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By Robert Rapier on Jun 10, 2011 with 50 responses

Virent Pulling Ahead of the Pack?

The National Advanced Biofuels Consortium

In January 2010, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the investment of nearly $80 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for advanced biofuels research and fueling infrastructure. About $35 million of the funding went toward the National Advanced Biofuels Consortium (NABC). The consortium consists of 17 partners from industry, national laboratories, and universities with the goal of producing economical biofuels that are compatible with existing infrastructure (drop-in fuels). The consortium is investigating six process strategies with the greatest potential to meet the project objectives. Each process involves converting biomass feedstock, such as corn stover or wood chips, into a form that can be used in a petroleum refinery. These new and innovative approaches can advance the commercialization and adoption of advanced biofuels.”

The six strategies that are being investigated are:

The NABC describes the process of elimination that the processes will undergo:

During Stage One, the consortium will research all six process strategies to determine whether technical and economic barriers can be overcome to develop a pilot-ready process in a three-year period. Sustainability and technoeconomic analyses will guide the research program. After one year, the consortium will perform a feasibility study that will determine which process strategies are most likely to succeed. One to three strategies will be selected for further research and development.

In Stage Two, the selected processes will be moved toward the pilot scale. The National Advanced Biofuels Consortium will engineer processes to be integrated with current petroleum refining infrastructure. At the end of the three-year project, the consortium will deliver a technology package that includes a pilot plant-ready process, a detailed design and engineering report, and a life-cycle analysis.

An Introduction to Virent Energy Systems

Jim Lane, editor and publisher of Biofuels Digest, characterized the process as “a biofuels R&D version of Survivor.” One of the companies participating in the consortium is Virent Energy Systems (Virent), and their process falls under the category of “catalytic conversion of lignocellulosic sugars.”

Virent’s strategy is unique among biofuel companies. It starts with a hydrolysis process. Hydrolysis in this case is the process of breaking down cellulose — which consists of long chains of sugar polymers — into individual sugars. This is the same sort of process at the front end of a cellulosic ethanol process.

But the similarities end there. With a cellulosic ethanol process, what follows the hydrolysis process is a fermentation of the sugars, similar to what takes place with corn or sugarcane ethanol. There are some fundamental problems with the cellulosic process that have resulted in some difficulty commercializing the process. Virent’s process gets around those fundamental problems.

Instead of using microbes to turn sugars into fuel, Virent uses a thermochemical process that is much less sensitive than is a microbe-based process. Virent feeds the sugars that are produced in the hydrolysis step into an aqueous phase reformer (APR), where the sugars are turned into oxygenated compounds like ketones, acids, aldehydes, and alcohols. Following the APR step, the compounds undergo condensation using catalytic technology proven in today’s refineries to form hydrocarbons, that are the basis of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel.

In laymen’s terms, the Virent process takes biomass, uses conventional techniques for releasing the sugars, feeds that to their proprietary refining process, and then finishes up with processes found in most oil refineries.

Virent has made progress in developing their technology, and recently issued the following press release:

Virent Makes Gasoline from Cellulosic Biomass

Madison, Wisconsin June 2, 2011 – Virent announced it has successfully produced biogasoline from corn stover and pine harvest forest residuals, as a recipient of the U.S. Department of Energy’s February 2010 grant to the National Advanced Biofuels Consortium. Virent’s achievement supports the NABC’s goal to develop technologies to convert cellulosic biomass feedstocks into hydrocarbon fuels that are compatible with existing infrastructure.

Virent’s Catalysis of Lignocellulosic Sugars is one of six different process strategies represented in the DOE’s grant program with the NABC. The CLS strategy work to date was completed in collaboration with Catchlight Energy (pine material supplier), Iowa State University (corn stover supplier), with Washington State University performing oxidation and enzymatic hydrolysis treatments necessary to digest cellulose for these two samples. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) supplied two additional hydrolysate samples which underwent a dilute sulfuric acid pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis process for its breakdown of the cellulose. Virent then processed the four hydrolysate samples using its BioForming process.

Virent fed each of the four hydrolysate samples into its Aqueous Phase Reforming (APR) catalyst reactor system, removing most of the oxygen from the biomass sugar mixtures, producing monoxygenates such as alcohols, aldehydes and ketones, plus the reforming products of hydrogen and carbon dioxide. Virent’s APR process is suited to handle mixed sugars from cellulosic streams with minimal processing. The liquids were then fed into Virent’s Catalytic Oxygenates to Aromatics (COTA) process to produce a high octane biogasoline, which the company has trademarked BioFormate.

