1. Joined
    06 Mar '12
    Moves
    625
    24 Feb '14 18:08
    This sounds like it could be made into a cost effective way to make biofuels without displacing food crops:

    http://phys.org/news/2014-02-cheaper-second-generation-biofuel-cars.html

    The acid they use is called RHSO3H but, since this is made with the help of of silicon compound, does the R in RHSO3H contain silicon?
  2. Subscribersonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    slatington, pa, usa
    Joined
    28 Dec '04
    Moves
    52619
    24 Feb '14 19:381 edit
    Originally posted by humy
    This sounds like it could be made into a cost effective way to make biofuels without displacing food crops:

    http://phys.org/news/2014-02-cheaper-second-generation-biofuel-cars.html

    The acid they use is called RHSO3H but, since this is made with the help of of silicon compound, does the R in RHSO3H contain silicon?
    So the precursor is Chlorosulfonic acid which has no silicon, the silicon is driven in later. The R might mean something else to chemists since there is no R in the periodic table and RH I think is Ruthenium so that is out. R might mean some kind of process, re-something or other, Google was no help since it is a brand new compound.
    I think we would have to get in touch with the authors to find anything else about that compound.

    So one dude in that article is Per Morgen and and I emailed him our question as to what is R.
  3. Cape Town
    Joined
    14 Apr '05
    Moves
    52945
    26 Feb '14 07:16
    Originally posted by humy
    This sounds like it could be made into a cost effective way to make biofuels without displacing food crops:
    Bio-fuels are a mistake. They exist for entirely political reasons (subsidies, delaying electric cars, etc) As such, they will continue to displace food crops. Besides, if they do not displace food crops, then they will displace something else - presumably land that is valuable for other reasons. Solar is a much more efficient converter of sunlight than plants are.

    The production of biogas from waste material however is another matter.
  4. Joined
    06 Mar '12
    Moves
    625
    26 Feb '14 08:477 edits
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Bio-fuels are a mistake. They exist for entirely political reasons (subsidies, delaying electric cars, etc) As such, they will continue to displace food crops. Besides, if they do not displace food crops, then they will displace something else - presumably land that is valuable for other reasons. Solar is a much more efficient converter of sunlight than plants are.

    The production of biogas from waste material however is another matter.
    I am pretty surprised you made this post!

    As such, they will continue to displace food crops

    How do you know this? What barrier is preventing one being developed that uses inedible organic waste left over from farming (just like the method mentioned in that link! ) thus doesn't compete with food crops?

    Besides, if they do not displace food crops, then they will displace something else - presumably land that is valuable for other reasons

    If you just read the link, this is simply not true. The land can be both used for food crops AND the organic waste left over from crowing food crops from the very SAME land can be converted to biofuel!

    The link says:

    “....”Cellulose is very difficult to break down, and therefore cannot directly be used as a food source. Cellulose is found everywhere in nature in rich quantities, for example in the stems of the corn plant. If we can produce bioethanol from the corn stems and keep the corn cubs for food, we have come a long way",
    ...”

    -and then they explain how they can do this.

    They exist for entirely political reasons (subsidies, delaying electric cars, etc)

    What? Biofuel are for “delaying electric cars, etc”? Do you REALLY believe that could credibly be true!? I think that is pretty absurd and extremely unlikely that they had that in particular in mind. WHY would the researchers credibly and deliberately want to delay electric cars in particular? -since they are researching biofuels, we can assume they are probably not being funded by the big oil companies and I fail to see how they would benefit from doing research on something that would allow cars to run on biafuels rather than from doing research on something that would allow all-electric cars.
    And, Even if biofuels really did "exist for entirely political reasons" was true, why would that matter? Hypothetically, would you be also against solar power if companies and governments sanctioned the development of solar power “for entirely political reasons “?
    What really matters here is NOT the motive but the EFFECT of the policies!

    Solar is a much more efficient converter of sunlight than plants are.

