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Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?
5

Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

(OP)
Follow the link here to the article "Meals per gallon".
http://www.actionaid.org.uk/102268/biofuels_and_hunger.html

This is an article about how many people will die because of biofuels production and the new EU targets.

I have no idea how good their figures are but there is a tendency in the AGW camp to report half the situation and this may be the opther half or it may be tainted with the same tendency to inflate.

For example, the AGW they want to tell about how many extra deaths will be caused by hotter summers but not how many lives will be saved by warmer winters because warmer is bad for us they say (otherwise, who cares if we are warming up?).

So OK, we know about the higher cost of food but while we can afford it we neglect that many of those in poorer countries cannot. Worse, many are being displaced from their own land where they used to grow food crops by the big companies.
It says.
Where is the truth?

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

 

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

(OP)
I didn't find that on the web site. Do you have a reference for that and why is the Bilderberg Group so bad? Because Jesse Ventura says so?
Just asking.
 

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

 

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

Population control is also addressed in the 1967 Report From Iron Mountain and countless other "conspiracy" theories.
As for the BG, it is theorized that they control the WHO which aims to curb the world population to 500M using pandemics and vaccines.  No, I don't have any links that would legitmize this theory.
While that falls into the "conspiracy" definition, there is little doubt that last year the WHO definition of "pandemic" was changed to omit the reference of a "high morbidity and a high mortality rate", so that now the common cold fits the new definition.  They can now effectively encourage mass vacination for relatively innocuous "pandemics" using vaccines of questionable effect.
Also, in addition to the serious side effects that may be experienced by using normal vaccines, in response to the avian flu scare last year vaccines contaminated with deadly live H5N1 avian flu virus were distributed to 18 countries by a lab at an Austrian branch of Baxter.  It is sheer luck that samples from this batch were tested by the Czech Republic, before being shipped out for injection into humans.  This for another relatively benign virus.  Yes, some people did die from this virus, but not many when compared to the number who die every year from the common cold.
So... while much of the scuttle regarding "population control" is "conspiracy" based, there have been actual incidences to support some of these theories.

"Good to know you got shoes to wear when you find the floor." - Robert Hunter
 

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

... and lest we forget, there are the Georgia Guidestones.

Apologies for taking this so far from the OP.

"Good to know you got shoes to wear when you find the floor." - Robert Hunter
 

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

i guess that's why biofuels from alga makes more sense ... i don't want to eat alga ...

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

How many people die because of land used to grow tobacco, tea, coffee, chocolate, flowers or other arguably non essential crops instead of basic food stuffs.

What about the food density of vegetable protein such as soy compared to raising animals for food?

What about the land 'wasted' on military bases, housing, theme parks, deserts, swamps ... instead of used for arable farm land.
 

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RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

(OP)
In the Great war 8.5million people were killed. 21million wounded.

Pretty serious casualty rates but the Spanish Flu epidemic that lasted from 1918 to 1920 is said to have killed 50million with 500million infected.

So we should take even seemingly common complaints seriously but the suspicion has grown that every new "outbreak" is an excuse for some politician's pal with a vaccine production facility to get rich on the precautionary principal.

PS I think coffee and chocolate are essential crops. And Tex, of course.
Certainly more essential than biofuels.
Many might argue that we need the diversity of the environment and it is clear that things like biofuel production could threaten to destroy that.
The most likley outcome is a dependence on biofuels that will be worse than dependence on mineral oils.
We all accept that there is an economic limit to the extent to which exploit fossil fuel reserves and that is a spur to pursuing other energy sources. Fission is our start and I'd like to see fusion reach some sort of successful conclusion but without the financial drives and without an apparent virtual limit on biofuels, we could go down a dead end street. At the end of this street is a planet where there is just so much food and just so much fuel available and then you will see population controls.

Incidentally, I see India is now on course to exceed China fairly soon for population......  

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

 

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

Time for soylent green?

