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View Diary: A CAR that runs on fuel made from CO2 removed from the Atmosphere creating a carbon neutral loop (98 comments)

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  •  But It Doesn't Require Diverting Food or Ag Land (19+ / 0-)

    The plants that do the electrolyzis could be much smaller than land for biodiesel fuel, and the renewable electric could be located in places inconvenient for other uses.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 06:43:18 PM PDT

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    •  True. (10+ / 0-)

      However, capturing CO2 from the atmosphere is pretty inefficient with current technology, since it requires substantial refrigeration in order to separate.

      And arable land isn't truly the problem here.  

      It's really all about energy density and transport.  Loses occur at each step of conversion, so the most efficient is always going to be electrical generation to electrical storage to mechanical motion.

      Internal combustion engines are horribly inefficient...and always will be.

      Electric vehicles are the future...and batteries with sufficient energy density are the key.

      Not carbon neutral liquid fuels.

      At best, they're a very short term stop gap.

      Nothing worth noting at the moment.

      by Bonsai66 on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 07:24:34 PM PDT

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    •  Sugarcane doesn't have that effect. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi, Bonsai66, Lujane, eztempo, exterris

      Sugarcane is a grass that grows in crappy soil. You can't grow much in the canefields without piping in fertilizers and topsoil.

      It makes much more sense than corn ethanol, and Brazil is doing some amazing things with Sugarcane ethanol.

      There's no fuel oil in their process. They burn dried sugarcane husks, which makes the ethanol production process carbon negative, not just carbon neutral, because dry cane burns very clean, and those 12-foot stalks consume way more carbon as they grow than they put out when they burn.

      An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

      by OllieGarkey on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 08:37:37 PM PDT

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      •  See my comment elsewhere (5+ / 0-)

        Amongst the amazing things Brazil is doing with sugarcane is converting rain forrest to biofuel plantations. Not really sustainable.

        •  Exactly. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nailbender, Roadbed Guy

          It requires HUGE amounts of water.

          The run-off is toxic, and the rodents carry disease and the snakes who are after the rodents are among the most deadly on earth; the Fer-de-Lance, and HUGE rattlesnakes among about 130 others. Every year the folk who cut cane are crippled or killed. And they live in squalor.

          Enjoy your sugar in your coffee...

          "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

          by CanisMaximus on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 10:16:46 PM PDT

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          •  I'll take this piece by piece. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            CanisMaximus
            It requires HUGE amounts of water.
            Some places, like Florida, have huge amounts of water.
            The run-off is toxic,
            It doesn't need to be. Without any fertilizer or pesticide at all, you still end up with a pretty sizable sugarcane crop. It's grass, 12-foot tall grass. If you grow it without toxic chemicals you get a slightly reduced yield, but you get a sustainably produced product. You can essentially take river water, pump it through a chemical-free cane plantation, and return it to a river with no runoff, as long as you don't add chemicals.

            Monsanto would be unhappy, but there's a way to do cane sustainably. That means reduced yields, but it also means the runoff is identical to the river water you used in the first place.

            and the rodents carry disease and the snakes who are after the rodents are among the most deadly on earth;
            Well, if you have a problem with rodents, then humans should just stop growing food, because they're a reality in every single farm out there. No matter what the farm is, there's a rodent problem. Or a lagomorph problem.

            As for the snakes, we aren't talking about importing those snakes to the US. We're talking about converting our already-shrinking cane production areas into sugarcane-based fuel production areas.

            And they live in squalor.
            And how is that different from the rest of Brazil?

            Don't get me wrong, I feel for the Brazilian worker, but squalor isn't unique to the laborers in the canefields. It exists across industries in Brazil.

            Also, what is this supposed to mean?

            Enjoy your sugar in your coffee...
            We don't import sugar! We don't import sugar because US sugar gets massive subsidies to produce sugar at a lower cost than anyone else in the western hemisphere. That's the reason that the economies of the Caribbean are in the shitter. We took the only crop you can produce in the garbage that is sandy island soil, and we subsidized it so heavily that even Duvalier and Castro couldn't compete with us, and they both had slave labor.

            I'm not saying that sugarcane is the future.

            Electric cars that draw from 0-emissions powerplants are the future.

            I'm saying that sugarcane-based ethanol is better than corn-based ethanol (which is dumb, and uses oil, making it less clean than gasoline) which makes it a good emergency stopgap we can use on our way to total carbon neutrality.

            I'm saying that a move to sugarcane-based ethanol would spike the price for cane sugar, and if done right, wouldn't be an environmental negative.

