Posts Tagged ‘biofuel’

Whose drought?
[image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]


The spectre of the disastrous events of the 1930s is raised for the US Midwest, thanks in some measure to the change in land use brought about by subsidised biofuel production, according to this study. Another own goal for climate alarmist ideology?
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Got any spaces left on that 2020 bingo card? Pencil in “another Dust Bowl in the Great Plains”, suggests Phys.org.

A study from University of Utah researchers and their colleagues finds that atmospheric dust levels are rising across the Great Plains at a rate of up to 5% per year.

The trend of rising dust parallels expansion of cropland and seasonal crop cycles, suggesting that farming practices are exposing more soil to wind erosion.

And if the Great Plains becomes drier, a possibility under climate change scenarios, then all the pieces are in place for a repeat of the Dust Bowl that devastated the Midwest in the 1930s.

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The biofuel boom was doomed from the start 

Posted: July 17, 2020 by oldbrew in Energy, opinion
Tags: ,


That’s the verdict of OilPrice.com. Climate catastrophists seem more interested in other supposed panaceas these days.
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Why haven’t biofuels taken off? For years they have been touted as the fuel of the future, with high-profile commercial aircraft making headlines for pioneering all-biofuel international flights and promising a greener future for air travel.

The first transatlantic flight powered solely by biofuel, a Gulfstream G450 owned by Honeywell International Inc., took place nearly a decade ago, in 2011, and was lauded as a harbinger of green jet fuel for all.

At that time, Honeywell Vice President Jim Rekoske told the world, “We’re ready to go to commercial scale and commercial use.”

But now, nine years later, the biofuel revolution that we were promised, both in the air and on our highways, is nowhere to be seen.

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Avinor’s electric plane [image credit: inhabitat.com]


More ‘net zero’ tomfoolery. Batteries are heavy and unlike fuel don’t allow the plane to lose weight during flight, meaning harder landings or lower carrying capacity. Meanwhile biofuel still emits carbon dioxide, which is supposed to be what the climate obsession is about.
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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has today announced a dual boost to the UK’s nascent low carbon aviation sector, confirming the formation of a new ‘Jet Zero Council’ and the award of fresh funding for green fuel specialist Velocsys, reports BusinessGreen.

Shapps used his appearance at the daily coronavirus press conference to announce the moves, which he said would support the government’s vision of a “greener transport future”.

Building on the recent confirmation the government is to invest £2bn in new active transport infrastructure, Shapps said the challenge was “to make transport – currently our biggest emitter of greenhouse gases – part of the solution, not the problem”.

He added that decarbonisation was particularly difficult for an aviation industry that has faced an “impossible few months” as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

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Promotional video:

Regardless of questionable greenhouse climate theories, who wouldn’t want lower fuel consumption rates for their vehicle? ‘Up to 30%’ better economy is mentioned.
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A technology developed by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory could pave the way for increased fuel economy and lower greenhouse gas emissions as part of an octane-on-demand fuel-delivery system, reports Phys.org.

Designed to work with a car’s existing fuel, the onboard separation technology is the first to use chemistry—not a physical membrane—to separate ethanol-blended gasoline into high- and low-octane fuel components.

An octane-on-demand system can then meter out the appropriate fuel mixture to the engine depending on the power required: lower octane for idling, higher octane for accelerating.

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If trees could be grown as fast as they’re used up, maybe – but they obviously can’t be. Obsession with carbon dioxide continues to distort rational thinking. Any idea that wood can replace all petroleum products, for example, is nonsense. Wooden road surfaces instead of asphalt?
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Wood is the resource the world is relying on for its low carbon future, says DW.com.

It’s touted as a replacement for concrete and steel, fossil fuels, power and plastics. But is there enough of it to go around?

The harvesting machine takes just one second to fell the towering spruce, and another to strip the branches and scan its trunk for defects.

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Well, yes and no. The agave plant produces less fuel per hectare than sugar cane, but needs less water and has other claimed advantages. But the current low oil price is making all biofuel options look even more expensive than before, plus they are all land-hungry.
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The agave plant used to make tequila could be established in semi-arid Australia as an environmentally friendly solution to Australia’s transport fuel shortage, a team of researchers at the University of Sydney, University of Exeter and University of Adelaide has found.

The efficient, low-water process could also help produce ethanol for hand sanitiser, which is in high demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, notes TechXplore.

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Image credit: United Airlines


More wreck-o than eco? Here we find that ‘biodiesel from food crops emits an average of 1.8 times as much CO2 as fossil fuels which increases to three times more in case of biodiesel from palm oil.’ Looks like another non-solution to the claimed problem.

The UK’s aviation industry is touting biofuels as a way to make plane transport greener. But some biofuels can end up doing more harm than good, says Wired.

In the next 30 years, the number of flights is expected to increase by 70 per cent.

Unless things change, by 2050 the aviation industry will have used up more than a quarter of all the carbon dioxide we can safely emit while keeping global warming to under 1.5 degrees Celsius.

