Monday 30 June 2014

"Plastics, Bio-fuels, Synergisms, Synthesis and Balance." Pt.2

Ocean Based Bio-Fuels

One of the reasons to clean our seas is so that we will be able to make sensible use of  them. Look at what has happened in Argentina VAST amounts of mono-cultured land end up providing only a small percentage of global annual consumption.

Quote: "Despite the commercial success of biodiesel in Argentina, there have been critics of its environmental impact. Agricultural lands in Santa Fe province have been growing soy for many years, so primary forest has not been cleared to make way for fuel crops – unlike some biodiesel operations in South East Asia. Nonetheless, the knock-on effects of using potential food production capacity for fuel are hard to measure, and increasing soy production has been blamed within Argentina for rising beef prices – an extremely politicised issue as beef is an important staple of the Argentinian diet.

The more intense method of making biofuels from algae offer one potential solution to the large amount of land required. While soy produces approximately 440 litres/ha/year, proponents of microalgae, such as Biocombustibles del Chubut (BC), claim that 15-80,000 litres/ha/year can be produced using their methods. BC supplied the fuel used for the Airbus flight.

The National Technological University of Mar del Plata is also researching algae-based fuels. The university launched a project in 2010 to explore the possibility of using salt-water algae feeding on industrial emissions and sewage mud, and hopes to get a five-fold energy return on investment, producing 8,000 litres of fuel per hectare.

Oil Fox has also been exploring this route since 1997. The company’s plant grows algae in photo-bioreactors with the CO2 from a nearby coal-fired power station. Oil Fox, which opened its second algae plant in 2010, has reportedly signed an agreement with oil company TPF to supply 50,000 tonnes per year." Go to:

Quote: "Nonpetroleum liquid resources remain a small but increasing source of liquids supply in the IEO2013 Reference case. Production of nonpetroleum liquids, such as biofuels, CTL, and GTL, is spurred by sustained high prices in the Reference case (Figure 32). However, biofuels development also relies heavily on country-specific programs or mandates. World production of nonpetroleum liquids, which in 2010 totaled only 1.6 million barrels per day (less than 2 percent of total world liquids production), increases to 4.6 million barrels per day in 2040, when it accounts for about 4 percent of total world liquids production.

Figure 32. World nonpetroleum liquids production by type, 2010 and 2040
figure data
In addition to summarizing the Reference case projection for liquid fuels, this chapter discusses alternative low and high oil price cases. It also provides a discussion of several special topics, including interdependence of production levels for major Persian Gulf suppliers, markets for NGPL, and the possible impact of tight oil on the global supply balance." Go to:

"The Agri-fuels Swindle

Gerard - while I'd fully agree that we've no farmland to spare for energy production, and extant forestry is an indispensable strategic resource both for biodiversity and its carbon bank, the avoidance of additional self-propagating damage to the seas' ecology is plainly no less crucial.

Great strides have been made in terms of GMOs (Genetically Mutilated Organisms) with a view to heavy corporate patent profits, and with such biotech the goal of GM-algae for fuel is getting nearer to commercial viability. Yet the risks of general deployment, and inevitable escapes, of mutilated marine algae are themselves potentially catastrophic.

The underlying swindle is that both marine GMO-fuels and Agri-fuels are hyped as displacing fossil fuels and saving carbon emissions. In reality they do nothing of the sort, since any fossil fuels locally displaced are promptly bought and burnt elsewhere.

Their actual function is not simply to increase the liquid fuel supply globally, but to help ensure the maintenance of the 1.0m bls/day supply cushion above global demand, without which the oil market siezes up - as in 2008 when prices spiked to $149/bbl. The consequences of that spike for the western 'financial-services-bubble' economy, we are still living with."

Many of us never see the damage we are causing the oceans so out-of-sight-out-of-mind applies. For the kind of volatiles we need on a large scale we will need an ocean harvest, otherwise "Emergence Theory's" laws apply and we experience a collapse.. also I'm sorry if you think I avow a strategy of genetic intervention rather than crop selection, however, I do not.

Synergy may be "the true key" here, however, for sheer volume/hectare we won't beat the oceans although it may also be true that without the land-based (sustainable), options the ocean harvest will be meaningless/useless.." Posts from my thread on The "Medialens" message board (subject to edit Ed.).

Quote: "Phyto-Plankton/Ocean Flora Harvest.

Without clean seas* we will not be able to produce the fuels we will need. This is why we need a paradigm shift away from the old exploitative model (also see, "What's That Coming Over The Hill?" Go to: ).

*not just biologically clean but radio-logically clean too." Go to:


  1. "Nobel Laureate Robert B. Laughlin exposes the consequences and limitations of biofuels from manure and corn ethanol to switchgrass and algae.
    The energy industry’s sudden interest in algae might also be part of this absurdity, unfortunately. Green politics powerfully encourages “greenwash,” the practice of associating yourself with green causes to look more environmentally friendly than you actually are. Although the investments that the oil majors are presently making in algae look technically legitimate, they might just be public relations expenditures." Go to :"Aunt Sally.."

  2. "Comment from Sean OHanlon on the same article: quote; "So Robert Laughlin shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1998. Good for him; But Algae cultivation is about Biology & Systems Engineering, not Physics. To me this is another case of someone who clearly hasn’t spoken with any leading researchers in the field of algae R&D or attended a single conference to get a pulse on the state of the industry."" Go to: "Aunt Sally...."