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BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?

JohnInKansas 31 May 07 - 07:08 AM
JohnInKansas 31 May 07 - 07:09 AM
JohnInKansas 31 May 07 - 07:11 AM
JohnInKansas 31 May 07 - 07:12 AM
Wilfried Schaum 31 May 07 - 07:41 AM
JohnInKansas 31 May 07 - 08:09 AM
dick greenhaus 31 May 07 - 09:05 AM
saulgoldie 31 May 07 - 09:11 AM
skipy 31 May 07 - 09:22 AM
MMario 31 May 07 - 09:34 AM
Stilly River Sage 31 May 07 - 09:36 AM
KB in Iowa 31 May 07 - 09:59 AM
EBarnacle 31 May 07 - 10:08 AM
The Fooles Troupe 31 May 07 - 10:47 AM
Bill D 31 May 07 - 11:06 AM
dick greenhaus 31 May 07 - 11:29 AM
open mike 31 May 07 - 11:40 AM
KB in Iowa 31 May 07 - 12:19 PM
MMario 31 May 07 - 12:33 PM
McGrath of Harlow 31 May 07 - 12:40 PM
McGrath of Harlow 31 May 07 - 12:41 PM
GUEST,petr 31 May 07 - 12:54 PM
CarolC 31 May 07 - 01:05 PM
Bill D 31 May 07 - 01:25 PM
McGrath of Harlow 31 May 07 - 01:28 PM
GUEST,mg 31 May 07 - 02:36 PM
Spot 31 May 07 - 02:58 PM
dick greenhaus 31 May 07 - 05:12 PM
Bill D 31 May 07 - 06:49 PM
JohnInKansas 31 May 07 - 06:57 PM
GUEST,Cruz 01 Jun 07 - 12:31 AM
Bill D 01 Jun 07 - 08:19 AM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Jun 07 - 08:32 AM
Bill D 01 Jun 07 - 09:28 AM
Alice 01 Jun 07 - 09:37 AM
Grab 01 Jun 07 - 11:32 AM
CarolC 01 Jun 07 - 12:02 PM
MMario 01 Jun 07 - 12:16 PM
CarolC 01 Jun 07 - 02:08 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Jun 07 - 02:22 PM
JohnInKansas 01 Jun 07 - 11:41 PM
CarolC 02 Jun 07 - 12:21 AM
JohnInKansas 02 Jun 07 - 01:04 AM
CarolC 02 Jun 07 - 02:29 AM
JohnInKansas 02 Jun 07 - 05:33 AM
CarolC 02 Jun 07 - 02:48 PM
CarolC 02 Jun 07 - 02:52 PM
CarolC 02 Jun 07 - 03:57 PM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Jun 07 - 04:45 PM
Alice 03 Jun 07 - 01:29 PM
dick greenhaus 03 Jun 07 - 01:39 PM
Stringsinger 03 Jun 07 - 01:52 PM
Alice 03 Jun 07 - 02:02 PM
Alice 03 Jun 07 - 02:04 PM
CarolC 03 Jun 07 - 02:44 PM
CarolC 03 Jun 07 - 02:53 PM
GUEST,mg 03 Jun 07 - 04:02 PM
GUEST,mg 03 Jun 07 - 08:09 PM
GUEST,Mr Squinty 03 Jun 07 - 08:13 PM
dick greenhaus 03 Jun 07 - 08:29 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Jun 07 - 08:41 PM
Alice 03 Jun 07 - 08:42 PM
Alice 03 Jun 07 - 09:00 PM
Ebbie 04 Jun 07 - 01:23 AM
JohnInKansas 04 Jun 07 - 02:18 AM
Ebbie 04 Jun 07 - 02:35 AM
JohnInKansas 04 Jun 07 - 03:08 AM
Ebbie 04 Jun 07 - 12:49 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Jun 07 - 04:07 PM
GUEST, Ebbie 04 Jun 07 - 06:59 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Jun 07 - 07:08 PM
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Subject: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 31 May 07 - 07:08 AM

By now probably everyone is aware of Willie Diesel (bioWillie) and the beneficial effects it's had on farm income in a few limited areas. As currently operating, and as projected for at least the short term, it's produced real benefits for a few cropland areas; but can't be expected to have a lot of impact as an alternative fuel source to displace petro-diesel nationwide or worldwide.

A somewhat larger petroleum demand impact may be possible with ethanol production, and startups of new ethanol plants have been booming. At present, ethanol can be efficiently produced only from grains, and the preferred grain is corn.