"Good to know you got shoes to wear when you find the floor." - Robert Hunter
 

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

When the idea of Bio fuels come up as a serious contributor to our energy needs, I always have to remind myself that it was getting away from relying on Bio fuels (perhaps amongst other things) that enabled the Industrial revolution.

I'm not vehemently opposed to all Bio fuels, and sure we may be able to grow & use them more 'efficiently' than a couple of hundred years ago, but other than as a 'niche' market I don't see them being a big replacement for Fossil Fuels.

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RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

Isen't there a large difference in crop values between industrilized nations and the third world? So why aren't we buying cheep crops from the third world for bio fuels.

No we want to increase the cost of food in the industrilized nations, while being sure the thirld world stays that way.

Bio-fuels maybe the way, but not the way we are presently doing it.

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

http://www.withouthotair.com/

This is an essential read for anyone interested in energy issues, whether you're an AGW skeptic or not.  Don't hold your breath for biofuels being a replacement for fossil fuels- there aren't enough of them, and CAN'T be enough of them, to make the replacement feasible.

Any process generating liquid biofuels from non-food biomass is wasting part of a solid fuel in the process- usually a very substantial fraction of it.

Biofuels for transportation make zero sense until all our stationary energy needs are satisfied with non-fossil sources.  We're a LONG way from that right now, and we'll never get there without a huge energy market reform.

Biofuels from food are just government agricultural subsidy masquerading as energy policy.

As to whether biofuels are more or less hazardous or environmentally harmful or worse for the poor than fossil fuels- that depends entirely on which biofuel and which fossil fuel you're talking about, and how they're produced and used, and what weight you put on CO2 emissions.  I'd like to make that kind of complex and fraud-susceptible evaluation utterly unnecessary.  You'd do that by means of a steep carbon and emissions tax on the fuels themselves, paired with an elimination of government subsidy on ALL forms of energy production.  Under that taxation regime you'd be able to tell the comparative virtue of an energy source entirely by its market price.  Coal would no longer seem far cheaper than wind, for instance- that's the clearest indication that the current energy market is completely FUBAR.



 

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

I don't think bio fuels were ever intended to replace anything. The intent is to suplement existing fuel sources, and to feel good. Everyone who thinks well will know the volume of fuel we currently use won't be solved with a single replacment source.

However, the bio fuel issue can be used to solve some of the world problems, or used to cause more.

At issue here is why are we using it to cause more harm, than good. If we rase the cost of food in the thirld world, many of the growers will make more money. It should also increase the number of growers, which will reduce the number of unemployed. Also the increased value of some crops will decrease the amount of other crops grown, like poppies, and such.

I believe Bio fuels have a place. But we just aren't that interested, or we seem to be doing it wrong.

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

2
There is WAY too much FUD on biofuel harms that AGW skeptics are willing to swallow whole. Consider the facts with the same skepticism you apply to other technical assertions.  

Corn ethanol is typically the first target of these anti biofuel campaigns. Corn ethanol is made from field corn, which is not generally used directly as a food product.

The ethanol fuel share of the US field corn crop from the most recent statistics was 35%, an all time high. Animal feed remains the number one use of field corn at nearly half of all production. Industrial meats are too costly to be a viable food source for the most at risk populations and are consumed by wealthier populations.

From the OP report:

Quote:

However, about 10% of field corn is still used in the US food chain and some exports of field corn are consumed by people, particularly in exports to the developing world.

From the second link below, the corn sweetener (typically HFCS) share of the field corn market is approximately 7% +/- 2%. Corn starch is typically another 2%. This is the portion still in the food chain they refer to. I don't think HFCS sweetened food products are valuable food source to those at risk of starving. The statitics for US field corn in the OP link do not match the official USDA corn statistics. Looks like the ActionAid group created the document by cherry picking statistics to support their agenda.


http://www.kycorn.org/foodandfuel/F4T%20-%20production.htm

http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/Sugar/Data.htm

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

The only thing that makes corn ethanol remotely tolerable as a fuel IS the use of the distiller's grains plus solubles as a "food product", albeit one for the animals we later use as food.  The only calcs that show corn ethanol as a net consumer of fossil fuels do so by discounting this co-product of the fermentation process.  Calcs which do not neglect this beneficial use show even the much-reviled corn ethanol as modestly GHG negative relative to the petroleum gasoline it displaces.  The problem is, it's nowhere nearly negative ENOUGH to make any significant difference.