But the aviation industry says it has a way out.

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Image credit: cleantechnica.com


We’ve added the red herring query to the original headline. Cost, and realistic scale, of production aren’t discussed here. It still ends with fuel-burning.

Produced from organic matter or waste, biofuels play an important role in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and are one of the largest sources of renewable energy in use today.

Most of Europe’s renewable transport target is currently met with land-based biofuels,
says TechXplore.

However, many of the feedstocks like corn and alfalfa used to produce such biofuels aren’t economically and environmentally sustainable.

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What happened to testing, prior to making what looks like a disastrous change to working machinery in the name of climate ideology? Looks like the farmers are the testers.

The use of biofuel has sparked hundreds of complaints from farmers who claim it is forcing them into “unacceptable” costly machinery repairs, reports BBC News.

Adding biofuel – which is made from organic materials rather than fossil fuels – to diesel supplies is seen as one way of reducing carbon emissions from vehicles such as tractors.

But farmers say it has been clogging up filters and causing breakdowns.

NFU Scotland said more than 400 complaints have been made.

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More fantasy economics for imaginary ‘climate solutions’, as we’re treated to another “they would say that wouldn’t they?” routine, reported by Power Engineering International. Here they don’t mention that ‘Biogas is primarily methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2)‘ – the two main so-called greenhouse gases we’re supposed to be scared of. Sounds even more absurd than burning wood and calling it sustainable, plus we’re told it will require $5 trillion to implement their plan. Probably not a coincidence that the COP 25 climate gabfest is just starting.

Major biogas industry corporations, led by the World Biogas Association (WBA), are calling on the world’s governments to act urgently to unlock the sector’s potential to cut global greenhouse gases emissions by at least 12 per cent within the next 10 years, contributing towards meeting their Paris Agreement targets.

In return, these companies commit to putting their full human, financial and technological resources behind enabling the rapid expansion of biogas in all parts of the globe.

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H/T The GWPF

All those trees would have absorbed large amounts of the carbon dioxide they claim to be so scared of. Somehow all this is deemed to be ‘sustainable’, using the climate excuse.

The EU wants to save our climate with supposedly green biofuels and has deemed palm oil “sustainable”. Yet on the other side of the globe, rainforests are being clear-cut to produce the 1.9 million tons of palm oil that end up in European fuel tanks every year, says Rainforest Rescue.

The European Union wants to protect the climate and reduce carbon emissions from motor vehicles by blending fuels with increasing shares of supposedly eco-friendly “biofuels”.

Last year, 1.9 million tons of palm oil were added to diesel fuel in the EU – in addition to millions of tons of equally harmful rapeseed and soybean oils.

The plantations needed to satisfy Europes’s demand for palm oil cover an area of 700,000 hectares – land that until recently was still rainforest and the habitat of 5,000 endangered orangutans. Despite the clear-cutting, the EU has classified palm oil as sustainably produced.

This policy has now blown up in the legislators’ faces, with scientists confirming what environmentalists and development experts have long asserted: biofuels help neither people nor the environment – and they are most certainly not climate-neutral, as even studies commissioned by the EU show.

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This is a prelude to a new IPCC report. It’s an exercise in mixing problems that do exist, like biofuels using too much land, with ones that don’t, like excess trace gases in the atmosphere. The end product is the usual alarm-and-confusion brand of propaganda for man-made warming believers, with wild talk of meltdowns, deadly extremes and so forth. More like a Hollywood script than anything resembling reality – but over-the-top stuff like this seems to be standard fare in much of the media nowadays.

The overlapping crises of climate change, mass species extinction, and an unsustainable global food system are on a collision course towards what might best be called an ecological land grab, says Phys.org.

Coping with each of these problems will require a different way of using of Earth’s lands, and as experts crunch the numbers it is becoming unnervingly clear that there may not be enough terra firma to go around.

A world of narrowing options threatens to pit biofuels, forests and food production against each other.

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In terms of original power sources (i.e. not electricity), the runaway leaders were petroleum and natural gas which between them took over two-thirds of the total share. Coal and nuclear were a distant third and fourth. Best of the rest was biomass at just over 5% of the total, easily more than wind and solar combined.

Americans used more energy in 2018 than in any other year, according to the most recent energy flow charts released by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).

Overall total energy consumption rose to 101.2 quadrillion BTU (or “quads”), reports TechXplore. The prior record, set in 2007, was 101.0 quads.

Energy use went up by 3.6 percent from 2017, which also is the largest annual increase since 2010.

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Airport scene
[image credit: Wikipedia]


Land-grown biofuel is in enough trouble already as an enemy of the environment. But the vain pursuit of the imaginary CO2 enemy leads to numerous bad policy decisions.

“Hydrocarbon fuels will remain essential for modern air travel. So-called sustainable aviation fuels are expensive, produced in negligible volumes, and provide CO2 savings only on paper. As such, they fail the real sustainability test of affordability, plenty, and reliability.”

Air travel is a miracle of our modern society, writes Steve Goreham at MasterResource.