The few running ethanol plants in my home state of Kansas are already consuming more than half of the state's corn crop, and many new plants are being proposed and built. Farm production is already beginning to be switched from other needed crops to corn, in order to meet the demand of existing ethanol stills.

A problem that already is apparent is the requirement for greatly increased water supply for growing corn, compared to other crops being discontinued, and "water rights wars" that have been a constant presence for decades, if not for centuries, are beginning to look "puny" in the face of intense competition for water that can be predicted in the near future if present trends continue.

Modern corn crop production is also fertilizer intensive, leading to the possibility of massive increases in runoff polution – especially in areas where low-water corn cropping is attempted. As the most "efficient" fertilizers are produced from petroleum, the net gain – in terms of reducing petro dependency – from using ethanol is still unproven.

Beef farmers, in particular, have already seen increases of as much as 30% in corn-based feed costs, due to competition from existing ethanol plants. Other meat producers are beginning to be seriously concerned.

While there are some trade-offs that can be made in livestock feed, particularly by feeding production residues from ethanol plants back into the feed supply chain, the benefits and safety of using these residuals in large quantities will have to be demonstrated. Biodiesel production produces somewhat different residuals, which will have to separately validated for use as feeds or feed supplements.

One current study (Glycerin tested as alternative cattle feed) proposes using the glycerine byproduct from biodiesel production as an animal food, but admits that it is unknown how much of the product can be safely used as a feed additive, and also speculates that glycerine, being a globally used industrial product, may be quickly diverted to other uses, making it unavailable as an economical livestock feed supplement.

[more to come?]

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 31 May 07 - 07:09 AM

An immediate impact of increased US ethanol production has already been noted in international markets.

January 27, 2007

A Culinary and Cultural Staple in Crisis: Mexico Grapples With Soaring Prices for Corn -- and Tortillas

While the impact of rising corn prices has been fairly moderate in the US itself, rising corn prices here have already led to increased corn exports from Mexico, and presumedly from other countries where corn products are an essential staple food.

It appears, with only mild exaggeration, that exporters are willing to deprive their own population of necessary food in order to profit from an inflated export market.

It's difficult to assess the accuracy and real impact of a situation one is far removed from observing first hand, but the article does present the impression that marginal people who rely on corn products for ther very life are facing hardship.

[more to come?]

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 31 May 07 - 07:11 AM

The situation begins to get really serious:

May 29, 2007

Ethanol boom may fuel shortage of tequila: Mexican farmers burning agave fields and replanting them with corn

Could this have a long-term effect rivaling global warming?

One can burn the agave and get a corn crop in the next season; but I've understood that returning to the production of agave requires a multi-year buildup before crops sufficiently mature for harvest are produced.

It may be a one-way trip.

[more to come?]


John


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 31 May 07 - 07:12 AM

Now we're not joking around:

May 30, 2007

Biofuel brews up higher German beer prices: Farmers abandoning barley for crops that produce ethanol

I'm not sure some of us can face a future of this kind.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 31 May 07 - 07:41 AM

Yes, John - without tequila I could live sometimes although I like it very much, but the rising of the beer price is a horror scenario nobody had dared to dream of a year before. And this from the famous Ayinger!


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 31 May 07 - 08:09 AM

Well, I'll have to admit it was a rather long joke - with a fairly weak punchline; but it is cause for thought perhaps(?).

That damned "principle of the unexpected effects" thing, I believe it's called.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 31 May 07 - 09:05 AM

and corn is one of the least-effficient sources for ethanol, in terms of demands on land use, water demands and processing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: saulgoldie
Date: 31 May 07 - 09:11 AM

Biofuels is not the solution to the situation we are in. At best, they could only replace a small percentage of our fuel needs. And they steal valuable crops from other important uses, like as food. And the resources they consume greatly offset any gains.

The solution, love it or shove it is to get around in more fuel efficient ways, or get around less. Fewer miles, more people in each vehicle--pooling/buses/trains/subways--other modes like walking and cycling. (Flying is DEFINITELY on its way out.) These are not just pie in the sky. They are necessities. We have no choice. Even if we had enough biofuel, it is still burning which contributes to global warming.

Did I just hijack this thread? Sorry. I am passionate on the subject.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: skipy
Date: 31 May 07 - 09:22 AM

Flying is DEFINITELY on its way out!
Take a look at the number of new runways planned for the next 20 years!
Skipy


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: MMario
Date: 31 May 07 - 09:34 AM

The approach to biofuels being used is crazy - what needs to be done is find a weed species that can grow on marginal land WITHOUT additional water, fertilizer, etc that will process WITHOUT added energy costs (ie, natural fermentation).


