol.com…..      and       http://www.biorootenergy.com

    –Mark C. Radosevich / SACA Co-Founder, Scientist and Inventor

    mark  at  carbonbridge  dot  net

     

    Today, I respond to Kit & Perry from western Montana where I’m privately visiting with investors to initiate, implement and site a world demo E4™ GTL higher mixed alcohol green GTL production project in the Bitterroot Valley along with Jay Toups / CEO of Bioroot Energy, LLC.  We are surrounded by millions of acres of “Montana coal above ground” which resembles a dead and dying pine forest c/o those nasty pine beetles moving about as a result of climate changes.

    p.s. – Using the member’s ‘edit’ function, I’m reading Walt’s post just above mine which wasn’t there while I was generating this response to being called a scam artist.  Go ahead RR, you can trim this explanation for lipstick on a pig and park it elsewhere or eliminate it.  I’d like to see your blog discussions being posted only by members who will identify themselves, create a member’s profile with verifiable address/phone number and not have to deal with snipes and attacks from those who actually might be shills, paid to disrupt certain dialoge.  Your call…  -MR

     

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  74. By Walt on December 4, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    CarbonBridge said:

    Today, I respond to Kit & Perry from western Montana where I’m privately visiting with investors to initiate, implement and site a world demo E4™ GTL higher mixed alcohol green GTL production project in the Bitterroot Valley along with Jay Toups / CEO of Bioroot Energy, LLC.  We are surrounded by millions of acres of “Montana coal above ground which resembles a dead and dying pine forest c/o those nasty pine beetles moving about as a result of climate changes.

    p.s. – Using the member’s ‘edit’ function, I’m reading Walt’s post just above mine which wasn’t there while I was generating this response to be called a scam artist.  Go ahead RR, you can trim this explanation for lipstick on a pig and park it elsewhere or eliminate it.  I’d like to see your blog discussions being posted only by members who will identify themselves and not have to deal with snipes and attacks from those who actually might be paid shills to disrupt certain dialoge.  Your call…  -MR


     

    Mark, I wish you all the best with these discussions.  From my heart of hearts I know the long road you have fought to get that technology into the market and the sacrifice you have made…so I take my hat off to you and your team if you reach agreement with your investors.  If not, I suspect as more “much needed” criticism is leveled against the silicon valley/government partnership funded real taxpayer cons, those in industry will see a few technologies surface with a value proposition beyond tax credits and mandate economic plays.  If RR leaves your post…update me privately next week on the developments.  As I said, a few of us should work together and just ignore the critics…as if you have not already for years! :)

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  75. By rrapier on December 4, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Walt said:

    Robert, can you help me understand overt promotion on your blog?  Obviously you have a broad set of followers who trust your opinions, and certainly you need to be as neutral as possible in your articles to avoid criticism…but would you be open to links to new developments posted to your blog comment section by the inventor or should it only come from a third-party who identifies the technology? 


     

    In general, it should be noteworthy, preferably with some sort of 3rd party validation. The number of people who write to me and claim breakthroughs is mindboggling; they need to meet a somewhat higher standard of having these breakthroughs reported on or validated in some way.

    I don’t mind you discussing your technology, as long as it isn’t done repetitively in every thread, and as long as it is somewhat on topic.

    RR

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  76. By Walt on December 4, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Robert Rapier said:

    Walt said:

    Robert, can you help me understand overt promotion on your blog?  Obviously you have a broad set of followers who trust your opinions, and certainly you need to be as neutral as possible in your articles to avoid criticism…but would you be open to links to new developments posted to your blog comment section by the inventor or should it only come from a third-party who identifies the technology? 


     

    In general, it should be noteworthy, preferably with some sort of 3rd party validation. The number of people who write to me and claim breakthroughs is mindboggling; they need to meet a somewhat higher standard of having these breakthroughs reported on or validated in some way.

    I don’t mind you discussing your technology, as long as it isn’t done repetitively in every thread, and as long as it is somewhat on topic.

    RR


     

    Robert, this is totally acceptable and fair.  It leaves room for an impartial third-party review while at the same time open minded enough to consider technologies that might not have the credibility or vetting by large VC groups from the valley.  I recognize that clearing the hurdle of a VC adds a lot of credibility at least that it has been vetted to “likely” be something worth of millions if not hundreds of millions worth of investment.  When you get a Khosla Ventures to back your technology…many still believe you are on the bleeding edge and worthy of serious publicity and attention.  Same with Kleiner…as anyone who gets funding from them is as their website promotes, “The Next Big Thing” in clean tech.  Thus, without this type of funding/support, your test is fair and reasonable.

    I’ve got 3 third-party reports in-house on the technology, but 2 are purely extensive economic studies in comparison to “best in class” commercial technologies in GTL, Methanol, Ammonia, Formaldehyde and LNG.  The other is a technical study done for a super major on the ability for the technology to scale.  I would now be willing to open up the core of the process to someone besides Zeton (who has evaluated our models and agreed to be our preferred design-build firm after their own internal examination) for third-party validation.  The video next week will help, but I agree with you that new technologies must be treated with the most neutral (yet fair) critic without a vested interest in their opinion.

    Let the search begin…for that critic…who wants to see the details of the process thermal efficiency and carbon efficiency…and producing liquids!

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  77. By Wendell Mercantile on December 4, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Burning the corn for electricity, and putting the juice in an EV, would be much more efficient.

    Perry~

    Actually, no.

    Using the natural gas (NG) directly to make electricity and using that electricity in a BEV would be more efficient than using NG to grow corn, and then burning the corn to make electricity.

    There is no reason to have corn as an intermediate step between natural gas and electricity as you propose — other than to keep happy the membership of the NCGA.

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  78. By Kit P on December 4, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    “This isn’t rocket science.”

     

    No that was BS, can you link me to a specific project demonstrating the practical application or the technology?

     

    “the hydrogen ion of hydrocarbons is principally balancing the magnetic valence of any molecule it is attached to.”

     

    One of the reason I ma skeptical is that Mark uses the language of a snake oil salesmen designed to confuse Perry rather than communicate with another energy engineer. Since I have already provide Mark with correct terminology, I am even more skeptical

     

    “which would fetch about $15 to $17 as new biodegradable liquid fuel when sold at EtOH’s wholesale rack price.”

     

    Nice slight of hand! No, I an not going to pay twice as much for one fossil fuel than other.

     

    “stranded methane in North America”

     

    And how much is it going to cost to get that new liquid fuel Prudoe Bay?

     

    I wish you well Mark. I would like to be wrong. If you can find a way to economically address the forest health issue of our semi-arid inter mountain North America by creating by creating transportation fuel, I will come to Montana and buy you dinner for making the world a better place.

     

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  79. By rrapier on December 4, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Paul N said:

    It would be interesting to know, just how many gallons of biofuels Khosla’s various enterprises have actually delivered, and compare this to the (government) money that has been spent.  I’m sure it would make the VEETC look like  bargain.


     

    The answer to that is zero. Someone came on here once talking about how successful Khosla has been, and I asked them to name one of his companies that was actually producing energy. They couldn’t name one.

    RR

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  80. By carbonbridge on December 4, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    Kit P said:

    I wish you well Mark. I would like to be wrong.


    You are wrong Kit, you’ve misinterpreted most of what I’ve said online.
     

    I don’t have time to debate you further this evening so will respond to some of your comments tomorrow.  But be

    forewarned.  I don’t see you as anything except a troublemaker, you are not an investor candidate, you love and extol nuclear-generated electricity to which I am opposed.  You put me in the same category with snakeoil salesmen and frauds.  So I don’t envision us being on the same page very often and will not take extraordinary time nor effort to educate you.  Please join this blog as a bona-fide member, quit insulting people as a pseudo-guest – list your real name and email address in the member’s slot and continue.  If you won’t, then so long as you limit your own credibility! 

    Like others, I’ve read your dialog on this discussion blog for many months.  And I’m already personally tired of the snipping and sniping which goes on here instead of intelligent discussion among professionals.  Good nightl

    –Mark

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  81. By BilB, Australia on December 4, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    Good on you CarbonBridge for your anti nuclearedness. I support you in that.

     

    I also believe, and can demonstrate to some degree, that our energy future will in fact be cheaper than today and permanently stable. BioFuels are an important part of that future. Have you been following NASA’s Omega project? This is the best solution for the aviation fuel problem, in my opinion. What this has to offer is a system that has no real space limits, free energy for process flow (wave power), scaleability, and zero impact on fresh water resources. In has only one problem that I can see and that is to do with CO2 injection. If those NASA guys can resolve the issues then we can start to breath a little more easily about biofuel’s and their contribution to our energy future. I do, however, believe that nuclear will need to play a role in heavy container shipping in the future due to peak oil and the intense competition that will ultimately develop. The Chinese shipping company Cosco is already thinking along those lines.

     

    The real player of course for personal transport will be electricity, and solar energy is the key there. Did you pick up on the Audi A2 electric conversion vehicle and its 600 kilometre proving run from Hamburg to Berlin sponsored by the German government? This battery is claimed to weigh 100Kg, have an operating life of 500,000 kilometers, and a minimum charge time with the apropriate charger of 8 minutes. That is what I call a winning formula. The US has similar technologies under development but it seems that the Germans have the drop on you guys.

     

    If you do a little flying in light planes then this article   http://blog.cafefoundation.org/?p=2225  might take your fancy. Electric aircraft technology has been leaping forward in the last 2 years.

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  82. By paul-n on December 4, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    BillB

    You need to recalibrate your BS detector and view these ambitous claims in the cold hard light of reality.  The Omega project is a yet another way to try to grow algae, which is a biomass that no one has yet been able to produce commercial volumes of fuel from.  The concentrated algae needs a concentrated stream of CO2 – that is why they normally try this near power station exhausts, where do you get that offshore?  They claim that it will solve wastewater problems, yet the fine print reveals it needs tertiary treated effluent, which is a level sewage treatment so high that most of the nutrients have been removed.

     

    That dubious claim about the Audi has already been discussed here at CER;

    http://www.consumerenergyrepor…..rge/#p6219

    They claimed an order of magnitude increase in energy density over the state of the art, and an order of magnitude decrease in charging time, and have produced zero evidence to back it up.  Does that sound right to you?  On the basis of such, would you invest in that company?  If so, to paraphrase  Kit, I have coathanger shaped bridge in Sydney that I want to sell to you.

     

    And the solar plane?  The thin film collectors will produce all of 1kW, less if you fly in or under a cloud.  They are having enough trouble getting long range battery cars – what are the chances of being successful with a plane?  If you think avgas is expensive wait until you see the cost of a battery pack for that plane.  To date the only manned electric planes have been glorified gliders – the plane equivalent of an electric assist bicycle.  They have a long way to go to get a Cessna off the ground under battery power.

    There are many dreamers out there with access to computer modelling programs – this why you should not trust any site that just puts forward a schematic/model/simulation, rather than a real, live demonstration.  The Wright brothers did not pre-hype their flight – they just knuckled down and did it.  You should not believe any of these claims until they had done it, and opened themselves to public scrutiny.  Anyone who hides behind their website and computer simulations is doing so becasue they have nothing else to show.

     

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  83. By BilB, Australia on December 5, 2010 at 4:27 am

    Paul N,

     

    My bullshit detector is working just fine. In fact it activated as I started reading your response.

