Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Coming up in February...

The Blessings of Biofuels
Sunday, February 13, 2-4 pm
Fossil fuels will soon be more difficult to obtain, and increasingly expensive. Are there advantages in switching to ethanol mixes now? Nancy Wise, a major proponent, will present her views and experiences driving with E-85, a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline blend available in gas stations locally and usable with the many flexible fuel vehicles produced by major manufacturers. Nearly 2 million people may not be aware that they can immediately switch.

And there is biodiesel, usable with most diesel engines (all post 1996 ones), also available locally or you can easily brew your own for around $0.70/gallon. Patrick Enright will relate his experiences with a conversion kit.

We will also review some other emerging options that are increasingly earth friendly and consider the future of these renewable fuels.

At North Park Village Nature Center, 5801 N. Pulaski, Chicago.
For more info contact Rael Bassan, 773-907-1465 or raelearth at yahoo.com

Fossil fuels will soon be more difficult to obtain, and increasingly expensive. http://drydipstick.com/ Also global warming, from fossil fuel consumption, is likely to be more dangerous and may be irreversible sooner than previously calculated.
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/environment/story.jsp?story=608209 We should seriously consider switching to cleaner carbon neutral biofuel mixes using ethanol/biodiesel as soon as we can. Both can be produced at home or cooperatively.

Ethanol in the form of E-85, a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline, is available in gas stations locally and usable with the many flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) produced by major manufacturers. Nearly 5 million people can immediately switch.
Other vehicles can be adapted. http://journeytoforever.org/biofuel_library/ethanol_motherearth/me2.html
Compared to gasoline E85 is cheaper, safer, less carcinogenic, reduces pollutants by 25% and greenhouse gas emissions by up to 40%. It increases power by 5% but reduces gas mileage by up to 28%. http://www.e85fuel.com lists FFVs and two refueling sites in Chicago (Gas City, 4070 N. Clark is one) with others in Evanston, Des Plaines and many surrounding suburbs.
<> Permaculturalist, Dave Blume promotes small scale ethanol production. www.permaculture.com/alcohol/
http://www.michigan.gov/cis/0,1607,7-154-25676_25753---,00.html has several articles on using biomass. Producing ethanol using energy crops would run under $1.00/gallon and as low as 34 cents/gallon by 2010 using wastes (e.g. municipal solid wastes). Alternative ethanol production utilizing many of the other biomass components (cellulose, hemicellulose,…) are being tested. Potentially richer feedstocks, such as Jerusalem artichokes are also being explored. Both would markedly increase the energy return on investment. Canada, since April 2004, commercially produces ethanol from straw, additionally fermenting xylose for almost 40% yield increase. http://www.iogen.ca/

Biodiesel is produced from vegetable oils or animal fats by adding lye and an alcohol such as ethanol. It's usable with most diesel engines (all post 1996 ones), without conversion. About half is made from animal fat. It's often available locally or you can easily brew your own for around $0.70/gallon. http://journeytoforever.org/biodiesel_make.html#process Advantages: 1) It burns up to 75% cleaner than conventional diesel fuel made from fossil fuels, with ozone-forming potential nearly 50% less. 2) Biodiesel is a much better lubricant than conventional diesel -- a German truck won an entry in the Guinness Book of Records by travelling more than 780,000 miles on biodiesel with its original engine. 3) Biodiesel has a high cetane rating, which improves engine performance. Biodiesel can be mixed with ordinary diesel fuel in any proportion -- even a small amount of biodiesel means cleaner emissions and better engine lubrication: 1% biodiesel (B1) will increase lubricity by 65%. You can also get a conversion kit to turn your vehicle in to a Frymobile, which will run on filtered used frying oil for around $800. The State of Illinois will reimburse you for 80% of the conversion costs, up to $4,000.

Widescale Biodiesel Production from Algae http://www.unh.edu/p2/biodiesel/article_alge.html If all spark-ignition engines are gradually replaced with compression-ignition (diesel), enough biodiesel to replace all petroleum transportation fuels could be produced by growing algae in 15,000 square miles, or roughly 12.5 percent of the area of the Sonora desert, roughly 9.5 million acres - far less than the 450 million acres currently used for crop farming in the US, and the over 500 million acres used for grazing land for farm animals. A 3.2 energy balance is for biodiesel made from soybean oil - a rather inefficient crop. Other feedstocks such as algaes can yield substantially higher energy balances, as can using thermochemical processes for processing wastes into biofuels (such as the thermal depolymerization process. Such approaches can yield EROI values ranging from 5-10.
<> 10,000 to 20,000 gallons of Algae oil can be produced per acre per year. http://explanation-guide.info/meaning/Biodiesel.html
<> Currently the U.S. biodiesel industry has the capacity to supply 1.9 billions gallons. Producing it from spicy mustard seeds could add another 5-10 billion gallons. http://www.uvm.edu/~bdiesel/?Page=making.htm Oil from industrial hemp is also usable.

http://biodiesel.org/buyingbiodiesel/distributors/default.shtm Biodiesel distribution is concentrated in the midwest.
In Chicago, there is Bell Fuels, 4116 W. Peterson; and Warren Oil Company, 4243 S. Knox. Other distributors in the in the region are located in Frankfort, Wauconda, Tinley Park, Minooka, Peotone, Wilmington, Joliet, Forrest Park, Woodstock, Sycamore, Palatine and Batavia. However retailers are more limited http://www.biodiesel.org/buyingbiodiesel/retailfuelingsites/default.shtm
Road Ready Fueling Station, 1185 N. Ellis Street, Bensenville. Ten Consumer coops across the country have taken up the slack.

Comparing Biodiesel and E-85 - Argonne developed the GREET model (which stands for Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation) http://www.transportation.anl.gov/software/GREET/index.html
According to a 2001 analysis, Biodiesel was the greenhouse gas emission minimizer. Energy usage varies with the production pathway. www.veggiebus.com/emissions.html 2001 report

Some other emerging options… BioHydrogen - a patent-pending process to turn agricultural biomass-wastes into hydrogen fuel and charcoal fertilizer. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2004/08/new_methods_for.html
Biosyngas & BioCrude often from pyrolysis (heating without oxygen) www.ecn.nl/docs/library/report/2004/c04112.pdf
Commercial production is planned for dimethyl ether www.greencarcongress.com/2005/02/new_dimethyl_et.html
Thermal depolymerization (TDP) is now converting turkey wastes to oil at ~85% efficiency, emulating the earth's geothermal processes. It can be used with any hydrocarbon polymer rich waste or feedstock http://www.changingworldtech.com/

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