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Date: Sat, 8 Jul 1995 16:52:00 -0400
Message-Id: <950708164558_28384736@aol.com>
From: Gaian@aol.com
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: biomass fuel????


again here is another bogus argument for legalization. I happen to have gotten a degree in geography with an emphasis on economic geography, in two classes i took we focused on biomass for energy and the facts are that NO
plant including hemp is going to be able to compete with other fuel and
energy sources, the main expense is capital equipment costs and the amount of
biomass is not even the second largest cost, its labor.

i met jack herer once and pointed out what i considered an error in his
thinking about methenol. it appears to me that he assumes that a gallon of
methenol is equal to a gallon of gasoline(octane) however octane is about
twice as energetic as mentenol by mass and volume(which are nearly one to
one) he said he would check once he got back to calif. but i never heard from
him again.

mentenol is no pollution salvation either, what you make up in CO2 scrubbing
in growing hemp is lost by the production of NOx and carbon monoxide in the
tailpipe.

right now petroleum is selling for about 15 dollars per 50 gallon barrel
which means a synthetic version would have to sell for the same to be
competive. when the united states tried to develop a synfuel industry based
on coal in the early 80s they found that to be competive oil would have to be
about 50 dollars a barrel or higher.  
with coal you already had a concentrated supply of organic material and the
industry couldn't make against low priced oil.

besides there is a lot of biomass for the taking out there it is called
municipal waste sludge and does have porperties similar to peat.

dollar for dollar if i was in charge of investing to create alternative
energy sources i would never put money into biomass. solarvoltiac and wind
power would give a higher(positive at least) return.

the fact is that plants in general are very inefficent at capturing the
energy in sunlight. even in the best conditions plants can only utilize about
2% of it. clorophyll is specific to about 630nm(nanometers) wavelengths of
electromagnetic energy(light) whereas solarvoltaics as efficent as 15% have
recently been developed in australia and relatively cheap one at 10% are
available now. 

i would suggest reading a magazine called independent energy if one is
interested in the professional thinking among those actually puttting money
into new sources of energy. biomass is not a big topic there. cogeneration,
solar, wind and hydro are.

i think that industrial arguments are never going to sway someone who already
thinks the smoking marijuana is a bad thing to do. it has not work well
outside the hemp community itself. to me, a picture of a seventy year old man
in prison for the rest of his life for a marijuana only charge is much more
persasive.

paul

just to make things clear i think hemp for fiber and paper are sound
arguments technically but still lack the kind of emotional pull that a human
rights argument has.

=============================================================================

Date: Sun, 9 Jul 1995 10:32:13 -0400
Message-Id: 
From: Sol Lightman 
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: Re: biomass fuel????

On Sat, 8 Jul 1995 Gaian@aol.com wrote:

> again here is another bogus argument for legalization. I happen to have
> gotten a degree in geographer with an emphasis on economice geography, in two
> classes i took we focused on biomass for energy and the facts are that NO
> plant including hemp is going to be able to compete with other fuel and
> energy sources, the main expense is capital equipment costs and the amount of
> biomass is not even the second largest cost, its labor.

There are those people, rather well qualified, who would disagree with
you here.  Folke Dovring points out in his book, "Farming for Fuel" that
fossil fuels are actually heavily subsidized through United States DoD
funding.  When this cost is factored in, methanol is roughly competitive
to current oil prices, per BTU.

> mentenol is no pollution salvation either, what you make up in CO2 scrubbing
> in growing hemp is lost by the production of NOx and carbon monoxide in the
> tailpipe.

Properly built and tuned methanol engines do not do this.  South America's
formaldehied problem could be cured overnight by a massive campaign of
auto mechanics.

> the fact is that plants in general are very inefficent at capturing the
> energy in sunlight. even in the best conditions plants can only utilize about
> 2% of it. clorophyll is specific to about 630nm(nanometers) wavelengths of
> electromagnetic energy(light) whereas solarvoltaics as efficent as 15% have
> recently been developed in australia and relatively cheap one at 10% are
> available now. 

.. with a *much* higher initial investment, and without the advantages
of a liquid fuel (unless you want them to pay for the technology
to produce hydrogen, too.)  

Even relatively cheap ones are beyond the means of most farmers.  Keep
in mind that it is very inexpensive to cover acres and acres of land
with hemp plants.

Energy companies are currently burning
*trees* as a source for electric power.  I can see a clear demand
for hemp biomass here.

> i think that industrial arguments are never going to sway someone who already
> thinks the smoking marijuana is a bad thing to do. it has not work well
> outside the hemp community itself. to me, a picture of a seventy year old man

Agreed.  

> just to make things clear i think hemp for fiber and paper are sound
> arguments technically but still lack the kind of emotional pull that a human
> rights argument has.