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Subject: We Can't Afford Biofuels
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 31 May 07 - 09:36 AM

It may have started as a shaggy dog joke for John, but environmentalists have known for a long time that growing monoculture crops of corn to give oneself the undeserved pat-on-the-back for being more "environmentally friendly" by using ethanol is a pipe dream (and a Madison Avenue bonanza--so few people seem to be paying any attention to the man behind the curtain). The impact of the agriculture is in sum just as bad on the environment, and as he points out, subverts the local food crops. Much of the fertilizer they use is petroleum-based, so there is no savings in barrels of oil (plus all of that heavy farm equipment chugging up and down the fields as they hasten erosion).

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: KB in Iowa
Date: 31 May 07 - 09:59 AM

It also encourages even more fencerow to fencerow planting. This eliminates buffer strips that help filter out fertilizers and herbicides and also help slow erosion.

I was not enthusiastic about ethanol after I learned more about what it really means but now I am aghast! I had not considered the impact on beer prices. I say we man the baricades.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 31 May 07 - 10:08 AM

A lot of this goes back to the sugar monopolists keeping imported cane sugar out in favor of the sugar beet growers. Now, they are working to keep cheaper ethanol out in favor of the corn processors.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 31 May 07 - 10:47 AM

Can we afford to NOT go biofuels? Is the long term alternative acceptable?


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: Bill D
Date: 31 May 07 - 11:06 AM

Using 'surplus' corn..etc...for bio-fuels to stretch supplies might be fine, but growing monoculture crops IN ORDER to build dependencies on them is a serious error. Brazil has done something like that, but at increasing cost to the rain forest.
We already have monoculture in some forestry...with resultant problems in species diversity. Monoculture is highly dangerous in another way also: any disease or drought or pest infeststion can wipe out the crop....and we know what excess pesticides can do.

Better be careful.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 31 May 07 - 11:29 AM

Ultimately, of course, there only a very few ways to reduce use of fossil fuels.
1)conservation --easiest, simplest but limited in effectiveness
2)solar energy (in all its forms, including wind and water power) Great, but not yet generally cost effective.
3) Biofuels--very limited in capability; impact on food production
4)geothermal--fine, where it;s available; very expensive where it's not

5)nuclear
Name your poison(s)


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: open mike
Date: 31 May 07 - 11:40 AM

as much as i hate to admit it
i heard that if ALL the corn and soybeans
grown in the U.s. were converted to BIO
fuel this would only serve 15% or so of hte
fuel needs--and not solve the hunger problem.

the thing that scares me is the shortage of
tequila! if we live in such a world we should
need a stiff drink regularly to cope with it!


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: KB in Iowa
Date: 31 May 07 - 12:19 PM

I have heard that same 15% figure. Not sure if it was, as you say, ALL the corn and soybeans or just the "surplus" but either way it is a limited option that will create as many (or more) problems as it solves.

I saw on the news the other day that the drought in the southeast US is causing a new problem. Many farmers planted corn instead of cotton this year but corn needs more water so they are facing the possibility of not getting much of a crop. I doubt if they irrigation as an option because they haven't needed it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: MMario
Date: 31 May 07 - 12:33 PM

Now GreenFuel seems to be working up some practical alternatives - what with co-generation, additional byproducts and reduced emmissions all wrapped up together.

And the research into switchgrass or something similar is a definate plus over corn or soy. (see the last couple of paragraphs on the page)


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 May 07 - 12:40 PM

a weed species that can grow on marginal land WITHOUT additional water, fertilizer, etc that will process WITHOUT added energy costs

You're talking about hemp aren't you Mario? Could save the planet...


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 May 07 - 12:41 PM

And its relative, nettles.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 31 May 07 - 12:54 PM

according to a Univ. Washington study (Idont have the link here)but its on the Energy Blog,
bio-diesel is more efficient than ethanol for a number reasons.
And In europe one sees many fields growing rapeseed (canola) as a biofuel additive - on the other hand corn (as far as I know is not grown in Europe for biofuel purposes) and Id suspect that the heavy fertilizer need for corn is an issue..

