Author Topic: Cellulose, Energy, Sugar, Plastic  (Read 1050 times)

Beasho

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Re: Cellulose, Energy, Sugar, Plastic
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2019, 06:12:12 PM »
Anytime I hear about something like this I always wonder about the energy balance. Transportable fuel always takes more energy to produce and transport than they directly return as usable energy. . . . .

Back when I was counting calories I learned and discovered all sorts of interesting things. 

I was wondering how efficient a HUMAN is vs. a gas vehicle for example.  When I added up the energy density of FAT which is known to be 9 Calories a gram you end up with ~ 4100 Calories per pound of about 30,000 Calories per GALLON.  Gasoline converted to Calories is ~ 33,000.

Whoaaaa!  The energy density of FAT is nearly as high as gasoline.  Could this be true?  Sure enough a quick search on Google will show the comparable energy density below. 

Long story short nature found a way to PACK a whole lot of energy into a small accessible package called FAT in our body.  This is why it's so hard to lose weight.  We are too darn efficient e.g. I burn 140 calories per mile --> Therefore I run 214 miles on a gallon of fat and only lose 7.5 lbs.

The measure of food calories is a function of what we can process and convert into heat energy.  If we eat grass, wood or cardboard the caloric content is ZERO.  But Cows and other animals can extract energy from grass, wood and probably cardboard.

By this line of thinking I guess humans did figure out how to get energy from cellulose long ago.  Throw it in a fire!

Back to the steam engine we go.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2019, 06:15:39 PM by Beasho »

seadart

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Re: Cellulose, Energy, Sugar, Plastic
« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2019, 08:12:38 PM »
Your graph with liquid H2 way out in right field reminded me of when I got to meet some astronauts who  when I was an undergraduate, and one of them talked about what it's like sitting on top of a  huge tank of liquid hydrogen and knowing the whole shebang was put together by the lowest the bidder. 

Beasho

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Re: Cellulose, Energy, Sugar, Plastic
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2019, 08:54:20 PM »
Hydrogen gas.  Fun and safe for the whole family.

Iíve been making these hydrogen bombs for a quarter century. 

Always gets a giggle. 




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Re: Cellulose, Energy, Sugar, Plastic
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2019, 01:39:06 AM »
Anytime I hear about something like this I always wonder about the energy balance. Transportable fuel always takes more energy to produce and transport than they directly return as usable energy. Beyond that sticky bit, changing the fuel source isn't a big solution unless the thermodynamic efficiency is somehow improved. Making fuels for internal combustion engines at the very best can only return about 30 percent of the energy consumed. That's one reason I'm somewhat convinced that transportation needs to be converted to mostly electric.

True, and electric cars are only as green as the electric coming out of the outlet. This has the potential to be used on either end.  I posted a similar graph to those below a few years back and it is remarkable how little this has changed in some sources.  Biomass is a broad term in that it combines stuff like burning cane (how much did we love that on Maui?) and much cooler technologies (oh, damn that word again).

From the article, "Medoff's ethanol is much better than regular corn ethanol in terms of greenhouse gas emissions - 77 percent better, according to a study that was independently reviewed."  That would be one factor.  As they mentioned, the hard part will be breaking into the existing structure of that industry.  Historically they have worked hard to bury competitive ideas.

Energy is just one application.  This guy did exactly what the patent office is there to protect (hardly a patent troll situation).  The Ah hah moment.  He looked at a problem in a fresh way, used existing systems that were available to anyone, and solved a problem (a number of them).  I say great to 60 Minutes for bringing that story and I don't mind the window dressing.






« Last Edit: January 10, 2019, 07:43:44 AM by Admin »

PonoBill

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Re: Cellulose, Energy, Sugar, Plastic
« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2019, 04:36:32 PM »
Hydrogen gas.  Fun and safe for the whole family.

Iíve been making these hydrogen bombs for a quarter century. 

Always gets a giggle. 



