The 21st Century Energy Initiative
Monday, September 01, 2008
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Giant False Start on Biofuels in Europe
Europeans now determine that biofuels might not be such a great idea. I hope Washington D.C. learns from this - soon.
I am not sure why it requires several studies to determine the negative impact that bio/ethanol has on food prices and Climate Change. [A] It requires land, water and crops to get the feedstock to the "ready" state that oil is already in, and [B] people still need to burn it - to for energy. This is another example of ready, fire, aim. Worse - it is lessons people's belief and resolve to do the next "great solution", and wastes precious time and money going in the wrong direction.
My suggestion? Stop, think, plan and verify which path(s) to go down, before moving forward. It's called "physics meets project management". Let science, problem-solving processes and a more formal approach trump politics and group-think, and you will see real solutions develop.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Corn ethanol is not the answer.
Friday, May 25, 2007
Ethanol, Bio & Fusion - oh my!
A few articles worth reading / catching up with what is going on
Ethanol: New Knocks Against Ethanol (Business Week)
Bio: What Portland is doing in biodiesel (Portland Tribune)
Ethanol / Bio: Not the Only Green in Town (Business Week)
Fusion: Nuclear Fusion (The Economist)
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Biofuels are great, but more is needed
"Most energy experts reckon that using maize-based ethanol as a substitute for petrol can reduce America's demand for petrol by 10-15% at best. As for sugar, its growing value as a biofuel feedstock means that in Brazil, which is now one of the world's largest producers and exporters of ethanol, there is pressure to flatten rainforests to make more room for sugar production. One green objective (reducing dependency on fossil fuels) thus conflicts with another (preserving the environment)." From The Economist.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Ethanol... ready for prime-time?
Further unintended consequences.... (full article, here.)
"Simple economics dictates that if farmers find it more profitable to grow switchgrass rather than corn, soy or cotton, the price of those commodities is bound to rise in response to falling supply.
'You can produce a lot of ethanol from cellulose without competing with food,' said Wallace Tyner, an agricultural economist at Purdue University. 'But if you want to get half your fuel supply from it you will compete with food agriculture.'
There may also be ecological impacts. The government currently pays farmers not to farm about 35 million acres of conservation land, mostly in the Midwest. Those fallow tracts provide valuable habitat for wildlife, especially birds. Though switchgrass is a good home for most birds, if it became profitable to grow it or another energy crop on conservation land some species could decline."
More on food vs. fuel.
Saturday, February 03, 2007
Focus on corn-based biofuels has doubled corn-feed from $2 a bushel to $4 a bushel. (http://www.energy2025.com/FoodVsFuel.pdf)
Although biofuels are a great alternative to hydrocarbons, they cannot provide 100% solution. Yes, a 15% to 20% solution helps moderate imports, but at what cost? The "stuff" from which energy is to be produced needs to be "free". Just as oil is "free" (just need to pay to extract, refine, ship & distribute it). What else is based on a "free" essence of the basic energy source? Solar, wind, wave, hydro energy. Of course, that would drive us to electric cars (pardon the pun). But why not? The infrastructure exists, already!