Certainly the issue is that the price of tortillas in Mexico has gone up with corn being diverted for ethanol -

As well there is the issue of Palm oil plantations -for biodiesel- leading to deforestation in places like Borneo..

but Idont believe that we are headed for starvation because of increased use of agricultural land for biofuels.

bit of thread drift but..
the price of food (for North Americans has actually declined over the past 50 years) due to higher efficiency and consolidation of agribusiness, which is also why farmers are working harder and making less money.. Farmers would be better off concentrating on more profitability rather than increasing crop yield..I know better said than done, but some farmers are doing it.
IN the 'Omnivores dilemna' - the author mentions a farmer in kentucky who is not organic, but sees himself as better .. for instance he brings cattle on a field to eat grass and leave droppings,
(exactly 3 days later when the larvae in the droppings hatch- he moves the cattle off and brings in some giant contraption with chickens in it which eat the fly larvae) While he does also buy feed to the cattle in the end he is well known for his great tasting beef, chicken and the land is actually enriched - without commercial fertilizer- proving that you can have it both ways.

Another example - the well known Stonyfield Farms which makes organic yogurt etc. has found it difficult to find organic milk in the US
and actually imports organic (powdered) milk from New Zealand -seems like there is an opportunity for organic milk providers.


the longer environmental view is that cellulosic ethanol is a better way to go as it uses up farm waste and non-food crops.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: CarolC
Date: 31 May 07 - 01:05 PM

Algae


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: Bill D
Date: 31 May 07 - 01:25 PM

Dick Greenhaus is correct above....but omits the one serious long-term way to cope...

6. REDUCING the population. The simplest in theory, and the hardest in practice.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 May 07 - 01:28 PM

So long as it doesn't mean people going hungry because food crops have been replaced by cash crops, and that forests haven't been chopped down to make plantations for palm-oil, and so forth, biofuel makes a lot of sense.

A combination of biofuel with wind, wave and solar power, is the only viable future for us, and it will have to be combined with an end to wasting energy the way we do now.

Of course the way we organise things today mean that none of those things can be ensured, but it wouldn't in principle be hard to do them. Not hard, but it probably won't happen until millions have died and countless millions had their lives torn apart.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 31 May 07 - 02:36 PM

Yes..but we have to find them that are otherwise waste products..such as farm waste, manure, much of the garbage we throw out..we need incinerators with good filters and we need good waste management practices particuarly with sewage...and there are waste weeds such as Spartina, kudzu..blackberries even...that hopefully could be used...our main hope is to divert much of the sewage, manure and garbage into systems we can use..I am not thinking so much for autos but other uses..mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: Spot
Date: 31 May 07 - 02:58 PM

alllooo

    I can't see without mine!! Damned expensive but I cant do without 'em...   Mind you...I can't even find 'em at the moment!! ;-)
Thank gawd for Woodford Reserve!!   Hee-hee!!

Regards to all and sorry for being frivolous!!    Spot


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 31 May 07 - 05:12 PM

Bill D.-
Of course you're right. Too many people fucking....and vice versa


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: Bill D
Date: 31 May 07 - 06:49 PM

well, Dick, they WILL fu.. engage in copious copulation, of course....but we have the technology to reduce the % of those encounters which result in pregnancy. It can even be done so that the risk is fairly assumed by all classes.....but no politician has the will to suggest it.

(It says in the Bible that back when there was lots of room, we were told "Be fruitful & multiply"...but I guess God forgot to add..."...but don't overdo it!".)


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 31 May 07 - 06:57 PM

Anyone who's ever had a tank full of guppies for a significant time should know the inevitable terminal result of uncontrolled population growth.

You can feed them more, and sustain near normal growth and development for a time, but eventually you can't flush the tanks fast enough to prevent them being stunted and deformed by constantly swimming in their own waste.

Then they (the ones with viable deformities) start eating each other
- -
- -
- -

(even more often than usual).

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: GUEST,Cruz
Date: 01 Jun 07 - 12:31 AM

"principle of the unexpected effects"

That's the Law of Unintended Consequences.

Unfortunately, we are in a Catch-22, for everything beneficial that is done there is something detrimental as a result.

And do not forget about entropy...................................................................................................................................

Simplistic, but parsimoniously correct.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: Bill D
Date: 01 Jun 07 - 08:19 AM

ENTROPY WILL GET YOU, IF YOU DON'T WATCH OUT!







Of course, entropy will get you even if you do watch out.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Jun 07 - 08:32 AM

People who have enough to eat and know their children are going to survive do not in practice have too many children. In fact, in most part of Europe, they don't have enough children to replace themselves, so if immigration is left out of the picture the population is falling.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: Bill D
Date: 01 Jun 07 - 09:28 AM

In many ways, it makes little difference whether 'some people in 'some' areas, such as Europe, are having fewer children.