     

    On the Omega project you should have noticed that I mentioned the CO2 issue. This is why open water is the best location. The water movement has the potential to power air circulation for CO2 capture from the air primarily, but also from the water in which the system is floating. NASA refer to the nutrient issue and I am willing to believe that they have many people as clever, probably much cleverer, as yourself working on this project. Where such systems require flue gas then the project has failed immediately.

    For you to dismiss out of hand projects such as these I have to wonder what sort of CEO you are? In what area of business does your company operate?

    Here is the article on the Audi. You will notice that it is reported from a Chinese news service. I originally came across the announcement from a blog comment from someone in Seoul to the NYTimes. It is interesting that Asia should be more in tune with technology than Canadians. You might notice that one of the sponsors appears to be Mobil Oil.

    http://www.caradvice.com.au/89…..ge-record/

    So there is all of the information. Rather than blowing hard do the CEO thing and phone the German company to get first hand knowledge. Then you are in a position to applaud or refute.

    The Cessna in the article is not solar powered, it is battery powered with solar assist.

    This is more than a powered glider struggling to get off the ground

    http://yuneeccouk.site.securep…..craft.html

    that is not to say that totally solar powered does not work, it does

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..8dE106phiI

    …this is a bunch of Swiss blokes just getting on with it.

     

    And for the record, everything of value in Australia is up for sale. Even the land, which the Chinese are hoeing into wholesale with their American dollars.

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  84. By Kit P on December 5, 2010 at 10:29 am

    I have coathanger shaped bridge in Sydney that I want to sell to you.

     

    I suppose it depend on where you get off the boat?  If you are talking about solar airplanes, I would be selling elevator passes because that is the type of things high shcool think about. 

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  85. By paul-n on December 5, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Bill, if there is a problem with trying to get CO2 into that Omega project, as you and I observe, how is it any easier (or safer) to solve that in open water than on land?
    We can debate ad infinitum about the many challenges facing this project, but let’s not waste the time – they have not even got a working demonstration, nor have they shown any quantified  estimates of what the system can produce.  It could produce something, for sure, but they say “significant quantities” of biofuels, without quantifiying it, and then, in the same sentence, talk about sequestering CO2.  If you are burning it for biofuel, you have a carbon nuetral fuel,  but you are not sequestering.

    There are many different ideas out there on how to grow algae, and research has been going on since the ’70′s and they all have one thing in common, other than algae itself – none have become commercially successful.  So the onus is on the proponents to show their plan can work, not show how great it will be IF it can work.    When they actually have a working unit and actually produce oil, continuously, from it, then they can answer the skeptics, myself included.  Nasa has a lot of smart people, but that doesn’t mean every idea they have works out.

    For you to dismiss out of hand projects such as these I have to wonder what sort of CEO you are? In what area of business does your company operate?

    CEO is my ranking on this forum – if you look, you will see other members with “jr engineer” or “engineering vp” etc it is equivalent to junior and senior members – you earn your ranking by what you post here.  I am not a CEO of a company, and have never claimed to be.  You can read my profile to see what I do (you may have to register first).

    Suffice to say, I have worked with sewage treatment for years, and have been followed developments in plant based sewage treatment for two decades – there have been many ideas, and few successful implementations.  Omega is an idea at this point, is yet to prove it is feasible,  and has a long way to go to be a success.  

     

    With that German car, did you go to the link to our previous discussion here?  Sam Avro, the administrator of this forum contacted the company directly, to ask those specific questions, and got a form answer referring him to their website, which has precious little information.  When a company makes big claims and generates lots of hype, including a “world record” (when it is not even close to that) , and discloses no factual information, what does your BS detector do?  These people drove an electric car from A to B, if their claims were true, particularly the fast charging part, do you not think they would, at B, have an 8 minute coffee break while recharging completely, and then turn around and drive back to A to prove their point?  As with algae, there are so many grand claims about what this or that electric car, or super efficient engine, can do, that the only thing that matters is hard evidence, and these people have shown none.

     

    As for the planes, the Yuneec is a purpose built, very light, solar plane with an 8kWh battery – taking the Cessna as a car, the Yuneek is the equivalent of an electric scooter.  They claim ”world’s first commercially produced ‘Electric Aircraft”, yet it is not in production and neither you nor I can buy one.  But, unlike the German electric car, they have disclosed real data, and I wish them well.

    Trying to retrofit the Cessna is a different story.  It needs 55% of it’s 120kW to cruise, even allowing for efficiency improvements from the new prop, you will still need in the order of 50kW (the solar film will provide less than 2% of that).  A one hour flight would need 50kWh, and you will also need a 30 minute reserve, so another 25kWh.  Best available battery technology would weigh 750kg – how is the Cessna going to handle that?  If you get the weight down to what it can handle, how much range do you have?

    At least the Yuneec recoginsed that to work, you need a completely new plane.  It has a take off weight of 450kg, compared to 1100 for the Cessna. The Yuneec shows, just like electric cars, that you can do it electric, if you are prepared to accept higher costs, smaller vehicles, lighter loads, slower speeds and/or shorter range.  

    The Swiss guys did a great demonstration, they have answered a question, but who is asking it? – what are the commercial applications?

     

    Bill – discussion of ideas is welcome here – it is what this forum is about.  But they have to have a purpose in front of them and substance behind them.  We have all seen lots of hype, so don’t be surprised that we promptly cast that aside and look for real data/evidence, and are highly skeptical if it is not there.

     

    And as for Australia selling itself to China, that is too bad,  though there is lots to sell, maybe some sunny land near Tennant Creek, or Maralinga?.  We sold the Gold Coast to Japan in the ’80′s and it wasn’t the end of the world.  But, at this point, I would be asking the Chinese to pay in gold instead of US bonds!  

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  86. By BilB, Australia on December 5, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    The energy (wave power) is free to drive what ever circulation process is required to induce CO2 absorption whether it be CO2 containing air or water. The rate of absorption must match the uptake rate of the bacteria or the medium becomes too acidic. And open water has no realestate value. Growing algae is commercial, t is grown for omega 3 fats as food additives and is very profitable.

    Sewerage treatment? then you will be applauding the UK methane for mains gas plant recently commissioned in London. A similar project to one that RR consults on for a European concern I believe. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of domestic scale methane digesters being installed in China.

    You’re right the Yuneec is a light plane with a 13Kwhr battery from my read, but tegardless with a 2 hour endurance on 1 battery pack giving it a usefull 240 kilometre range, or 420 kilometre range with 2 battery packs (no passenger). But these are early days yet. The Audi battery pack had to be something like 80 kwhrs to achieve the task that has been officialy endorsed. The best prospective density under development is the PolyPlus Battery Company’s Lithium water battery with a possible energy density of 1.3 Kwhrs per Kg.

    The flaw in your assessment of the Cessna is that the standard 120 Kw engine is an internal combustion engine with an at best 40% efficiency. The electrical equivalent engine is likely to be a 95% efficient 80 Kw engine and the cruising energy consumption is much lower than you think, likely to be around the 28Kw level. So the Cessna with the Audi demonstrator battery at 80Kwhr and 100Kg (weight was stated in the original press release) would have up to 3 hour endurance and be lighter (less drag) than its ICE and petrol fuel equivalent for that range. With the solar cells providing a small amount of range extension plus some recharge when parked. There is at least one of the electric aircraft in deliverable production, it might be the electra flyer. There are a few others to become available in the near future including the Sonex and the Yuneec.

    Who is asking about perpetual flight? Weather people, security people, police, military, scientists. There is a lot of activity in this area from a number of players including Boeing.

    The problem of selling farm land to foreign governments is that that land then effectively becomes of nill value to the country as the entire produce (in the case of China) is to be exported with no return to Australia at all. In fact there will be a total negative return as the children of any workers (foreign national imports working at minimum wages) will need to be educated in the Australian system.

    Regards Cellulosic Ethanol? Dedini developed their production cellulosic process commercially viable against oil at $40 per barrel some years ago. But that is of no interest here. Having looked at their production projections they talk of combined yields per hectare or 12,000 litres. Australia yields 9,000 to 12,000 litres ethanol per hectare in Queensland from the straight sugar process without the cellulosic component. Come on people, catch up.

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  87. By ronald-steenblik on December 5, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    If you are talking about solar airplanes, I would be selling elevator passes because that is the type of things high shcool think about.

    Not (yet) able to carry passengers or freight, but they do exist, and have flown.

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  88. By rrapier on December 5, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    BilB, Australia said:

    Regards Cellulosic Ethanol? Dedini developed their production cellulosic process commercially viable against oil at $40 per barrel some years ago.


     

    No. They made a claim, just like so many others have made similar claims. If they could actually compete with $40 oil, people would be beating down their doors to build plants.

    I can show you a dozen companies who made very similar claims. None of them have advanced their technology, primarily because what is behind those claims are some very unrealistic expectations.

    RR

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  89. By BilB, Australia on December 5, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    There might be a reason in Dedini’s case for not proceeding rapidly with Cellulosic ethanol, and it may be that the bagasse is efficiently performing producing process heat and electricity. The advantage to move to higher ethanol production may well be marginal in Brazil’s case. Having developed the system they may very well be on developing a gasification process to produce biodiesel for Europe. That is what I would expect to be the the issue. Having said that as I linked higher up, Dedini have just signed a MoU with Novozymes

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/…..DN20100716

     

    That is of course a long way from production. The cellulosic process is of more interest to the grasses growers than the cane growers, I suspect.

     

    As I have reinforced a number of times I believe that algal oil will play a major role, and my innovative instincts tell me that NASA’s Omega concept is the nearest to the money for a lot of reasons. Once a successful process has been developed this has the greatest potential to rapidly expand production as there are no land based considerations. There are water based infrastructure considerations, but production area is the primary driver of throughput.

     

    You can disregard this possibility if you choose, but as a product designer and inventor this is what feels right to me.

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  90. By Kit P on December 5, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    “product designer
    and inventor”

     

    What kind of
    products and inventions?

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  91. By BilB, Australia on December 5, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    A broad range, Kit P. The area that I work in at the moment is in stainless steel weld cleaning for TIG and MIG. When I was at high school I invented a new kind of pump which I submitted as part of a final year project. The design was patented in the following year by one of my teachers. I have a provisional on a roofing guttering accessory. There is a shared patent for a tap handle. And I have a design for a unique drawer runner system which carries extreme loads. I have a design for a life preserver for extreme environments, what you want to have around your waste if you fall off your yacht and see it sailing on out of sight. Lots of others, but you only lodge what you can hope to produce. Oh, and I do have an algal oil production concept, only it has a flaw which I can’t fix yet.

    The projects that I will be working on in the next two years are extentions to our weld cleaning machine with my business partner, a new patent pending there. Then a powered door opener that I conceived 12 years ago and which offers what Star Trek promised us but has never turned up, a new patent yet to lodge. The most important product that my partner and I are working on is a solar energy system which offers a complete household energy solution for all of, electricity, space heating and cooling, and transport energy (EV).  That product is truly spectacular and is based on existing technologies. In personal projects I am building a 33 foot ferro cement (remember ferro cement) boat for my daughters…very slowly, an ultra collapsible pushbike (obviously to go with the boat), and what I call a hybride microlight plane. If I get through all of that then I will die exhausted and happy.

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  92. By rrapier on December 6, 2010 at 3:08 am

    BilB, Australia said:

    There might be a reason in Dedini’s case for not proceeding rapidly with Cellulosic ethanol, and it may be that the bagasse is efficiently performing producing process heat and electricity. The advantage to move to higher ethanol production may well be marginal in Brazil’s case.