    Yes, and that would become increasingly true in the next few years as solar cells become ever more energy efficient. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't take advantage of waste plant material for producing biofuels.
    The production of biogas from waste material however is another matter.

    Why? Why would you think the production of biogas from waste material might be generally be better than production of liquid biofuel from waste material? I fail to see much fundamental difference between the two that would make you more inclined to support one but not the other.
  5. Cape Town
    Joined
    14 Apr '05
    Moves
    52945
    26 Feb '14 09:31
    Originally posted by humy
    How do you know this? What barrier is preventing one being developed that uses inedible organic waste left over from farming (just like the method mentioned in that link! ) thus doesn't compete with food crops?
    Nothing is stopping it, but as long as the reason for bio-fuels existence remains the same, food crops or their land, will continue to be used.

    If you just read the link, this is simply not true. The land can be both used for food crops AND the organic waste left over from crowing food crops from the very SAME land can be converted to biofuel!
    As I say, it depends on the motivation. If farmers are trying to save money by utilizing their waste, then it will happen. If however the main drive is to create more bio-fuels, then farmers will try to maximize profits by growing crops specifically for bio-fuels.

    What? Biofuel are for “delaying electric cars, etc”? Do you REALLY believe that could credibly be true!?
    Yes. How else do you explain the US bio-fuel industry?

    I think that is pretty absurd and extremely unlikely that they had that in particular in mind.
    Why?

    WHY would the researchers credibly and deliberately want to delay electric cars in particular? -since they are researching biofuels, we can assume they are probably not being funded by the big oil companies and I fail to see how they would benefit from doing research on something that would allow cars to run on biafuels rather than from doing research on something that would allow all-electric cars.
    I think the research is pushed by government policy, so in some ways yes, they are in the pay of big oil.
    Current biofuel production uses more fossil fuels to produce than the amount of biofuels produced.
    In addition, the fuel car vs electric car situation is a lot more than just fuel, its also about car maintenance. Electric cars need a lot less parts and maintenance, so car manufacturers and parts suppliers stand to loose out.

    And, Even if biofuels really did "exist for entirely political reasons" was true, why would that matter?
    Because they are generally a big mistake and they are sucking research efforts and subsidies from where it should be.
    As I said, this isn't all biofuels, biogas from waste is starting to be a big thing.

    Hypothetically, would you be also against solar power if companies and governments sanctioned the development of solar power “for entirely political reasons “?
    If it was the wrong thing to do, yes.

    Yes, and that would become increasingly true in the next few years as solar cells become ever more energy efficient. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't take advantage of waste plant material for producing biofuels.
    If only waste is being used, and its cost effective, then I have no objections. I still think however that cars should go electric, and these biofuels should be used for power production on farms rather than for cars. Is this particular method more efficient than bio-gas production?

    Why? Why would you think the production of biogas from waste material might be generally be better than production of liquid biofuel from waste material? I fail to see much fundamental difference between the two that would make you more inclined to support one but not the other.
    Biogas production is proven technology, uses farm waste of all sorts, and is not motivated by the wrong things. However, it too, could presumably be misused by using food crops.
  6. Cape Town
    Joined
    14 Apr '05
    Moves
    52945
    26 Feb '14 09:40
    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/big-oils-big-lies-about-alternative-energy-20130625

    Search the article for 'biofuel'.
  7. Joined
    06 Mar '12
    Moves
    625
    26 Feb '14 10:303 edits
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/big-oils-big-lies-about-alternative-energy-20130625

    Search the article for 'biofuel'.
    So some big oil companies for selfishly or possibly political reasons invest in biofuels -that just means they may arguably be doing the right thing for the wrong reason and it certainly doesn't mean we should not invest in something just because someone else is doing it for questionable or bad motives.

