Taking a closer look at the full costs of energy acquisition and dissipation
On the topic of cellulosic biofuel, I have recently become skeptical. There was something brought up in this article that has led me to look to other alternative fuels. One thing that hasn't been taken into account with even cellulosic biofuels is the damaged caused by the fertilizer. The phosphate mining process is damaging to the environment in other ways that would have to be taken into consideration when you determine the "environmental value" of biofuels.
That's why plants like switchgrass and hemp are so important. You do not need to fertilize them.
But i would imagine you still have to renew the nutrients in the soil from time to time, still using similar phosphates and nitrates that are harmful. The only way I can see to get around this is using animal fertilizers (animal waste), which would still have to be transported on a massive scale to have enough for a significant fuel source crop.
Harsh fertilizers are not the only way to feed plants. As organic farming techniques gain popularity and continue to improve, new environmental friendly fertilizers are being developed. There are organic fertilizers that extract N-P-K from sources like molasses and sea kelp.
This process seems very interesting because it uses multiple parts of the plant, unlike methods we have discovered previous to this. Another positive is that it produces 50 percent more ethanol than other approaches. But, how expensive is this process and would it be worth spending alot of money on, considering if other more efficient opportunities arise?
The mysterious anonymous man brings up a good point, switch grass absolutely trumps ethanol and many other biofuels on almost every front. While this new process looks interesting, there is no way it can be as easy to maintain and harvest as switch grass. You would still have to wait for the trees to mature, where as switch grass grows at a much faster pace. Also, I am not so sure that you would have to put any sort of new fertilizers in the ground year in and year out for switch grass. While, I'm sure this will make my lack of knowledge regarding agriculture practices evident, but grass returns year in and year out without fertilizers and isn't that essentially what switch grass is? A farming of weeds.
Cellulosic biofuels, as long as they do not compete with the food supply and they use less chemicals to grow them it should work. As if it were that easy. Any kind of crop uses some kind of fertilizer, unless they are naturally grown. as anonymous said the advantage in the case of switch grass is no fertilizer. The concern would be transportation as stated in the price of biofuels, that uses fuel.
cellulose biofuels are one of the main changes trying to be implemented by all major opec gas company's. the idea of getting clean burning emission free energy from renewable crop sources is a good idea. the only problem is that they must be fed and kept up with some type of fertilizers. several which could pose a threat such as phosphates and nitrogen. This would be hard to keep this crops grown and plentiful on such a large scale. just like most every other alternative fuel source, there are drawbacks to be figured out.
It confuses me why people invest so much money and study into traditional methods of ethonol when these sudy's show how the plant produces 50% more ethonol. Also, I think the sudy's of different natural fertilizers will grow so that we wont have to deal with all of the pollution and harmful side effects of traditional chemical fertilizers.
Post a Comment