Thursday, June 26, 2008

Some biofuel comments

In my efforts to help arrange a forum (or two) on "energy issues," I had a fascinating conversation today with Paul Hoar of Agrifuels today. He's a national leader on biodiesel knowledge... and he happens to live in Glastonbury! Anyway...

He gave me a quick explanation on some fuels, including some comparisons. And here's the gist of it:

One unit of gasoline = 115,000 BTUs
One unit of ethanol = 90,000 BTUs

One unit of diesel = 129,000 BTUs
One unit of biodiesel (B100) = 119,000 BTUs

(B100 = 100% biodiesel, B20 = 20% biodiesel & 80% diesel, etc.)

So a B20 blend has BTUs close to parity with regular petrodiesel.

Here's one more consideration though... when you look at the total energy required to get one gallon of biodiesel to Cheshire... compared to getting one gallon of petrodiesel to Cheshire... I understand that (on average for America) the actual energy value of biodiesel is 3 to 3.5 times the value of diesel. (This disparity arises because of the extra energy inputs, such as the fuel for the tanker to cross the Atlantic vs. the gasoline to plow the soy fields in Maryland... biodiesel can be made from soy, french fry grease, chicken fat, etc.)

As for ethanol... it's not there yet. It doesn't make sense. But I think when private VCs want to invest their money, that's great. Besides... to say that ethanol is a bad idea would be akin to returning to the 1960s and telling IBM that their mainframes would never work.... it's all about efficiencies... and you won't get there without the R&D. As for the agricultural component... it's just a part of a much broader discussion that America, and particularly CT, needs to have on our foolish land-use policy.

Tim White

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I have to disagree with you on this issue. It's good to have another opinion, this doesn't make me the know-it-all on this topic and I base everyone's opinion as their own right and they can't be wrong. That's what makes blogs like yours useful to those who get involved.

Although bio-diesel cuts our dependence on middle east oil, opec and terrorism (in my opinion,) it also has an adverse reaction to other agricultural prices here in the USA. Take the case of corn, sugar cane or grain products. All have risen to all time highs by speculators believing that the supply wount be able to keep up with demand.

This is having the same effect with the production of E-85 fuel which is also a driving factor on these other food products. The price of bio-diesel and E-85 is not a bargain, but it does cut our dependancy on M.E. oil.

Also by utiizing millions of acres of produce for bio diesel and E-85 production we are depleting these acres to retuning back to normal produce farming land.

We need someone in the White House that has the guts to stand up to big oil, opec and the terrorist that control both. Whoever that person is will win in November.

Now, Let me just say that 200 mpg vehicles are here..on the drawing board. The car companies will not put them into production because they are following the orders from the "axis of oil evil."

Here are some solutions to lower our fuel costs. Remember the goal is to be a completely self-sufficient country when it comes to fuel, (like Brazil.)

1. Federally owned and operated new oil drilling facilities located offshore and in Alaska (carefully moving the dozen polar bears to any of the 100's of million of other acres there) and more refineries located on government owned land. Just the passing of this bill will drive down the price of fuel. And for you environmentalists (in which I favor a cleaner Earth.) Drilling in the area of Alaska where there is millions of barrels of oil know to exsist is comparable to the size of a quarter (coin) on a football field..get the picture!

2. Build more cleaner neuclear power plants and coal mines to produce enough energy to support the nations new electric grid and electric cars.





7. Hold oil company CEO's responsible and have their compensation be transparent to the general public frequently.

8. Government insentives for businesses and residents to convert to alternative energy sources (Grants and Rebate $$.)

9. Raise the CAFE levels 20% higher, it can be done.

10. Raise the national legal driving age to 18..sorry kids, these are tough times. Visit the MADD web site on under 18 vehicle accidents.

Soon I will post somethings we can do that are simple to increase our vehicles MPG without spending any money at all (FREE TO YOU FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY.)


Mike Rocci