Friday, December 12, 2008

bio fuels & authors read radio

-- Bio Fuel: What is that? --

The term Bio-fuel encompasses many variants of plant-based oils and alcohols that can be used as alternative fuel. While alternative fuel sources like these are certainly greener than traditional fuels, there is already strain on the global food production and that raises concerns. Other sources come from a "waste" product like bio-solids (human/animal manure), methane collected from landfills and composting facilities or used deep fryer oils.

Because this is relatively a new technology with many different branches being explored, I’ve asked one of our more knowledgeable friends, Don Noble, to clarify the various terms that people in the industry use when referring to bio-fuels.

“It's generally referred to as "cellulosic ethanol" production (meaning ethanol made from cellulose). However, cellulose can be turned into all forms of energy depending on how you transform it. Anaerobic (without oxygen) digestion generally converts it to methane (natural gas), fermentation (with uses oxygen and special microorganisms) converts it to alcohol (can be methanol, ethanol, propanol, butanol, etc.) And, of course, simply burning it gives off heat and light, too - i.e. fire in the fireplace.

Typically ethanol can be manufactured from any food source - e.g. vodka from potatoes, wine from grapes, "grain alcohol" from corn - i.e. "moon shine". But you can also make other alcohols. Cellulose is harder to break down, since it requires special enzymes (found in certain bacteria, in the stomachs of termites, etc.) and that's why scaling up this technology is "new" or "innovative" and not ready for industrial scale at this time... though 100's of millions of dollars are going into it as we speak.”
~ Dan Noble – executive Director of the California Association of Compost Producers.

Many different species are being experimented with for bio fuel potential -here are a few new ideas I thought you would be interested in:

From Seeds of Diversity’s magazine (Fall 2008 issue):
“...creating biofuel from the dead forests (caused by the devastating pine beetle in Canada) would mean that less oil and gas would need to be pumped out of the ground …it does not compete with the human food supply.”

That same issue referred to a diesel tree plantation experimentation in Australia – apparently the tree (Copaifera langsdorfii) is native to Brazil and “can be tapped, like sugar maple or rubber trees, to harvest as much as 40 liters of natural diesel per year, needing only simple filtration before use in tractors or trucks.

The Vancouver Sun newspaper reported that a species of the edible plant family known as “Salicornia” has a high oil content and this is also currently being experimented with as a source of bio-diesel. Incidentally I have booked an interview with alternative power enthusiast Diane Tegarden who will be speaking desalination technology, which removes the salt from seawater and could prove to be the answer to future water needs, on Jan 22nd. Diane appeared on the Conscious Discussions talk radio show earlier in the year as well (July 30th, 2008).

The quote above that Dan so graciously provided us with was not taken from his interview (which aired on Nov 6th, 2008) - this is something he did for us despite his busy schedule and I do appreciate this very much.

You can find either of these previous interviews with Dan or Diane by clicking on they hyper-linked dates above or go to the Conscious Discussions talk radio show's website, look to the right for the list of archives and go from there.

-- Authors Read --

Today's guest on Authors Read radio: Roy Neuberger has 3 books currently available for readers to check out from their favorite bookseller: From Central Park to Sinai—How I Found My Jewish Soul, Worldstorm – Finding Meaning and Direction Amidst Today’s World Crisis, and most recently: 2020 Vision. Roy has worked as a National Park Service Ranger and Fire Lookout on a remote mounain-top, a copy editor at The Long Island Press, and publisher and editor of a weekly newspaper, The Cornwall Local in Cornwall, NY. Roy also was Director of Conservation for New York City. Today - the author reads an excerpt from 2020 Vision.

Find Dave & Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, information about their radio shows & free resources & articles at

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