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Comment: Re:Hello, the 1980s are calling, they caught your (Score 1) 108

by drinkypoo (#48939531) Attached to: New Study Says Governments Should Ditch Reliance On Biofuels

They are not saying it is impossible to convert biomass to diesel, or even that we shouldn't grow biomass. They are saying that with current technology it is better to use biomass for carbon sequestration and food, and use more technological approaches to capturing solar as energy.

In order to come to that conclusion, they only included technologies known to support it, and completely ignored well-known and proven technologies which disprove their point. Therefore, there is no validity whatsoever to the study, and you should summarily ignore it in turn.

Converting biomass to biodiesel, right now, costs more energy than turning solar into charged batteries through PV, wind, or solar furnaces.

[citation needed]

Comment: Re:Hello, the 1980s are calling, they caught your (Score 1) 108

by drinkypoo (#48939521) Attached to: New Study Says Governments Should Ditch Reliance On Biofuels

I worked in a lab that researched biofuels and turns out that the biggest issue with this setup is that the bacterial populations keep evolving away from the good biofuel-producing genes, [...] That, more than anything else, is the biggest issue with algae and biofuel production.

That might be true for butanol production, and if so, you should say so. But as for Algae grown in open ponds, it's a complete falsehood, and the linked report makes this clear. In a reactor, where it doesn't have to compete with other strains, it might work. But if you put it in a pond, another algae is going to come along and outcompete it, since it's not putting its effort into producing what excessive lipids (for its purposes, anyhow.)

The linked report is especially relevant to the particular point you raised because the goal of the program on which it reports was to study the breeding and application of high-lipid-production algaes for the purpose of production of biodiesel fuel, and what they determined (and indeed the thrust of the summary) is that there was simply no point. You put out the water, the algae shows up, you stir the algae, you achieve peak production with very little effort. The only thing that's really changed is that peak insolation has increased since the report was written, so you might need to shade your ponds.

Comment: Re:Study limited to sugar cane and maize for ethan (Score 1) 108

by drinkypoo (#48939439) Attached to: New Study Says Governments Should Ditch Reliance On Biofuels

2nd generation biofuels aren't yet economically feasible

That is wrong, and you are either ignorant or lying.

You put the feedstocks in a big bag, basically like the ones they use as water tanks. You run the escaping gases into a system where they're pressurized to appropriate levels, the methane is separated with a membrane, and then compressed. This is already being done at a profitable level on a number of farms across the country. The lowest-hanging fruit is pigshit (what a great sentence) because it is very hot so it cooks quickly, and it is a major environmental problem. The shit is normally just pumped into open ponds where it sits and stinks, and then eventually either flushed into some shitty waterway or flushed out of the pond by flooding.

We're talking about plant materials produced specifically to be completely turned into fuel, so food production is going to be substituted.

Only if the people implementing the system are total assholes. Algae is a plant, and if you put out some water and stir it, you get algae. As it turns out, there's no point in trying to select varieties of it either, which is probably why we aren't spinning up production: nobody has figured out how to profit by patenting the algaes yet. As it turns out, nature has produced more different kinds of algae than we know what to do with, and the most productive algae for your climate just miraculously shows up and colonizes your water for free. What's more, the water can be of any salinity up to oceanic levels, and can contain substantial contaminants.

Comment: Re:Remove politics from the survey (Score 1) 251

by drinkypoo (#48939383) Attached to: The Gap Between What The Public Thinks And What Scientists Know

The study is purporting to be a study about science when it is in fact focused on politically charged science issues.

People don't have opinions on science issues which aren't politically charged.

I am quite tired of political ploys masquerading as science.

And I am quite tired of people ignoring the language.

Comment: Re:Demand (Score 1) 108

by drinkypoo (#48939309) Attached to: New Study Says Governments Should Ditch Reliance On Biofuels

but it is a solution to convert what'd go into landfills and the like

By which what is really meant is "into the air". What part ain't burned and released real quick-like (producing soot in the process, yay cancer!) is set somewhere to rot anaerobically where it produces the maximum possible methane and CO2 and releases it into the air to cause us all problems.

Comment: Re:Remove politics from the survey (Score 1) 251

by drinkypoo (#48939281) Attached to: The Gap Between What The Public Thinks And What Scientists Know

Then don't claim your study is measuring anything about science.

From the fine study, entitled Public and Scientistsâ(TM) Views on Science and Society"Opinion Differences Between Public and Scientists". Guess what? The study is measuring opinion, and you are just ranting.

