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Thursday, March 29, 2007

A dream shattered

Around-the-clock emergency meetings at Portland City Hall tonight. It seems that biodiesel is incompatible with socialism. In a hurriedly scheduled news conference, Sam the Tram assured a nervous public: "The couplet is probably still o.k."

Comments (27)

Castro opens a dialog that needs to be addressed. Will crops destined to make ethanol be more important to U.S. citizens than helping to feed the poor?
Ethanol is a fool-hardy idea for fuel in any case. Less MPG is one factor, Alcohol has a much lower power producing properties than gasoline. In other words a car getting 20 mpg will get maybe 10mpg.on pure ethanol and as you add more gasoline you get somewhat better mileage, but never the mileage obtained from pure gasoline. Strange how the Chritian right has been so silent on this little nut of truth.

Somehow, we need to keep the terminology straight. Biodiesel isn't ethanol.

Yes, biodiesel isn't ethanol, but like ethanol when you run your diesel engine on it you get less mileage. Also like ethanol, it takes more energy to produce biodiesel than energy released when biodiesel is burned. How this involves the Christian right I don't know.

Finally Jack, the article you linked to was for communism. What the politburo downtown wants socialism - you know, communism lite.

Also, the various methods of producing and refining Biodiesel are still in their infancy.

Hit google with "algae" and "biodiesel" to read about the state of the art research. Look up the latest improvement of the Fischer-
Tropsch coal-fuel extraction process, as well. The articles that people often cite about the resources needed to produce enough clean Diesel to power industrial economies of scale are usually terribly outdated.

As far as Castro goes, do you think that those people might get a little more food to eat and a little less GPU/NKVD style socialist repression when he finally dies ? Or will it just become a huge casino again ?

Let's be fair: Castro tried to check his numbers on the island's car but it wouldn't start.

There was an interresting article in the NY Times last week or the week before about towns in the midwest that are fighting the new plants that produce this stuff. Lots of interesting points.

Strange how the Chritian right has been so silent on this little nut of truth.

Interesting. Apparently you dont listen to anyone on the "Christian Right."

Shallow thinkers say the most interesting things.

Could we get Rosie to weigh in on this?

I'm just relieved to hear the couplet is ok.

"Somehow, we need to keep the terminology straight. Biodiesel isn't ethanol."

Thank you, Allan L.

Not only is that true, but the pulp left after crushing the oil for biodiesel from either soy bean or canola is compressed into a high protein food item.

Also like ethanol, it takes more energy to produce biodiesel than energy released when biodiesel is burned.

Not true.

For every unit of energy used in the production of biodiesel, 3.4 units of energy are created.

My diesel powered vehicle gets identical mpg when I burn petroleum diesel or B-99 biodiesel. When I burn biodiesel, however, there is none of the black smoke that typically comes out of a tail pipe on diesel powered vehciles.

"compressed into a high protein food item"

Soylent Green.

...the pulp left after crushing the oil for biodiesel from either soy bean or canola is compressed into a high protein food item.

How's it taste?

Any trans-fats?

"How's it taste?"

Great. Maybe you could let me make you up a batch and I will feed them to you.


Randy Leonard For every unit of energy used in the production of biodiesel, 3.4 units of energy are created.
JK: How about coal conversion to diesel? That doesn't compete with the world's food supply.

PS: Housing density causes traffic congestion.

Diesel engines were invented to be run on bio diesel. To free the farmer so to speak. They get the same mileage.

Another note: Carburetors (yes the complex item on top of the engine from years ago) manufacturer Edelbrock has an after market ethanol carb on the market that notes better power off of Ethanol due to its increased octane.

Higher Octane means higher compression. That means you have more power per a gallon and thus more efficient, if you know what you are doing.

"Also like ethanol, it takes more energy to produce biodiesel than energy released when biodiesel is burned"


About the only similarity between ethanol and bidiesel is that they are both biofuels. Beyond that, they are completely different things.

Ethanol is, will be, and has always been a mediocre fuel. It works, but it's far from an ideal solution. Add to that the problems inhetent to diverting a major foodstock like maize for fuel production, and it's even worse. Even the US DOE thinks corn is not the way to go. (Cellulose-based ethanol might be another story, but currently there's no major process that works for that.)

Biodiesel, however, is very similar to petrodiesel in most applications. A bit over a year ago, RoguePundit did an article on the yield-per-acre of biodiesel for various crops. It's clearly a net positive with rapeseed, and there are some tropical crops that are much better.

Regarding performance characteristics of ethanol vs. gasoline.

Ehtanol has a higher octane rating or kindling point than gasoline. That means it will tolerate higher compression pressures and your engine is less inclined to detonate or "ping" at higher compression ratios. that in itself is a good thing because higher compressions lead to more complete combustion and somewhat higher engine efficiency.

However, ethanol also has about half the caloric value of gasoline, which means that the explosion a given volume of ethanol produces is more "feeble" than that produced by an equivalent volume of gasoline and consequently, the same engine running on ethanol will produce less torque.

These two aspects are partially offsetting, but in the end, a dual fuel vehicle will get somewhat lower mpg on ethanol. Anecdotally, I recently drove to Seattle on a tank of E-85. In Seattle I filled up with good old regular unleaded gasoline. My return mileage was maybe 15-20% better on gasoline.

Ethanol, in general, bad. biodiesel's not all that great either.

But Barnie, when you returned from Seattle you where going down hill :)

But yes, in an engine tuned for regular unleaded gas it will not take advantage of the E85 octane boost.

Extracting ethanol from corn or soy beans is not very efficient. It works in Brazil because the Brazillians extract ethanol from sugar cane. Sugar cane yields more ethanol.

My diesel powered vehicle gets identical mpg when I burn petroleum diesel or B-99 biodiesel. When I burn biodiesel, however, there is none of the black smoke that typically comes out of a tail pipe on diesel powered vehciles.

Ummm...shouldn't you be riding light rail, the streetcar, the tram, or a bicycle? One great thing about bikes is that you can just steer around the potholes, rather than jouncing through them.

There is only one sure way to get America to accept E85 as a fuel of choice.
It will have to power a winning NASCAR entry.
Green would be an appropriate color for the car, but who would be the sponsors?
Fritos Corn Chips?

There will be a winning indy car in St Pete this weekend powered by 98% ethanol. The IndyCar series has switched totally to ethanol... and this interesting article corrects some of the misinformation given by others in this thread.

...and this interesting article corrects some of the misinformation given by others in this thread.

Could you be less specific?

I was at an interview of one of the big shots of the Champ Car circuit. They run ethanol fuel.

Champ/Indy cars also average less than two miles per gallon, (although running 900hp engines), and are tuned to run at 15,000 rpm.
Not exactly the poster child for efficiency.

And when race teams can throw money at a car to get what they want, its a bit different than the average Joe and his Taurus. The engine alone costs two to three times what the average American makes in a year.


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