Clean Fuels at a Glance

  • • Higher Mixed Alcohols
  • • Methanol
  • • Grain Ethanol
  • • Cellulosic Ethanol
  • • Synthetic Ethanol
  • • Biodiesel
  • • Butanol
  • • Dimethyl Ether (DME)
Synthetic gasoline? Syndiesel from coal? Oil-based fuels from algae, grasses or waste grease? Single alcohols like ethanol? What about higher mixed alcohol fuel?

Which fuel is the best and why?

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Fuel For Thought

There is no energy crisis, only a crisis of ignorance."

- Buckminister Fuller

Somebody needed to do something, and it was incredibly pathetic that it had to be us.

- Jerry Garcia

We are confronted with insurmountable opportunities.

- Walt Kelly

For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.

-Richard Feynman

More Fuel For Thought

The Green Fuel Prescription

At Risk: Economy, Environment
Disease: Fossil Fuel Dependency
Symptoms: Pollution, Oil Sheiks
Cure: Higher Mixed Alcohol Fuel
Dosage: Continuous 24/7
Contraindications: None
Manufacturer: Bioroot Energy, LLC

Beetle kill: 3.9 million acres in Montana

“British Columbia has lost 40 million acres of forest to the bark beetle; Colorado is approaching 2 million acres of dead forest; Wyoming just recently crested the 1-million-acre mark,” said Mary Ann Chambers, spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service’s Bark Beetle Incident Management Team for the Rocky Mountain region.

Source: The Climate Daily, “Climate change has doubled forest mortality”

Pine forests are dying throughout the Rocky Mountains (©Carlye Calvin/NCAR)This photo taken in Wyoming but it could be anywhere in the western US.

Destruction of trees by the mountain pine beetle, combined with climate change and fire, makes for a dangerous feedback loop. Dead forests sequester less carbon dioxide. Burning forests release huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. More CO2 adds to climate change, which raises temperatures, stresses forests, and makes bigger fires that much more likely.

Montana faces an incredibly tough situation in years ahead. What to do with 3.9 million acres* of standing dead beetle-kill trees?  Let them all rot? Burn? Sit back and let nature take its course because we can’t agree on a fair, environmentally and economically balanced strategy to do anything more? What about people and employment? Economic growth? Clear skies in the summer? Forests that are primed to explode?

Or do we put our heads together and get to work converting at least some of this massive carbon abundance into new forms of clean-carbon energy we can all use, like green, renewable mixed alcohol transportation fuels?

That’s what Bioroot Energy is doing. We invite your participation and support.

Do a quick potential yield calculation based on 5 tons of thinnings and slash material per acre, which is a ridiculously low figure for thinned Montana forest land. That’s 19.5 million tons of biomass. (Some credible forest remediation estimates run 28-30 tons per acre.) Surely there is a gargantuan amount of sustainably harvestable biomass outside of protected wilderness and other sensitive areas to support a substantial biofuel industry.

What could a cutting-edge biofuel industry do for western Montana? What could it do for you? Please let us know what you think.

*Pine beetles infested 1.2 million acres of Montana forest in 2008 and 2.7 million acres in 2009, based on aerial surveys.

Source: Montana Standard

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A Radical Solution That’s Neither Left Nor Right


History shows we are on same path as Roman Empire

Are we ignoring the road signs?

We have all heard the expression that “history repeats itself.” It has been uttered for centuries, by intelligent and studious men in Greek, Roman and Chinese literature, and has been expressed so many times over the centuries that we just naturally assume that it is true. Well let’s look at some statements from the past and see if they relate to what is happening today. I believe that we will all agree that it is beneficial to study the past so as to see the mistakes, and the successes, of men and nations (empires) that preceded us. We are then able to replicate that which is useful for success and survival, and we can also avoid that which has proved to lead to failure. It is dangerous for us as individuals, and for we as a nation, to ignore the mistakes of the past.

Clark Fork Chronicle, October 1, 2009

Tomorrow’s history is being created today, as we go about our personal business and family lives amidst great financial and environmental turmoil in the world around us.  Will our history be marred by  negligence and default or will we become active creators of value and better managers of our future legacy? It’s our choice.

In Montana, life goes on more or less as it has since frontier days. The deer and the antelope still play. The buffalo still roam, at least in some areas of the state. The bear, the elk, and the reintroduced wolf, still thrive.

Of course, western Montanans stopped shooting up the saloons and at each other long ago, traded their horses for cars, and built the highway (Highway 93) that today serves as a key economic lifeline to dozens of far-flung communities from south of the Idaho border north to Missoula.

We’ve come a long way since horse and buggy days. But the real work is ahead. Our quality of life is second to none, but we still don’t know the first thing about digging ourselves out of the massive hole we’ve dug along the way with regard to energy, our economy and the environment.

We’ve only just begun to investigate clean coal technology which uses gasification to greatly reduce carbon emissions, letalone retrofit any power plants. But it’s coming, sure as the sun shines, because it’s important and needed.

It’s also time to focus on taking a truly radical action with gasification tech in our own backyard: cleaning up our municipal trash and excess biomass, profitably and sustainably, right here in the Bitterroot valley.  Gasification is a compelling solution for lots of reasons, both environmental and economic!

With America facing a steep uphill climb to economic stability, there’s never been a better time to develop locally owned gasification facilities to convert household waste and biomass to energy. Trash and sustainable biomass to make these projects profitable is almost everywhere!  What’s more, the revenue generated from energy created by these facilities can belong to the communities where they will be located.  Gasification is a compelling solution for lots of reasons, both environmental and economic!

The human race has never been good about cleaning up after itself. We’ve always had plenty of room to dump our trash and waste somewhere and cover it with dirt. Or pile and burn it or incinerate it.  Sure, some elements of trash get recycled (aluminum, steel, cardboard, etc.) but not very much in the big scheme of things.

Just another day in Montana.  And another 340 tons of solid waste on its way to the Missoula landfill.

You can bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow and every day thereafter there will be another 340 tons of trash heading to the landfill. And hundreds of slash piles from thinning and logging projects going up in smoke too.

Nothing about how we manage trash has changed. And nothing will, unless we choose to actively support a venture to build a gasification facility right here in the Bitterroot.

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Beetle-killed trees primed to fuel fires

What should we do about the millions upon millions of beetle-killed trees in the West, especially in Montana? While people debate the merits and feasibility of taking action, one major aspect of the discussion has yet to really be discussed: biofuels.

From the Missoulian article:

“Even if we had the infrastructure and logging community we used to have, we couldn’t get this all off the ground,” Siedlitz said. “Thinning is just negative logging. It doesn’t pay for itself. If we could do something with the biomass so it was profitable to take it off, that might be something.”

We agree, “that” might be something! And “that” might even pay for itself and then some!

Link to Missoulian article

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