     

    As I have argued before, there will be some niche cases where cellulosic will work. But they won’t be scalable. Bagasse is a good example. Bagasse would be at the front of my list if I was trying to develop a cellulosic ethanol process. It is a true waste source of biomass that is free for the sugar producers. Further, it has some small amount of residual sugars. So clean, free biomass with some free sugars and no logistical problems are about the best possible case for cellulosic ethanol. I know guys in Louisiana who pile it up and it rots; if Dedini has a process to compete with $40 oil they would certainly be ready to build a plant.

    But they have hosted many pretenders who made similar claims.

    RR

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  93. By BilB, Australia on December 6, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Robert,

     

    If people in Louisianna allow bulk Bagasse to accumulate and rot then that is industrial laziness. Such people will not invest in any process. In the first place their Bagasse should be powering their production process, with any surplus energy feeding electricity to the grid. I would expect that such producers are using gas and grid electricity to operate their plant because they choose not to invest in equipment to utilise their waste efficiently. This appears to be how the entire US ethanol industry operates particularly the corn ethanol distillers. It is wrong to assume that if a process is better then people will use it.

    In Australia framing practices were developed to preserve water and maintain soil quality without extensive use of fertilisers, but this has not permeated throughout the farming sector. Similarly non tilled cultivation for corn improves soil quality, reduces field energy consumption, reduces fertiliser requirements, and requires less stover to be left in the field which can then be used to power the ethanol distillation process. This is not how it is done in the US. Possibly because corn is grown for a variety of end uses so farmers use a “traditional” practise rather than an optimal one on the one hand, and because their is so little stover available from the traditional farming practice the ethanol plants have not been built with biomass energy conversion facilities from the outset. And the consequent difference in the energy balance for the ethanol end product is huge.

    This is where the market system is a massive failure. Investments are usually situational rather than optimal, and the difference in performance is usually massive, your Louisianna example being point of case. The Dedini cellulosic process involves the use of a mild acid being applied to stockpiled bagasse to soften the cellulose prior to a secondary process. Your Lousianna producers are half way there with their stockpiled but rotting bagasse. You are right, these people should be beating a path to Dedini’s door, but they clearly are not. You assume that the process does not work, I say that it is simply ingnorance, incompetence, or indifference.

    The real reason is though most likely to be that the US is still in the grip of “cheap oil syndrome” , just as Australia is suffering from “cheap coal electricity paralysis”. Australia’s retail electricity price has increased 50% in the last 2 years so our paralysis is giving way to energy awareness. Oil reality is yet to take full effect in the US. Americans seem to group the carrying of guns, hunting and killing animals, cheap oil, and freedom of speech together as absolute undiminishable rights. When the truth is that every one of those “rights” is either severely eroded and/or not in their real long term best interests.

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  94. By Kit P on December 6, 2010 at 10:13 am

    That is quite the list BilB. I want to buy one these,

    “The most important product that my partner and I are working on is a solar energy system which offers a complete household energy solution for all of, electricity, space heating and cooling, and transport energy (EV).”

    Here is my deign criteria. First it has to be safe. You will have to demonstrate that it will not cause a fire in my house in ten to minus seven event scenarios. Please provide your Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA) along with your cost estimate. It must be mounted at grade level for safety reasons. It has to meet my energy needs with two weeks of overcast and below freezing temperature. It has to run a 4 ton AC system in the summer. It has to work with 80% shade. I am not cutting down any of my 40 CO2 conversion units. BTW, I am working on the patent for that. I am going to call it the shade tree. I might save you some time. Your cost estimate has to be less that $200 month including maintenance.

    That how we do it in America with nuclear power and customer has to do is turn on a switch.

    “(remember ferro cement)”

    We have one at our boat club. I prefer fiber glass. I love wood boats but I would rather be sailing than repairing. Been teaching kids to sail for more than 25 years. Man overboard drills are one of the first things I teach. All the adults watched as a six and 9 year old recovered ‘oscar’. My boat is equipped with Coast Guard certified PFD. It even has a Halon system.

     

    There will always be a mister gadget with odd ball ways of doing things. They will never meet any of the energy needs of society based on key performance indicators like safety, environmental protection, and costs. When it comes to being interesting mister gadget is a winner.

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  95. By BilB, Australia on December 6, 2010 at 11:54 am

    Kit P

     

    You obviously live in Oregon or somewhere similar. No solar energy system is going to work with 80% shade, so our system is not for you. It does, however meet most of your other requirements. When you go through the economics of our system it is clearly obvous that it has the ability to provide 50% of all of Australia’s electricity needs (260 billion Kwhrs divided by 2). It certainly has the potential to dramatically improve the situation for the southern states, especially California. Once this system is paid from avoided energy expenditure it thereafter provides free household electricity, free heating and cooling, and free transport energy for electric vehicles. It will not be many years before the cost of petrol becomes a major component of lower income household budgets. So where you might flick the switch and have energy on demand, that comes at a permanent cost. Our system provides freedom from that while also saving the environment. NB the GenIIPV system is still in development.

     

    Ferro cement  is a far more comfortable sailing experience, more akin to timber boats. Tupperware boats are knocked around by small waves and provide a very jerky ride which I find uncomfortable. I am going to have more fun with this boat (being my second ferro boat). This started out as a 26 foot boat (based on the Bristol Channel Cutter design) but I have progressively stretched it (in the software) to 33 feet as I have optimised it for comfort (my first was a Canadian designed 44 foot CQouia). One of my favourite experiments with this boat will be 2 underwater viewing holes at the forward end of the fwrd settee berth set. The idea is that we can lay along the berth and view down and out into the water. As I expect this boat to spend a fair bit of time at Lord Howe Island and in what is left of the Barrier Reef this will be, I feel, a source of continual connection with the underwater environment, particularly at night. Somebody wisely pointed out that barnacle growth on the glass will be a problem. Working on that.

     

    For those who like to deride ferro cement boats I remind them that the first boat in the history of the Sydney to Hobart race to win outright, win on corrected time and break a race record, was the 72 foot ferrocement boat, Helsal. It was another 35 years before another boat was able to achieve the same. Helsal’s ferro hull was 10mm thick. Ferro is an exotic material with a very natural feel, which I like.

     

    The key problems with the man overboard situation are body insulation, visibility in the water, and presence. My design, which is worn as a belt and can be part of a safety harness, solves all of those essentials. It is also ideal for those oil rig helicopter into the water accident situations, particularly in sub Arctic waters.

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  96. By rrapier on December 6, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    If people in Louisianna allow bulk Bagasse to accumulate and rot then that is industrial laziness. Such people will not invest in any process. In the first place their Bagasse should be powering their production process, with any surplus energy feeding electricity to the grid. I would expect that such producers are using gas and grid electricity to operate their plant because they choose not to invest in equipment to utilise their waste efficiently.

    You would be wrong about that. They do use bagasse to power their plants. But the amount they produce is far in excess of what they need, and after sugarcane season is over, they have a tremendous amount of excess bagasse that they don’t have a home for. They could convert it to power and feed it into the grid (naturally one of the first things I suggested when I visited) but they said that power prices are very low in the months following the sugarcane runs, and don’t justify running the plant just to feed the grid.

    RR

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  97. By BilB, Australia on December 6, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    The next question then has to be do they have an ethanol distillation capability, and therefore an interest in investing in that direction. If yes then the next question is have they approached Dedini? If yes then what was the response? At that point you can start to draw conclusions regarding the Dedini DHR system.

     

    I recall that you have said in the past that the cane people only produce sugar in the US.

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  98. By Kit P on December 6, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    “Once this system is paid from avoided energy …that comes at a permanent cost.”

     

    What BilB is saying is after you are done paying him a huge amount of money up front, that electricity is ‘free’ after that.  BilB is also saying that his system will work fine in mild climate where you do not actually ‘need’ energy.  While I think we should build solar as fast as we can, I do not expect that you will ever see an economic analysis that supports the kind of claims BilB is making

     

    So I have no doubt that BilB can use solar to power a golf cart to zip around a retirement community of thermal mass houses.  However, power an industrial society in a cold climate is a different matter.

     

    http://www.pjm.com/  

     

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  99. By paul-n on December 6, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Billb wrote;

    You are right, these people should be beating a path to Dedini’s door, but they clearly are not. You assume that the process does not work, I say that it is simply ingnorance, incompetence, or indifference.

    Yes, but ignorance and incompetence on who’s part – the customers, or Dedini?

     

    Dedini announced in 2007 (here) that they could make ethanol from cellulose with their organic solvent/acid hydrolysis process, for 1$/per gallon.  So, three years later, how much of that $1 cellulosic ethanol have they actually produced?  If that announcement was true, why, three years later, are they doing a deal with Novozymes for a process involving enzymes?  If they announced they could make it, and then can’t, that sounds like incompetence to me, verging on fraud.  If we couldn’t trust them then, why should we trust them now?

     If they announced they could make it and then decided not too, i’d say they are ignorant.  Cellulosic ethanol is the 21st century version of the alchemist’s dream of turning lead into gold.  There are dozens of companies worldwide pursuing the same goal, billions spent, and no one has cracked it.  This company claimed three years ago to make it for half of what corn ethanol growers can make it, and then doesn’t pursue it?  Does that sound like a good business decision?

    The US EPA scales back the cellulosic mandate by hundreds of millions of gallons because no one is producing any cellulosic – can you see the business opportunity there?  If the company had the ability to do it, and didn’t, their shareholders should sue.

    But, much more likely is that it was just another hyped claim, like so many others we have seen, and what we still haven’t seen is cellulosic ethanol actually being produced at commercial scale.

    There are many piles of cellulose other than bagasse all over the world, if Dedini’s process works, let them prove it – I have hundreds of millions of tonnes of waste cellulose in my backyard that people would love to turn into ethanol at any price, let alone $1.

    The sugar farmers in Louisiana made the right choice – if they spent their money on Dedini’s process they would never see it again.  

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  100. By BilB, Australia on December 6, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    You’re going to have to wait Kit P until we have tested our system. The basic outline is that this is a 10Kw electricity and 10Kw space heating solar energy system which will produce 19,000 kwhr of electricty per year in Sydney’s insolation conditions (275 days with average 7.5 hours sunshine). On overcast days the system will put out up to 2.7 Kw, and the system is seasonally self compensating. We are using the VW Milano EV formula (45 kwhr to 300 klm travel) for our family vehicle model. Will it work mid Canada? yes, but not to the same degree, but we do have the capability in the design to compensate for latitude.  

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  101. By BilB, Australia on December 6, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    You’re getting a little colourful there,Paul N.

    Dedini have not defrauded anyone. Developing a process and then not using it is not fraud, particularly if there is no immediate reason to utilise that process. I sincerely doubt that you can verify that “billions” have been spent on cellulosic ethanol.

     

    I had the description of a 5 barrel process for cellulsoic ethanol from grass clippings in which I think sulphuric acid was the working medium, but I lost it in a computer crash and have not been able to find the same website again. But from memory one would have to have a full acre of land in a moderate wet climate for the effort to be rewarded. That may well be the industry wide attitude. Having done the research at the end of the day the process is not rewarding enough as a standalone industry in the current economic and political climate.

