Friday, March 16, 2007

The Future is Already Here

Cross Posted at No Rules.

FuturePundit, Randall Parker runs one of the most interesting blogs in the Blog-O-Sphere.

Here is but one small sample of but one topic:

Biomass Plus Hydrogen For All Transportation?

Hydrogen generated by nuclear, wind, or solar electricity could greatly increase the quantity and energy density of liquid fuels made from biomass.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University chemical engineers have proposed a new environmentally friendly process for producing liquid fuels from plant matter - or biomass - potentially available from agricultural and forest waste, providing all of the fuel needed for "the entire U.S. transportation sector."

The new approach modifies conventional methods for producing liquid fuels from biomass by adding hydrogen from a "carbon-free" energy source, such as solar or nuclear power, during a step called gasification. Adding hydrogen during this step suppresses the formation of carbon dioxide and increases the efficiency of the process, making it possible to produce three times the volume of biofuels from the same quantity of biomass, said Rakesh Agrawal, Purdue's Winthrop E. Stone Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering.

The researchers are calling their approach a "hybrid hydrogen-carbon process," or H2CAR.

The resulting liquids would be more like gasoline than like ethanol since they'd be more chemically reduced and therefore more energy dense. That would remove one of the big downsides of biomass: ethanol only takes you two thirds as far as gasoline and therefore you have to go to gas stations more often if you burn ethanol.

Agrawal is essentially arguing to use electricity from wind, solar, or nuclear to make liquid fuels

Yes, another interesting fellow you should spend some time scrolling down and getting to know. He covers medicine , science, technology and sociology... A little bit of something for everyone.
Please read him. I always learn something.

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