            It'd also boost the economies of Caribbean nations, who would also start producing sugar once the price rose.

            Ethanol, done right, can be a tourniquet. It doesn't fix the fact that your arteries are ripped open, but it can save your life, temporarily, while someone stitches your arteries up.

            And clearly, sugarcane is superior to corn.

            Which uses fuel oil to distill.

            Which is dumb, considering the whole point of ethanol is to get away from fossil fuels.

            An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

            by OllieGarkey on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 06:09:20 PM PDT

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            •  Ok,ok... busted for overheated rhetoric... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              OllieGarkey

              ....and my experience with sugarcane farming comes from time in Central America and sugarcane workers in Nicaragua. Not Brasil.

              The run-off was toxic because it was full of the anti-fungal agents and sulfur sprayed on the crop. Sugarcane has a whole suite of diseases caused by various fungus. Some can set in almost overnight. The anti-fungals find their way into streams and kill wildlife and ruin drinking water.

              This was in the 90's. Maybe the technology has improved.

              I know we don't import sugar. It's a fungible commodity and it's price is set by speculators.  But in my sophomoric attempt to dramatize, I let my amygdala overwhelm my remaining pre-frontal cortex....

              Besides I was really high on some really good kush.

              "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

              by CanisMaximus on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 08:13:13 PM PDT

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              •  And this is why you're one of my favorites. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                CanisMaximus

                You+Kush=Coherent and intelligent comment with a dash of hyperbole.

                I don't think that anti-fungals OR sulfur are necessary in the American market, but Florida artesian water is already very, very sulfur heavy. Smells like rotten eggs, and tastes a bit like it smells. The river water has a high sulfur content too as a result.

                We don't need the antifungal agents in Florida that they need in some of these other places. Yeah, you'll get a bit of mold on the stalks, but it wont consume them.

                All in all, that's a much bigger problem if you're making sugar for food. You don't want sugar contaminated with fungus.

                But if you're going to take that sugar, put it in water, boil it to sterilize it, add some yeast, and turn it into car fuel, a little bit of mold becomes much less of a problem.

                That's my understanding, though I could be wrong.

                I know that the highest yields in Brazil are actually coming from Organic sugarcane. I agree with your argument that we can't bulldoze the amazon for sugarcane, but my understanding was that the slash and burn stuff was mostly for the cattle industry.

                And anyway, that's irrelevant to whether we can start producing Sugar ethanol here as a stopgap.

                An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

                by OllieGarkey on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 07:38:42 AM PDT

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      •  I don't think this is possible, chemically: (3+ / 0-)

        "…consume way more carbon as they grow than they put out when they burn."

        Mass in, mass out.



        Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

        by Wee Mama on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 06:55:30 AM PDT

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        •  Right, but a lot of that mass stays in the form of (0+ / 0-)

          ash and char, which is carbon, but not atmospheric carbon.

          So yes, the carbon sticks around, but it's not sticking around in the atmosphere.

          An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

          by OllieGarkey on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 05:45:22 PM PDT

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        •  And a lot of that carbon gets turned into Sucrose. (0+ / 0-)

          The chemical formula for sucrose is C12H22O11, So there's a ton of carbon and carbon dioxide absorbed to form sucrose, which we harvest almost completely from the husks before burning them.

          So much of that carbon has been removed from the dried husks in the form of sugar.

          An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

          by OllieGarkey on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 06:18:02 PM PDT

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    •  Much more efficient to use (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bonsai66, cocinero, wilderness voice

      solar and wind to power electric cars. The internal combustion engine is constrained by the laws of thermodynamics to the Carnot limit, 37%, with actual engines operating at 18–20%. Electricity is subject to much lower losses in transmission and use. Electric vehicles convert 59–62% of the energy from the batteries into power at the wheels.

      All of that is without even considering the losses in decomposing CO2 and H2O.

      Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

      by Mokurai on Thu Sep 05, 2013 at 10:20:05 PM PDT

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    •  They're Coal (0+ / 0-)

      Whatever energy source is used to power cracking the CO2 and H20 into fule, and to power the recapture tech, it's all far less energy efficient than burning some more coal that's already on trains out of the ground at plants already connected to the electric grid. More pollution efficient, but not as energy efficient. And therefore not nearly as money efficient. Sadly.

      This tech is interesting because it does pull CO2 out of the Greenhouse. It's not really carbon neutral except when, as the article says, it is powered by carbon-neutral sources. Which it will be only rarely, since those sources are such a small fraction of the energy available.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 06:49:03 AM PDT

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