“Producing gasoline from cellulosics is an important milestone for our company, and for the biofuels industry overall,” said Dr. Randy Cortright, Virent’s founder and chief technology officer. “We anticipate further development in our production of drop-in fuels and chemicals from biomass, giving our nation long-awaited access to a wider range of feedstock choices.”

The process that Virent is developing is intriguing to say the least. However, as always it is necessary to dig down a few layers to flesh out any formidable technical challenges that could prevent commercialization. Luckily, Virent made Dr. Randy Cortright — their Chief Technology Officer — available to me for answering some questions about Virent’s process. In the next essay, I will delve deeper into Virent’s story in an attempt to figure out if their process is as good as it seems on the surface.

  1. By Ghwardron on June 13, 2011 at 7:17 am

    Thanks for the article. It sounds really exciting and I hope that the project will be successful. I’ll keep my eyes open for follow-up articles regarding this :)

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  2. By Kit P on June 13, 2011 at 8:11 am

    Wow look at that, subsidies for Shell and refineries. Not that that I am against incentives because I think it is important to support alternatives. You will not see me calculating the cost based on pilot programs. Nor will you see me pointing out the problems with scaling up or the economics of increased demand for feedstock if the process does work.

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  3. By Rufus on June 13, 2011 at 10:28 am

    But, the ones that can produce fuel, right now, can’t get a penny. Politics is dirty work.

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  4. By Wendell Mercantile on June 13, 2011 at 10:46 am

    But, the ones that can produce fuel, right now, can’t get a penny.

    Nor should they get one. Nothing wrong with using a Federal stimulus as an incubator or catalyst to jump-start innovation, but for mature industries such as corn ethanol, if the product can’t sell itself and still needs subsidies to thrive, there is something wrong with the product or the business model.

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  5. By Rufus on June 13, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Wendell, you keep railing against History. No one said anything about “Corn” ethanol. Those subsidies are being phased out.

    I was referring to companies like Poet, and their “Project Liberty.”

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  6. By Wendell Mercantile on June 13, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    I was referring to companies like Poet, and their “Project Liberty.”

    Rufus~

    You said, “Companies that can produce fuel, right now, can’t get a penny.” Project Liberty has potential, and it may deserve a jump start, but it’s not right now.

    The only commercial ethanol being produced “right now” in the US is corn ethanol.

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  7. By Benny BND Cole on June 13, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Seems like this is R&D that venture capitalists should be doing. Though, I guess given what we spend on a single aircraft carrier, this kind of money is peanuts.
    I hope some of this works. At $100 a barrel, I suspect biofuels look interesting. So interesting, that should not the private sector be doing this?

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  8. By art on June 13, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Looking forward to the follow up RR

    Wonder whether aquatic biomass and especially aquatic salty biomass with its different cellwall composition and salt contents can also be usefull feedstock in “APR”

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  9. By Optimist on June 13, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    …with the goal of producing economical biofuels that are compatible with existing infrastructure (drop-in fuels).

    Finally – a common sense approach to renewable fuels.

    The CLS strategy work to date was completed in collaboration with Catchlight Energy (pine material supplier), Iowa State University (corn stover supplier), with Washington State University performing oxidation and enzymatic hydrolysis treatments necessary to digest cellulose for these two samples. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) supplied two additional hydrolysate samples which underwent a dilute sulfuric acid pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis process for its breakdown of the cellulose.

    Is this the weak link for the process? Enzymatic just isn’t applicable, IMHO, at the scale required. Nor is dilute acid hydrolysis guaranteed to work. This is one step that appeared to work well at TDP: their “thermal depolymerization” was actually more of a beefed up dilute acid hydrolysis. Of course, TDP was never really tested on cellulosic feeds, since the resulting sugars would just end up in their effluent. RR, any opinions/comments on which of these hydrolysis technologies appear the most feasible?

    But, the ones that can produce fuel, right now, can’t get a penny. Politics is dirty work.

    Imagine that: you can never give ethanol enough subsidies, can you, Rufus? Just a few more $million… make that $billion should get us there…

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  10. By OD on June 14, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    My point is that we need to protect water quality, just as the case with coal, or there won’t be any humans left to enjoy all the benefits of coal and nat gas BTUs

    Absolutely, but we do need to separate fact from fiction. There is a lot of contention about the accuracy of Gasland. I’m no saying they are right or wrong, it just doesn’t appear to be settled at this time. Everyone has an agenda though, so it makes cutting through the BS that much harder.