     

    Then again it may just be that Dedini want to charge too much for their expertise. I know a farmers coop in northern Queensland who were looking at a Dedini ethanol system for their area. The last comment that I heard was that it was “a lot of money”.

     

    I think that it is time that Robert Rapier was invited to Brazil to clear up this uncertainty.

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  102. By Kit P on December 6, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    “You’re going to have to wait Kit P until we have tested our system.”

     

    No, actually I have done enough testing to know what the results will be.

    BilB who has never produced electricity for a living is going to better because he is smart and innovative while those who do it for a living are old and stogy. BilB does not need to learn the craft, BilB never bothered to sit in a classroom to learn about the environment because those of who do are just losers. I have heard this story before too. The clowns in their party jet at GOOGLE for example. After all look at the INTERNET and cell phones. How hard can it be?

    So BilB is going to spend a $100,000 for smoke emitting diodes and BEV that can not be driven during the day because it is connected PV panels. If BilB is a good (which he isn’t) as the best utility developed PV system he will get within 2% of rated output. If BilB is a good (which he isn’t) as as the average utility developed PV system he will get within 10 % of rated output. If BilB is a good (which he isn’t) as the average utility developed PV system he will get within 10 % of rated output. If BilB has the common sense I thinks he has, the fire department will put out the fire and BilB will be a candidate for Darwin award.

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  103. By paul-n on December 6, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Bill, I chose my words carefully, not colourfully – I said if they announce to the world they can make it for that ($1/gal), when they can’t do that, that is verging on fraudulent.  If they can do it, but decide not to use it, well that is a management decision, though I can’t see how it is a good one.  If they don’t think the market has been right in the last three years for their $1/gal cellulosic ethanol, when will it be?

    Then again it may just be that Dedini want to charge too much for their expertise. 

    If they are charging so much that no one wants to do it, or it is a “lot of money”  then that again implies that they can’t do it for $1/gal, because, if they were just charging $1/gal to turn cellulose into ethanol, they would have orders from all over the world.

    It is the same story with almost every cellulosic system, that is why none are in large scale commercial production.

    As for how to spend in the billions on this?  Well, one company alone, Range Fuels has done $320m, and hasn’t yet produced a drop of ethanol.  Add up all the money spent by Coskata, Blue Fire, Iogen, POET, Fiberight, DuPont-Danisco and Novozymes and you will easily get past a billion, and that is just US/Canada.  Then add in the rest of the world – European companies like Abengoa, Brazilian ones like Dedini plus whatever is happening in Australia, China and elsewhere, and I expect that to be quite a big number.  Then add in the efforts over the last century, because that’s how long people have been working on it, and it gets bigger again.  The only thing that is not big is how much has been produced.

    So now that we have dispensed with the corporate hype, we can confront the reality; turning cellulose to ethanol can be done – just not economically, that’s all.  The Qld farmers made the same call as the Louisiana ones – not worth it.

     

    If you have lost your description of how to make it in a barrel, have a read of this one for making it from sawdust, though grass will work just as well, and be just as uneconomic.

    http://journeytoforever.org/bi…..wdust.html

    If you are at all concerned about safety then I recommend you don’t try this procedure, and certainly don’t encourage ordinary homeowners to do it either.  

     

     

     

     

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  104. By Walt on December 6, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    I’m not going to be able to provide a 3rd party opinion of the technology at this stage, but we will send out the press release in the morning.

    We will invite those from our private email company list to come forward to validate our process from those engineers who have followed us.  We have confidence we can validate not just the capital cost, but soon the technology merits.  This video was taken last Thursday at the shop, while I took the sample from my phone on the 1st.  Not much time (or budget) to put a good video together…but we work with what we got.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..ycIN7myZPo

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  105. By paul-n on December 6, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    Walt, you should post this on that thread I started about the alternative methane to liquids process- let’s talk about it there

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  106. By Tesla_X on December 6, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    Gentlemen,

    All this talk about Cellulostic Ethanol and why there hasn’t been any produced…

    Does anyone think the DOE/USDA LG process would help?

    I posted this earlier, and am curious about what you think and what you might be hearing about this as well…

    BlueFire…they seem poised for progress at the Mississippi site (pretty close to RR?) and are waiting on the DOE/USDA Loan Guarentee process.

    Their current status:  http://bfreinc.com/fulton-cons…..n-progress

    They have permits, feedstock and offtake agreements and financing and LG pending.

    How do you fellas think their Arkenol process stacks up against others and do they have a shot at it?

    Thanks in advance for the inputs.

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  107. By BilB, Australia on December 7, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Paul N

    I’m going to have to take back the billion dollar comment

    http://ms-biomass.org/conferen…../klann.pdf

     

    but having done that I have to say that if there is any fraud it will be were people take shareholders money and never deliver a saleable product. That is not Dedini. I think for fraud you should look a little closer to home. Dedini own and operate a lot of small ethanol mills. I can imagine that with that structure for them to install their cellulosic process that would be a fragmented expensive investment with only a marginal return as it would require the diversion of bagasse from already productive process energy and electricity generation to the new process. Perhaps this new arrangement with Novozymes is a better investment arrangement for the cellulosic process. There are another 2 companies pledged to produce cellulosic ethanol in Brazil in cooperation with Dedini. I would not be calling that a dead end.

     

    Kit P,

     

    Wow, you are so negative. I don’t get the fire department bit, what is that about.

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  108. By paul-n on December 7, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Bill, I have only been watching the cellulosic debacle for three years, RR has been following it for longer.  There has been a lot of money spent.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but there have been a lot broken promises, false claims, and investors (incl governments)getting fleeced.

    So when a company like Dedini comes out and says they can make ethanol for $1, what does that do to their stock price?  Does it create the possibility for people to profit from an announcement, even though it may be false, or at least, premature?  There have been many cases in the biofuels business of companies hyping themselves to sell their stock, and then failing, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly.  But all cases involve grand claims – how does one sort the wheat from the chaff?  My answer is RR’s theory – if they say they can produce it for X, then ask them to sell you miilions of gallons, at X.

    The US companies are learning to avoid the lawsuits and now say they are “targeting” a price of X, and give a rubbery time frame.  That is more a reflection of reality – “we hope to do X, but don’t know when or if we will”.   At least then investors (including governments) are not being told something has been achieved, that hasn’t.

    Just like Dedini in Brazil, POET, the  US largest ethanol producer, has been fiddling with cellulosic, though they have stayed away from grand claims, and in the meantime get on making it the normal way.  Will they be successful with cellulosic?  Probably, but, barring a breakthrough, only at a price much higher than they are getting today.

    And as RR started out, you can’t command breakthroughs to happen – they might, or might not, so don’t bet the farm on it.

     

    [link]      
  109. By BilB, Australia on December 7, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Paul N,

    Here is a text that clarifies the status of cellulosic ethanol and explains the time scale as far as Dedini are concerned.

     

    http://www.biofuelsjournal.com…..96257.html

    [link]      
  110. By paul-n on December 7, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Bill,

    That is fine, but what it doesn;t explain is their claim, in 2007, that they could produce $1/gal cellulosic ethanol from their “rapid hydrolysis” process. The fact that they are getting Novozymes involved, three years later, shows how wrong that statement was.

    Even in this release, to brand Novozymes product as the first commercially viable enzyme for cellulosic ethanol, is dubious, as it is not in large scale use yet.

    If the cellulosic industry produced half as many barrels as they have press releases, they would be well on their way.  

    [link]      
  111. By Bill_USA on December 7, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    Speaking of “we need more money”… let’s stop all the subsidies (tax and program subsidies) to oil. The oil industry would meet anyone’s definition of a mature technology. Why do they need subsidies? Let’s see what the real price of gasoline is.

    If renewable fuels were competing against $4.00 to $5.00 a gallon gas they wouldn’t need any subsidies, even if they are a new industry working on refining techniques to achieve greater efficiencies. Yes, there certainly are logistical challenges to handling cellulosic feedstock. But how would removing oil subsidies/tax advantages affect the commercial viability of cellulosic ethanol?

    [link]      
  112. By Kit P on December 7, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    I don’t get the fire department bit, what is that about.

    Duh!  That is who you call when you set your house on fire.  If you think I am negative you should consider some the negative ramifications of doing something with energy and not being as smart as you think you are.

    A while back you bade some bold claims BilB.  In the business that is call making a material false statement.  Those will get you sent to jail.  So while you learn to do a PRA to document the safety of your product, think about this.  I have calculated the time it will take to replace one nuke plant based on the best industrial scale PV project.  480 years!  I think we should keep building solar as fast as we can.  BilB do the world a favor and stay out of the way until you learn the craft. 

     

    [link]      
  113. By rrapier on December 7, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Bill_USA said:

    Speaking of “we need more money”… let’s stop all the subsidies (tax and program subsidies) to oil. The oil industry would meet anyone’s definition of a mature technology. Why do they need subsidies? Let’s see what the real price of gasoline is.

    If renewable fuels were competing against $4.00 to $5.00 a gallon gas they wouldn’t need any subsidies, even if they are a new industry working on refining techniques to achieve greater efficiencies. Yes, there certainly are logistical challenges to handling cellulosic feedstock. But how would removing oil subsidies/tax advantages affect the commercial viability of cellulosic ethanol?


     

    Bill,

    We have discussed numerous times getting rid of the fossil fuel subsidies and having people pay true costs for fuel. You think farmers really want that? Due to the high energy inputs into both corn ethanol and cellulosic, increased energy prices would put a strain on then.

    RR

    [link]      
  114. By BilB, Australia on December 8, 2010 at 12:44 am

    Kit P

     

    I don’t see how you can make a connection between solar energy and burning houses down. I’ve been involved with the appliance industry for decades, and haven’t burnt a single house down yet that I am aware of. My business partner (electronic engineer) has designed fire fighting controll systems, communications systems for submarines, instrumentation for glass manufacturing factories, and lots of other stuff, all working reliably.

     

    And which particular bold claim do you believe is false?

    [link]      
  115. By BilB, Australia on December 8, 2010 at 12:49 am

    Paul N,

     

    It is obvious that we will be revisiting this subject periodically over the next few years. If nothing eventuates in that time then your argument will become much stronger.

    [link]      
  116. By moiety on December 8, 2010 at 3:21 am

    BilB, Australia said:

    You’re getting a little colourful there,Paul N.

    Dedini have not defrauded anyone. Developing a process and then not using it is not fraud, particularly if there is no immediate reason to utilise that process. I sincerely doubt that you can verify that “billions” have been spent on cellulosic ethanol.

     


     

    I would suggest that if their claims of 1$ production could be met, there would be a need. They could undercut petroleum or at least compete.

    [link]      
  117. By BilB, Australia on December 8, 2010 at 3:58 am

    Moity,

     

    Send them an email and ask the question rather than speculate endlessly.

    [link]      
  118. By paul-n on December 8, 2010 at 4:34 am

    Yes – we won’t speculate endlessly, we will just wait for them to produce and sell it.  And hopefully they will stop issuing press releases and get on with the job.  Though by the time they are successful, the market opportunity may have passed them by.

    Keep in mind that ethanol is still a fuel that, north America at least, people don;t want to use unless they have to, and the government is tiring of the endless subsidies, and other biofuels are being developed.  Any one of their competitors (algae, methanol, butanol, mixed alcohols of F-T liquids) could have a breakthrough and ethanol might find itself knocked off the top of the biofuel heap, or at least sharing the space, and, by extension, competing for feedstock.