The same goes for biodiesel- even the waste oil-derived version.  The waste oils have value in the food supply chain- for animals- and since we continue to feed these animals both as pets and as human food, fresh food-oils must move into these uses as the former "wastes" become fuel.  It is true that some of these oils are truly wasted (i.e. landfilled), but usually in small markets where the problem is collection.

As to algae farming and the use of cellulosic non-food biomass, my other comments remain:  when practiced at a sustainable production rate, they produce far too little fuel, especially when you desire that fuel to be a liquid, to be of much help in displacing our existing consumption of fossil fuels.

As the author of "Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air" communicates very eloquently, this notion that "every little bit helps" is a dangerous distraction from what we really need- a total re-think about our use of energy, and how we pay for it.



 

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

MoltenMetal - Thanks for that lucid explanation. I think it is the "every little helps" philosophy that worries me the most. However I am also concerned about the number of alleged energy producing initiatives, which are usually supported by misguided governments, that are just plain energy consumers.

HAZOP at www.curryhydrocarbons.ca

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

Are you trying to say the "every little helps" is a problem? Presently I don't know of any ONE oil well, or ONE coal mine, ONE solar panel that can solve our energy needs. It takes many oil wells, or coal mines, or solar panels, so why not mix energy sources where they are compatable?

And has anyone look at the amount of non-eatable food source that is wasted each year? How much lard and beef fat is tossed out, and not made into biodiesel? How much maneure that is not turned into biogas, and how much disfigured or discolored foods are not made into either ethonol or biogas?

And what of the tons of woody products that are land filled each year.

And yes why corn, when the international price of sugar is so low?

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

"when the international price of sugar is so low? "

Because Big Sugar keeps million$ of dollar$ flowing to Congress, in order to maintain tarrifs on sugar imports, artificially raising US sugar prices.

Or written in happy speak,

Lobbyists, concerned for the competitiveness of American agri-business and jobs for hundreds, if not dozens of American farm workers, maintains an ongoing discussion with members of our lawmaking bodies to ensure that their cocerns are heard.

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

We need to be more efficient in EVERYTHING we do.  Generating less waste of every kind is part of that, as is using the wastes we can't avoid generating to their highest possible secondary benefit.  But that alone won't get us where we need to go, considering the finite nature of fossil fuels, even if you forget about AGW as a concern.

Wastes generated in large quantities in single locations are attractive for recycling or alternative uses.  Using them as fuel is a lower value use than avoiding the use of the raw materials that they displace when recycled.  Unfortunately, every time you find a sufficiently attractive alternative use for a waste, the generator of the waste no longer views it as their waste but as your feedstock- and they want money for it.  That's the market at work I'm afraid, and if you fight the market, you WILL lose.

Wastes generated in small quantities at multiple locations require collection, which eats into the efficiency of their recycling or use for other purposes.  At a certain point, the law of diminishing returns kicks in and eats your gains.

Using your woody wastes and beef tallow examples, using these to make paper and dog food make more energetic and environmental sense than using either to feed a power-generating incinerator, and even THAT makes way more sense than using these to generate cellulosic ethanol, biodiesel, pyrolysis oil and char or biogas.  Neither of these will make even the tiniest dent into our current transport fuels use, much less where we'll be in 10 years unless something dramatic is done.

Until the energy market is changed fundamentally by something more dependable than government subsidy for fuels, I'm not holding my breath for any big changes.

 

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

I guess we can agree that goverment is part of the problem.