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Image credit: worldmaritimenews.com


Whether this is anything more than a publicity stunt remains to be seen. Biomass burning will still be producing more CO2 at the point of use per unit of energy than the coal it replaced.

Drax, operator of the UK’s largest power station, is partnering with the Smart Green Shipping Alliance (SSGA), leading dry bulk cargo transporter Ultrabulk, and Humphreys Yacht Design to tackle the mounting issue of CO2 emissions from the shipping industry, reports GreenCarCongress.

A £100,000-, 12-month feasibility study funded by InnovateUK, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and private investors has begun, which will examine the potential of fitting the innovative sail technology Fastrig onto Ultrabulk ships importing biomass into the UK for cutting both carbon emissions and costs.

The shipping industry emits roughly 3% of global CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions (CO2-equivalent), or approximately 1 billion tonnes of CO2 and other GHGs per year—more than twice as much as the UK’s total emissions, from all sources.

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Whether wood is truly renewable or not is a matter of opinion. Trees can be burnt in minutes but regrowth obviously takes many years. Theory has it that new trees can over time recover the carbon dioxide from tree burning but how realistic is that? Not very much, according to experts. The same politicians who attend climate conferences proclaiming ’emissions’ are a terrible problem now actively support making them worse. You couldn’t make it up.

Europe’s decision to promote the use of wood as a “renewable fuel” will likely greatly increase Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions and cause severe harm to the world’s forests, according to a new paper published in Nature Communications.

European officials on final language for a renewable energy directive earlier this summer that will almost double Europe’s use of renewable energy by 2030.

Against the advice of 800 scientists, the directive now treats wood as a low-carbon fuel, reports Phys.org, meaning that whole trees or large portions of trees can be cut down deliberately to burn.

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Can CNG trucks go the distance?

Posted: May 3, 2018 by oldbrew in Emissions, innovation, News, Travel
Tags: ,

CNG truck [image credit: Waitrose]


The idea here is that high pressure carbon-fibre fuel tanks should help to demolish the ‘range anxiety’ of truck operators who need to cover big distances daily, by giving a range of upto 500 miles. America already has some, but these are the first in Europe. Lifetime costs should be lower than regular trucks, but the report doesn’t say where the ‘renewable biomethane‘ fuel is coming from.

Delivery trucking is a dirty business, but the companies that rely on it are working to clean things up – and compressed natural gas is emerging as a useful alternative to our reliance on diesel power.

In the UK, Scania has created a fleet of biomethane fueled trucks for Waitrose, which is looking to reap the rewards with lower running costs and less emissions, reports New Atlas.

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Credit: inhabitat.com


Another green dream has crumbled in the face of inconvenient reality, defeated by biology, as Yahoo News reports. Research shows it is neither commercially nor environmentally sustainable, unless the equivalent of three Belgiums and a mountain of fertilizer can be found.

Modern biofuels have been touted as a greener alternative to petrol and diesel since the early 1900s. It seems like a good idea on paper, and they do work – but their use and production doesn’t come without problems.

The first generation of biofuels – mainly ethanol made from plant crops – and second generation, derived from plant and animal waste streams, both had environmentalists and others concerned about the competition for land and nutrients between biofuels production and food production.

It was with a lot of hope, and hype, that production of the third generation of biofuels was started. Unlike their predecessors, these biofuels are derived from algae, and so in theory the food vs fuel dilemma of crop-based biofuels would be solved.

Fossil fuel oil and gas originated from ancient algae in large measure, so the concept here is to replicate the essence of the creation of fossil fuels, albeit accelerated and optimised with modern chemical engineering. It was claimed that using algae would be much more efficient than creating biofuels from terrestrial plants and that the technology would make use of poor quality land not able to grow other crops.

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Bret Stephens at The New York Times delves into the erroneous ‘climate-friendly’ image of biofuels, and questions the claimed success of renewables in general. Not new criticisms, but new for the NYT at least.

A few extracts from the piece:
“Converting biomass feedstocks to biofuels is an environmentally friendly process. So is using biofuels for transportation. When we use bioethanol instead of gasoline, we help reduce atmospheric CO2.”

These confident assurances come from “Biofuels: A Solution for Climate Change,” a paper published in 1999 by the Clinton administration’s Department of Energy. Feels a little dated in its scientific assumptions, doesn’t it?
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For how much longer? [image credit: thecostaricanews.com]

For how much longer?
[image credit: thecostaricanews.com]


Promoters of biofuel are running out of excuses for converting vast tracts of valuable farmland into fuel sources, as this Phys.org report shows. This non-solution to a debatable problem needs reviewing urgently.

A new study from University of Michigan researchers challenges the widely held assumption that biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel are inherently carbon neutral.

Contrary to popular belief, the heat-trapping carbon dioxide gas emitted when biofuels are burned is not fully balanced by the CO2 uptake that occurs as the plants grow, according to a study by research professor John DeCicco and co-authors at the U-M Energy Institute.

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