    None of that really looks good for cellulosic ethanol, even if their breakthrough happened tomorrow.

    [link]      
  119. By moiety on December 8, 2010 at 6:21 am

    BilB, Australia said:

    Moity,

     

    Send them an email and ask the question rather than speculate endlessly.


     

    It is not speculation. As an end user of a product, the primary concern is what a company can offer me now. At this time the company is not offering me anything let alone 1$ fuel.
    As an investor I would look at past perforamnce. As said they have stipulated this cost 3 years ago (annd potential was not used as a key word in the release). That would make me wary. As an investor I must speculate.

    [link]      
  120. By BilB, Australia on December 8, 2010 at 6:42 am

    To me ethanol is a transition fuel. The future of personal transport is electric. Biofuels are the means of extending the life of the current vehicle fleet, hopefully long enough for EV’s production become established. Of course US car production is primarily focussed on gas guzzlers so to think that it will turn around soon enough to prevent a crisis requiring fuel either fuel rationing or creating a deep recession, would be entirely wishful.

    Tonights news…oil hits $90 per barrel.

    [link]      
  121. By Kit P on December 8, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Thanks BilB, I won an organic ‘sustainable’ chocolate bar at a presentation on our corporate sustainability program by answering a question on PV powered airplane.  The presenter was a young lady with an MBA wearing spike heels.  While I think my company is doing great thing in the area of producing energy in a more sustainable way, the presentation left a bad taste like the organic ‘sustainable’ chocolate bar.

     

    Are you doing something because tools like design for the environment, LCA, and industrial ecology helped reduce the environmental impact or because the media tells you flashy technology is ‘green’?

     

    “I don’t see how you can make a connection between solar energy and burning houses down.”

     

    Fires are a ‘normal’ occurrence at power plants.  By ‘normal’, I mean once a year.  I have read about more than 50 home fires caused by PV systems.  The basis problem is that PV panels keep generating electricity as long as the sun is shinning.  It is hard to put out an electrical fire.  The point being is that fires at power plants are a known risk.  If you are going to put an oversized power plant in homes feeding power to a BEV at high rates; I would like to know why you think that is better.  

    [link]      
  122. By BilB, Australia on December 9, 2010 at 9:22 am

    My partner and I have developed the GenIIPV system to meet our own needs. My partner had done an extensive study into domestic level wind generation, finally concluding that their is insufficient energy available at that scale to justify the effort. There are of course some exceptions but generally solutions that are aesthetically acceptable to close communities cannot capture sufficient energy to be significantly useful.

     

    So we took another tack utilising ideas that I had developed many years earlier in conjunction with some more recent technology and my partner’s electronic innovations and we arrived at a solution that produces more electricity than most families can consume, with the surplus being exported to the grid.

     

    Solar panels develop electrical potential when exposed to sunlight, but they only develop current when connected to a load. This is absolutely no different to electricity that arrives via street connection from a fire safety point of view. This is why we have electrical standards. Power plant fires are a product of the extremely high currents and voltages involved in industrial scale electricity generation. Voltages sufficient to create flashovers are not present in domestic scale energy generation systems, and the currents experienced are no greater than that for appliances such as electric stoves . A properly installed solar system is connected directly to a house’s switch board with appropriately specified wiring for the system’s output. If a solar energy system causes a fire then it is a product of faulty installation. A properly designed system with have current leakage protection to shut off energy delivery when a fault is detected. Not so easy in grid energy systems.

     

     

    BEV’s? Yes it is true that to charge a battery pack faster it requires higher voltages and currents. Again this is all regulated by the appropriate sytems and standards. Is it better? Absolutely. Charging BEV’s from ones own electricity generation source means that there is no external billing. ie free transport, no CO2 emissions. Tell me how that is not a good thing. Most BEV’s will be charging away from their garaging place, in parking buildings and daytime parking lots. Where the vehicle owner has a significant domestic solar system this energy will flow in to the grid to be extracted at the charging point. There will be a transmission fee ie a difference between the the credit rate at the domestic meter and the charge cost at the vehicle charging point.   

    [link]      
  123. By Kit P on December 9, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    “My partner and I have developed the GenIIPV system to meet our own needs.”

     

    It sounds like you have only developed a line of BS.

     

    “we arrived at a solution that produces more electricity than most families can consume, with the surplus being exported to the grid.”

     

    Most home PV export electricity to the grid.  Even a 4 kwe systems will export power most of the time and then imports from the utility when it is needed.  

     

    “This is absolutely no different to electricity that arrives via street connection from a fire safety point of view.”

     

    Sure is different you just said that you exported to the grid.  That is a big difference.  

     

    “Solar panels develop electrical potential when exposed to sunlight, but they only develop current when connected to a load.”  

     

    Or when there is a component failure. 

     

    “If a solar energy system causes a fire then it is a product of faulty installation.”

     

    Or when there is a component failure.

     

    “A properly designed system with have current leakage protection to shut off energy delivery when a fault is detected.”

     

    Unless there is a component failure.

     

    Considering that there have been more than 50 house fires in the US and there are not 50 million home PV systems something is not right.  You may want to figure that out before you put one in your home with your children.

     

    “ie free transport, no CO2 emissions. Tell me how that is not a good thing.”

     

    If is not free, it is indeed very expensive to buy and install the equipment.  Most home PV have worse emissions that a coal plant because the do not work very well.  Utility PV systems have about the same amount of CO2 emissions and hazardous waste as nuclear generated electricity.  

     

    BilB I do not thing your are doing a good thing because you really have done the research.  When the PV industry and BEV industry delivers a safe product and with performance backed by data and LCA; then I will change my mind.

     

    On the other hand, I have no problem with programs to promote PV and BEV to get the data.  To date, PV and BEV are not a good thing.  

     

    [link]      
  124. By BilB, Australia on December 9, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Component failures? Yes, but then that comes down to the design of the inverters and their placement. Again when properly designed such failures do not create fires. Many inverters being installed are not very efficient, meaning they generate heat which is also wasted energy. But the more heat generated the higher the risk of component failure.

     

    And it seems that you are inflating this issue out of all proportion.

     

    http://www.solaredge.com/artic…../pv_safety

     

    In Australia it is mandatory for all household systems to be protected by earth leakage devices. Most house fires are caused by faulty wiring and/or appliances. In Australia that is 10,000 house fires per year. For the US that was 415,000 in 2006 ie 40 times more than Australia for a 15 times greater population. That puts your claim or 50 house fires supposedly due to PV systems in perspective.

     

     

    [link]      
  125. By Kit P on December 9, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    “And it seems that
    you are inflating this issue out of all proportion. “

     

    Just wanted BilB to
    consider the the hazard. Unfortunately it took smacking Bilb over
    the head several times. The problem is not PV but folks like BilB
    who advocate something without due diligence.

     

    “That puts your
    claim or 50 house fires supposedly due to PV systems in perspective.”

     

    No it does not, how
    many PV caused homes fires compared to number of systems and the
    amount of electricity generated. I do not know that numbers. The
    number of home caused by utility power plants is zero.

     

    “Most house fires
    are caused by faulty wiring and/or appliances.”

     

    When you see them
    pulling children out of the burned our shells of houses in black
    bags, the first thing I think of is playing with matches and
    batteries removed from smoke detectors. Falling asleep while smoking
    is another cause. Portable heaters is a big culprit.

     

    Check you smoke
    detectors and have plan to get out.

    [link]      
  126. By BilB, Australia on December 9, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    I can’t be bothered wading through any of your BS Kit P.

     

    “The
    number of home caused by utility power plants is zero.”

    http://socialequality.com/cont…..-inquiry-0

    a 2 minute search starts to unravel your nonsense.

     

    Frankly, I find your repeated comments such as

     

    “Just wanted BilB to
    consider the the hazard. Unfortunately it took smacking Bilb over
    the head several times. The problem is not PV but folks like BilB
    who advocate something without due diligence.”

     

    totally offensive.

     

    They are clearly intended to elevate your “knowledge” above those against whom you comment, when I believe from reading previous comments most commenters realise that you have nothing to offer.

     

    Second generation Photovoltaic Energy systems are coming whether you like the idea or not. They will have a significant impact on the energy landscape simply because the economics of it represent an undeniable case for immediate uptake, irrespective of global warming or peak oil. The distributed energy generation genie is out of the bottle and will never be put back.

     

    As Robert Rapier reported earlier for local farmers producing palm oil biofuels comes a measure of economic balance and as their capability grows energy independence improves their living stability. Should celullosic ethanol processing become easier through advanced knowledge then this will further extend that energy independence through distributed production. The Chinese have significantly improved domestic scale methane digesters and are now manufacturing them in the millions. Solar PV panels are the higher tech end of that energy independence, still a little expensive, but that is changing on a daily basis. GenIIPV takes that progression a quantum leap further.

     

    [link]      
  127. By Kit P on December 9, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    BilB writes,

     

    “a 2 minute search starts to unravel your nonsense.”

     

    The Socialist Equality Party? BilB’s source of information is more than a little strange but in any case BibB should understand of power generation and transmission is disturbing since he thinks he can do it better.

     

    “the fires were the result of unforeseeable events, caused by wind speeds of over 50 miles per hour, which resulted in nearly 450,000 service outages and 637 downed wires.”

     

    Power plants are not power lines. I worked at a Detroit Edison power plant for several years and grew up with Detroit as the closest city. Wind storms, tornadoes, and ice storms are common causes of downed power lines. All US utilities have a safety programs that educate school children about the hazard of down power lines.

     

    These are the same power lines BilB wand to feed power back into. The increasing popularity PV and home generators represent a new hazard for line men repairing lines.

     

    “clearly intended to elevate your “knowledge” above those against whom you comment,”

     

    BibB I have 40 years experience making electricity. You continue to make irresponsible statements. I am sorry that you choose to be offended and not learn from the information provided.

     

    “They will have a significant impact on the energy landscape simply because the economics of it ..”

     

    BilB has refuses to provide information on economics.

     

    “The distributed energy generation genie is out of the bottle and will never be put back.”

     

    Please spare me the socialist propaganda.

     

    “The Chinese have significantly improved domestic scale methane digesters and are now manufacturing them in the millions.”

     

    I am a big advocate of crude anaerobic digestion to produce biogas. AD in third world countries to provide cooking gas and reduce contamination of ground water. A an Aussie college professor has a great web site on the topic if you would like me to find it. Maybe Paul has a link. However, I am more interested high rate thermophilic AD of dairy farm manure as a solution a local environmental problem when I lived in Washington State.

     

    The reason I am knowledgeable in renewable energy is that it is not hobby.

     

    BilB writes,

     

    “a 2 minute search
    starts to unravel your nonsense.”

     

    The Socialist
    Equality Party? BilB’s source of information is more than a little
    strange but in any case BibB should understand of power generation
    and transmission is disturbing since he thinks he can do it better.

     

    “the fires were
    the result of unforeseeable events, caused by wind speeds of over 50
    miles per hour, which resulted in nearly 450,000 service outages and
    637 downed wires.”

     

    Power plants are not
    power lines. I worked at a Detroit Edison power plant for several
    years and grew up with Detroit as the closest city. Wind storms,
    tornadoes, and ice storms are common causes of downed power lines.
    All US utilities have a safety programs that educate school children
    about the hazard of down power lines.

     

    These are the same
    power lines BilB wand to feed power back into. The increasing
    popularity PV and home generators represent a new hazard for line men
    repairing lines.