Comment: Re:Hello, the 1980s are calling, they caught your (Score 1) 108

by drinkypoo (#48939257) Attached to: New Study Says Governments Should Ditch Reliance On Biofuels

Are you now a science denier the second they said something you disagree with?

No, I'm citing science, while the report is ignoring it.

It appears scientists are in agreement on this

Only if you are ignorant. Also, not all scientists are created equal. I don't ask people about things out of their field because it's irrelevant what they think about things they haven't researched. I have done.

I don't believe you are a bio-fuel expert and qualified to question them.

If you have an issue with my citation, then make it. But I note that you're too cowardly to actually do that.

Funny how quickly that happened.

Funny how quickly some coward without sufficient courage of his convictions to even log in and be counted has raised so many nebulous objections so quickly after my comment rose to the top of the barrel.

Comment: Re:Photosynthetic efficiency vs Photovoltaic effic (Score 1) 108

by drinkypoo (#48939237) Attached to: New Study Says Governments Should Ditch Reliance On Biofuels

So covering a field with solar cells would be 10x more efficient than harvesting biofuel from the same field.

You can't plant a solar panel. Well, you can, but they're called plants. Anyway, covering the field with solar panels would be dumb, unless you had some shade crops that you wanted to grow beneath them. Solar panels can go all kinds of places. Food can only go on arable land, unless you want to build a bunch of equipment to sustain it. And that's the obvious and logical end result of using our topsoil to produce fuels...

Comment: Re:Pollute the air twice. Once to make bio fuel, (Score 3, Informative) 108

by drinkypoo (#48939201) Attached to: New Study Says Governments Should Ditch Reliance On Biofuels

It takes a much oil to make bio-fuel as you get back out of it. The entire process produces far more air pollution than simply burning the fossil fuels in your car.

Ethanol is now typically at least 15% energy-positive. That's not very good, of course, but it's still energy-positive. Your numbers are far out of date.

However, there are lots of very good reasons why ethanol is rotten from stem to stern. In the interest of brevity I'll spare all the reasons why ethanol is a bad motor fuel and just move straight to environmental impact. Virtually all fuel ethanol is made from corn and virtually all of that corn is grown continuously, which is to say without crop rotation or even letting fields lie fallow. This depletes the soil of everything that makes it soil and not just dirt. Thus, virtually all fuel ethanol production is actually selling out the future of food production for short-term profit.

One thing that would be a really great motor fuel is methane. What we do is we stop cooking our shit in open ponds and then feeding it into waterways. Instead, we cook it in a closed (or at least effectively closed) reactor, it turns into soil, and then we can use it to grow food. While it cooks in an anaerobic environment it releases a lot of its carbon in the form of methane, which we can separate with a membrane and capture for later use anywhere we currently use natural gas or propane. It's really quite trivial on a mechanical level to convert literally any gasoline vehicle to run on methane. They get less mileage per unit of mass, but the output is of course vastly cleaner, the crankcase lubricant lasts longer, and so on. The fuel can be stored in relatively inexpensive tanks compared to hydrogen, or of course compared to the energy density of batteries. Propane conversions are common in off-roading. Range becomes an issue, but I see a lot of Jeeps with conversions up here in the sticks. Gas will work at any right-side-up angle even when the tank is mostly empty, unlike gasoline.

Comment: Re:ok then... but (Score 1) 108

by drinkypoo (#48939099) Attached to: New Study Says Governments Should Ditch Reliance On Biofuels

the problem with solar is that you do get energy supply from it, but only during the day, so we need to come up with much more efficient ways of storing that energy. We don't have this yet.

Yeah, reliable and safe LiFePo batteries which can cycle 10,000 times just won't cut it! A vehicle made with such packs could only save you thousands over its lifetime! How awful.

So what else do we have that can be used. Biofuel, and biomass generation, as part of an overall strategy is something that will help to plug the gaps in the areas when the other renewables stop working. We just need to focus it at an appropriate level rather than thinking its another silver bullet.

It's only a silver bullet for our transportation fuel emissions woes. Shucks.

Comment: Re:Um, duh? (Score 2) 108

by drinkypoo (#48939081) Attached to: New Study Says Governments Should Ditch Reliance On Biofuels

My outer nerd thinks orbital base load energy would be a single point of failure, and the entity that provides it would become the de-facto world government.

The solution is obvious. One entity doesn't design, launch, and/or operate them all. Since we developed the basic technology needed to build cost-effective solar power satellites, nothing else has actually made sense. We could be putting up big satellites made of little more than a big plastic sheet with solar cells printed on one side and ion engines printed on the other, with a rectenna array distributed throughout. We've got the technology to at least make a go of it, do a real trial. But our vision seems to be limited to things which are far away.

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