    One of the oil companies actually invested in solar power ( "...It's worth mentioning one slight exception to the trend: France's Total, the world's 9th-largest oil company, which greatly increased its solar operations in the last year...." ) ; perhaps that was for selfish-profit motive or a political or even a purely propaganda motive? If so, so what? If someone promotes solar power for bad motives, that is no more a mark against solar power than someone promotes biofuels for bad motives is a mark against biofuels and certainly cannot be used as a reason to not have or use biofuels. In fact, it is totally irrelevant to the issue.

    It is just a matter of time (perhaps just ~20 years time? ) before a cheap economical way is found to convert waste plant matter not used for food into liquid biofuel rather than go to complete waste -surely, when that happens, it would be stupid not to use it! And, of course, that would not mean we couldn't have solar power as well -the two are not mutually exclusive! I think much research and development should be done into BOTH solar and biofuels carefully excluding biofuels from sources that compete with food production.
  8. Cape Town
    Joined
    14 Apr '05
    Moves
    52945
    26 Feb '14 11:32
    Originally posted by humy
    So some big oil companies for selfishly or possibly political reasons invest in biofuels -that just means they may arguably be doing the right thing for the wrong reason and it certainly doesn't mean we should not invest in something just because someone else is doing it for questionable or bad motives.
    I was responding to:
    -since they are researching biofuels, we can assume they are probably not being funded by the big oil companies and I fail to see how they would benefit from doing research on something that would allow cars to run on biafuels rather than from doing research on something that would allow all-electric cars.
  9. Cape Town
    Joined
    14 Apr '05
    Moves
    52945
    26 Feb '14 11:34
    Originally posted by humy
    I think much research and development should be done into BOTH solar and biofuels carefully excluding biofuels from sources that compete with food production.
    Maybe so, but the danger is that the oil companies and others would like us to delay the advent of solar and others by making us focus on the wrong things. A similar tactic was the 'hydrogen economy' once touted in the US as the next big thing. I was impressed by how much they managed to mislead even the scientific community on this.
  10. Joined
    06 Mar '12
    Moves
    625
    26 Feb '14 13:151 edit
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I was responding to:
    -since they are researching biofuels, we can assume they are probably not being funded by the big oil companies and I fail to see how they would benefit from doing research on something that would allow cars to run on biafuels rather than from doing research on something that would allow all-electric cars.
    From that link, do you think that Per Morgen, professor at the Institute of Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy, University of Southern Denmark, is being funded by an oil company? Is there any evidence of this?
  11. Joined
    06 Mar '12
    Moves
    625
    26 Feb '14 13:276 edits
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Maybe so, but the danger is that the oil companies and others would like us to delay the advent of solar and others by making us focus on the wrong things. A similar tactic was the 'hydrogen economy' once touted in the US as the next big thing. I was impressed by how much they managed to mislead even the scientific community on this.
    I am and was never ever impressed or convinced by the hydrogen economy hype. I have always believed hydrogen power, except for powering aircraft in the far future, to be an extremely flawed strategy to pursue -not because of profit-motive or politics but rather for purely scientific reasons (like it being much harder to store than, say, organic liquid biofuel, and there being no need for such high energy density except perhaps in aircraft and the fact that hydrogen is a greenhouse gas!!! ) .

    But, regardless of politics and bad motives of many, the fact remains, as soon as it becomes cheap enough, liquid biofuel made from waste not from sources that compete in anyway directly or indirectly with food production will be used in the future to the benefit of humanity.

    And there is no reason why we cannot introduce laws, if where and when necessary, to make sure that the biofuel technology is not abused by oil companies. Therefore, the possibility of oil companies of abusing the technology can never be a rational reason to reject it because, rather than reject a technology because someone can abuse it, we can put a stop to any such abuse. The possibility of someone abusing technology is never, by itself, a rational reason to reject technology when you can make and enforce laws to stop such abuse. I have heard of the same irrational argument made against GM as well as nuclear power -there can be a rational reason to reject making a particular nuclear power plant, but that is not one of them!

    the danger is that the oil companies and others would like us to delay the advent of solar and others by making us focus on the wrong things.