The solution to transportation must be inexpencive, and dosen't involve some smelly old wineo guy in the seat next to you (unless he's your dad).

I did see electric buses in San Fransisco, and was impressed at how much it must have cost to add all those wires. Probally won't work well everywhere.

 

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

On government and subsidies:

The US and state governments subsidize ethanol production in the forms of industrial producer tax credits, reduced taxes on mixed fuel products and in some places mixing requirements.  This creates a market for the ethanol which otherwise would not exist at the market price.  As a taxpayer I see three benefits worth the cost, at least in the short term.

1)Development of ethanol infrastructure, which must exist in order to develop any potential next gen biofuel, which will be required for long term economic viability of biofuel.

2)Ethanol mixed gasoline burns cleaner, reducing some of the localized pollution in metro areas.

3)A significant demand for corn as an ethanol of feedstock will improve the market value of the crop and allow the government to slowly step away from the politically necessary corn growing subsidy, which leads nowhere and is welfare for corn farmers and feedlots.


Infrastructure development should be of interest to engineers because it is a question of technological innovation which not only can, but will happen if given enough motivation.  There will be more and more tech jobs associated to this innovation. Better to get on with it now than continue spending money shoring up our fuel supply lines against inevitable interruption and economic fallout.

The number of people who die from biofuels is nowhere near the number who die from crude oil.
 

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

The use of ethanol or biodiesel as oxygenates in fuels to make them burn cleaner is a different matter than promoting their use as fossil fuel substitutes.  These materials produce far better environmental performance as blends than they do on their own.

I'm against the government subsidization of fuels or energy sources of any kind- even on a short-term basis for the reasons YoungTurk mentions.  I'm against governments betting on technologies of any kind, because the resulting market distortions make investment in new projects really risky- who wants to sink money into a plant which makes a product which is economical ONLY while government subsidy persists?  

Rather than subsidizing fuels, I'm entirely FOR making fossil energy sources pay the entire cost of their consumption, rather than giving them a free pass for the emissions they dump to the atmosphere.  A carbon tax is one way to do that- the one I favour as being most difficult to defraud or avoid or manipulate.  Put in place a steep carbon tax, and all kinds of alternatives INCLUDING the alternatives that do the most environmental good, i.e. those which eliminate or reduce CONSUMPTION in the first place, are favoured.  The market will then allocate resources to reward the technologies which have the best REAL shot at doing that.

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

"I did see electric buses in San Fransisco, and was impressed at how much it must have cost to add all those wires. Probally won't work well everywhere."

And the circle keeps turning...

Decades ago in the UK, many cities had things called 'Trolley Buses' which ran from overhead electrical lines.  They were replaced by Diesals.

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RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

Many cities here had Trolley cars (which I supose is simular to Trolley buses), and in most places were replaced by buses, powered by diesels with rubber tires.

There trying to make a come back, but it just cost so much to add the cantary wires, let alone the rails. But also most cities have grown, so it's an even bigger chore.

On the other hand the cost of maintaining roads is so much.

But to be completly green, they need to bring back the hitchen post.

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

If I recall correctly Trolley buses were not on rails, they had rubber tires.  Obviously they could only drive where there were wires though, though some newer versions have partial work arounds apparantly.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolleybus

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RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

Somewhere above there was a comment about generating less waste. Would it be better to say, finding better uses for resource materials.
It looks to me like calling something waste, is the first problem. If you can use it in some other process, then it is not waste.

As for generating new infrastructure, why not adapt new fuels or products to the existing infrastructure. Then you will have less waste from discarded infrastructure.

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

OK, call it bi-product if you like.

However, whenever there's a need to additionally transport and/or process the bi-product, then in this kind of situation you're probably better off minimizing the amount of bi-product.