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  11. By Rufus on June 13, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    According to This Academic Study, Optimist,

    Ethanol lowered the cost of a gallon of gasoline by $0.89/gal last year.

    135 Billion X $0.89 = $120 Billion and change.

    Not bad for a $6 Billion investment, eh?

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  12. By Rufus on June 13, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    I tried to make a couple of posts about the widely-supported bill, just introduced, that will end ethanol tax credits on July 1st.

    The Spam Filter must have snagged them. It’s pretty big news; someone might want to dig it out. Thanks.

    EDIT: Indeed, it was flagged by the (sometimes) naughty spam filter. Dug it out and manually approved the comment; it’s the post following this one. -Sam

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  13. By Rufus on June 13, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    It looks like the Ethanol Tax Credit will come to an end on July 1, 2011.

    Sayonara Subsidies

    I would have like to see them continue the tax credit for E85 (it would be a miniscule amount of money,) but you can’t have everything.

    It does continue funding for cellulosic ethanol. That part is good. Some money will go toward a tax credit for installing blender pumps, but I doubt they’ll get much action, there. It was hard getting retailers to spend the money installing blenders even before they effectively raised the price of the product by $0.38/gal.

    Anyway, your wishes came true Buckos. Read’em and weep.

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  14. By Rufus on June 13, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    Thanks, Sam. This bill is, almost surely, a done deal; and it will change the face (and the economics) of the ethanol industry, greatly.

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  15. By rrapier on June 14, 2011 at 8:14 am

    Optimist said:

    RR, any opinions/comments on which of these hydrolysis technologies appear the most feasible?


     

    I think for ethanol — because you are producing a dilute, water-soluble product — none of them will really be feasible. For Virent’s process multiple technologies may be feasible.

    I questioned them about pyrolysis oil as well. Seems like it would work in their process.

    RR

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  16. By Rufus on June 14, 2011 at 10:19 am

    I’m a little surprised. I thought there would be great excitement on the news that the ethanol subsidies are going away. Especially, in light of the fact that they’re going away, Immediately.

    Where did I go wrong?

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  17. By Wendell Mercantile on June 14, 2011 at 10:36 am

    I thought there would be great excitement on the news that the ethanol subsidies are going away.

    Why should we be excited? “Relieved” is the word your looking for. For example, if you were hitting me on the head with a stick, I wouldn’t be excited when you finally stopped, I would be relieved.

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  18. By thomas398 on June 14, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Rufus said:

    According to This Academic Study, Optimist,

    Ethanol lowered the cost of a gallon of gasoline by $0.89/gal last year.

    135 Billion X $0.89 = $120 Billion and change.

    Not bad for a $6 Billion investment, eh?


     

    I admit I just browsed the paper, but it doesnt appear that they take into account that blending gasoline and ethanol results in a product with lower energy content and lower gas mileage in ~90% of cars.  This seems rather convenient.   I’d be interested in ethanol’s effect on average $/road-mile.

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  19. By Rufus on June 14, 2011 at 10:48 am

    “Relieved” that a program that cost $6 Billion, and saved Americans $120 Billion at the pump is coming to an end.

    Got it.

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  20. By Rufus on June 14, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Thomas, that is a good point. I, also, saw no evidence that they took the approx. 1.5% (on E10) lower mileage/gal into consideration. Quickly, off the top of my head, I would say that could lower the $120 Billion by as much as $10 Billion. Probably, a bit less.

    $110 Billion return for a $6 Billion investment is still a pretty good deal, I’d say.

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  21. By Wendell Mercantile on June 14, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Rufus~

    If the ethanol industry is viable, they will continue making ethanol which will continue to save us money at the pump, without taxpayers needing to spend $6 billion. What’s to get is that if it’s good, it will happen w/o that $6 billion anyway. What’s to get, is that if will happen anyway, and we are $14 trillion in debt, it is a relief that we stop sending the $6 billion in that direction.

    In fact, if ethanol saves as much at the pump as you think, and the Iowa State study showed. (A study by a state university in the No. 1 corn state is not likely to have a bias, is it?), people would be clamoring to buy the stuff.

    All I know is that every time the price of gasoline goes up, the price of ethanol-blended gasoline goes up in parallel. Where I live, E10 always costs exactly the same as E0. And in fact, it cost me more to use E10 since my truck won’t go as far on a gallon and I have to buy more E10 than I would E0. Where exactly is the savings?

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  22. By Dan Conboy on June 14, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Robert,

     

    I saw this article and thought you would enjoy it.

