Technological Grail Quest and some reviews too.

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Bio-Diesel

This is from a post I made on The Alchemical Nursery Commune under the Thoughts for today topic.

Mostly it is scale. It does work, in fact it is an important part of the energy model. However it must be considered as only part of the entire energy "grid". Before I go into the details on the energy grid, I will first discuss my thoughts on bio-diesel.

First bio-diesel is an expensive alternative to petroleum diesel, on the scale that is considered for use as is commonly considered in the modern industrial age. It is not very ecological to use bio-diesel to farm if what you are producing is mostly more materials for the production of bio-diesel. The scale is the problem here. There are other concerns, the growing of materials for the production of a store of bio-diesel that can be used for trade causes an unbalanced economy, as it will cause the land use to be decidedly mono-culture, which is the main problem with agriculture today. In addition, when using raw materials to create energy materials the downward spiral of cost will eventually make the resource to costly to be sustainable. To be sustainable the bio-diesel must be a secondary waste by product. If it cannot be produced from waste, then it is costing to much in resources to make it sustainable.

So as to the cost of bio-diesel, of which the components are relatively costly, as per scale, consideration must be given as to the rationale for its use. Are you going to power your farm off of bio-diesel, your cars, or are you looking to replace fuel for heating homes. Considering use, if you are looking to power mechanical machines from the fuel, look to make that use as efficient as possible. Consider the cost of labor against the cost of mechanical assistance. Also consider the secondary cost. Even if you use bio-diesel in your tractor you will still need a lubricant because of the moving parts. Is there another technology that can be used instead for the same purpose with at least as adequate results. Tractors break, they provide large amounts of horse power, but changing the way you farm can reduce the need for horse power. For most operations consider the need for technology, the need for application of proper force for the operation needed and how could that be done. I lived in St. Lawrence County this past summer, operating a organic farm and restaurant. One thing I did was take careful note of all the Amish farmers (we purchased many products from them) and how they worked. They were able to make very large farms work quite well. How is it that they are able to do this, without the use of powered machines. They have a unique lifestyle. They may be families living on their own farm, but every farm is part of the community. Each farmer works each others farms, going in cycles to each others farms until every farm in the community gets the work completed. Like the way they build, they live, in a community. They also all work, no matter their particular limits, they all work to the limits. An old woman might not have the strength to lift walls, but she can pass cans of water to little children who will run to the workers to make sure they are kept hydrated. Even the smallest children must do their share, even if it is only running a quart of strawberries from the fields to the house where it can be put into the next batch of jam. This is a simplified view of their culture, and I will not pretend to understand them all that well, but my observation of them has taught me a lot about making a real community work.

I live by the computer, I have been a computer geek, and further a computer technician. I will at the least always try to work through this equipment as it allows me the ability to produce work, research, and communicate in such a way as there have not been before. This machine takes power, and I continuously look for ways to both cut the amount of power it needs while maintaining efficiency, while at the same time looking for new ways to use the excess energy that is generated from the use of this equipment. Did you know that computers generate heat, massive amounts of heat. They generate more heat than an iron on full temperature. Even the most efficient computers generate more heat than your refrigerator. Are you aware that your refrigerator generates heat. That by the process of generating heat is is able to generate cold. Were you also aware that by generating heat you are able cause the same reaction to generate cold. The technology to transfer heat to cold is cheaper than to generate the heat in the first place. Without going into the physics, an average computer can be refrigerator, but how is that done. The same is for bio-diesel, although I am cautious of it, I am also an advocate of it, when applied properly. Transporting fuel is always a bad idea. When you are transporting fuel, or even parts of it, you are making the fuel more costly than it needs to be. Insane indicated that the fuel could be made on one location and could be transported to the other properties to be used to transport materials to another place. I just want to stop here for a second, transporting of materials from one location to another is cost, how can that cost be reduced, by ensuring that transport is appropriate. Every operation that generates waste generates fuel resources. Better to transport technology. With the right application of technology every operation can be shown how to generate their own supply of bio-diesel from their waste. This eliminates the need to transport materials from one location to the next, and especially raw materials for the production of other products that need to be transported again. There is a need for transportation, and I will go into that at another time, but dealing with this particular issue, the transport of materials from place to place is the system that we currently have, and it is why we need the petroleum based transportation system.

If you are thinking about electricity as being an alternative, I will tackle that one later too.

So is bio-diesel a good thing. Economically peaking it is a necessity to the individual operations, but not so good for the entire matrix of communities, as transport of goods is not so good, at least not on the same scale as we have come to know them.

Moving forward, I will now give the development of waste diesel a try. Where is bio-diesel created. As mentioned before it should be made at the point of use, or very near to it. So what is bio-diesel made from. It can be very easily made from vegetable oil and ethanol (although there are a few other reactives in the mix). To be perfectly honest, and anyone that knows about bio-diesel can tell you, vegetable oil is bio-diesel. A diesel IC (internal combustion) engine can burn strait vegetable oil, although it is not the best for it. So what is bio-diesel that can be burnt in an unmodified diesel IC engine. Commonly it is a mixture of bio-diesel and petrol-diesel. However with either a little modification of the IC engine, or modification of the fuel it can be 100% bio-diesel. What is this bio-diesel that I am referring to. It is a bio-diesel that incorporates the use of ethanol, although I should say alcohol as any of the forms can be used, in the processing of the oils to generate a more efficient product that can be burnt in an unmodified diesel IC engine. Going even further, how is the oil that is used made. If it is vegetable based oil it can be made from any form of grain, or nut, or any plant, however cost is very important here. Rose oil could be used, but the cost factor would make that sweet smelling diesel very expensive. So we use commodity oils, soybean, canola, sunflower, corn, wheat, or whatever, to make the base oil. This is the same oil we could cook with, although most of the oils we use to cook with are even further refined than that which we would concern ourselves with for the making of bio-diesel. With the addition of a reactive and the ethanol we will make a type of bio-diesel that can be used as petrol-diesel could be used. To increase efficiency we could use more reactives, and get higher grade bio-diesel. We could also modify the machine to use the fuel more efficiently. Each step is part of the entire process. Cost is considered all along the way, and we have to then decide is it worth the effort. Remember the environment. Is it ecological to keep burning petrol-chemicals. We know the answer to that one. Further is it ecological to clear cut forest to make ethanol to produce the bio-diesel. Again, we know the answer. So ecological questions must also be considered. If we are burning resources to make resources, what are the cost. If we are using resources to make resources what are the cost. Yet are we using more resources to convert used oil into usable materials, so again consider the cost.

The farm operation generates waste. This waste can be used for compost. It can also be used to create fuel. From this waste fuel we can make a very high grade bio-diesel which will cut cost greatly. Consider the cost, consider that it takes appropriate application of thought and planning, and consider the aspects of the use, and you will see that all you have to do is really ask your self, is it worth it. If the answer is still yes, the next question is how.

I will go into the hows if you want but I am also in the process of experimenting with more methodology, so the hows may change in the next few months as I work out the details of what I have learned in my studies of fuels, their uses, and their generation.

I hopes this helps somewhat. I have extensive resources that I am currently putting together in a list so that I can post it and will as soon as I can sort out the ones most pertinent to the subject.

Sleep well...
-James-

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