As this shows, the world has added about ˝ billion in the last 3-4 years. These people have to be somewhere, and when population pressure gets great enough, there will BE immigration to wherever they can find...whether they are welcome, or not.

We have 6.7 billion now. When I was in about 5-6th grade, they told me the population was 2˝ billion.

When my son is my age, it may be 10-12 billion or so. I do not like the picture of what life may be like for him if growth keeps up. Right now, I see no trends that will slow or stop the process at any comfortable level.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: Alice
Date: 01 Jun 07 - 09:37 AM

Conservation of energy by designing more efficient buildings, transportation,
agricultural/manufacturing and more efficient appliances would yield a
tremendous benefit to us in reduced energy use.
See Rocky Mountain Institute.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: Grab
Date: 01 Jun 07 - 11:32 AM

Bill, that's the inevitable consequence of countries with traditions of large families (so that on average two children survive and reproduce) getting healthcare and work. In the Industrial Revolution, Britain went from 10 million people to 60 million people over the course of a century. By the end of the 19th century, the tradition of large families had mostly died out because it was no longer necessary, and families couldn't afford to support that many surviving children. That's why we're still around 60 million people here and we haven't had another six-times expansion over the 20th century.

I agree with you - what's needed is less people. We have enough automation, machinery and new techniques now to do a lot with less people, which means there isn't room for unskilled labourers any more. But since people are chosing now to have smaller families, the population *will* slowly come back down from the Industrial Revolution peak.

The problem is that Third World countries haven't necessarily had the benefit of our hindsight to stop that happening. A lot of charities have been trying to head the problem off at the pass, some as part of preventing AIDS with family planning advice which has the same effect. Just recently that's been rather hamstrung by GWB, but no doubt it'll get back on track when he's gone. And AIDS itself, sad to say, might have some hand in stopping this problem of overpopulation coming about in much of the Third World.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: CarolC
Date: 01 Jun 07 - 12:02 PM

Air Car


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: MMario
Date: 01 Jun 07 - 12:16 PM

as far as I can see the "air car" just transfers *WHERE* the fuel will be burned; the air still has to be compressed.

Which isn't to say it isn't a feasible alternative - *if* a renewable non-polluting energy source is used to compress the air.

5 hours to refill for 10 hours of driving isn't bad; though I'd like to see that be 5 hours of standard current.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: CarolC
Date: 01 Jun 07 - 02:08 PM

The air can be compressed using electricity made from energy sources like biodiesel made from algae, and/or solar panels, and/or wind turbines.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Jun 07 - 02:22 PM

If you are living in a country where you can expect to lose several children before they have grown up it is only sensible, even in a purely practical sense, to have a large family. That's especially so in a culture where you know that in later life you are going to be virtually wholly dependent on your children to keep body and soul together.

Change the circumstances in which people live and family size will decrease accordingly. Try to do it the other way round and it will never work.

The main pressure on the environment today does not come from people in poor countries having too many children. It comes from people in wealthy countries squandering the resources of the planet and degrading the environment by living selfishly and acting irresponsibly.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 01 Jun 07 - 11:41 PM

Sorry CarolC, but all I can see at the Air Car web site is, to put it as politely as possible:

          BULLSHIT.

There are many claims, mostly in vague "adspeak," but I find NO TECHNICAL INFORMATION that would permit a knowledgeable engineer to make even a cursory evaluation of the actual performance potential, safety, or polution impact of the vehicle.

I do find several statements that are flatly INCORRECT and based on faulty and/or incomplete knowledge of elementary technical and legal requirements for the safe storage and transportation of compressed gases.

This is not a critique of the car, or of the concepts on which it is based, as the information given is not adequate for that. The information given at the site is worthless, in my opinion as a 45+ year member of SAE International fairly intimately informed on real transportation design, testing, and evaluation of real and potential vehicles and vehicle concepts.

IT would be nice to think there is something there; but they'll need to do a lot better than what I see before they'll raise my enthusiasm beyond "ho hum, another one" level.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: CarolC
Date: 02 Jun 07 - 12:21 AM

So you won't be investing then, John?


;-)


(More on the air car from Business Week and Popular Mechanics.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 02 Jun 07 - 01:04 AM

I couldn't make, or take, a recommendation based on the first website, Carol.

