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Posts tagged “cellulosic ethanol”

By Robert Rapier on Aug 23, 2006 with no responses

Guest Post on Cellulosic Ethanol

The following is a guest post by Don Augenstein and John Benemann. They have many years of expertise in biomass conversion. This essay is in response to Vinod Khosla’s recent posting on ethanol. In my opinion, it is an excellent essay. First is the introduction by Don Augenstein. Introduction This post presents a perspective on ethanol from lignocellulose by my friend and co-worker, John Benemann. We have worked on, and been immersed in, biofuels and analyses of fuels from biomass processes for over 3 decades. We are to substantial degrees biotechnologists, as well as chemical engineers and have successful processes going today (methane from wastes. You can google Don Augenstein). We have worked long and hard on biofuels for entities… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Aug 10, 2006 with no responses

Xethanol Story

Xethanol Debunked (Updated 8-11-06 to dissect XNL News Release) In case you didn’t see it, earlier this week the website Sharesleuth.com posted a blistering exposé of Xethanol (XNL: AMEX): Xethanol Corp A recent press release from Xethanol describes the company as follows: Xethanol Corporation’s goal is to be a leader in the emerging biomass-to-ethanol and biofuels industry. Xethanol’s mission is to optimize the use of biomass in the renewable energy field and convert biomass that is currently being abandoned or land filled into ethanol and other valuable co-products, especially xylitol. Xethanol’s strategy is to deploy proprietary biotechnologies that will extract and ferment the sugars trapped in these biomass waste concentrations. Xethanol’s strategic value proposition is to produce ethanol and valuable… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Aug 8, 2006 with no responses

Imagining the Future of Gasoline

The essay below was cross-posted to The Oil Drum. Mr. Khosla is opening up his ethanol ideas to public criticism, which is a good thing for all parties. We have been debating these issues via phone and e-mail for quite a while now, and it is time to open up the debate to a wider audience. Enjoy. ——————- One thing I strongly believe in is the issue of fairness. I enjoy a good scientific debate, and I find that the best debates are those in which opposing sides are honestly presented. With this in mind, below I present Vinod Khosla’s vision of our energy future. If you are like me, you will find aspects of agreement, and aspects of disagreement,… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jul 29, 2006 with no responses

A Conversation with Vinod Khosla

Introduction and Background In my recent essay Vinod Khosla Debunked, I challenged Mr. Khosla to a written debate on his recent ethanol claims. Mr. Khosla e-mailed me shortly after that essay appeared, and offered to discuss the matter by phone. I wanted to first make sure he understood my objections, so we exchanged several e-mails in which I spelled them out. Finally, he called this morning and we spent about an hour and a half on the phone. There was very little small talk – no chit chat, jokes, or laughter. We got right down to business. I took a lot of notes, and I will try to reproduce the conversation. He encouraged me to report on what we talked… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jul 24, 2006 with 3 responses

Vinod Khosla Debunked

Update: Vinod Khosla and I have discussed his claims. That conversation is documented here. Who is Vinod Khosla? When an influential person begins to affect energy policy decisions – decisions that will have a huge impact on all of our lives – we better take a critical look at the claims that person is pushing. You can’t discuss ethanol for long with an ethanol proponent without having them mention the endorsement of Vinod Khosla. If you don’t know who Khosla is, here are a couple of blurbs from his Wikipedia biography: Vinod Khosla is an Indian American venture capitalist who is considered one of the most successful and influential personalities in Silicon Valley. He was one of the co-founders of… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jun 20, 2006 with no responses

More Ethanol Critics Emerge

I am in the process of writing a pro-ethanol story (no, that’s not a typo). However, before I do, I want to highlight a pair of anti-ethanol articles that were just published. Thanks to Robert Schwartz for bringing these to my attention. The first article echoes many of the arguments I have made here on E85, and the second article discusses arguments I have made regarding Brazil’s “miracle”. It warms my heart to see that these arguments are picking up steam. The first comes from Car and Driver, and is entitled Tech Stuff: Ethanol Promises. The article opens by explaining that, like it or not, ethanol is going to increase its market share as a result of government mandates: The… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on May 8, 2006 with 1 response

Daschle and Khosla Ethanol Propaganda

I just read an Op-Ed piece in The New York Times by Tom Daschle and Vinod Khosla. The editorial is Miles Per Cob, (1) and is one of the dumbest things I have run across in a long, long time. I can’t actually believe such garbage makes it into print, and I have to wonder whether it will actually convince anyone. Let’s break it down. Our addiction to oil underlies the greatest threats to our country’s stability and prosperity: we pump billions of dollars into fundamentalist “petrolist” regimes in the Middle East and release into the atmosphere carbon from petroleum products, perpetuating global warming and aggravating natural disasters from the Gulf Coast to the Indian Ocean. OK, I am with… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Mar 25, 2006 with 2 responses

Ethanol from Biomass: A Sustainable Option?

The Promise of Cellulosic Ethanol I have mentioned a couple of times the research I was involved in during graduate school. I have provided a couple of links (under “Links”) that describe this research in detail. Briefly, we were trying to turn biomass (switchgrass, corn stover, wheat straw, and municipal solid waste) into ethanol and various organic acids and ketones. Biomass consists of many organic components, but it is primarily the cellulose component that gets turned into ethanol, hence the term cellulosic ethanol. Cellulosic ethanol has two major advantages, and one major disadvantage over ethanol from grain. The first major advantage is that large fossil fuel inputs in the form of fertilizer are not required to produce the biomass. Therefore,… Continue»