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1/24/2021

Biofuels are all the rage these days as companies look for natural and more sustainable ways to power race cars and airplanes. Boeing has joined the party now, too, with its promise that 100 percent of its fleet will be running on biofuels by 2030.

That’s a pretty big promise considering the fact that it’s still going to take a lot of work—only some of which can be done by Boeing. It might be able to tackle making advancements to its own jet systems, but it won’t be able to actually use those systems until fuel-blending requirements are raised and the machine is given a global safety certification. Those aren’t exactly things that Boeing can do on its own.

https://jalopnik.com/boeing-aims-to-use-biofuel-by-2030-1846...

Jaak 😊
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Boeing has joined the party now, too, with its promise that 100 percent of its fleet will be running on biofuels by 2030.

How can they make such a promise? (Other than the fact that nobody will hold them to it.)

DB2
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Boeing has joined the party now, too, with its promise that 100 percent of its fleet will be running on biofuels by 2030.

How can they make such a promise? (Other than the fact that nobody will hold them to it.)


Boeing makes the aircraft (and boats), and then sells them so they are part of somebody else's fleet.

So Boeing has a very small fleet of aircraft, and most of the planes in that fleet don't fly on any given day.
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How can they make such a promise? (Other than the fact that nobody will hold them to it.)

DB2

====================

The same way that other companies are promising to stop burning fossil fuels!

Go ahead and bet on oil! Peak oil has already been announced by Shell. I would like to see you invest heavily in the fossil fuels that you love - coal and oil.

Jaak 😊
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So? iirc, the Navy and USAF have been experimenting with fuels from alternate sources for years to ensure interchangeability with petroleum sourced fuel. So BA jets will be capable of running on the alternate fuels DoD has been developing, if the operator chooses? So?

Just more substance-less PR from a company drowning in Welchism.

'Great Green Fleet' using biofuels deployed by U.S. Navy

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-defense-greenfleet/gr...

U.S. Air Force tests biofuel at $59 per gallon

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-military-biofuels/u-s...

Steve
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So? iirc, the Navy and USAF have been experimenting with fuels from alternate sources for years to ensure interchangeability with petroleum sourced fuel. So BA jets will be capable of running on the alternate fuels DoD has been developing, if the operator chooses? So?

This is correct. The military portrays it as "going green" (and that might be part of it) but the real reason is in the event of a supply disruption the military will need fuel. Hence the emphasis on manufacturing it.
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This is correct. The military portrays it as "going green" (and that might be part of it) but the real reason is in the event of a supply disruption the military will need fuel. Hence the emphasis on manufacturing it.

And, imho, a very good idea. If a country can't feed itself, or fuel itself, or finance itself, it isn't a sovereign country anymore, it's someone else's tool. But, the alternate fuel industry and plans to tax imported oil to give the domestic alternate fuel industry price protection were all ridiculed, then cancelled, by the same party that sold off a lot of the strategic material inventory to paper over part of his record deficits.

Steve
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Steve,

Thanks for posting the Navy and Air Force links.

This board hates anything negative about fossil fuels.

I wonder why?

Jaak
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The question I always have, is - Where is all of the available, but unused, farm land that will be needed to grow the crops to make into this aviation fuel?

Forty percent of the US corn crop goes to making ethanol for adding to gasoline. Gasoline mixtures are generally only 10% ethanol. What percentage will this aviation fuel be?

https://www.agriculture.com/news/business/ethanol-market-is-...
Now, roughly 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop is refined into ethanol...
-------------------------------

From what I can see, synthetic aviation fuel is more closely associated with biodiesel than ethanol. That means soybeans, or some other seed oil crop. Where are those crops going to be grown, that are not already dedicated to growing all of the corn for ethanol, plus, you know, things like food? Most of the current soybean crop, and much of the rest of the corn crop, goes into animal feed for fattening up steers and pigs and chickens.

Sure, you can fly a few planes on some synthetic biofuel, and everyone applauds. But to really make a difference in reducing fossil fuel consumption, you are going to need to identify where that land is, with the right kind of soil, for growing your biofuel crops. Yes, there are probably some lands in the western US that could be made arable, if enough water is supplied for irrigation. A lot of water. The Ogallala aquifer is already drying up. Do you want to increase the rate at which it goes away?

- Pete
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The question I always have, is - Where is all of the available, but unused, farm land that will be needed to grow the crops to make into this aviation fuel?

It doesn't exist. The area required to generate that much biofuel is larger than the available farmland.

But in reading the article, Boeing is not claiming jets will only fly on biofuels. It says they will be able to. Big difference.