The Bus Week and PM sites aren't particularly reassuring either.

Despite what the makers say about 1"it can't explode," 90 gallons (tank volume) of 4350 psi compressed gas is not something I'd want sitting even in my neighbor's garage, at least pending some convincing reliability testing and hazard analyses. With compressed gas on board, in that quantity, it would require a Hazardous Material Carriers Certification, and HazMat licensed driver, just to truck the thing as cargo on any Federal/Interstate highway in the US.

1 Others who've made that kind of claim are no longer with us. I've known a couple of them.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: CarolC
Date: 02 Jun 07 - 02:29 AM

90 gallons (tank volume) of 4350 psi compressed gas is not something I'd want sitting even in my neighbor's garage

Compressed natural gas vehicles are already in use all over the place, and those use highly flammable gas that is stored at up to 4000 psi.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 02 Jun 07 - 05:33 AM

CarolC -

If you'll check your numbers, I'll check mine, but I rather doubt you'll find many CNG or LPG tanks in mobile use above a low few hundred psi. Both gases are fully liquid, and "incompressible" well below 1,000 psi, and compressing them further would contribute nothing to storage capacity, although it would add significantly to the hazards of material failure.

It's extremely rare for either gas to be stored at more than a maximum (limited by industry specifications and regulations at least in the US) of about 870 psia (60 atm), in fixed-base storage. Most mobile applications rely on self cooling via venting, and cryogenic insulation, to maintain pressures at less than a couple of hundred psia.

At the pressures cited for the "Air Car" it's probably a gross error to refer to it as "compressed air," since the pressure indicated is above the critical point (triple point) for either oxygen or nitrogen, so it's actually being stored as a "liquid air." The intensely low temperatures just from boiloff of the liquid in the event of an accidental release is an additional hazard not mentioned in the adspeak for the car, since virtually all polymers and most metals become brittle and structurally useless at temperatures easily observed in case of a failure. (And one deep breath of the vapor makes you DEAD by freezing your lungs.)

It should also be noted that cryogenic temperature "air" does not spontaneously rise and dissipate, as LNG or CNG do, but may "lay on the ground" in case of a leak, producing a horridly hazardous condition for anyone arriving on the scene of an accident (not to mention anyone in the accident).

If "plain air" is in fact compressed into the tanks, nearly pure oxygen will boil off first, causing an intense flame/explosion hazard if any other "burnable" materials are present, followed by evaporation of a cloud of inert, nearly pure, nitrogen that might well suffocate all life forms in the vicinity.

The difficulties can be "managed," perhaps; but I'd want to see something without the advertising, and with some sound engineering data before becoming enthused with this.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: CarolC
Date: 02 Jun 07 - 02:48 PM

John, go to this page in the Honda site and download the specs for their CNG Civic. The psi for this vehicle's CNG is 3600.


http://automobiles.honda.com/models/model_overview.asp?ModelName=Civic+GX



In order to store a reasonable amount of fuel (i.e., enough to drive a reasonable distance before refueling), natural gas has to be compressed to around 200 times atmospheric pressure--or even more for the tanks aboard large buses! This is like the pressure a mile and a quarter under the ocean, and requires special compressors to be "tapped into" the pipelines.

http://www.altfuels.org/backgrnd/altftype/cng.html


More here...

http://www.eere.energy.gov/afdc/altfuel/natural_gas.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compressed_natural_gas

(They're even using rickshaws that use this highly compressed gas.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: CarolC
Date: 02 Jun 07 - 02:52 PM

The tanks are being made of carbon fiber.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: CarolC
Date: 02 Jun 07 - 03:57 PM

BTW, scuba tanks store compressed air at 3000 to 4000 psi, and people carry them on their backs.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Jun 07 - 04:45 PM

There are a number of actual and potential ways of making use of energy which has been stored up in advance in one way or another, in order to drive vehicles. This is interesting stuff, but of secondary importance.

The crucial thing is whether the energy has been generated in a way that does not screw up the environment. That means:

1.no fossil fuels,
2.no biofuels which have been grown in a way that is destructive of rainforests or of human life.
3.And no nuclear generated energy unless and until we have found a way of working with that that doesn't just store up pollution for the next few thousand years.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: Alice
Date: 03 Jun 07 - 01:29 PM

Camelina - a biofuel we probably can afford.

Here is an article in today's Billings, Montana online newspaper
Researchers see camelina as possible fuel source

"...can grow in more arid conditions, doesn't require extensive use of expensive fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, and can produce more oil from its seeds than other crops such as canola, by some estimates, for half the price."