     

    “clearly intended
    to elevate your “knowledge” above those against whom you
    comment,”

     

    BibB I have 40 years
    experience making electricity. You continue to make irresponsible
    statements. I am sorry that you choose to be offended and not learn
    from the information provided.

     

    “They will have a
    significant impact on the energy landscape simply because the
    economics of it ..”

     

    BilB has refuses to
    provide information on economics.

     

    “The distributed
    energy generation genie is out of the bottle and will never be put
    back.”

     

    Please spare me the
    socialist propaganda.

     

    “The Chinese have
    significantly improved domestic scale methane digesters and are now
    manufacturing them in the millions.”

     

    I am a big advocate
    of crude anaerobic digestion to produce biogas. AD in third world
    countries to provide cooking gas and reduce contamination of ground
    water. A an Aussie college professor has a great web site on the
    topic if you would like me to find it. Maybe Paul has a link.
    However, I am more interested high rate thermophilic AD of dairy farm
    manure as a solution a local environmental problem when I lived in
    Washington State.

     

    The reason I am
    knowledgeable in renewable energy is that it is not hobby.

     

    [link]      
  128. By ronald-steenblik on December 10, 2010 at 5:16 am

     

    On this, Kit is right: improperly installed rooftop PV stations can be dangerous. From “Shock risk from solar panels” (June 2010):

    At least half of mainland France’s photovoltaic solar panel installations have been done incorrectly — with many leaving a danger of electrocution and others a fire risk. 

    Safety inspectors from the electrical safety certification agency Consuel — Comité National pour la Sécurité des Usagers de l’Electricité — said: “We found that 51% of all photovoltaic installations in mainland France that we inspected did not conform with the regulations.” Michel Faure, the director general of Consuel, which has had legal responsibility since 1973 for providing a test certificate on all new electrical installations, said until recently there was no obligatory electrical test certificate required for a photovoltaic solar panel installation. 

    A décret rendering such a test obligatory became operative in March [2010] but in the absence of a legal framework, last year Consuel surveyed 2,341 installations, including 1,100 in overseas departments, with the voluntary co-operation of installers and home owners. 

    Mr Faure said it was likely they had only uncovered a small fraction of the problem as they were checking sites where people were willing to have the checks done. ”Imagine what the rate of non-conformity might have been if the process of certification had been obligatory,” he said. 

    Consuel says the dangers were significant. Of the 864 mainland installations at fault, 72% had a risk of electrocution and 28% a fire risk. There have already been a number of fires across the country caused through incorrectly installed solar panel installations.

    [link]      
  129. By Kit P on December 10, 2010 at 8:26 am

    On this, Kit is right: improperly installed rooftop PV stations can be
    dangerous.

    Ron I am saying even properly installed rooftop PV stations are dangerous. Please note the careful selection of verb tense. Producing, handling, and using energy is dangerous. Of course we mitigate the risk so that the benefit of using energy out weighs the risk. Many homes heat with natural gas and gasoline fueled ICE are ubiquitous but the frequency of fatal accident in the home is very low. Then it is usually carbon monoxide poisoning.

    The US electricity generating industry does an exceptional job of producing electricity safely. You can not do a better job. You can do a ‘good enough’ job of safely making electricity in your home if ‘good enough’ is the safety standard for your children. However, the Marxist version of distributed generation claims that the public service utilities are the bad guy because we have a monopoly.

    If people want to assume the safety risk and economic risk of making their own electricity, we live in a free country.

     

    “Consuel says the dangers were significant. Of the 864 mainland installations at fault, 72% had a risk of electrocution and 28% a fire risk. There have already been a number of fires across the country caused through incorrectly installed solar panel installations.”

     

    The frequency of problems is disturbing. Something is not right. Since utility PV scale is better use of of the limited production of PV panels, putting PV panels on a home roof is not a good idea. If you live off grid, that implies you have enough land to mount the panels on the ground and have a utility building separate from where your children sleep.

    [link]      
  130. By Kit P on December 10, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    The Chinese have significantly improved domestic scale methane digesters and are now manufacturing them in the millions.

     

    If BilB would like  back up this claim with a link I would be interseted.

     

    Paul Harris is an Aussie professor at the University of Adelaide.  

    http://www.adelaide.edu.au/biogas/

     

    What China is doing is when it comes to making electricty is building lots of coal nuke power plants. 

    [link]      
  131. By BilB, Australia on December 10, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    Ronald S,

     

    This sounds like a trumped up scare campaign. For instance here is an

    extract from a commenter in Australia

    “Apart from faulty wiring by installers, poor quality control in manufacturing has led to fracture in the joints between the solar cell modules, which can lead to electrical arcing. The resultant fires burn at quite high temperatures”

    Just looking at this, the faulty wiring argument I don’t believe, but the comment about intra panel arcing is total nonsense in that if suggests that fires can originate. The solar panel active elements are shielded by glass on one side and steel on the other ie fully insulated. Further, the panels are by design set a distance from the underlying roof surface. The only roof type that might vaguely have any risk is a thatched straw roof. The fire fighting roof venting argument is also a trumped comment as there will be no rooves other than flat ones that cannot be breached from the non solar side. I suspect that this entire issue is vested interest mischief.

    GenIIPV is of an entirely different construction to standard solar panel systems, and does not present any of the supposed dangers in these “reports”. My business is manufacturing electrical products. I..do..know what I am talking about.

     

    Further to my comment on biogass digesters in China, I believe that in 2005 China had 15 million digesters in rural regions benefitting 50 million people. China installs huge amounts of renewable energy systems. 3 gorges dam for instance 28 gig, wind, CSP, solar PV, solar water heating, biofuels. In my one visit so far to China I saw (vacum tube) solar water heating on absolutely every roof in a city of 10 million. People who focus on China’s short term need for coal power are dishonestly representing China’s true aspirations and objectives, in my opinion.

    [link]      
  132. By paul-n on December 11, 2010 at 3:38 am

    If you live off grid, that implies you have enough land to mount the panels on the ground and have a utility building separate from where your children sleep.

    The off gridders I know all do this – ground mount panels.  When you rely on them for you electricity, you want to be able to clean the snow and dust off without getting on the roof.  They also make use of decidous trees to shade the roof in summer – my family farm in Australia does – what use is roof mount PV then?  

    They have a separate building for the batteries of course, since they contain acids, give off hydrogen, and do not need to be in heated space. They all know of someone who has fried their inverter. 

    Best off grid system I have seen is ranch powered by a 20kW hydro system – all AC, no inverters, but does need a load governor and somewhere to dump the excess electricity – they have a very warm swimming pool

    Cool link about the digesters.

     

    Still waiting for Bill’s link to his inventions

    [link]      
  133. By BilB, Australia on December 11, 2010 at 5:50 am

    We are redoing our website Paul N. When it is up I will let you know. It will cover to market products as they are completed. My current webpage is just a banner and a little shabby. Seperate to that I will in due course have a website to talk with those interested in aviation and to share the development of my hybride microlight as I work through the prototype. By the way that is a hybride because of the wing design, not the engine, although hybride engines are moving into an exciting phase for aviation.

    A seperate item with GenIIPV is that we are looking at the feasability of a non (or minimal) electronic version of the product as we believe that the future complex electronic component manufacturing systems will become unstable as the compounded effects of environment and energy disruption set in. The intention is to prevent our product being obsoleted by unserviceable component failures. This will utilise a motor generator to provide similar service to your referenced hydro (only when the sun shines, obviously, to save any stupid retorts).

    [link]      
  134. By Kit P on December 11, 2010 at 9:33 am

    “We are redoing our website Paul N.”

    The dog ate my lunch.

    “Cool link about the digesters.”

     

    I have hundreds. Here is the a design that went on one of the dairy farms that my company worked with but at the time there were not any low interest loans or $500k grants. 1.2 MWe not bad at all.

     

    http://www.chpcentermw.org/pdf…..Dvorak.pdf

     

    Some more links:

     

    http://www.epa.gov/agstar/

    http://info.bioenergylists.org/

    http://www.extension.org/anima…..management

    http://www.extension.org/anima…..management

    http://csanr.wsu.edu/CFF/

    http://books.google.com/books?…..mp;f=false

    http://www.adbiogas.co.uk/

    http://info.bioenergylists.org/

     

     

    For the third world
    and diy:

     

    http://www.i-sis.org.uk/Biogas…..onanza.php

     

    “and by 1980, half of all digesters were not in use and the rate of adoption had slowed. By 1992, only 5 million family sized plants were still operating, many of them redesigned to avoid leakage”

     

    “In a report, Biogas in India: A Sustainable Energy Success Story [4], the authors identified women and children as the major beneficiaries of biogas in India, where every year, 200 000 families turn away from the traditional fireplace and have a biogas plant installed to provide energy for cooking and lighting. By 2000, more than 2 million biogas plants have been built in India and almost 200 000 permanent jobs created.”

     

    In BilB’s forward looking world having his wife and daughter spend their day manually collecting manure so they can have biogas to cook and provide light. I asked my wife if she wanted to do that and pipe hydrogen sulfide. She is happy with our all electric house powered with coal.

     

    Furthermore, when it comes to making electricity China is 50 years behind the US. The reason that the US is not building large hydroelectric power projects is because we finished 50 years ago. The point here is that there is not reason to focus on China at all when it comes to looking forward. It is sad that China did not learn the lessons of the west when if comes to making electricity and protecting the environment.

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  135. By paul-n on December 11, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    At first glance those digesters seemed like a “lot” of tankage for the kW, but recalling the kW available from my sewage plant, there was not a lot of potential from converting our small aerobic digesters to anaerobic.

    I was not aware they were using the solids for bedding – looks good.  Presumably  the “used” bedding goes back into the process, so you would have to use some of the solids elsewhere – I’m sure it would be doing wonders for the soil.

    I saw a tv piece about some dairy farmer in Ontario that had set up a several hundred kW system and the utility wass refusing to allow him to connect.  Sounded like (though he would not admit) he had not bothered to talk to the utility in the first place about their requirements- if you want to sell something it helps to know what the customer needs.

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  136. By BilB, Australia on December 11, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    Paul N,

     

    As the distributed electricity generation sector builds in size a new body of energy entrepreneurs will emerge as energy brokers to manage this new, but more difficult, market matching cyclical energy production with equally cyclical demand. The Ontario farmer will in due course have a variety of options available to him. Such brokers already exist, but they are not yet organised to handle a multiplicity of domestic energy producers, and the specialised loads are not identified.

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  137. By Kit P on December 11, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    “At first glance those digesters seemed like a “lot” of tankage for the kW ..”

    Well duh! The benefit is processing the manure into a more useful form. It also reduces odor and which is N, P, & K blowing into surface waters. Very large amount of environmental benefit.

     

    “I’m sure it would be doing wonders for the soil.”

    The biggest environmental problems is natural wind erosion in the semi-arid climate. Adding organics to the soil reduces that.

     

    “I saw a tv piece about some dairy farmer in Ontario that had set up a several hundred kW system and the utility wass refusing to allow him to connect.”

     

    The dairy farm in Washington State is less than a mile from a substation. The utility is also supportive.

     

    The cost of hooking up to the grid should be one of the first thing that needs to be considered. Contracts must also be approved my the PUC. You can imagine BilB and his brother down at the utility decide his electricity is worth $500/MWh and has no liability for any damage that might be caused. Then there are the endless hearings before the cost of electricity can be passed on to the customers.

