Monday, July 09, 2007

The Biofuel Future

Interesting bit on using cow manure to make alcohol. Sort of.

E3 BioFuels inaugurated the world's first closed-loop ethanol plant fueled largely by biogas from animal waste instead of coal or natural gas on June 28. The energy-efficient, low-cost Genesis Plant, located in Mead, Neb., began commercial operation in April 2007, doesn't contribute to global warming and actually reduces air and water pollution.

E³ BioFuels' patented technology brings together three proven components into a single, closed-loop system:
1. A large cattle feedlot or dairy that produces large quantities of cow manure needing treatment.
2. An anaerobic digester that transforms the cow manure into biogas.
3. An ethanol plant that runs on the biogas instead of natural gas or coal, and whose leftover wet grain is fed back to the cattle.
Now the reason for doing all this is to reduce the net CO2 output of man's various activities.

As I see it, if we are going to get a major portion of our energy from biomass higher atmospheric CO2 will be an advantage. Plants become more efficient. Both in collecting solar energy and in water use. It seems like that might be helpful.

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