Agreed, and it is these industries which will bootstrap the biomass
fuel industry by producing enough spare feedstock to develop
a technologically advanced pyrolytic fuel reactor.

Brian

--
The University of Massachusetts                           |  _________,^-.
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=============================================================================

Date: Sun, 9 Jul 1995 12:37:38 -0400
Message-Id: <950709123135_111005445@aol.com>
From: Gaian@aol.com
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: for alan, biofuels

i work for a publisher of scholarly journals and one of my favorites is
called the journal of non-renewable resources. in an article that addresses
your question, petroluem supplies could last forty years or longer. depending
on if you project increasing consumption, new proven reserves, currently
non-economic deposits( for example there is a lot of oil under ohio but it is
in micro-field that would warrant a well) the figure could stretch out to
about seventy years. in addition to that there are tremendous supplies of
natural gas and coal in the world as well tremendous potential in wind and
solar power.

just because something is technically feasible does not mean it is
economically practical.

as an enviornmentalist i am hopeful for a completely non-carbon based fuel
system for cars, hopefully electric, even burning compressed or liquid
hydrogen creates NOx compounds because nitrogen in the atomosphere is still
in the combustion chamber.

=============================================================================

Date: Sun, 9 Jul 1995 12:37:48 -0400
Message-Id: <950709123155_111005577@aol.com>
From: Gaian@aol.com
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: for brian, biofuel

depending on what costs you allow and what you don't you can make almost
anything seem competive on paper, but the proof is in the pudding right, in
the countries that we are now importing hemp fiber from are they using
leftovers?

it is really doubtful that if the united states was self-sufficent in
hydrocarbons that the priorities of the military would change much, although
we have made a point of using our military in the persian gulf we would have
still had those "assets" in any case, the united states forces doctrine
decrees that the U.S. should be prepared to fight two general wars (viet nam
or persian gulf scale) at the same time. i heard the argument before about
how oil really costs but those stats were figured over that years exports, if
you take the 60 bil. spent on the gulf war by the allies and divided over the
proven reserves that were in kuwait it comes out to about 55 cents a barrel

it is a practical impossiblity to keep nitrogen oxides form forming in
enclosed combustion chambers regardless of the fuel even if it is hydrogen,
and formaldhyde is not what i was talking about, it is an organic molecule.

i have heard about the electricity from wood chips, there is a 7 megawatt
plant in maine that burns leftovers from a lumber plant, it is actually paid
by the lumber folks to burn what had been a waste that they had to landfill.
and of course it had already been collected in one place. 

james carville focused the clinton campaign with IT'S THE ECONOMY, STUPID i
think a similar focus should be kept by us.
the human suffering caused not by drugs but by there opponents policies
should be first on are lips to whomever we meet. we should shame those DA's
and lammakers and police with the reality of the lives that they have ruined.

=============================================================================

Date: Mon, 10 Jul 1995 09:49:33 -0400
Message-Id: 
From: Sol Lightman 
To: Multiple recipients of list 
Subject: Re: for brian, biofuel

On Sun, 9 Jul 1995 Gaian@aol.com wrote:
> depending on what costs you allow and what you don't you can make almost
> anything seem competive on paper, but the proof is in the pudding right, in
> the countries that we are now importing hemp fiber from are they using
> leftovers?

Noone has gotten that far -- all the countries with a hemp industry older
than a deacade have little in the way of technology.  China is the
most advanced.  However, they may have started a pilot project to burn
raw hemp feedstock in Australia in the generation of electricity.

> it is a practical impossiblity to keep nitrogen oxides form forming in
> enclosed combustion chambers regardless of the fuel even if it is hydrogen,
> and formaldhyde is not what i was talking about, it is an organic molecule.

Formaldehyde is what concerns the South American countries with
methanol vehicle fleets.  They don't seem too concerned with Nitrogen
compounds.  There are a whole host of environmental problems with electric
cars, mainly in the manufacture of the parts especially the batteries,
which you fail to mention.  Internal combustion is still a superior
technolgy for small passenger vehicles, though hybrid models show some
promise of increased efficiency.

> i have heard about the electricity from wood chips, there is a 7 megawatt
> plant in maine that burns leftovers from a lumber plant, it is actually paid
> by the lumber folks to burn what had been a waste that they had to landfill.
> and of course it had already been collected in one place. 

No, power companies are actually growing trees to burn instead of coal.
They have developed fast growing pines that even rival hemp for biomass
production.  These are whole-tree harvested and used for nothing but fuel.
Something you also neglect to figure in are all the useful 
industrial byproducts of the pyrolytic process.

> the human suffering caused not by drugs but by there opponents policies
> should be first on are lips to whomever we meet. we should shame those DA's
> and lammakers and police with the reality of the lives that they have ruined.

Agreed.

Brian