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RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

If you consider atmospheric emissions a waste or by-product requiring post-processing, then indeed you should be doing what you can to minimize the production of that by-product!  That will ALWAYS be a waste.  The problem is, with fuels being so cheap, and with ZERO cost being fed back to the consumer of the fuel for the emissions impacts we all must bear, there is no money to fund the capital you need to spend to reduce consumption.  Price the emissions and suddenly there's market feedback- and things WILL start to change.  Try to do that via consumption subsidy and all you do is encourage yet more consumption.

Cranky, we already have an alternative infrastructure in place for much of our transportation fuels use:  it's the electrical grid.

 

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

(OP)
Residuum is referred to by environmentalists as waste.
The fact that it is either blown for bitumens or diluted with distillates for fuel oils and not dumped on the ocean floor or buried in landfill sites doesn't change this perception.

The eco-warriors choose the most emotive words they can to describe it. "Ship's burning the dirtiest fuels and belching toxic fumes into the atmosphere." is a typical phrase.

The facts are never allowed to get in the way of a good piece of propaganda.


 

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

 

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

jmw, you forgot about delayed coking, whch is where a lot of it goes if I'm not mistaken.  But compared to coal, resid-laden bunker oil is a relatively clean fuel!

Fortunately, the carbon content correlates very well with the environmental impact of a fossil fuel.  A carbon tax will punish coal more than bunker, and that suits me fine.  It will also reward processes which push this precious resource up the food chain to feedstocks and away from fuels.

 

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

(OP)
Except that people like Senator Boxer, being spoon fed misinformation by the environmentalists groups, are actively trying to get solutions adopted that are actually counter productive.
For example, one approach is to replace heavy fuel oil with gas oil (MDO or MGO). Sure, some shipping companies are prepared to do this but the net effect is to increase CO2 emissions because of the added refining.
Another approach is a special bunker fuel tax, unilateral of course, the net effect of which would be to cause shipping to divert from US ports to Mexican and Canadian ports. Then the goods will, instead of using the inland waterways, be distributed by road and rail... increasing pollution.

Heavy fuel oil $450-$500 a ton? MGO $650 a ton? Since fuel is 80% or so of the operating costs, fuel price is a very sensitive factor. (coal is what, $80-90 a ton?)

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

 

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

I reently heard a suggestion for an alternative scheme for carbon taxation that seemed more elegant that the other plans I've read about.

The idea is to create a 'carbon mobilization' tax.  That is to say, tax the companies that pull carbon from immobile reserves (such as coal, oil, NG).  It is this transfer of carbon from immobile to mobile pools that results in a long term net carbon increase in the atmosphere.  The carbon mobilizer would also have the options of buying credits from a carbon sequestration company, or they can sequester an amount of carbon equivalent to their mobilization.

This plan has the (political & administrative) benefit that you would only be (directly) taxing one industry, so oversight would be reasonable, and the political backlash might be less severe.
 

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

Bruno, I think that's the only way it could work.  Only fossil carbon itself would be taxed.  So if the ethanol producers choose to fire their distillation reboilers using natural gas, they would pay the carbon tax on that fossil fuel use- and that cost shows up in the cost of the ethanol they sell.
  
Since the CARBON in the ethanol for sale is not fossil-derived, the ethanol itself would not be subject to the carbon tax- but the fossil carbon used in its production, all the way from the farmer's tractor to the diesel delivery truck- would be accounted for.  

To make it simple, you'd need to tax the non-fuels uses of fossil fuels too, to capture the in-refinery fuels use that also ends up in the atmosphere.  That's not really fair to the materials producers if you're solely after fuels use, so you'd have two choices:  either make it more complex and fairer, or just assume that since most of the fossil fuels used for non-fuels uses end up in the atmosphere as CO2 eventually, they deserve taxation as well.  I'm OK with either, actually, as either will help us to properly value this finite resource and hence waste less of it, whether that be as a fuel or as a frivolous use of fossil-derived material for packaging etc.