     

    http://forward.msci.org/articles/?id=365

     

    Dan

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  23. By Rufus on June 14, 2011 at 11:37 am

    Wendell, I would bet any amount of money that you cannot Publish, Right Now, the name of a service station in your area that sells “E0″ for the same price as E10.

    You’ve made the claim, now back it up.

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  24. By Rufus on June 14, 2011 at 11:38 am

    With a phone number.

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  25. By Wendell Mercantile on June 14, 2011 at 11:41 am

    You’ve made the claim, now back it up.

    There are two (that I know of): A Shell station and a Sinclair. The Sinclair station even has a sign saying, “Real gasoline — better mpg.”

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  26. By Rufus on June 14, 2011 at 11:44 am

    No, no. Give us the prices (at the same gas station.)

    Give us the name, and phone number of a station that prices E0 and E10 at the same price.

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  27. By Rufus on June 14, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Wendell, you gave yourself away when you made reference to your family’s history in the retail gasoline business. You are just an oil co. sock-puppet. I’ve known it the whole time; I thought I would just wait and let you expose yourself.

    None of this will make much difference. The price of gasoline at the pump will go up about a nickel, but it will go unnoticed with all the volatility surrounding petroleum/gasoline at present.

    The guys that are trying to market E85 will take a hit, but that’s life in the United States. Sometimes you get the bear; sometimes the bear gets you.

    You ought to, actually, “read” the study I posted. The expectations for what would happen if you took that 900,000 bbl/day off the market are blood-curdling.

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  28. By biocrude on June 14, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Not so fast Rufus, never underestimate the power of the Farm Lobby!  

    From OPIS this morning:

    2011-06-14 11:37:40 EDT

    ***SOURCES: COBURN LIKELY TO COME UP SHORT IN EFFORT TO
    PASS ETHANOL REPEAL

       While a fierce
    lobbying strategy continues, a few hours ahead of this afternoon’s Senate vote
    on a motion to limit debate on an amendment that would repeal ethanol
    incentives by June 30, it doesn’t appear that amendment sponsor Tom Coburn
    (R-Okla.) will have the necessary 60 votes to gain passage, sources following
    the issue confirm to OPIS.

       The amendment
    would repeal both the 45ct/gal ethanol tax incentive and the 54ct/gal import
    tariff.

       On Thursday,
    Coburn used a legislative maneuver to essentially force the vote, scheduled
    around 2:15 p.m. EDT today. As sources explained to OPIS, Coburn was able to
    force a cloture motion on his amendment — thereby ensuring the provision would
    be voted on — by gathering 16 Senate signatures, instead of using the more
    traditional route of filing a motion to suspend the rules.

    The amendment was filed as part of the Economic
    Development Administration reauthorization bill (S. 782).

       According to
    sources, Coburn will likely come up short of the 60 votes because both Senate
    leadership object to the way the senator circumvented regular order in getting
    his amendment voted on, and because legislators may not support a complete and
    nearly immediate repeal of the ethanol tax incentive. Additionally, the White
    House weighed into the debate late last week, with a statement sent to OPIS
    explaining that while the administration “is open to new approaches”
    on reforming the ethanol tax incentive, it opposes “a straight repeal”
    of the incentive.

       “If he
    [Coburn] got the 60 votes, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) would
    have pulled the bill” from consideration, explained one source following
    the issue, since Reid and his Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell (Ky.),
    are unhappy with the procedure Coburn used to file his amendment.

       Meanwhile, Sens.
    John Thune (R-S.D.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) introduced a bill yesterday
    that would phase out the ethanol incentive after a few years, with greater
    focus on biofuel-related infrastructure. 

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  29. By Wendell Mercantile on June 14, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    …when you made reference to your family’s history in the retail gasoline business. You are just an oil co. sock-puppet.

    Yup, you nailed it, we were real oil barons. My Dad owned an auto repair shop and filling station and sold Texaco gasoline. I pumped gas there on weekends and during the summer when in junior and senior high school. My Dad actually made more money from the auto repair business. (I also did tune-ups, oil changes, and installed plenty of tires, shock absorbers, and mufflers working there when in high school.)

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  30. By Rufus on June 14, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    No, my link was to the Thune – Klobuchar Bill, Bio. The one that’s going to pass.

    My understanding, though, was that Thune/Klobuchar pretty much eliminated the tax credit right away. I admit, my info is sketchy, so a phase-out is more likely.

