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Is biodiesel beter than petroleum diesel?

September 25th, 2011

According to an article in Biodiesel Magazine, in August a Ford superduty pickup set a new land speed record for a pickup truck. It actually set two records: 171.123 MPH running on petroleum diesel, and 182 running on soy diesel. The old record for a pickup on diesel was 130.614 MPH. So you tell me, if it runs cleaner for the environment and can go faster, where is the arguement?

How Much Oil Is Left?

July 2nd, 2010

Did you read the article yesterday about the amount of oil that is left to get from OPEC and Mexico? It seems that about twenty years ago the amount of oil in the Middle East jumped, although no new oil deposits had been discovered. Iran went from 49 billion barrels left to 93 billion barrels, Iraq went from 47 billion barrels to 100 billion barrels, Kuwait went from 64 billion barrels to 90 billion barrels, and even Venezuela went from 25 billion barrels to 56 billion barrels, all without a single new source of oil discovered.
Fantastic, isn’t it?

As much as we rely on foreign oil, for these countries to suddenly have announced that they have that much more oil available sure is good for our economy. Gee, I hope they aren’t fudging us on how much is left, because we can’t afford to run out of it.

The “spill” in the Gulf has made a lot of people think more about renewable energy. If it turns out that the amount of foreign oil that we are depending on isn’t what we expect, we had better get busy on the renewable projects, because when you add up what these countries say they have, we only have enough oil, at our present rate of consumption, to last twenty five years. Since the first oil well was drilled in 1859 we have gone through 1.5 trillion barrels of oil. We have used up about half of the existing supply. If that supply turns out to be half of what we think, we are in serious trouble.

Forget gasoline for cars and trucks. Forget airplanes. We know cars and trucks can run on Biodiesel. Last week an article said that the airlines were buying jet fuel grade ethanol made from Biomass. The point is that people that should be working on this stuff actually are.

FedEx in Montrose New Jersey just put 12,000 solar panels on their roof. That’s three acres of solar panels, and that will only provide 5% of their electricity needs. When we run out of petroleum to generate electricity, we had better be really ready to run renewable energy, because when the oil is gone, it is gone.

We can burn the biomass in our dumps to produce ethanol and our cities can actually make money from the garbage instead of spending money to get rid of it.

We can use the natural heat from inside the earth to generate electricity.

Right now, today, we are paying electric companies NOT to run windmills because our infrastructure or grid cannot handle the load. We can produce more electricity with windmills than we can run through the grid. Denmark makes so much with their windmills that sometimes they GIVE IT AWAY to their neighboring countries.

These show that we can generate the power we require from renewable sources, but plastic and other by-products of the petroleum industry are going to be harder and more expensive. How will we replace that? All the gears, parts, cases, shells, bags, cartons, packages, blister packs, and Lord only knows how many millions of things made from plastic will have to be re-engineered to be made out of something else.

That will happen, but right now we will need to, no, we must, spend the money for an entirely new grid to support what electricity we make. We can run our country on renewable energy, but we absolutely must prepare for it.

If the oil reserve numbers have been fudged, and it certainly appears to be the case, we don’t have the time to mess around trying to figure out what’s next. We have to have the capability to move electricity all over the country and to balance the load from one source to another so we can accommodate shortages in production from one source to overages in production from another. It will take a lot of time to get that done. We need to start today.

BIOMASS – Getting Away From Our Dependence On Oil.

June 16th, 2010

We the people cannot afford to keep relying on oil, mostly foreign, to power our country. The oil spill in the Gulf demonstrates how much we are at a point that we have to become active in pushing for Renewable and Alternative Energy sources.