Set the tax to the right level AND get rid of the price (consumption) subsidy and all of a sudden you wouldn't need the likes of Pimentel to figure out whether or not ethanol is fossil carbon negative or positive by means of highly suspect and easy to manipulate calculations-all you'd need to know is the price.  Since the price would in effect determine whether or not it was for sale AS a fuel, you'd be even better off than that!
 

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

How do you tax companies outside of your country?  Wouldn't this lead either to taxing local energy extractors out of existence in favor of foreign imports, or some kind of import tariff to keep things level, which most people seem to think are the devil.

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RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

You need not fear such a system actually being put in place, because it would need to be widely accepted across the world to be effective.  

You could punish a few non-complying countries with energy tarrifs, but doing that to the products of the entire rest of the world would be impossible.

If we actually care about fossil carbon emissions to the atmosphere, it's still the right thing to do.  Instead of being proactive, we'll react and pay whatever cost that entails- because we will then have no choice.


  

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

The whole problem with any tax used to correct the value of something, is that with a little addition it can also be used to fund things not intended in the orignal design.

Example: The income tax was inacted to pay for the goverment, and was sold to be only 2 or 3 %. It soon became over 70%, to help pay for social engineering.

So what would happen if the energy tax also became a way to pay for goverment social engineering. Or to enact goverment giveaways for special interests, like say ethonol, or wind power, which probally would not survive in the large scale if left on there own.

So have a beer and think of what might happen to ethonol.

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

The tax would deter consumption regardless what it was used for.  It would deter consumption if it were used to help people and businesses AND government institutions (such as public housing developments) make capital investments in energy efficiency, or to build new infrastructure in an effort to get the fossil monkey off our backs- that's what it SHOULD be used for.  It would also deter consumption if it were "wasted" on schools and hospitals.  Likewise, it would deter consumption if the money were simply put in a pile and burned.

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

(OP)
Trouble with taxes is that whether they do the job intended or not, they tend to stay and grow. Governments can always find new things to spend tax money on even if they don't spend it it where they earned it.

Carrots are good too, but rarely offered - except to cronies, maybe.

For governments any good excuse for taxation is welcome. It doesn't have to be true it doesn't have to fulfil the intended function, it just needs to generate revenue.

Some how the way the talk is going we are now debating the means to control CO2 emmissions. Worse, we seem to accept that taxation is a good way to go.
Worse still we are a step away from carbon trading and sequestration technologies.... we are about to make a very few people very very rich and we didn't yet finish deciding it was all a scam.
 
What happened to CO2 being good for us? And warm being better for us than cold? Did someone close out that argument, or more likely conclude that once the wheels have been set in motion we might as well choose whether we want to be hung, electrocuted, shot or poisoned, guilty or not?
 

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

 

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

I see the link between Biofuels and AGW, but let us not restart the marvelous AGW threads here and focus on the OP.

Do biofuels take food off the table?  Are they worth it?

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

Without the presumption of AGW due to CO2 emissions, biofuels make precious little sense, which is why in a pre-AGW world they saw so little intensive use in the developed world.  So any conversation abou the topic takes that as a given.

Do food-derived biofuels take food off the table?  Anything which increases food prices takes food off the tables of the poor in theory.  Increased food prices put food ON the table of farmers, and on the tables of all the parasites between the farmer and the consumer as well.  But unlike 100 years ago, farmers make up a small fraction of the population in the developed world.

If your concern is the welfare of the poor, it's ridiculous and inefficient to tackle hunger by depressing the prices of food for everyone.

If the AGW predictions come true, the poor of the world will be the biggest losers.

Let's not forget that although tarrifs on manufactured goods are becoming a thing of the past, most of the developed world still maintain STEEP agricultural trade barriers against the poorest nations.  Farmers have surprisingly strong lobbying power with the governments of developed nations.

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

During WWII people were encuraged to grow food in there back yard, to so called help the war. Today very few people do that, so in effect, more crop land is available. Let alone the fact that they still pay farmers to keep land out of production.

So there is no real good reason that food prices should increase in the long term.