Regardless, the real promise for bio-jet fuel isn't plants, it is from genetically modified algae. And add an afterburner of algae raised under LED lights powered by solar with battery backup. The amount of land needed is a small fraction compared to plant based sources.

Right now, that method is way too expensive to make sense. But if costs keep dropping at the current rate it is entirely possible bio-jet fuel will be cost competitive, maybe even cheaper, than conventional jet fuel by 2030.
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The question I always have, is - Where is all of the available, but unused, farm land that will be needed to grow the crops to make into this aviation fuel?

Not all bio-fuel comes from farmland. Other sources:

Landfill gas
Yellow grease
Animal fat from food processors (Tyson)

Last I heard (it's been a while) bio jet fuel was 50-50 bio/petrol

The Captain
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Not all bio-fuel comes from farmland. Other sources:
Landfill gas
Yellow grease
Animal fat from food processors (Tyson)

--------------------------------

Landfill gas - How many millions of tons of fuel can be made from that source per year?
Yellow grease - Same question.
Animal fat - Same question.

https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_cons_wpsup_k_4.htm

Current consumption of kerosene-type jet fuel in the US is about 1 million barrels per day.
Per Day.
Do the math.
-------------------------------------

Regarding the algae idea...

https://www.yahoo.com/news/exxon-big-bet-algae-biofuels-1800...

In the late 2000s, Big Oil led by Royal Dutch Shell, BP Plc., ExxonMobil, and Chevron hyped algae biofuel as the fuel of the future, pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into the emerging industry with promises of decarbonization and energy innovation. More than a decade later, the algal biofuel dream has remained just that--a dream--with virtually all big players but one--Exxon--pulling the plug on their expensive projects.

- Pete
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Regardless, the real promise for bio-jet fuel isn't plants, it is from genetically modified algae.

Relying on technologies that are not, shall we say, ready for prime time is a shaky way to meet one's promises. It may work out, or it may not. Using carbon capture (sequestration) as a way to reach promises of zero emissions or a temperature goal of an extra 0.5°C is a similar evasion of uncertainty.

At any rate, from a couple of months ago:

https://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Biofuels/Does-Exxon-...
Oilprice has been reporting on the long, drawn-out death of the dream of algal biofuel for years....The incredible abundance of microalgae (there are approximately 70,000 species) and the species’ incredible resilience and ability to acclimatize to seemingly any environment seemed to make it the perfect candidate for the kind of cheap, efficient biomass an economically viable biofuel model needs....

In practice, making the model commercially viable just hasn’t been possible. As Robert Rapier reported back in 2018 in his “Algal Biofuel Obituary,” the process is just far too expensive....

While algal biofuel research was all the rage ten years ago, by 2012, Shell had ended its $12 billion Brazilian algae biofuel venture, news had dried up of BP’s $10 million deal with bioscience firm Martek, and Chevron’s five-year partnership with the government-funded National Renewable Energy Laboratory had produced no significant breakthroughs.

DB2
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This is correct. The military portrays it as "going green" (and that might be part of it) but the real reason is in the event of a supply disruption the military will need fuel. Hence the emphasis on manufacturing it.


You do know that the third largest reserves on the globe are just across your northern border right? Since all y'all have been unfriended by #1 Venezuela – 304 billion barrels and are working on upsetting #2 Saudi Arabia – 298 billion barrels (obviously an estimate) you might want to play nice with your friends up there? #3 Canada – 170 billion barrels which is again mostly an estimate as they stopped looking and started producing.

Since we are also one of the not very many nations that are expected to benefit from global warming our current Snowbird winter invasion of Florida may get reverse in summer?

Tim <always the optimist>

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/zwjjjxs/revision/7#:~:....

Advantages of global warming

Although there are many negative effects of climate change, there are some advantages too.

The Arctic, Antarctic, Siberia and other frozen regions of the Earth may experience more plant growth and milder climates.

The next ice age may be prevented from occurring. Many scientists believe that the planet is due to enter the next ice age and enhanced global warming will prevent this.

The Northwest Passage through Canada's formerly icy north will be opened up to sea transportation. This will make trade easier and cheaper.
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Landfill gas - How many millions of tons of fuel can be made from that source per year?
Yellow grease - Same question.
Animal fat - Same question.


Aa a brilliant researcher you should have no problem finding out.

Let us know!

The Captain
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Relying on technologies that are not, shall we say, ready for prime time is a shaky way to meet one's promises. It may work out, or it may not. Using carbon capture (sequestration) as a way to reach promises of zero emissions or a temperature goal of an extra 0.5°C is a similar evasion of uncertainty.

