Engineering Materials

Report: Biofuels in Transition to Next-Gen Feedstocks Will Slow Growth

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Ann R. Thryft
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Re: biofuels
Ann R. Thryft   4/7/2014 12:01:28 PM
Thanks for the vote of confidence, Margaret. I agree with you on that, assuming they're based on second-generation feedstocks.

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margaretBarnfield   4/5/2014 5:25:10 AM
We all know that biofuels are now mre prefered to use since it is environement friendly. It is important that we produce eco-freindly fuels than use those harmful subtances.

Jerry dycus
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Re: Non food based fuels are coming
Jerry dycus   4/1/2014 11:17:15 PM
First off Lux, like Pike, EIA and EA rarely are correct or even in the ballpark  predicting the future as I've watched them for 10+ yrs now.

I don't see much future in the celulose derived biofuels as all too costly/gal-btu.  Nor do I see that changing as so little advances despite so much research, investment money for 4 + decades now.

On corn if fed to cattle as most is, 10lbs produces 1 lb of cow fat, not even protein, in fact loses muscle mass just getting fat.  Yet it's very hard to find grass fed beef. BTW they overfeed antibiotics to them because grain is an unnatural food for them and makes them sick so antibiotis in  massive doses. 

  By most any measure cattle are the biggest danger to the food supply as more grain goes to feeding them workdwide. I still like dead cow, ummmm!

Vs if made into ethanol not only fuel but corn oil and far higher quality food from the 7 lbs of dried mash/DDG's loaded with corn and  yeast protein.  Vs 1 lb of fat from cows?  Ethanol only uses the low quality corn starch. Everything else is still there plus a lot of protein, etc.

So in reality US corn ethanol no longer takes from the food supply.  In fact double the food value vs  feeding it to cows.  Also the field corn used isn't even eatible by humans, designed for animal feed.

I hope a good process that converts much more of biomass's energy into cost effective liquid fuels but not holding my breath based on their history. 

It's ok though as biomass can be used for cogen heating/power with a simple heat engine can replace much oil and coal at a low cost making wood pellets for fuel them.  After FF's are gone in 20-30 yrs for burning  up north will need a backup heating fuel and biomass is likely it.

As I drive EV I just need unlimited range generator fuel rarely for long trips at around 100mpg gas use plus EV charging range.  And if I wanted to make my own it would likely be from distilling certain kinds of plastics into gasoline, diesel mostly or used veg oil.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Non food based fuels are coming
Ann R. Thryft   4/1/2014 4:48:32 PM
Thanks for your comments, Trenth. I agree with the scenario you describe, and we've reported on waste-to-fuels efforts several times. Some are listed in the "Related posts" links at the end of the blog.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Competition
Ann R. Thryft   4/1/2014 4:47:31 PM
Thanks, Greg. I agree, this is ultimately good news.

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Re: Non food based fuels are coming
Trenth   4/1/2014 4:38:41 PM
We need to change out focus to waste to fuels.  Even though eventually these will all be biofuels, we should use our biomass for food, clothing, lumber and such, then convert it to fuel once we are done with it.   

There is plenty of waste to convert to fuels, and the technology is developed.  

For instance search "anything into oil".  

Greg M. Jung
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Greg M. Jung   3/31/2014 2:11:01 PM
Well written article that clearly highlights the underlying competition between the demand for renewable energy and the need for food crops (and the associated land/water needed for growing food).  Although the next-gen biofuel transition is slow, I'm glad to see that this issue is being addressed early so that we can work to have a winning solution for everyone in the future.

Ann R. Thryft
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Non food based fuels are coming
Ann R. Thryft   3/31/2014 1:30:44 PM
Although this sounds like mixed news regarding second-generation biofuels, it's actually good news overall. What may not be evident from all the numbers is the fact that, even though the proportion of second-generation fuels will decrease and capacity won't grow as fast for a couple years, capacity is still increasing overall. I was disappointed to find out that first-generation food-based and crops-based fuels are still in the lead by such a big margin. But at least the transition to second-generation fuels is in sight.

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