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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

BioWeasels

Monbiot wrote a Guardian story on what we all suspected: "Worse Than Fossil Fuel":
The last time I drew attention to the hazards of making diesel fuel from vegetable oils, I received as much abuse as I have ever been sent by the supporters of the Iraq war. The biodiesel missionaries, I discovered, are as vociferous in their denial as the executives of Exxon. I am now prepared to admit that my previous column was wrong. But they're not going to like it. I was wrong because I underestimated the fuel's destructive impact.

Before I go any further, I should make it clear that turning used chip fat into motor fuel is a good thing. The people slithering around all day in vats of filth are performing a service to society. But there is enough waste cooking oil in the UK to meet one 380th of our demand for road transport fuel(2). Beyond that, the trouble begins.

[...]

It is prepared to sacrifice the South East Asian rainforests in order to be seen to do something, and to allow motorists to feel better about themselves.

All this illustrates the futility of the technofixes now being pursued in Montreal. Trying to meet a rising demand for fuel is madness, wherever the fuel might come from. The hard decisions have been avoided, and another portion of the biosphere is going up in smoke.
Proving once again how much you have to work to get unstuck between a rock and a hard place.

In regards to a HuffingtonPost entitled "The Plan to Steal Iraq's Oil", Charlie Cray describes how other human weasels show their true designs on raiding the hen house. PSA's used to refer to Public Service Announcements; short spots made on radio and television stations to provide balance to those people unable to get their voices heard. The acronym now means nothing more than deal making on a bait-and-switch level. How nice, PSA, a Production Sharing Agreement. We will all share. Yea, sure.

5 Comments:

Professor Blogger Engineer-Poet said...

If we haven't used this as a reason to count F-T fuel made from gasified biomass as "biodiesel", perhaps it's time to do that.  Maybe Rentech could be persuaded to burn carbonized cornstalks instead of coal and save part of a rain forest.

8:42 PM  
Professor Blogger WHT said...

F-T = Fischer-Tropf?

I consider the delineating point between biodiesel and methanol/ethanol to be the fact that biodiesel's viscosity causes it to gel as it gets cold whereas the lighter gas fuels stay liquid.

Just trying to determine how best too categorize this for the layman.

8:55 PM  
Professor Blogger Elaine Supkis said...

Burning fat to make things move: called "rickshaws" and no one pulling one stays fat for long!

The excess oil floating around our culture, seen also as tremendous amounts of fat on bodies, too, is a direct artifact of cheap fossil fuels. Once we turn this substance into something very expensive which is what happens on the downslope of the Hubbert Oil Peak, there will be no surplus oil to convert into diesel.

We will be lucky to have cow patties to burn like they do in India to cook dinner in many villages.

7:38 PM  
Professor Blogger WHT said...

Elaine,
Must be telepathy. I was just reading your take on the Japan/US fiscal situation, very interesting

9:12 PM  
Professor Blogger Ecacofonix said...

You are correct, it definitely feels like being between a rock and a hard place, but perhaps, just perhaps, there are better solutions...

Biodiesel from other feedstock such as jatropha or karanj might provide a better long-term solution with much less negative consequences for the environment...or even biodiesel from castor oil ( see Biodiesel from Castor Oil from CastorOil.in ) are being considered...the wild card could be biodiesel production from algae ( see Oilgae.com )...

Let's hope one or more of these bio-feedstock prove to be the magic bullet!

Ec @ The Home of Home Textiles Online

4:33 AM  

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