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Posts tagged “reader submission”

By Robert Rapier on Sep 27, 2006 with no responses

Ammonia and Biofuels

The following is a guest post by Dave Bradley, who has some very good technical essays on wind power here. Dave introduced himself to me via e-mail several months ago, and after exchanging a few e-mails in which we covered many technical issues, it became clear that we share a number of very similar interests. One of Dave’s essays that caught my attention involved the very interesting idea of using excess wind power to make methanol, ethanol, or even ammonium nitrate fertilizer. But Dave doesn’t just throw an idea out there; he gets into the important technical details. I mentioned this paper in my essay on Compressed Air Energy Storage. Dave explains in the following essay how we could use… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Sep 2, 2006 with no responses

Addressing Proposition 87 Criticisms

Background Voters in California will go to the polls in November to decide the fate of Proposition 87, also known as the Clean Energy Initiative. However, the ramifications of this proposition have the potential to be felt nationwide. I have previously written a pair of essays on Proposition 87 that you can find here and here. My position is not so much that I am against Prop 87, and I am certainly not against the intent of Prop 87. But I do have concerns about the proposition, which are explained in my previous essays. In response to my essays, Dr. Ana Unruh Cohen, former Rhodes Scholar and the Director of Environmental Policy at the Center for American Progress, asked if… Continue»

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 Jul 19, 2006 with no responses

Response to E-mail

I tend to get a wide variety of e-mails, a fair number of which detail issues that I seem to have overlooked. I received the e-mail below about a week ago after a brief exchange with the author, and I asked his permission to address it in a blog entry. He granted permission today, but wishes to remain anonymous. The reason for addressing this in a blog entry is that there are a number of issues here that come up fairly frequently in e-mails, so I wanted to address them publicly. First, his e-mail, modified to remove his identity: Robert, As history has shown, the more instability in the Middle East, the more unstable oil prices become. We have spent… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jun 2, 2006 with 1 response

E85, M85, or Gasoline?

Introduction Joseph Miglietta has sent me a new essay, this time getting into some of the advantages and disadvantages of methanol. I do believe that long-term we are likely to see more methanol come online to meet our energy needs, because the route from coal is pretty straightforward, and we have vast coal reserves. I believe the economics of coal-based methanol are better than for coal-to-liquids, so we may see more plants converting coal to methanol, like Sasol’s in South Africa. First, a quick bit of trivia. Joseph mentions Robert Zubrin in his essay. For those who haven’t heard of Dr. Zubrin, here is a brief biography: Robert Zubrin at Wikipedia Dr. Zubrin is president of the Mars Society, and… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on May 30, 2006 with no responses

Joseph Miglietta On E85

Introduction Joseph sent me the following two pro-E85 essays after I published E85: Spinning Our Wheels. I have broken up his posts into Part I and Part II. I may make some comments later, but for now I will simply post them as written (with a bit of formatting). I plan on finishing up an essay specifically comparing the U.S. ethanol situation to that of Brazil, and hopefully will have it posted by the end of the week. I believe my calculations on this will provide a dose of reality to those who think Brazil’s ethanol program is the model for the direction we should take. Anyway, here is the pro-E85 position from Joseph Miglietta. Part I by Joseph Miglietta… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on May 28, 2006 with no responses

Miglietta’s Closing Statement

Introduction Joseph sent me a pair of essays: The one below and one on E85. I will post the one on E85 within a few days. I don’t plan to post a rebuttal to the following essay, but I will address one item in the comments below the essay. Previous Essays Ethanol Debate Challenge Miglietta First Response Rapier First Response Miglietta Second Response Rapier Final Response Miglietta’s Second Response My closing Statements On The Ethanol Debate I am sure that in the coming years we will address conservation gradually ever more with more efficient, and fuel-diversified vehicles, including hybrids and plug-ins. Also, public transportation may assume a more important role. Oil reserves, even with China and India’s ever-increasing consumption, may… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on May 24, 2006 with no responses

Rapier Second Response to Miglietta

In Joseph’s second response, he didn’t bring up new material related to ethanol that wasn’t addressed in my first response. He did bring up some other issues that are worth addressing, but this response will be briefer than my initial reply. Joseph’s responses are in block quotes below. JM: Mass transportation has been around with us even before the advent of personal vehicles. I find mass transportation acceptable as a free choice but not as an imposing substitution to our personal vehicle. If the time came that we no longer have this choice, then I consider we reached a point of regression; we have failed in our ability to make technological advancement. But I consider our resourcefulness inextinguishable. The problem… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on May 21, 2006 with no responses

Miglietta’s Second Response

Introduction Joseph sent the response below via e-mail. I have done a bit of formatting, but otherwise it is exactly as received. I will respond by the end of the week. As always, feel free to add your comments following his essay. Joseph’s first reference is a paper written by him that I have hosted for now at Sharelor. I learned today that it is very difficult to find a free file hosting service. The first one I tried made you wade through a ton of ads. The second had porn popups, which wasn’t apparent until you were trying to download the file. Finally, I found Sharelor, which is actually pretty good. The file is a 1.2 meg PDF. It… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on May 18, 2006 with no responses

Rapier Response to Miglietta

Introduction First of all, I would like to thank Joseph Miglietta for taking up my Ethanol Debate Challenge. I firmly believe that the best way to get to evaluate some of these claims is by having an open debate, with both sides presenting their arguments, and defending them from criticisms. If you are already an ethanol believer, you aren’t going to be convinced by FAQs from the American Petroleum Institute. Likewise, if you are already an ethanol skeptic, you aren’t going to be convinced by FAQs from the American Coalition for Ethanol. But, head to head exchanges offer a chance to critique the other side and determine whether the arguments hold up. I agree with some of what Joseph writes,… Continue»