DailyDirt: Better Biofuels To Save The Day

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Weaning ourselves off of a hydrocarbon-powered economy is not going to be easy. The infrastructure to distribute and use petroleum distillates is ubiquitous, so biofuels that can easily use the same equipment could be a convenient way to start replacing fossil fuels. Using more and more biofuels sounds like an easy solution, but the real trick is scaling up the processes in an economical way. Here are just a few biofuel projects that might be worth keeping an eye on. If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2013 @ 5:27pm

    We need more diesel engines...

    And fewer hybrid cars. The popularity of diesel (or lack thereof) shows that the gasoline infrastructure is pretty important for passenger cars.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    artp (profile), Sep 5th, 2013 @ 7:06pm

    It isn't plant WASTE

    It is organic matter that needs to go back into the soil to keep the organic content of the soil up, to preserve the soil fertility and to increase the soil's water-carrying capacity. Water-carrying capacity is important to help plants be more drought-resistant, and to provide more moisture holding capacity in the soil in order to reduce and slow down runoff from heavy rains.

    Even better, the "plant waste" should lay on the top of the soil over winter to protect it from erosion, and then be plowed under in the spring. This has not been done because large modern farms are "more efficient", thus requiring them to plow in the fall, plant so early in the spring that fungus-preventing coatings are required for the seeds, and use equipment so huge that the basic conservation practice of contour plowing is now impractical.

    Engineering 101 taught me to check my assumptions. Modern farming needs to have its assumptions checked. Do not accept everything you hear on face value. You will destroy the planet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2013 @ 9:29pm

    Make alcohol from plant waste aren't new

    I remember back in school (that's 15+ years ago) I read that Brazil had used remain of sugar cane from sugar factory to make alcohol and add that to gasoline, that's where gasohol comes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    artp (profile), Sep 6th, 2013 @ 9:09am

    Re: Make alcohol from plant waste aren't new

    In the USA, gasohol is made from corn. The kernels, not the stalks. The leftover protein is sold to feed cattle to market weight. Sort of like cereal makers selling waste sweetened cereals to fatten cattle. It isn't healthy, but they can make a buck doing it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, Sep 6th, 2013 @ 9:29am

    Re: We need more diesel engines...-- With Hybrid

    Actually, what you want is a diesel-hybrid. Diesels have a comparatively narrow "power band." An electric intermediary drive, with, say, a hundred pounds of batteries, allows the diesel to operate in its most efficient mode.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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