hi all,

I'm a researcher in Penn State and Dr. Wilkie was nice enough to add
me to your mail list a few months ago. I learned a lot from
everybody's messages btw! I work here on biofilters, and others in my
lab focus on bioenergy. One of the alternatives to corn-based ethanol,
it seems is switchgrass (or other plant substrate) ethanol. This
process (still being researched) includes pre--treatment with enzymes,
or fungi producing the enzymes, to break down the fibers in the grass
into cellulose (to then be fermented). Other pre-treatments are
ensilage. Using grass to produce ethanol requires more research, and
possible a different engineering design for teh reactors.
My personal impression is that decision makers sometime substitute
needed research with political muscle. It's a colonizer's solution,
and an unsustainable one, to use other countries' resources to
survive, and it's always at the "colony's" expense. One of the
alternative things about biofuels could be that unlike fossile fuels
they would be produced in a socially and politically sustainable
manner, without creating unfair exploitation or dependence between
countries, which all leads to political tension.


Hala Chaoui, PhD, EIT
Postdoc, Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department
Penn State University

On 4/2/07, Frank Leslie <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> This food/fuel fight reminds me of my father telling me about his mother saying,
> "Eat your dinner -- just think of the starving Armenians who would be happy to
> get it!".
> He said he was a lot older when he realized that eating more in the US didn't
> mean that the Armenians would get more food.
> True, the price of food here will go up as demand for biofuels increases. That
> will convince more farmers to plant; corn acreage is higher this year.
> Let's also think of places like New York City, where nothing edible is grown. If
> transportation there fails because current fuel becomes so expensive that the
> trucks and trains no longer bring it in to be sold, the denizens of NYC will
> have to leave unless organized crime sells food because the profits will be
> higher than with drugs.
> Perhaps a more holistic consideration is needed prior to blindly fighting
> biofuels. What do you propose instead? Florida is now considering high
> production of ethanol from biomass. Only the enviros are opposing it. Florida
> imports over 90% of all its fuels. There's a 200 MW hydro plant near Tallahassee
> (enviros oppose large hydro) and some solar hot water heating. Ever notice the
> summer thunderstorms we have here that block the sun? The rest is fossil and
> nuclear.
>  Ideally, wastes should be reduced by putting an economic value on as much as
> possible.
> Frank
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Bioenergy and Sustainable Technology Society [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Friday, March 30, 2007 11:43 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Freeze the use of biofuels
>        Turning food into fuel is quite a heavy issue. Maybe we have a societal
> virus, and are spiraling into anthropological self-destruction?
> --Or perhaps (hopefully) we have just developed quite a strange way of
> perception, excluding ourselves from our environment, our place within the
> ecological cycle. Waste it seems is the real issue.  Our wastes are not looked
> upon as having any value at all, whereas in an ecosystem ones biological waste
> is another's dinner.
> But how does this relate, how can we turn our wastes into fuel?
> Put it back in the cycle!
> 1. Archaea. can turn animal feces, among other organic wastes into methane gas
> (yes humans are animals) There are already LNG and CNG cars capable of running
> on methane gas.
> 2. Algae. can use the elemental nutrients found within our sewage waters coupled
> with the power from the sun (photosynthesis) to produce lipids, which can be
> turned into biodiesel.
> ~Just two ways to bring our excessive excrement back to the biological base.
> -scott J.E.
> On Thu Mar 29 00:54:40 EDT 2007, Rob Brinkman
> <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> >      With rising oil prices aren't there also going to be price
> > increases in food due to all the petroleum used to produce crops?
> >  The essential problem is not biofuels it is uncontrolled
> > population growth, as well as wasting of all forms of energy.  He
> > is campaigning for a ban he will never get, there are far more
> > powerful and influential forces than he who support biofuels,
> > largely for their own financial self-interests.  I think Monbiot
> > would have more influence to argue for restrictions on the worst
> > unsustainable agricultural practices and for more efficient use
> > of all fuels.  There are real issues to be concerned with, the
> > best way to address them is to focus on those issues and not
> > attack biofuels all together.
> >
> > Rob Brinkman
> >   ----- Original Message -----   From: Fueling Station   To:
> > [log in to unmask]   Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2007 7:28 PM
> >   Subject: Re: Freeze the use of biofuels
> >
> >
> >   he is a bit extreme in his views, but thought provoking
> > nonetheless.
> >
> >   David Adams
> >   The Fueling Station
> >
> >   Puneet Dwivedi <[log in to unmask]> wrote: Dear All,
> >   I found this interesting article. Just thought to share with
> > all of you.
> >   Regards
> >   Puneet Dwivedi
> >   PhD Student
> >   SFRC, UF
> >
> >   Link :
> >
> 1
> >
> >
> >      ---------------------------------
> >   The fish are biting.
> >    Get more visitors on your site using Yahoo! Search Marketing.
> >
> >
> --