Alice


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 03 Jun 07 - 01:39 PM

Just to point out that, while biofuels--regardless of type or origin--don't contribute to the net CO2 content of the atmosphere (unless fossil fuel are used in their preparation), they can't do anything about reducing the already troublesome levels that do exist.
   To accomplish that, we'd need massive quantities of materials (such as sodium hydroxide) that would remove CO2 from the air, and "fix" it in non-volatile things like carbonates and such. Trouble is that it takes energy to produce these Carbon-fixing materials.
    Planting trees and other green things temporarily reduces CO2 in the air, but releases it again when the vegetation dies and/or is burned (whether or not it's converted to biofuel.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 03 Jun 07 - 01:52 PM

"1)conservation --easiest, simplest but limited in effectiveness"

In order to do this, the entire consumer-oriented attitude of the American public would have to be changed. That is not an impossibility if the message is presented to show what will happen unless this change occurs.

"2)solar energy (in all its forms, including wind and water power) Great, but not yet generally cost effective."

The only reason that this is not considered cost effective is that there is no concerted effort on the part of the government's research and development programs to get this started and to fund it. It could be done.

"3) Biofuels--very limited in capability; impact on food production"

The very nature of food production has to be questioned as to its health consequences.
America has become the land of obesity. Priorities can be established here.


"4)geothermal--fine, where it;s available; very expensive where it's not"


When we talk of expense, think of the environmental price we are paying now for our disregard of the polution and irresponsibility of our major corporations. This outweighs any expense toward research and development in geothermal solutions.

"5)nuclear
Name your poison(s"

The four aforementioned are not really posions but at this point remain primitive solutions which could be developed for the betterment of society.

Nuclear is a proven poison and the studies shown on the effect of nuclear waste on public health have been published widely. Cancer and other diseases have been linked to nuclear waste.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: Alice
Date: 03 Jun 07 - 02:02 PM

As I stated before, conservation is a matter of designing with energy efficiency. People have the old notion that
conservation means "freezing in the dark" when in really that is not true. People are motivated to decrease their
energy utility bills. If an appliance, home, vehicle or tool conserves energy and keeps money in their pocket,
they will use it.

Unfotunately, the low income and poor are the ones who are stuck with the old inefficient cars, the inefficient
housing and old appliances. With re-designing for efficiency, conservation, as a saying from the 70's goes,
is like "mining energy" in our buildings. Amory Lovins called it "technical fixes". People need to go back
and read his book from the seventies, "Soft Energy Paths Toward A Durable Peace".

Alice


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: Alice
Date: 03 Jun 07 - 02:04 PM

I was typing to fast on that message..
sp "in reality" "unfortunately.   -alice


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: CarolC
Date: 03 Jun 07 - 02:44 PM

From what I've been reading, it looks like algae would be the most high yield and easiest to produce source of biofuel, but camelina looks like it would help (at least somewhat) to address Dick Greenhaus' point about dealing with carbon already in the atmosphere. Sounds like using more than one type of source for biofuels would be a good approach.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: CarolC
Date: 03 Jun 07 - 02:53 PM

Nope. Cancel that last comment. Dick's right. The carbon gets released again when the fuel is burned.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 03 Jun 07 - 04:02 PM

Read "black is the new green" ...a new way of trapping carbon dioxide by having charcoal in the soil. I cannot comment on its effectiveness but decide for yourselves.

In the meantime, there is an article about the Ganghes??? river in India being awash with sewage. There is an answer here somewhere. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 03 Jun 07 - 08:09 PM

http://www.ecosherpa.com/green-energy/algae-biofuel-from-sewage/


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: GUEST,Mr Squinty
Date: 03 Jun 07 - 08:13 PM

Sorry my eyesight is not so good these days.
I wish I could afford bifocals,
but I have to rely on a 5x magnifying glass for reading small print.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 03 Jun 07 - 08:29 PM

In May, 2006, Susan and I opted to go for a photovoltaic solar installation on our house. We have a very good site for it, and the State of New Jersey has announced generous support. We're still waiting for New Jersey to come through. Over the past 6 months or so we seem to have moved from 325th oin the list to 276th.
   This, remember, is a proven, known technology with no new legislation required. Implementing a new technology is not apt to happen quickly.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Jun 07 - 08:41 PM

Planting trees and other green things temporarily reduces CO2 in the air, but releases it again when the vegetation dies and/or is burned.