    If that is what they are trying to do, they have already failed because we can be 'focused' on more than one thing (such as BOTH solar AND biofuel ) and we certainly haven't abandoned solar power. And why is biofuel one of the 'wrong' things to 'focus' on anyway? Why cannot BOTH biofuel AND solar play a part in renewable energy in the future? I completely fail to see any conflict between the two. For example, perhaps, in the future, SOME cars could run on biofuel and the rest be purely electric and see no reason why we cannot have both nor be forced to make a choice of ALL of them being just one or just the other. that may be the best strategy if there is not enough waste organic material to make enough biofuel to run ALL the cars because there certainly will be enough to run at least SOME of them so why not?
  12. Cape Town
    Joined
    14 Apr '05
    Moves
    52945
    26 Feb '14 14:142 edits
    Originally posted by humy
    From that link, do you think that Per Morgen, professor at the Institute of Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy, University of Southern Denmark, is being funded by an oil company? Is there any evidence of this?
    I have no idea. What I said was that if big oil is promoting biofuels politically, and Per Morgen is being paid by the government, then effectively, he is being paid by tax payers, but because of big oil. But I admit I do not know much about Denmarks politics. Maybe you can tell me what the political pressures are in Denmark that are causing them to fund research into biofuels.
    Nevertheless, your argument that big oil would not fund such research for selfish reasons is clearly not valid. They do fund such research specifically because they know that it is the least likely form of 'green energy' to ever be successful and be a threat to their core business. Thus it gets them 'green credit' without threatening their business model.
  13. Cape Town
    Joined
    14 Apr '05
    Moves
    52945
    26 Feb '14 14:31
    Originally posted by humy
    I am and was never ever impressed or convinced by the hydrogen economy hype. I have always believed hydrogen power, except for powering aircraft in the far future, to be an extremely flawed strategy to pursue -not because of profit-motive or politics but rather for purely scientific reasons (like it being much harder to store than, say, organic liquid biofuel, ...[text shortened]... energy density except perhaps in aircraft and the fact that hydrogen is a greenhouse gas!!! ) .
    If both you and I could see the flaws, do you agree with me then that the hype must have been politically motivated - and possibly with the aim of sending research down the wrong path in order to delay action on the right path?

    But, regardless of politics and bad motives of many, the fact remains, as soon as it becomes cheap enough, liquid biofuel made from waste not from sources that compete in anyway directly or indirectly with food production will be used in the future to the benefit of humanity.
    And I concede that biogas, which is a biofuel produced from farm waste, makes sense. I have looked into it in the past and discussed it with my sister who is a farmer in Zambia. It is something worth considering even in Zambia.

    And there is no reason why we cannot introduce laws, if where and when necessary, to make sure that the biofuel technology is not abused by oil companies.
    My main concerns are:
    1. the political focus on it, takes away focus from better alternatives. This is not something you can deal with using laws.
    I had a look around the web and it seems that the focus on biofuels in the US is because of key states with regards to elections whose farmers essentially blackmail the government into subsidizing the biofuel industry in return for votes.
    2. if it becomes big business, it will be abused, and it will use food crops or land formerly used by food crops pushing up food prices. The problem is that in many countries big business influences the laws.

    I have heard of the same irrational argument made against GM as well as nuclear power -there can be a rational reason to reject making a particular nuclear power plant, but that is not one of them!
    Good luck enforcing non-proliferation of nuclear technology. Your laws have not been successful there.