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  138. By BilB, Australia on December 11, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    You are a one dimensional thinker Kit P.

     

    As with every thing the value of self generated electricity is only the cost for which it can be openly obtained. So if electricity can be locally obtained for 10 cents per unit, then that is the value of self generated electricity. If the self generated electricity is used to power BEV’s then the value of that electricity is the equivalent cost of petrol for the same distance travelled.The principle customers for distributed electricity generators are themselves. However, what ever the external cost of energy produced and consumed by the distributed energy participant, this represents an improvement in that household’s net income and thus its standard of living.

     

    So ,Kit P, the notion that distributed electricity will be sold at an artificial price to the overall cost to the community may be what happens in some places at present to encourage the development of home electricity systems, this is not how electricity from distributed systems will be priced in the medium term and long term. Selling electricity to the open grid market is a bonus, but not the primary advantage of being a self contained energy producer/consumer.

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  139. By Kit P on December 12, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    “this represents an improvement in that household’s net income and thus its standard of living.”

     

    No it does not BilB. This is just an unfounded theory BilB has. It is really hard to beat an all electric house for a high standard of living.

     

    If you get a sense of satisfaction by heating with wood or having PV panels, that fine with me but the potential to make much money at it.

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  140. By Kit P on December 14, 2010 at 7:09 pm

     

    “Kit P, I think that you need to go back to whatever university gave you a “masters” degree for a refresher course if you cannot see how avoided expenditure increases ones standard of living where income is maintained.”

     

    No degree is required. Just a little common sense.

     

    “require up to $8000 (in Australia’s economy) per annum less to maintain.”

     

    My high standard of living does not require $8000 in energy. A little bit of common sense applying the principles of conservation and you only need $3000-$4000 to heat your house and drive your car to work. Best yet I do not have to spend $100,000 to buy BilB’s BS ‘GenIIPV’ that does not work.

     

    Let me know when you get your PV and website working. Until then it is just a theory.

     

    “Kit P, I think
    that you need to go back to whatever university gave you a “masters”
    degree for a refresher course if you cannot see how avoided
    expenditure increases ones standard of living where income is
    maintained.”

     

    No degree is
    required. Just a little common sense.

     

    “require up to
    $8000 (in Australia’s economy) per annum less to maintain.”

     

    My high standard of
    living does not require $8000 in energy. A little bit of common
    sense applying the principles of conservation and you only need
    $3000-$4000 to heat your house and drive your car to work. Best yet
    I do not have to spend $100,000 to buy BilB’s BS ‘GenIIPV’ that does
    not work.

     

    Let me know when you
    get your PV and website working. Until then it is just a theory.

    [link]      
  141. By BilB on December 14, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Kit P, I think that you need to go back to whatever university gave you a “masters” degree for a refresher course if you cannot see how avoided expenditure increases ones standard of living where income is maintained. Housholds with GenIIPV systems will require up to $8000 (in Australia’s economy) per annum less to maintain. That is a 10% improvement in disposable income for a net household income of $80,000 per annum. ie standard of living increase.

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  142. By rrapier on December 14, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    BilB said:

    Kit P, I think that you need to go back to whatever university gave you a “masters” degree for a refresher course if you cannot see how avoided expenditure increases ones standard of living where income is maintained. Housholds with GenIIPV systems will require up to $8000 (in Australia’s economy) per annum less to maintain. That is a 10% improvement in disposable income for a net household income of $80,000 per annum. ie standard of living increase.


     

    He didn’t get a master’s degree. He likes to imply that he has a degree by telling people about the courses he was taking toward his master’s. In fact, he has no engineering degree at all, and he carries a chip on his shoulder against those who do have those degrees.

    RR

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  143. By BilB on December 14, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    The upper end target price for our system is 35 thousand.

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  144. By Kit P on December 14, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    “require up to
    $8000 (in Australia’s economy) per annum less to maintain.”

     

    My high standard of
    living does not require $8000 in energy. A little bit of common
    sense applying the principles of conservation and you only need
    $3000-$4000 to heat your house and drive your car to work. Best yet
    I do not have to spend $100,000 to buy BilB’s BS ‘GenIIPV’ that does
    not work.

     

    Let me know when you
    get your PV and website working. Until then it is just a theory.

     

    “The upper end
    target price for our system is 35 thousand.”

     

    Let see what I could
    make at the average generating costs in the US assuming the best
    system in Arizona.

     

    10 kwe X 8760 hr/yr
    X .2 X $0.05kwh = $876/yr

     

    That is a 40 year
    pay back period ignoring interest and maintaining the system..

     

    Okay then, how much
    can the average person use at 1200 kwh/month and $0.10 / kwh year
    paying retail? That would be $1440 or a 25 year pay back period.

     

    The lesson here is
    simple. If you are paying $8,000 per year on energy, use less energy
    if you want to save money. Spending $35,000 on equipment that is not
    very good at making electricity is the opposite of saving, it is
    spending.

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  145. By BilB on December 15, 2010 at 12:52 am

    You really don’t listen, do you Kit P. Our system earns $8000 per year when it is powering a household with electricity, heating and cooling it, supplying any amount of hot water, powering 2 BEV’s at least 600klms each per week, and selling any surpluss electricity to the grid. US electricity and petrol are both cheaper than Australia making it a less attractive sales target, but for how much longer. Not that it matters that much, we will be stretched for many years to supply just Australia with this system. After Australia we will be supplying Europe for preference. As production volume increases and we have improved manufacturing methods along with fine tuning of the product I expect that the price for the system will progressively reduce.

    So it is good that you are comfortable paying a utility for your electricity and BP for your petrol. As I said upthread, this system is not for you.

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  146. By Kit P on December 15, 2010 at 10:35 am

    “Our system earns $8000 per year when..”

     

    BilB your system does not earn anything yet.  Somehow you think $900 dollars of electricity produced is worth $8000.  It cost the same to make electricity with cheap coal in Australia as the US.  I suspect that it cost about the same to import a barrel of oil on the world market too.  What the consumer pays after taxes are imposed on energy is a different matter.  

     

    “2 BEV’s at least 600klms”

     

    I think we have established BilB knows less about BEV than he does making electricity.  BEV are expensive and unreliable.

     

    BilB makes statements about living standards.  A small amount of energy makes a big difference.  However, if a 2000 square foot house comfortably meets your needs, 5000 square foot house is not going improve your living standards.  

     

    “this system is not for you”

     

    That is because I already conserve and use cost effective efficient electric equipment.  If you want to offset $8000 energy cost by putting $35,000 into a PV and $80,000 into BEV every four years, please do not expect me to think your are doing a good thing.  

     

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  147. By Wendell Mercantile on December 15, 2010 at 11:07 am

    BEV are expensive and unreliable.

     

    * Expensive?  Yes

    * Unreliable?  Why would you say that?  What could be simpler than a battery and electric motor? There is no reason to think BEVs would be any less reliable than ICE-powered vehicles, and compelling reasons to believe they would be more reliable — much more reliable.

     

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  148. By Kit P on December 15, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    “Why would you say that?”

     

    I suppose because I am more familiar with failure mechanisms of electrical components than Wendell is.  I expect my wife’s Corolla to last 30 years & 300,000 miles.  I expect to replace the starting battery 6 times and the alternator and starter two or three times.  Much better than POV purchased before 1985. 

     

    So Wendell, if you would like to provide reliability data, that would be interesting.  In case you missed it, car manufactures have a habit of producing new products that are lemons.  When you start bragging about your 15 year old BEV driven every day under harsh conditions, then I will change my tune.   

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  149. By BilB on December 15, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    With the Nissan leaf just released at $33,000 and an 8 year 100,000 Mile battery warrantee, and with battery prices universally expected to drop to “very affordable” levels by the time replacement is required, Kit P your comments have an accuracy level of 10%, about equal with your credibility. With the European Audi A2 Lithium Polymer electric conversion run of 600 klm (with 18% remaining and with a 500,000 battery life) as an indication of what is possible in the next round of battery production, it is certain that replacement batteries for the Leaf will have double the range and life of the originals. Furthermore the old nissan leaf battery still with 17 kwhrs of storage capacity will be available to add to the GenIIPV system to extend non solar energy delivery. 17 kwhrs is every element on an electric stove on full continuous for 3 hours. That is a lot of energy.

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  150. By rrapier on December 15, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Kit P said:

     

    “Kit P, I think that you need to go back to whatever university gave you a “masters” degree for a refresher course if you cannot see how avoided expenditure increases ones standard of living where income is maintained.”

     

    No degree is required. Just a little common sense.

     

    “Kit P, I think

    that you need to go back to whatever university gave you a “masters”

    degree for a refresher course if you cannot see how avoided

    expenditure increases ones standard of living where income is

    maintained.”

     

    No degree is

    required. Just a little common sense.

     

    “require up to

    $8000 (in Australia’s economy) per annum less to maintain.”

     

    My high standard of

    living does not require $8000 in energy. A little bit of common

    sense applying the principles of conservation and you only need

    $3000-$4000 to heat your house and drive your car to work. Best yet

    I do not have to spend $100,000 to buy BilB’s BS ‘GenIIPV’ that does

    not work.

     

    Let me know when you

    get your PV and website working. Until then it is just a theory.


     

    People who didn’t get the degree often insist that they know just as much as those who did. They sometimes carry a chip on their shoulder as a result, and sometimes this inferiority complex comes through by repeatedly implying to people that they are a degreed engineer.

    RR

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  151. By BilB, Australia on December 15, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Good grief, KitP, you must  be the hardest luck person on this planet if you have that much trouble with electric motors. I don’t think that I have ever replaced an electric starter motor. But starter motors are the worst example as they are a battery direct connection (direct on line) extreme load motor. All of the motors on EV’s have regulated power control systems designed to protect the motors. I have a factory full of CNC machinery with such motors and control systems running as near to 24 hours as I can get them to.  The one thing that never happens is motor failure.

    The electric utility that you imply that you work for must be replacing generators all the time by your claims of electric equipment failure experience. Are you a Jinx?

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  152. By Kit P on December 15, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    “accuracy level of 10%”

     

    So you say BilB!  It looks like I am closer to 95% and BilB is at 10%.  He produces $900 worth of electricity and calls it $8000.  That $33 BEV is going to be more like $40K out the door with taxes.  BilB did not say how long he keeps his POV.  Four years sounds about right, what is the longest you have kept a car BilB.

     

    “extreme load motor”

     

    What do think happens in a BEV when you accelerate?  I have never had a motor fail in a nice clean controlled environment.  I am thinking your motors have never hit a pot hole when is 30 below.  

     

    Again BilB, I will point that you have not considered the $100,000 capital cost of producing to produce $900 worth of electricity a year (until smoke starts coming out of components) but the electricity is worth $8000 because you are going to use it BEV (until smoke starts coming out of components) without knowing the reliability because you have experience in a factory and with household appliances.  Good luck tell me how it terns out.

     

    “Are you a Jinx?”

     

    No, it just feels that way sometimes.  Having shore power blow up two duty days in a row does make you look over your shoulder for the black cat.  It is bad when some lights a pipe and the first thing you think of is an electrical fire.  However, it was the ship.  It was the lead ship in that class of nuclear cruiser.  During commissioning of my first nuke ship, lesson learned was required reading from the jinx ship.  During commissioning with all the admirals in dress whites, shore power cables arced with a loud boom.  When the aft diesel started the dignitaries got a soot shower.  The primary concern of the engineering duty officer is getting reactor coolant pumps started, then reenergizing vital buses.  When the sewage pump was energized, the hydraulic surge blew the hose out and I will leave it to your imagination what kind of shower that was.

