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Bell said he never considered ethanol for his research. “He who burns his food goes hungry,” Bell said. “That’s an old Chinese proverb.” Instead he concentrated on bio-mass and hydrocarbons. “If it grows it’s bio-mass,” Bell said. Bio-mass is any living or recently dead biological material. Hydrocarbon is an organic compound consisting entirely of hydrogen and carbon. Decomposed organic matter provides an abundance of carbon and hydrogen and is naturally occurring in crude oil.
He estimated the budget for the research facility to be at $60 million annually and the production facilities at $250 to $300 million a year. He anticipates being in full scale production by October 1, 2009.
Originally posted by mdiinican
There are already several ways in use to some extent which convert biomass to energy. There's the aforementioned burning of methane, conversion of sugars to ethanol, and then there's the very cool mechanical thermal depolymerization process. IMO, biomass conversion to ethanol or oil will be useful when they breed bacteria which successfully convert cellulose into oil.
Originally posted by hinky
A couple of problems and some lacking facts. We all know nature does this now on the cheap and free, it's called methane. Totally burnable gas, no mutated genes for bacteria involved, just Mom Nature at work and play.
You can actually use this amazing technology at wastewater treatment plants and some of these plants generate electricity off this gas which is a waste byproduct for wastewater treatment.
A handful of bacteria in a silo of organic material doesn't work that easy. There will be a multi-million dollar investment for the production facility, then a refinery has to be made to convert the goo from bacteria to a clean burnable fuel. The cost of this cheap source has now become loaded with overhead.
For a barrel out you need at least a barrel in. It won't just magically appear regardless of the latest technology. The byproducts of this production will be treated as hazardous waste, there will be cost associated with their disposal in a very serious manner which would probably involve incineration as you wouldn't want mutant bacteria released into our environment. It takes money and more energy to operate this facility so the overhead just got a little more expensive.
What type of organic material are we going to use, a food product like ethanol uses which drives up the cost of food? What about trees or just plain grass, hope the bacteria likes fiber, not many sugars there to consume, but then it's mutated genetically altered so lets make really enjoy fiber.
Not to rain on the parade, but this new source of energy isn't cheap when actual costs are included.