    If that is what they are trying to do, they have already failed because we can be 'focused' on more than one thing (such as BOTH solar AND biofuel ) and we certainly haven't abandoned solar power.
    No, they have not failed, they have so far succeeded. There in no doubt that the US was left behind in terms of solar and electric cars specifically because of such tactics by big oil and car manufacturers in the US. They do it because it works.

    that may be the best strategy if there is not enough waste organic material to make enough biofuel to run ALL the cars because there certainly will be enough to run at least SOME of them so why not?
    As I say, there is nothing inherently wrong with the idea if it can be made cost effective and is not abused and does not take the focus of other things - but I am not convinced that it will be abused less than it is already.
  14. Joined
    06 Mar '12
    Moves
    625
    26 Feb '14 15:463 edits
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    If both you and I could see the flaws, do you agree with me then that the hype must have been politically motivated - and possibly with the aim of sending research down the wrong path in order to delay action on the right path?

    [b]But, regardless of politics and bad motives of many, the fact remains, as soon as it becomes cheap enough, liquid biofuel m ...[text shortened]... e focus of other things - but I am not convinced that it will be abused less than it is already.
    We are in partial agreement here I think.

    If both you and I could see the flaws, do you agree with me then that the hype must have been politically motivated

    I think to think that it must have been political could be jumping to conclusions. It could have little to do with politics (at least not initially ) and simply be that the hydrogen fuel enthusiasts genuinely and inadvertently fail to think this through logically to see the big flaws in the concept. I have a theory of psychologically why this is: Their simplistic thinking may have gone along the lines of first noting that hydrogen is the chemical fuel with the greatest possible energy density and, once that positive thought got into their heads, they become so fixated on that positive thought about it that they became blind to any negative but rationally based thoughts about the massive problems of hydrogen as a fuel.

    and possibly with the aim of sending research down the wrong path in order to delay action on the right path?

    I doubt it. I do not doubt some oil companies would think that way but I doubt most researchers think that way. I bet most science researchers researching hydrogen genuinely believe (and I would say generally delusionally so ) that it has great merit and are not doing it to delay solar which they probably believe in anyway even if they are paid by a big oil company! After all, often these hydrogen enthusiasts talk about and do research into using solar energy to create hydrogen fuel! If that works, how is THAT going to delay solar!? It would be solar -just not to produce electricity but rather hydrogen.
    There in no doubt that the US was left behind in terms of solar and electric cars specifically because of such tactics by big oil and car manufacturers in the US. They do it because it works.

    But I don't see how that would work for much longer. As soon as producing electricity from solar becomes much cheaper than from fossil fuel (which I think could happen in about ~20 years time ) , even with no political support, simple economics would make it inevitable that the energy market will adapt solar in father over fossil fuel. And then I doubt there would be a single propaganda trick left for the oil companies to stop that. They can deceive all they like but, at the end of the day, they will not get past economic reality.

    I also don't see why it would be too difficult for a country to enforce a law to ban imports of biofuels from sources that compete with food production but not ban imports of biofuel from more sustainable sources.
  15. Subscribersonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    slatington, pa, usa
    Joined
    28 Dec '04
    Moves
    52619
    26 Feb '14 16:083 edits
    Originally posted by humy
    We are in partial agreement here I think.

    If both you and I could see the flaws, do you agree with me then that the hype must have been politically motivated

    I think to think that it must have been political could be jumping to conclusions. It could have little to do with politics (at least not initially ) and simply be that the hydrog ...[text shortened]... y can deceive all they like but, at the end of the day, they will not get past economic reality.
    Solar is developing at a very rapid rate as you can see by all the recent articles in Phy.org. I don't think it will be 20 years before solar beats fossil fuel in price. I don't think, however, it will be silicon that wins that bet, but organic PV cells, they are improving almost on a daily basis and can be manufactured with simple screen printing type technology.

    Here is one example of recent work in optics:

    http://phys.org/news/2014-02-optical-nanocavity-boost-absorption-semiconductors.html

    And this from 2013 about organic cells maybe as cheap as paint (not likely any time soon but a nice thought)

    http://phys.org/news/2013-05-solar-panels-inexpensive-due.html#nRlv
Back to Top