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  31. By biocrude on June 14, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Off topic, but everyone should watch the documentary about fracking and the natural gas industry called Gasland.  When you have good ol’ boys in Wyoming lighting their faucets on fire, and creating a plastic film on the surface of the water from glycol ethers with a blowtorch, things are not right.  We are in the midst of a debate of which is more important, nat gas or water.  

    The Nat Gas industry has got some serious cleaning up to do…

    Trailer for GASLAND

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  32. By Rufus on June 14, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Bio, this is from my link:

    The legislation would generate $2.5 billion by ending the blenders’ credit or VEETC on July 1, 2011,

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  33. By biocrude on June 14, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Yes, and $1.5 billion for blender pumps, so let’s hope that money still makes it through.

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  34. By Kit P on June 14, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Post deleted because Kit doesn’t know how not to be a jerk — RR

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  35. By Rufus on June 14, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Yeah, it probably will, but there’s no way in the world that they can spend anywhere near that much on blender pumps. The fact is: Blender pumps are a Hard Sell. And, they’re going to be a much harder sell, now.

    The most encouraging thing, to me, is the continuation of the tax credit for cellulosic ethanol. It’s a very small amount, but it will make a huge difference in how long it takes to get it off the ground.

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  36. By biocrude on June 14, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Kit,

    It’s amazing that you take almost any comment on here and interpret it incorrectly, and then flip out.  

    I am not pointing fingers, I was merely saying that good ol’ boys in Wyoming are not typically “environmentalists” and thus if they are saying that their water is contaminated, then there must be a problem.  And furthermore, don’t think I don’t know that nat gas is used not only for the production of almost every type of alt fuel, but in the production of ~40% of electricity in CA.  

    My point is that we need to protect water quality, just as the case with coal, or there won’t be any humans left to enjoy all the benefits of coal and nat gas BTUs.  

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  37. By mac on June 14, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    France Set to Ban Fracking

    “The French Parliament has voted 287-146 to ban hydraulic fracturing or fracking, a crucial part of the shale gas extraction process that activists say is harmful to the environment, according to France24. The bill will be voted on by the Senate on June 1 before it becomes a law.

    The bill to ban to fracking, but not shale gas exploration itself, was drafted by France’s ruling UMP party and the vote comes after months of protests by environmentalists who are concerned that the process contaminates the water table. Earlier this year, the government granted energy giants exploration permits for work without public consultation, but announced a temporary freeze on shale gas exploration in February.

    France could become the first country to ban the controversial practice that involves using ‘slick’ water a combination of water, chemicals and mud, to fracture the rock with hairline cracks and prop open underground fissures. Fracking fluids can be fatal. In Louisiana fracking fluid made it to a pasture killing 17 cows at the farm.”………………………..

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com…..z1PHBI6EKa

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  38. By Kit P on June 14, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Post deleted because Kit doesn’t know how not to be a jerk — RR

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  39. By mac on June 14, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Kit whines and complains:

     

     

    “The linked story does not say that.”

    ——————————————————————————————————————————

     

    Here’s what the linked story says Kit:

     

    “Two years ago, chemicals spilled off a Chesapeake well site in
    Louisiana, contaminating a nearby stream and killing more than a dozen
    cattle.”

     

    The original story says:

     

    In Louisiana fracking fluid made it to a pasture killing 17 cows at the farm.

     

    ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

    One news story just says “more than a dozen cattle” were killed.
    The second news story actually gives us the exact number of animals killed– 17 cows died from water contaminated with fracking fluid.
    Last time I checked 17 fits into the definition of  “more than a dozen” 
    What a bunch of  pointless nit-picking !!
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  40. By rrapier on June 14, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    mac said:

    What a bunch of  pointless nit-picking !!

     

    Well he can go nit-pick somewhere else for the next week. He won’t be posting here. At least if he does, it won’t stay up past the next time I log on. I have gotten far too many complaints and have put up with this far too long.

    RR

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  41. By Rufus on June 14, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    The Coburn amendment just failed.

    I think a lot of Republicans bailed to support the Thune/Klobuchar Bill.

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  42. By savro on June 14, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Congrats, Rufus. Our Energy Ticker was just updated to reflect the killing of the bill.

    P.S. Kit, you better watch yourself. Learn to treat others with a little respect or your posts will get deleted.

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  43. By Kit P on June 14, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    Post deleted because Kit doesn’t know how not to be a jerk — RR

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  44. By Rufus on June 14, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    In reality, money-wise, there’s hardly any difference between the T/K Bill, and the Coburn Amendment.