That article wasn't very well written, but again Boeing's promise was not that Boeing's fleet would run on 100% biofuels. The promise was the fleet would be able to. Think about it. Boeing isn't the one filling up the fuel tanks. The customers do that. Boeing can't promise which fuel type the airlines will buy.

Here is an article that explains it a little better (emphasis mine).

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Boeing Co said on Friday it will begin delivering commercial airplanes capable of flying on 100% biofuel by the end of the decade, calling reducing environmental damage from fossil fuels the “challenge of our lifetime.”

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-boeing-biofuels/boeing-sa...

Back in the 1970s and 1980s, partly at the government's urging and backing, the oil companies spent a ton of money trying to figure out how to extract oil from shale. It was a big disaster and all the companies lost billions. The post mortems read along the lines of: Shale oil is a big pipe dream, the bumbling government should have stayed out of it, it will never be cost effective, the majors were idiots for even trying, the promise of shale oil is a big waste of everyone's time and money, and only fools think it will ever be part of the energy mix.

Your algae article minded me of that. Algae biofuels aren't cost effective now. It doesn't follow there will never be any advances in this field. Keep in mind, planes that start rolling off the line in 2030 will be flying for decades. It is entirely possible that in say, 2045 or something there will be affordable sources of biofuels and the airlines will want to use them. In anticipation of this, Boeing readying itself to build aircraft that its customers will likely want. I don't think Boeing are the big stumble bums people are making them out to be (at least on this topic).
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The question I always have, is - Where is all of the available, but unused, farm land that will be needed to grow the crops to make into this aviation fuel?

=====================================

There are ways of making jet fuel out of carbon dioxide:

12/23/2020

A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in the U.K. and one in Saudi Arabia has developed a way to produce jet fuel using carbon dioxide as a main ingredient. In their paper published in the journal Nature Communications, the group describes their process and its efficiency.

https://phys.org/news/2020-12-jet-fuel-carbon-dioxide.html

Jaak
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Algae has drawn a lot of chatter since the 70s. I would like to see a big project, like the Salton Sea, covered with the stuff. The Salton was man made, or man accident made, so saline most of the fish have died off, and fertilizer from farms flows into it constantly. But oil is always too cheap, so that, in the absence of price protection, it isn't competitive.

Grand Lake in Ohio is another likely candidate. 13,500 acres, but only 6' deep. So much runoff from farms and leakage from septic tanks that the the water is so polluted swimming is often prohibited.

Relying on technologies that are not, shall we say, ready for prime time is a shaky way to meet one's promises. It may work out, or it may not. Using carbon capture (sequestration) as a way to reach promises of zero emissions or a temperature goal of an extra 0.5°C is a similar evasion of uncertainty.

Several years ago, an administration was touting hydrogen as the panacea. In the back of my mind was the thought that group, with extensive ties to the oil industry, was using the most far out, immature, technology as an excuse to not develop more near term alternate fuel sources.

Steve
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Thank you for recommending this post to our Best of feature.

...

Steve: Several years ago, an administration was touting hydrogen as the panacea. In the back of my mind was the thought that group, with extensive ties to the oil industry, was using the most far out, immature, technology as an excuse to not develop more near term alternate fuel sources.



Ah yes, that and the most amazing (optimistic?) timelines for total success. You know like "Germany will stop burning lignite in two years" ... spouted in I think 2009. Electric cars are so in for everyone and don't worry about infrastructure as that will magically appear in a matter of weeks. Sell your pipeline stocks now as oil demand will be gone in a year or two! <many of my pipelines are Nat gas, ask me how those are doing?>

Really! Imagine these stupid companies spending billions to get oil to refineries when we are down to the last few months before those multi-billion $ refineries become museum curiosities?

Reality both sucks and blows but it is all we have? I must admit that lately I bite my tongue a lot more often after being attacked for trying to point out the obvious nonsense. Replacing coal with valuable Nat gas is an improvement ... but it is not getting rid of fossil fuel burning is it? A real change would have been something actually clean? Nat gas is a short term cop out to get the leadership off the grill until their term is over. Real change for the serious would have been things like nuclear, hydro, wind and even solar where it works. Perhaps Tidal and Geothermal though Biomass is questionable.

I am not a climate denier because I invest in pipelines, I am really just very pragmatically making money? I totally believe in climate change and as a Canadian am looking forward to it.... though I probably won't be here or will be too old to enjoy it when it arrives.

Tim <sometimes admires that amazing US optimism>

https://financialpost.com/opinion/joe-oliver-heres-a-truth-f...

Joe Oliver: Here’s a truth few dare to utter: Canada will benefit from climate change

Our leadership needs this reality check

Author of the article: Joe Oliver, Special to Financial Post

...