Biomass is one of those sources. Biomass comes in many forms such as trees, plants and garbage. By burning biomass, we can capture ethanol, which can be mixed with gasoline as fuel for cars and trucks, reducing the amount of gasoline that we consume. .
There are almost 200 cities in the US with populations of a quarter of a million or more. Every one of them has a landfill full of garbage.  That means that ¾ of our total garbage is in about 200 spots. Estimates say there are about a million tons of garbage in each spot, or 200 million tons of garbage in landfills, landfills that are always a problem for the cities where they are located.
If you burn the garbage (BIOMASS) you can get 50 gallons of ethanol per ton. This is called Waste-To-Ethanol. That means, if you set up to burn garbage and capture the ethanol, you could generate 10 Billion gallons of ethanol from the existing supply. You can put up a plant to do this burning for around $320 million dollars and that would get you about 3200 tons of garbage (biomass) burned every day resulting in 58,000,000 gallons of ethanol every year, per plant.
That would be a ROI of 4 years in today’s market. If oil goes up when BP tries to recover their expenses, it will take less time. The ethanol production in this method should run about $1.00 per gallon, which is a whole lot less than gasoline, so there would be an additional savings to the consumer.
If the cities were to float a municipal bond issue for the cost and built their own biomass refinery, then after the ROI, they could realistically be looking at eliminating over 40 million dollars a year from their budget shortfall. As consumers, we generate about five pound of biomass (garbage) a week, so the plants would never run out of product to burn.
What can you do? Go to a City Council meeting with this idea. Can you imagine your City Council turning down $40,000,000 a year for burning the garbage? Have them contact BlueFire Ethanol or Agresti Biofuels. Prod them. Get this started. It’s our planet, we the people.

Better Strap Your Hat On, Cowboy. We’re Gonna Be Using Some Serious Wind!

June 16th, 2010

There has been a huge project in Renewable Energy for a wind farm in West Texas. Well, after almost two years in construction, the newest and probably the largest wind farm in the world is open for business, and accepting wind. One hundred thousand acres of West Texas cotton fields have become the home to 627 windmills. We have all seen pictures of these electricity-producing windmills. They’re huge white things with three blades that look like a propeller.

Think about that for a minute. They built these windmills in cotton fields. Not only has this wind farm been a boon to the local economy during construction, but they haven’t taken away the cotton fields that are the life blood of their daily existence. In true Renewable Energy fashion with minimum environmental impact, the West Texas farmers will still work their land. The land use was leased strictly for the purpose of building the windmills, but the rights to continue farming were maintained by the landowners.

Here’s what we get from this: 627 windmills, 400 feet tall, spaced 900 feet apart, and in typical Texas size, they span across 4 counties. They produce over 781 Megawatts of electricity, enough to power almost a quarter of a million homes. That would be roughly the size the entire town of Lincoln, Nebraska or Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Can you picture this? One wind farm in Texas is capable of supplying all the energy needs of the State Capitol of Nebraska, without disturbing the environment or the local ecomony. One. How many more wind farms could we build? We have plenty of wind scattered here and there around the country. Wouldn’t it be great to build more wind farms and get the electricity produced for FREE after the cost of construction is recovered?

Free? As in, produced at no cost because we already have the wind? As in, no coal or hydrocarbons to burn? As in, no dams to build? Could we do that kind of free?

This is the same kind of free that we talk about when we talk geothermal energy or solar power. Once the production equipment is in place, the units run themselves. We don’t have to pay for the juice, only the equipment and installation. But that cost is the hard part.

We could easily build enough Renewable Energy production equipment just like this windfarm to run our households, our streetlights and appliances. Most of us could have solar panels on our roof. We could have efficient insulation in our homes. We could maintain an indoor temperature in our houses of 68 degrees for less than $5 per month, except for the cost of the equipment and installation.

When I see a project like the Texas wind farm go online I start to think about all we can do, each of us, to conserve energy for our future, and what we can do to make more available for our use today.

Welcome Tree Huggers and Renewable Bloggers!

June 15th, 2010

Welcome to the Blogging area. There are probably a couple threads here that you want to look at, or you wouldn’t have come in the first place. Enjoy. It’s all about renewable energy and you.