I almost took the windows out of my attic room at our house in Boston electrolysing water. Here's a tip--don't use AC to do that. You wind up with two containers of hydrogen and oxygen mixed at just the right stoichiometric ratios (naturally, since they started as H2O) to combine quite forcefully--much more dramatic than Hydrogen alone in a balloon. I had the windows open, and the door to my "lab" slammed open hard enough to bury the handle in the wall. Fortunately only one blew, and it wasn't a glass bottle otherwise I wouldn't be writing this. Still, a plastic Clorox bottle full of an explosive mix under a little pressure makes a hell of a bang and will stun you for quite a while. I thought I was deaf and spent most of an afternoon trying to come up with ways to explain my new disability to my parents that didn't include the word "explosion" in the narrative.

I also know some unfortunate ways to generate chlorine gas.

Admin, I wasn't suggesting that Mr. Medoff (unfortunately close to Madoff) was a troll, only that the patent office is no longer actually evaluating patents in the thorough way they used to. I was granted a sweeping internet patent that I have no right to--they gave it to me because they are nuts.

And actually, your graph doesn't include 2108, which is unfortunate since last year was a remarkable one for power generation in the USA with natural gas passing both coal and nuclear as a generation source. Remarkable in the face of the current dipshit administrations full-court press to pump coal. It's a dead horse, no new coal plants in the pipeline and plants that are fairly new being idled or decommissioned. Coal is dead. We are the Saudi Arabia of coal, but it's dead, dead, dead. Good riddance. Natural gas is getting ridiculously cheap and no one really knows what our reserves are. Might be effectively infinite.  Prices are volatile since storage is limited, but we've got a lot of natural gas.

It's quick and easy to build combined cycle gas turbines.

It also turns out that the midwest is a HUGE wind energy resource. Who knew? I always thought it would be the coasts and river canyons like the Columbia. Nope. Iowa, and all those states with right angle corners.

The big surprise to me is that he's been able to attract serious investment and board members with clout. He seems too odd to pull that off.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2019, 04:38:48 PM by PonoBill »
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Re: Cellulose, Energy, Sugar, Plastic
« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2019, 08:08:01 AM »
The interesting thing about the graph in regards to this story is in relation to the 30% claim that he lobbed out there.  He felt that he could replace 30% of the current energy structure.  If he came close that would certainly eclipse all renewables and would dwarf current biomass/ethanol.  He is considering this more on par with Natural Gas or where Coal has been.  He couldn't touch those numbers just going after weeny petroleum.  I think the reason that the heavy hitters came on board is because they see merit in his process and see a bet-able path to commercial success.  Who knows if they are betting on the energy side, food side, plastic side or some combination of those. 

And...if you can't bet on whacky, you basically can't bet.  I mean, Musk would come out of his tent, call this dude a pedophile and spark up a hooter.

Beasho

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Re: Cellulose, Energy, Sugar, Plastic
« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2019, 11:44:06 AM »
I almost took the windows out of my attic room at our house in Boston electrolysing water. Here's a tip--don't use AC to do that. You wind up with two containers of hydrogen and oxygen mixed at just the right stoichiometric ratios (naturally, since they started as H2O) to combine quite forcefully--much more dramatic than Hydrogen alone in a balloon. I had the windows open, and the door to my "lab" slammed open hard enough to bury the handle in the wall. Fortunately only one blew, and it wasn't a glass bottle otherwise I wouldn't be writing this.

These bombs are 'super' percussive but probably pretty tame to what you are describing. 

What makes the fireball dramatic with my balloons is that the hydrogen is seeking for the available oxygen in the room.  In slow motion you can watch it stretch and grow.  Pretty cool and frankly pretty safe.

I get my hydrogen from a combination of aluminum foil and lye (sodium hyrdroxide).  Hence its JUST hydrogen.  I add a few puffs from my lungs at <20% Oxygen but it lacks the perfect recombination effect and ultimate WHACK!