    Coburn, basically, won. The ethanol supporters have managed to salvage a little bit for cellulosic, and blender pumps. Probably less than 20%.

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  45. By Rufus on June 14, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Actually, probably less than 10%.

    Then, there’s this:

    Averaged over four weeks, gasoline use was 1 percent below the same period in 2010, John Gamel, director of economic analysis for SpendingPulse, said in a report. It was the 12th consecutive decline in the average.

    Mastercard – Spending pulse

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  46. By Kit P on June 14, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    Post deleted because Kit doesn’t know how not to be a jerk — RR

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  47. By OD on June 14, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    France Set to Ban Fracking

    They of course have that luxury, because of their high utilization of nuclear power. If we were getting 75% of our electricity from nukes, we could probably poo-poo fracking too. I don’t necessarily support fracking, but it is a resource we will need to continue to tap, unless we change course, or someone will be doing without. I will also guess all those against it in my state, will not be signing up to get their gas shut off if there are shortages hah. People are a lot of talk until it becomes personal, or so it seems.

    I was reading more about China’s coal situation. I had not realized their coal consumption had doubled in under a decade. I believe it was right around 5 years. Yowza! That is either truly amazing or truly horrific depending on your POV. I’ll go with the latter :-)

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  48. By mac on June 15, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    OD said:

    “I don’t necessarily support fracking, but it is a resource we will need to continue to tap, unless we change course, or someone will be doing without. I will also guess all those against it in my state, will not be signing up to get their gas shut off if there are shortages hah.”

    Well, oddly enough, I do support fracking. More than half of my household energy comes from natural gas. My nat gas bill is bigger than the my electric bill.

    The incident where 17 cows in Louisiana were killed by drinking water contaminated by fracking fluids is unfortunate. But this was just an above ground accident and these things happen every day in many industries. The drilling company will no doubt re-imburse the rancher/dairy farmer for his 17 cows and will probably give him some additional money for “greif and mental anguish”

    This accident occurred above ground. Look, Industrial accidents happen in every industry every day. No big deal. So what ?

    The problem is that aquifers in the Northeastern states are being systematically contaminated with fracking fluids and methane, The well casings are inadequate and the water table is being polluted, When you can draw a sink full of dish water, then throw a lit match into it and it catches fire …. then I would say that “fracking” is a problem.

    If you can’t drill down through the aquifer to the nat gas “mother-load” without contaminating every-ones drinking water and water used to irrigate crops —then we have a problem.

    The French Senate will not decide the fate of the anti-fracking bill until July when the French parliament returns from summer recess. Already, there is a loophole in the bill. Shale gas exploration is not prohibited in the French bill. So, if a shall gas exploration company wants to continue shale exploration, they can. just leave out the word “fracking” in their application “S’il vous plait”

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  49. By Optimist on June 16, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    According to This Academic Study, Optimist,

    Ethanol lowered the cost of a gallon of gasoline by $0.89/gal last year.

    135 Billion X $0.89 = $120 Billion and change.

    Not bad for a $6 Billion investment, eh

    What are you, a standup comic? $0.89/gal? How do you type that with a straight face? ROFLOL!

    About that academic study: let’s count the conflicts of interest:

    1. This report updates the findings in Du and Hayes 2009… Let’s see Du and Hayes updates a study by Du and Hayes. Sound like it got valid peer review, doesn’t it?

    2. Xiaodong Du is an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dermot Hayes is a professor of economics and of finance at Iowa State University. Yes, Iowa is a great place to go for objective opinions about ethanol.

    3. The authors acknowledge the Renewable Fuel Association for their financial support. The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Renewable Fuel Association. The views expressed do not necessarily represent the views of the Renewable Fuel Association? Tell me another…

    4. The paper is short on the actual method used, making it hard to challenge the method.


    5. We treat ethanol as a perfect substitute for gasoline… Ha, ha, ha.

    As RR pointed out before, when you look at the numbers, there is no indication that increased ethanol production put a visible dent in oil imports. Enough said.

    So let’s all hope the $6 billion subsidy disappears from the budget. That way, we’ll soon know if it saved us any money at all. I won’t be holding my breath.

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  50. By Optimist on June 16, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Post deleted because Kit doesn’t know how not to be a jerk — RR

    Unfortunately, truer words were never written.

    Kit, you do add an interesting POV. Now if you can just lose that why-can’t-you-simpletons-see-it-my-way-since-I-alone-undertsand-it-all tone, it would be great to have you around…Wink

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