But of course it's perfectly possible for it to be stored for millions of years, in fact permanently. Coal is the natural way to do that, but there are other methods.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: Alice
Date: 03 Jun 07 - 08:42 PM

"Winning the Oil Endgame"

Click here

quote in part
"...Decisive evidence will emerge that stabilizing the earth's climate is in fact not costly but profitable
(because saving fuel costs less than buying it). "


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: Alice
Date: 03 Jun 07 - 09:00 PM

Check out
NATURAL CAPITALISM
book excerpts and downloadable chapters
Click on Read The Book


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: Ebbie
Date: 04 Jun 07 - 01:23 AM

Yesterday while I was out having coffee with a friend, the general manager of a local upscale hotel in Juneau, I was mightily pleased with a bit of information I hadn't known.

Some years back their resident engineer suggested it and they bought a converter for the hotel's use and they buy all the used oil (fryer oil) they can get. They go out twice a week and haul it in 50 gallon drums.

It has had a definite impact on their heating bills. I don't know how many rooms the hotel has but there are 11 floors. For a city that requires providing heat essentially all year around that is a wonderful thing.

He said that he has talked with the cruiseship industry and so far they have not come up with a way to for them to let him have their used oil; instead they haul it back to Seattle and do something with it there. He said that he hasn't given up- he said that if he had that on top of what they already have they would need very little oil from the market.

By the way, he said that early on he talked with a donut shop in town about the possibility of getting their oil and they said they use something like 50 gallons a day - but there is nothing left over. It all goes into the goodies. Whew.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 04 Jun 07 - 02:18 AM

Gosh, Ebbie. That cooking oil must smoke a lot:

CO2 Emissions per capita by states

From Wyoming to Idaho, the states' per capita CO2 emissions
By The Associated Press

Here are the states ranked by carbon dioxide emissions per capita with No. 1 being the highest pollution per person. In parentheses are per-capita carbon dioxide emissions in metric tons. One metric ton is 2,204.6 pounds. The national average is 20 metric tons.

1. Wyoming (125)
2. North Dakota (80)
3. Alaska (69)

National average for this meaningless statistic is (20), metric tons per citizen per year.

Note also that other similar "reports" give entirely different results.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: Ebbie
Date: 04 Jun 07 - 02:35 AM

All I know, John, is that it is converted- I don't know if that means purified. I do know that the EPA approved it.

As far as Alaska's pollution ranking is concerned, I have read several approaches to that. One says that all the flying Alaskans have to do (few roads, waterbound towns)accounts for it. A different one postulates that the mining and oil industries are mainly responsible for it. That one makes more sense to me.

By the way, I read the other day that Alberta, Canada, is going to or is in the process of mining oil shale and that that is or will be responsible for an appalling amount of air particulates.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 04 Jun 07 - 03:08 AM

Ebbie -

I'm sure you detected that I was just givin' you a tweak.

Alaska does have sparse and scattered population, so transportation, autos and airplanes, plays a much larger per person part in living there.

Most of the places with very low CO2 emissions are in the few fortunate areas where they can get lots of their electrical power from hydro sources, or they simply don't generate their own power and rely on others to export it to them. With the calculation apparently used in that report, that leaves the power producer "guilty" for the emissions, and the user gets to smirk about "being green."

Without lots of qualifiers and explanations, the "per capita emissions" are pretty meaningless. "Per user" might be a little more helpful; but even that needs careful interpretation.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: Ebbie
Date: 04 Jun 07 - 12:49 PM

Thanks, John.

Juneau, at 31,000 is number 3 in metropolitan size in Alaska- and we use hydropower. Isolated from other communities as we are, we have a discrete operation, we are not on a grid.

Anchorage, the biggest town, has close to 240,000 people. I don't know how their power is generated, but there is a lot of water around there.

I'm sticking with the mining and oil industries skewing the data.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Jun 07 - 04:07 PM

Alaska would have had an even sparser and more scattered population a couple of centuries back. And virtually no carbon footprint.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: GUEST, Ebbie
Date: 04 Jun 07 - 06:59 PM

That's hardly a solution, Kevin. Some years back there weren't
*any* humans. Anywhere.

:)


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Subject: RE: BS: Can We Afford Biofuels?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Jun 07 - 07:08 PM

It isn't humans as such that's the problem. It's what some humans choose to do. If we could adjust our lifestyle so we don't wreck the place we'd all be a lot better off.

Most of the damage is being done by a relatively small section of the human race.


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