Finally, someone proclaimed an obvious truth that few dare to utter publicly. According to Moody’s Analytics, Canada will benefit from climate change. Although it will shock many, this forecast should surprise no one. Canada is a very large, cold country, with 90 per cent of its population huddled within 100 miles of its southern border and an enormous agricultural potential if the land warms up. ...

...

The impact on farming, however, would be dramatic. In the three Prairie provinces alone, an area more than twice the size of France, arable land could increase between 26 and 40 per cent by 2040, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. With improvements in farm technology, drought-resistant crops and new harvesting methods, Canada would have a wonderful opportunity to help feed a hungry world. ...
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Ah yes, that and the most amazing (optimistic?) timelines for total success. You know like "Germany will stop burning lignite in two years" ... spouted in I think 2009.

From 16 years ago:

Sweden plans to be world's first oil-free economy
www.theguardian.com/environment/2006/feb/08/frontpagenews.oi...
Sweden is to take the biggest energy step of any advanced western economy by trying to wean itself off oil completely within 15 years - without building a new generation of nuclear power stations....

"Our dependency on oil should be broken by 2020," said Mona Sahlin, minister of sustainable development....

DB2
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I must admit that lately I bite my tongue a lot more often after being attacked for trying to point out the obvious nonsense. Replacing coal with valuable Nat gas is an improvement ... but it is not getting rid of fossil fuel burning is it? A real change would have been something actually clean? Nat gas is a short term cop out to get the leadership off the grill until their term is over. Real change for the serious would have been things like nuclear, hydro, wind and even solar where it works. Perhaps Tidal and Geothermal though Biomass is questionable.

=========================================

Some people have no concept of how to logically convert from a fossil fuel based society to a clean fuel based society in order to reduce CO2 emissions.

They think we can easily shut-down all coal and natural gas energy usage for industrial, commercial and residential heating and electricity and easily switch to nuclear, hydro, wind and solar while totally IGNORING petroleum which is the second largest source of CO2 emissions in the world behind coal.

As I have said dozens of times, IMO the phased priorities are as follows:

First eliminate coal usage as much as possible (replace with natural gas and renewables)
Second liminate petroleum usage as much as possible (replace with natural gas and renewables)
Third eliminate natural gas usage as much as possible (replace with renewables and SMR nuclear if it works)

Synthetic liquid fuels can be made from CO2 with energy from renewables and SMR nuclear (if it works)
Hydrogen can be generated by renewables and nuclear (if it works)
Batteries and other energy storage will provide reliability

As shown by history, large nuclear power plants take too long to build and cost too much to be economical. We see these problems continuing with the current new large nuclear power plants being built around the world.

Jaak
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From 16 years ago:

Sweden plans to be world's first oil-free economy
"Our dependency on oil should be broken by 2020," said Mona Sahlin, minister of sustainable development....

DB2

============================================

Sweden has done very well in meeting that goal. What are the numbers for 2020?

Sweden has been making lots of progress:

1979 - 689,000 Barrel/Day
1996 - 413,000
2002 - 373,000
2018 - 276,000

The numbers for 2020 and 2021 will be much lower because of the EVs.

Jaak
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Sweden is to take the biggest energy step of any advanced western economy by trying to wean itself off oil completely within 15 years...."Our dependency on oil should be broken by 2020"
---
Sweden has done very well in meeting that goal.


Except they haven't met the goal. As you note, they use over 100 million barrels of oil a year.

DB2
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Except they haven't met the goal. As you note, they use over 100 million barrels of oil a year.

DB2

================================

In 2020?

Jaak
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Except they haven't met the goal. As you note, they use over 100 million barrels of oil a year.
---
In 2020?


2018, 2019. Haven't seen any numbers yet for 2020.

DB2
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2018, 2019. Haven't seen any numbers yet for 2020.

DB2



https://knoema.com/atlas/Sweden/topics/Energy/Oil/Petroleum-....

You are welcome.
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2018, 2019. Haven't seen any numbers yet for 2020.
---
You are welcome.


Tack!

DB2
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oil should be broken by 2020"
---
Sweden has done very well in meeting that goal.

Jaak

-------------------
Except they haven't met the goal. As you note, they use over 100 million barrels of oil a year.

DB2

==================================================

DB2 wants perfection instead of the good. Perfectionist never accomplish anything!

Sweden has done Much Much more than US, China and Canada in reducing their consumption of oil over the last 20 years.

Jaak
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oil should be broken by 2020"
---
Sweden has done very well in meeting that goal.
---
Except they haven't met the goal. As you note, they use over 100 million barrels of oil a year.
---
DB2 wants perfection instead of the good.


What I would like are realistic goals and reliable follow-up.

DB2
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