August 2008


Options: Use Monospaced Font
Show Text Part by Default
Show All Mail Headers

Message: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Topic: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Author: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]

Print Reply
Jim West <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 27 Aug 2008 11:12:31 -0400
text/plain (71 lines)
An impressive documentary recently; "FIELDS OF FUEL"  has won many awards.

The film eloquently contradicts approximately 600 articles published in
major media to bash bio-diesel.  It reviews petrochemical's political history.

Don't confuse this with Ethanol.

Biodiesel certainly seems to be one of the best alternative power sources
available.  Algae farms are now producing bio-oils from which fuel, food,
and plastic can be derived.  Mere cold-pressing can extract oil which is a
main component of algae, by weight, 50%.  It is now being offered at fuel
stations througout Europe.

Bio-diesel oil tops the BTU efficiency studies.  Both gasoline and ethanol
utilize nearly as much energy to manufacturer as they provide.  Yet, bio-oil
produces a multiple of the energy required to create it.

Bio-diesel exhaust is much less hazardous then petroleum fuel exhausts.  It
smells like french fries, rather than carcinogenic hell.   Newer diesel
engines are highly efficient and clean.  The first diesel engine was
introduced to the world in the late 19th c. running on peanut oil.  Not
surprisingly, the wealthy and successful Rudolf Diesel died an early death
under suspicious circumstances.

Algae grows in seawater, and duplicates its mass every 24 hours.  It can use
wastewater.  It is a completely renewable resource.  Algae farms extract
carbon dioxide from the air and produce oxygen, protein, fiber and oil.

Oil can be extracted from algae by cold-press, harmless CO2 process, or
conventional hexane solvent process. 

The process is completely independent of petrochemical industry, though the
existing pipeline grid would be useful.

Under pessimistic scenarios, bio-diesel shines brightly in terms of the
environment and economics.

Here are optimistic scenarios that I've calculated.  Please confirm and

Using the optimistic claims of the algae farmers (see below), then if
biodiesel hybrids (generated or plug-in) replaced gasoline cars and if
engine efficiencies are doubled, then a city of 1 million people could
replace all of its gasoline usage with an algae farm of 3.65 square miles,
or 1.35 miles on each side of a square representing that farm.

A village of 5,000 could replace its gasoline requirements, accordingly,
with an algae farm of 25,000 square feet (500 ft per side).  

For more info:

Here are statments from a company that is currently going into production.

a) "Microalgae... can produce 30-100 times the oil yield of soybeans on
marginal land and in brackish water. The biomass left-over from oil-pressing
can either be fed to cattle as a protein supplement, or fermented into

b)"The current algae farm consists of 1,100 acres of saltwater ponds that
the Company projects will produce a minimum of 4.4 million gallons of algal
oil and 110 million pounds of biomass on an annual basis." 

Jim West