Also the fact that growing plants is not that difficult, and so many people don't, leads me to believe that so many of the so called poor in this country, are actually just free loaders who really deserve to go hungry.

 

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

(OP)
Too many assumptions.
High food prices don't necessarily help poor farmers.
Poor farmers can't take risks.
In the past what has happened is that rich farmers take chances, switch production and benefit and the poor farmers get worse off.
There are lots of problems documented with almost every approach to "solving" the problems of the poor.
In this case no one is even attempting to make food or bio fuel production a vehicle with which to address poor farmer's problems, indeed, in the report it seems that big business is trying to take over farming directly.

Nothing is going to accidentally help poor farmers, there will be no inadvertent collateral benefits. How can there be when even schemes to try and help them so often fall down because of misconceptions.

One thing we can be pretty sure of is that if something can go bad it will go bad. There may be fewer farmers in developed countries but in other countries?
Nice to try and think this is going to do some good but I seriously doubt it. Still, if it helps people sleep at night....

Then we have that dreaded uncertainty principal again.
Sorry, no thanks.

The real issue is that warmer weather, however caused is actually beneficial.
The real comment is
"Without the presumption of AGW due to CO2 emissions, biofuels make precious little sense,...."
Even if we allowed that assumption, they don't make that much sense either.
 

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

 

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

Yep, for all the urban poor that live in apartments with no gardens... growing their own food is clearly the answer cranky.

I'm not sure it's the poor of 'this country' that would be most friendly.  More likely those in poorer nations that live at a subsistence level - but as they don't live in 'this country' who gives a damn right.

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RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

"Without the presumption of AGW due to CO2 emissions, biofuels make precious little sense"

Um, or the presumption of peak oil, and an ever spiralling increase in cost of fossil fuels.

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

Considering American economic dependence on cheap liquid fuel and the variety of risk factors to our imported fuel supply, biofuel technology development is a wise investment.  It may not ever be cheaper than pumping crude, but can we pump enough crude locally to keep going without tankers rolling in daily? If global warming concerns drive biofuel tech investment and shore up economic and natioal security along the way, no objection here.

Celluosic ethanol technology could be a liquid fuel game changer, but will require continued investment streams to mature to industrial scale.

Food concerns are overstated and overblown, likely with corporate-political intent.

http://www.canadianbusiness.com/markets/market_news/article.jsp?content=D9H6Q3O80

I'd rather spend my money enriching local farmers than middle east royalty when I fill up.

http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9H4RGGO0.htm

My weekends are already bio-ethanol fueled; why not my workdays too?

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

"If global warming concerns drive biofuel tech investment and shore up economic and natioal security along the way, no objection here."

That's a statement we can agree on, except that tech investment without a market pay-off at the end of the rainbow is merely a distraction.

Even if you throw economics totally aside, cellulosic biofuels will never replace our current levels of liquid fuels consumption, much less will they account for the future growth in that consumption which will occur unless we alter the market.  The "Without Hot Air" guy demonstrates that with a few easy, difficult to dispute half-order of magnitude calcs, based on what we use and how much biomass we could possibly grow- forgetting about food entirely.  

If we even tried to reach such high levels of cellulosic fuel production, we'd rapidly discover that we were not harvesting the biomass at anything approximating a truly sustainable rate.

The market driving force has to come FIRST.  The investment will follow.  Until there is a price signal to deter fossil fuels consumption and to fund true alternatives, it's all just talk and gambling.

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

For the urban poor that live in apartments, they have a different problem. Living in an urban area usually costs more just to be there, and that's there problem (many smaller towns have much more affordable housing).

In many places around the world where poorer nations that live at a subsistence level, a good part of the problem is there inefficent, or corrupt goverments.

Often the problems are the people themselves, they don't want to change.

In my case I worry so much about change, but about who is expected to pay for it. And more true of really dumb ideas.