     

    Our commissioning was uneventful but terrifying in its own way.  I was the officer with paper clips for gold buttons.  My buttons did look good on Admiral Rickover.  My sljo duties were to escort the chaplain.  No one told me that I would be next to Rickover for 30 minutes.  Rickover had been a commissioned officer for 55 years at that point.  I record that still holds.  I had met Rickover once before.  He interviewed all his degreed officers.  

     

    On a later occasion I was assigned to escort Rickover.  Maybe I did not keep a poker face but that chip on their shoulder must have been apparent.  It would only take a minor amount of disrespect to get me out naval nuclear power.  Rickover was famous for messing with people.  I can see the conversation with my next CO.  You did what to Rickover?  Wow, can I buy you beer, do you want to drive my ship, how about firing a missile lad?  

     

    Anyhow, BilB you might think twice before do more than predict how your system will work.  

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  153. By Wendell Mercantile on December 16, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Good grief, KitP, you must be the hardest luck person on this planet if you have that much trouble with electric motors. I don’t think that I have ever replaced an electric starter motor.

    BilB,

    Kit hasn’t had that much bad luck with electric motors, he’s just trying to defend a defenseless position.

    The truth is electric motors are very reliable and require little maintenance compared to internal combustion engines. In fact, car dealerships are worried about the lack of maintenance BEVs will require*. Most car dealerships make more revenue from repairs and maintenance than they do from selling the cars. ICE-powered cars require continual maintenance to keep them in good running order and provide a constant revenue stream for dealers.

    Many dealers are worried that revenue stream will disappear if electric cars become dominant. Compared to ICE-powered cars, electric cars will require little more than an occasional set of new tires.

    ____________________
    * One of the things that led to the downfall of the EV-1 (GM’s first try at an electric car) was dealer resistance because it required little maintenance.

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  154. By BilB on December 16, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Yes, I agree,Wendell. Kit fenced himself into a corner with his predominately negative perspective.

    I have a motor mechanic next door to my factory and I keep him informed on the progress of EV’s from a “to be forewarned is to be forearmed” perspective. Generally he really doesn’t want to know, but he does listen. I think that we are looking at a 30 year transition period, this will not be as sudden as the transition to digital cameras was, for EV’s to become the dominate passenger vehicle so mechanics are not under any immediate threat.

    I am of the opinion that EV chassis’s will be very long lived hardware, perhaps with a 50 year service life. It is cabins and interiors that will need servicing. If you are following the progress of autominous vehicle technology you will be aware that technology to eliminate accidents is not that far off. The question is will the decline in our ability to service advanced technologies, threatened by peak oil and all of the disruption that that will bring forth, preceed the introduction of such technologies. Regardless I thing that the future of vehicle maintenance will be to do with interiors and fashion rather than mechanics.

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  155. By sameer-kulkarni on December 19, 2010 at 11:06 am

     

    Here’s another contender for convertin waste (plastic this time) into fuel Cool

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..r_embedded

    They claim to convert 1 kg of plastic into 1L of Oil with approximately 1 kW of electricity. Blest’ conversion technology is claimed to be very safe as it uses electric heater with temperature control rather than using flame. You will be able to process polyethylene, polystyrene and polypropylene (numbers 2-4), unfortunately, it still can not convert PET bottles (number 1) back into oil yet. 

    Wonder whats the EROEI of the process & its viability to scale  

     

    [link]      
  156. By sameer-kulkarni on December 19, 2010 at 11:43 am

    SAM said:

     

    Here’s another contender for convertin waste (plastic this time) into fuel Cool

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..r_embedded

    They claim to convert 1 kg of plastic into 1L of Oil with approximately 1 kW of electricity. Blest’ conversion technology is claimed to be very safe as it uses electric heater with temperature control rather than using flame. You will be able to process polyethylene, polystyrene and polypropylene (numbers 2-4), unfortunately, it still can not convert PET bottles (number 1) back into oil yet. 

    Wonder whats the EROEI of the process & its viability to scale  

     


     

    Another parallel Inventor http://www.plastic2petrol.com/. I hope I am not deviating from the main topic.

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  157. By rrapier on December 19, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    SAM said:

    Another parallel Inventor http://www.plastic2petrol.com/. I hope I am not deviating from the main topic.


     

    Hi SAM,

    Those are topical.

    RR

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  158. By BilB on December 19, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    That is a process that local councils could be using at tip sites. Australia produces 9 billion plastic bags each year (not all polypropylene of course). With each bag at 8 grams that is 72 million kilograms of polypropylene (or polyethylene). I hate to think what that is for the US. I designed a small ring device to melt supermarket polypropylene bags into a pellet. No one was interested.

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  159. By Kit P on December 19, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    “I designed a small ring device to melt supermarket polypropylene bags into a pellet. No one was interested.”

     

    Why would you want to use energy to make plastic pellets? Sounds like BilB is a pyromaniac. 

    I observed the operation of equipment to covert plastic to synthetic diesel fuel, boiler fuel, and electrical in a CHP operation. Since farmers have to pay for disposal of HDPE pesticide containers and used diesel fuel, i say a natural connection with dairy farm AD. However, the inverter died before he could prefect his equipment.

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  160. By BilB on December 19, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    You’re a total twit, Kit P. Thin light polypropylene supermarket bags which have very little mass are a major environmental contaminant. The best method to eliminate their danger to the environemnt and wildlife is to change their form from a film to a lump at the point where they are no longer needed, in the kitchen or pantry. That is the purpose of the heated ring which was very specifically designed to not be a fire hazard. I say that to prevent your next twitty comment.

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  161. By Kit P on December 20, 2010 at 6:30 am

    “You’re a total twit, Kit P.”

    That is okay because I think you are a scam artists who does not have a clue about how to safely design a product.

     

    “The best method to eliminate their danger to the environemnt and wildlife is to change their form from a film to a lump at the point where they are no longer needed, in the kitchen or pantry.”

     

    So BilB you have a LCA to show that your method is ‘best’?

     

    There is a hierarchy of environmental choices. At the top of the list is ‘reuse’. My wife puts the plastic bags in a empty tissue box so we can reuse them. I remodeled the two bathrooms. On the way to dump one vanity stopped in the kitchen. My wife moved it to the corner, put a laundry basket where the old sink was. It now stores recyclables. The second vanity made it as far as the utility. It is now a laundry hamper.

     

    After reuse and recycling, energy recovery is an option if it does not take more energy to recover the energy. Green washing is when scam artists sells you a product you do not need claiming some environmental benefit.

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  162. By BilB on December 20, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Still not thinking there Kit P. The plastic pellets are recycleable. The advantage is if they wind up at the tip they do not blow around and escape to the environment, which is what happens to a large enough percentage of bags to kill millions of animals each year.

    Of course reuse is a preferred option. The fact is that it just does not happen.

    If you have a challenge to what is “best” then put forward your brilliant ideas, Kit P. Show that you can actually do more than blab. We heard your recycling thing which works for you, assuming it is true which I doubt, now propose something that will work for the other 7 billion people.

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  163. By Kit P on December 20, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    “If you have a challenge to what is “best” then put forward your brilliant ideas, Kit P.”

    The unsupported claim of ‘best’ was made by BilB.  Ideas do not need to be brilliant to be better.

     

    Better Idea # 1:  My wife invented the ‘plastic bag reuse dispenser’.  It is made by ‘reusing’ a tissue box.  This invention is ‘open source’ because it is just too good not to share.  My wife is shy so she will turn down the Noble Peace Prize if awarded. 

     

    “Of course reuse is a preferred option. The fact is that it just does not happen.”

     

    I do not know what kind of people you hang with BilB.  It is amazing how many different kids can wear the same shirt.  It was passed down from my oldest son to a nephew, to a friend, back to my youngest son, and then to the friend’s younger brother.  Lost track of it after that but that is more than 10 years of use.  

     

    It is customary where we live set things by the road next to the trash can that you do not need any more.  They just disappear.  My living room has a lamp (had to buy a new shade) and an end table that I found along the road.  When my wife takes the recyclables to the county drop of station, personnel look the other way unless there is supervisor around to enforce liability regulations.  My wife is an A-1 dumpster diver.  All that ‘good’ stuff headed for the landfill gets cleaned up and ends up with a family that needs it or at GOODWILL.  In Oakland California they had to the good sense to organize it.  We were touring the transfer station to observe a grinder process wood waste that powered a hazardous waste facility.

     

    Besides the Salvation Army, Red Cross, and GOODWILL there is a whole army of people making sure community needs are met.  Do not plan on cooking if you have someone in the hospital.  My contribution is beef stew and Jiffy cornbread.  Do not try to sneak into the hospital either, we have spies everywhere.  Americans are the most generous people in the world but you will not read about it in the NYT. 

     

    Of course the mother of all ‘reuse’ is the good old yard sale.  If you know what is good for you, do not interfere with women going a rag pickin.  I have a life time supply silk Hawaiian shirts at 50 cents each.  Friday is Hawaiian shirt day at work.  Rufus you can always spot a jarhead.  Who irons two pleats in the back of a Hawaiian shirts?  

     

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  164. By BilB on December 21, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    All you’ve done there is talk about “what is” . You haven’t solved the plastic bag problem. Plastic bags are so prolific today that reuse can never absorb the inflow deluge.

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  165. By David on March 4, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    I can think of one development that will make cellulosic biofuel viable: higher oil prices that stay above about $150/barrel. The combination of steady technical improvements in processing cellulosic waste and the higher cost of petroleum will force alternatives to be developed, and cellulosic biofuel (I do not favor ethanol) will be one of them.
    Relevant post: http://www.bio-catalyst.com/is…..e-new-oil/

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  166. By face on March 23, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Kit P said:

     

    One of the reason I ma skeptical is that Mark uses the language of a snake oil salesmen designed to confuse Perry rather than communicate with another energy engineer. Since I have already provide Mark with correct terminology, I am even more skeptical

     <edit> 

    I wish you well Mark. I would like to be wrong. If you can find a way to economically address the forest health issue of our semi-arid inter mountain North America by creating by creating transportation fuel, I will come to Montana and buy you dinner for making the world a better place.

     


     Kit,

          I’m brand new here, but been here long enough to identify the few individuals that insist on whacking the hornet’s nest. You, sir, are the King. If you were really interested in doing something constructive with your words, you would choose words that do not alienate the reader. M.R. has shown infinate patience with you. I will not be so kind. You insist on using words like “snake oil salesman” or “Scam Artist” to describe Mark, yet M.R. posts with his REAL name. KitP, you hide behind your avatar and screen name and bluster. You claim to have provided Mark with “correct terminology” and have taken his non-adoption of it as a personal affront. Maybe, just maybe, MR knows a helluva lot more that Kit with a P. PS…..I want you to notice that in this entire post, I did not use ONE derrogatory word to describe you. It can be done. That is all.

    John Toups, CEO Florida Alliance for Clean Energy, LLC.  <—MY real name.

     

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  167. By Mocarots on April 8, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    Ask Biofuels magazine…. Lee still has hope or maybe he’s finished we me telling him the answer that is already out there.

    [link]      
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