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Biofuels being grown in the desert… with saltwater

Discussion in 'Off-topic Zone' started by jobberone, Jun 28, 2014.

  1. jobberone

    jobberone Right turn Clyde Staff Member

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    Biofuels being grown in the desert… with saltwater
    While we are waiting for Fusion to be perfected, there could be another untapped fuel resource much closer to being ready. Darrin L. Morgan, Director Sustainable [IMG]Aviation Fuels and Environmental Strategy at Boeing, reveals that researchers at the Masdar Institute in Abu Dhabi, funded by Boeing, Honeywell and Etihad Airways, may have achieved “the biggest breakthrough in biofuels ever”.

    Alarmed by the poor quality of fuel made from shale oil and tar sands and frustrated by the blunt refusal of oil companies to provide fuel of better quality, Boeing and its partners have over the past 4 years funded research into alternative fuels that has led to spectacular results. They found a class of plants that can grow in desertson salt water and has superb biomass potential.

    Nobody knew this”, says Morgan. “It is a huge discovery. A game-changer for the biofuels market.

    These plants, known as halophytes, are adapted to growing in arid conditions on saltwater, and can be readily turned into sugars, which in turn can be converted into high-quality biofuel usable in today’s engines. Deserts have always had the space on which to potentially grow biofuels, but the lack of freshwater in these regions prevented the agriculture being possible. These new plants could mean that huge stretches of currently barren coastline could be converted into fuel-producing areas, without using up arable land or grain crops which would otherwise be used for food. This truly could change world economies.

    http://blogs.sap.com/innovation/inn...LNB&source=onlinedisplay-us-general-tld-US004
    BigStar and w8lifter like this.
  2. jobberone

    jobberone Right turn Clyde Staff Member

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    This is actually a big deal. Put this in central Australia and/or the Sahara and you eat a lot of carbon and grow a lot of fuel. Central cooling, too.
    Duane and BigStar like this.
  3. BigStar

    BigStar Stop chasing Zone Supporter

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    Is there any money in that (initially;)): Would current interests want to compete with a plant that derives the same results as all that expensive technology?:D

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Who_Killed_the_Electric_Car?

    [IMG]

    Just playing Devil's Advocate; that new found source of biotechnology/fuel has infinite potential.
  4. jobberone

    jobberone Right turn Clyde Staff Member

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    The problem is getting salt water into the desert. Not even sure how they want to do that. My guess would be a series of pipelines. Then you have to build plants to process the product into sugar then biofuel. That's outside any knowledge I have. Maybe some engineers and such could comment. It won't happen overnight and I'm not certain it would happen it our arid land here in the US. And we don't want that to turn into a political question.
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  5. AmberBeer

    AmberBeer Well-Known Member

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    They would build them on arid coasts so just minimal pipeline needed.
    jobberone likes this.
  6. MonsterD

    MonsterD Quota outta absentia

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    Logistically I don't think it would be too difficult to get seawater into Nevada and Arizona, but yeah I see the problems on both sides for getting through bureaucracy.
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  7. Hoofbite

    Hoofbite Well-Known Member

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    Depending on volume required they could potentially build this anywhere with the right climate and just add the salt.

    They'd have to be able to secure enough water which may not be possible.

    Be a huge supply potential provided the yield per acre was sufficient.

    I wonder how tolerant the plants are to the cold. Deserts get pretty cold during the nights. If the plant was pretty resistant to cold you could potentially set some fields up in southern Utah and tap into the Great Salt Lake. I think they regulate it's level as it is by pumping water into surrounding areas to evaporate.

    It'd be a long stretch but you may be able to carry it further south.
    jobberone likes this.
  8. cml750

    cml750 Well-Known Member

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    We need to find a way to economically create heavier alcohols to add to our fuel. Ethanol is based on the 2 carbon ethane. We need alcohols based on 4 carbons(butane) or more. The higher the carbon the more BTU's it contains which leads to better gas mileage.
    jrumann59, roughneck266 and jobberone like this.
  9. Silver Surfer

    Silver Surfer Active Member

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    jobberone likes this.
  10. Szczepanik

    Szczepanik Well-Known Member

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    I wonder how much Sodium from the dirt in the desert there actually is. Considering there used to be oceans over the deserts, I would imagine that there should be a LOT of NaCl in that area that would make transporting the salt water not as big an issue.
  11. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    yawn. We keep hearing every year about so called breakthroughs. And every year they fade away.
  12. Future

    Future Intramural Legend

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    Yea, I think it probably stems from a combination of the initial discovery being overstated and problems getting through all of the red tape and acquiring proper funding.
  13. jobberone

    jobberone Right turn Clyde Staff Member

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    This won't go away but it will take some time to get it going. My guess is it will not get off the ground here but for Africa this could be a very big deal. There the problem will be to get the money to right people and not have most of it stolen via corruption.
  14. jobberone

    jobberone Right turn Clyde Staff Member

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    I'm interested in the politics of this subject and a lot more but this is not the forum for it.
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  15. cml750

    cml750 Well-Known Member

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    I say anything that can be used to make bio-fuels other than corn would be great. Most all of the ethanol currently produced is coming from corn. Corn is used in too many things from high fructose corn syrup to livestock feed so using to make fuel drives the cost up which affect the cost of other food items. Using a principle food item to produce fuel is not the best idea to me not to mention how much water it takes to produce ethanol which taxes the aquifers. Also as I stated earlier in the thread, ethanol based off of the two carbon (ethane) does not have as many BTU's as regular gasoline so we get worse fuel mileage. The next push for bio-fuels will be for bio-jet fuel. I am not sure I want to fly on a plane with bio-jet because if any gets through that contains FAME(Fatty Acid Methyl Esters), it will cause jet engine fouling.
  16. cml750

    cml750 Well-Known Member

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    It interest me too but I agree this is not the place for that debate.
  17. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    more like the so called great breakthrough was never all that great
  18. jobberone

    jobberone Right turn Clyde Staff Member

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    No one said it was a great breakthrough but it could be. It has to be implemented.
  19. 65fastback2plus2

    65fastback2plus2 Well-Known Member

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    this is just ethanol...the same thing henry ford ran his first vehicle on...more ways to get ethanol, the better. i prefer algae ethanol personally...but more is always better
    jobberone likes this.
  20. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    oh come on, the article dripped with it....

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