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

how about developing a biofuel from Banana trees. Since banana can be grown even in our backyards, and besides when you harvest the fruits, it will not bear another one....

corn and many plants can give biofuels but food is also essential to us. If they use these crops, chances on price increase is possible

 

Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree. engineers creates wonderful buildings, but only God can creates wonderful minds

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

There is a biofuel made from banana trees. It's called wood.

Although, if you can grow banana trees, you probally can also grow sugar cane, which has a much higher sugar content, as well as a wood like byproduct.

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?


they already produced biofuels from sugar cane but because of it, prices of sugar increased. Also, they need more land to mass produce the sugar cane unlike the banana trees that can be easily grown anywhere (if your in a tropical country).

Banana only needs months to grow in to a full tree and once it bear fruits, it dont have any use anymore while sugar is one of our basic commodities

Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree. engineers creates wonderful buildings, but only God can creates wonderful minds

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

Speaking to the "Meals Per Gallon" article, it also shows again the disadvanages of living where rule of law and property rights are weak or don't exist.  

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

There are other crops that produce sugar sutable for making ethonol, and of the several there should be ones that can grow in less perfect conditions.

So what ever happened to sugar beets?

And don't the Amish still use horses to till the lands?
It would seem using tractors really isen't required. Just people who can think, and work out side the box.

It's just simply amazing how lazy we have become.

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

(OP)
Or ride on lawn mowers, race cars, snowmobiles, chain saws, go karts, electric screwdrivers...?

On the list of the most useless gifts given is the electric carving knife.
We can do without that, sandwich toasters, George Foreman grills.... any others for this list?

PS. Please note that since most of these don't actually get used, all we will do is have the satsifaction of binning them. There is a possibility that we can push these of the shelves at Xmass and save the carbon consumed in their production.  

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

 

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

I disagree regarding the electric carving knife... having and knowing many who suffer from various flavors of arthritis, I use and appreciate it.

As far as the Foreman grills, they're great!  They collect all of that delicious "au jus" to dip your bread into!tongue

I once overheard a young engineer remark how useless a spray nozzle on the kitchen sink faucet was... just because he hadn't found a good use didn't mean that there weren't any, and I use mine every day.

"Good to know you got shoes to wear when you find the floor." - Robert Hunter
 

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

cranky - you've earned your handle once again smile

I'd be careful about calling farmers lazy because they use mechanized processes; most I know are far from lazy.  The level of mechanization is really a question of optimization which should be apparent to an engineer(unless it is a question of religion as is the case with the amish).  I'd think that even if 100% of fuel to power the tractors was extracted from the crops they harvested, it would still be more efficient to use them. Although, as with most things, there would be a greater value placed on efficiency if the fuel/energy cost were greater.

I believe sugar beets have a similar explanation.  They cannot compete with sugar cane in the sugar marketplace for a variety of factors including labor cost and yield / acre / growing season.  Grains, especially corn and soy, produce better financial returns for the average midwestern farmer and so they get grown.  This of course, again, is do in part to subsidies.  

There is a great documentary about midwestern agribusiness and farming called "King Corn". Here is a link discussing some of the facts the movie covers and how they relate to food prices and biofuel.

http://www.nffc.net/Learn/Fact%20Sheets/King%20Corn%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf

There is indeed something rotten in the agribusiness world, but whether biofuels are a symptom or a solution depends on which biofuel and whether you agree with agribusiness subsidies in perpetuity or short term.

RE: Biofuels..... and the number of people dying because of bio-fuels is?

I actually don't have an issue with farmers, or ethonol. I do have an issue with the premise that people are dying because of ethonol.

There are options, other than the triditional methods or crops. So if the premise is true that people are dying because of ethonol, I believe it isen't because of ethonol production. It must be because of lazeness of people, or over restriction of goverment. (I conceed that lack of knoledge is also possible).

This is not to say we can't improve things. Present farming is an example. There is a book writen by an engineer called square foot gardening, which shows that more intence (land efficent) crop growth is possible.
 

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