[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]

RE: E-M:/ Liberty Rewewable Fuels is undercapitalized

Enviro-Mich message from "Alexander J. Sagady" <ajs@sagady.com>

I'm very skeptical of the claims that many of the biofuels, present and 
future feedstock based, are somehow 
"carbon neutral" and don't contribute to carbon dioxide problems.   All 
fermentation-based ethanol production processes release very substantial amounts of 
carbon dioxide, both from the fermentation itself and from combustion of 
fuels to produce ethanol dehydration (separation of water from dilute ethanol

We live in a world where we are doing tremendous damage to forest/biological 
based sinks for carbon (i.e. rain forests and northern forests), where we are not only destroying such 
carbon sinks, we're releasing carbon that was previously long sequestered in such 
forests through burning.   On claims that carbon sequestration will take place in 
soils used in an industrial manner where root structiures of grasses in such industrial 
use will be somehow sequestered....do these models consider release of methane, ethane
and other greenhouse gases from decomposition?   On the sustainability issue is also 
what happens to soils under this type of long term agriculture.

A substantial portion of that biologically based carbon dioxide will end up in oceans
where it can cause problems with acidification.    A substantial chunk of 
carbon dioxide emitted by biological processes 
like biofuel-related fermentation will never be removed from the 

I don't have enough confidence that we understand what is going on in the atmosphere with enough
clarity to accept pat answers on biofuels saying that the carbon dioxide produced
from both fermentation and dehydration operations will always be balanced and 
scavenged by the growing plants used to make the biofuels.

Look how wrong the atmospheric modelers were about the melting 
of the northern polar ice cap.

I think much of the promotion of biofuels by the politicians is intended to 
lull us dangerously into the mindset that continued patterns of existing 
fuels combustion and energy utilization in industrialized and industrializing 
countries can be maintained.   The entire front loaded emphasis on biofuels 
is distracting us from the much more important task of needing to significantly 
increase the efficiency with which all fuels are utilized and develop scalable 
renewable energy systems where as much energy utilization for beneficial uses
is achieved as is technically feasible.   

This policy must also be integrated with changes in land use patterns and 
transportation systems that are all optimized for energy efficiency, as well 
as other important community values.

We really have to jumpstart all of these policies to pull us out of the 
downward spiral we seem to be in on the global sustainability issues.   

Can Michigan afford to have yet another six mile ring of townships around the 
existing edges of the SE Michigan urbanized area be converted from 
natural settings and agriculture to low density suburban development?   Not 
really, but there is nothing in place to even begin slowing down these 
patterns of development.   We have to learn to develop to higher levels of 
density so that transportation and energy-supply systems can be taylored to 
such things as rapid rail transit and integrated electric power generation with 
district heating systems.

On these 7 coal fired power plant being proposed.....should they all be nailed
for failure to integrate combined heat and power?   I doubt  any of them will be 
proposed with carbon sequestration.   The least the state of Michigan could do
would be to say we will not build any further power plants of any sort without 
combined heat and power energy utilization.   We should be squeezing the 
last usable BTU out of any energy/fuels utilization we have and the days of throwing 
so-called "waste heat" at a 55-70% share of 
energy input into the Great Lakes, rivers or into the air with cooling towers (and 
exporting Great Lakes watershed water out of the basin in the process) should 
be completely ended.

Building ethanol plants for biofuels shouldn't even be allowed unless such 
installations are integrated with other large energy utilization operations, 
such as power plants and refineries, where waste heat could power the dehydration 
process.    Maybe we should take the 100 mile diet seriously and grow our tomatoes
in the winter in greenhouses heated by waste heat.    That waste heat could provide
a lot of space heating in district heating systems in new, redeveloped communities 
designed to have a city center and sufficient density to use centralized, district heating
sources of steam and hot water.

What Coleman Young and L. Brooks Patterson and Macomb County officials started in disagreements
in the 60's and 70's with disputes over mass transit development in SE Michigan....well 
that kind of stuff has to end and needed regional cooperation on transportation has to 
come now to develop energy efficient transit and related land use patterns in SE Michigan.
Look at the time, energy and money that has been wasted.

We need a crash program for both energy efficiency improvements in housing
and use of energy efficient furnaces.    There shouldn't be anymore furnace 
installations unless they are not at least 90-95% energy efficient.   We're not
going to solve greenhouse gas emission problems by solely focusing on biofuels
like the politicians want as a gimmick....now, mostly to benefit wealthy corn 
farmers on behalf of the Farm Bureau.   You can significantly cut you your 
vehicle miles per year if you try, but it isn't as easy to cut building related 
greenhouse gas emissions and we need far more emphasis on that.

 From a Great Lakes standpoint, the politicians want to subsidize the biofuel
industry by giving away public trust Great Lakes watershed water for nothing
which is just as bad as taking the same resources and letting Nestle bottle it.
Count on 4-5 gallons of Great Lakes watershed water from groundwater resources
to produce a single gallon of ethanol.....with about half or more exported out 
of the basin through cooling towers.

We're not going to be able to do what is needed  solely by focusing on solar energy and 
wind energy (or biofuels).   Solar energy, in particular, is very promising for both electricity 
and heat....but we must do far more to increase energy efficiency in buildings
(both residential and commercial) and enviros need to significantly raise the emphasis on 
energy efficiency.....even if it involves combustion of fossil fuels and not 
a renewable source of energy.   

Consumers often have a very good idea of total mass transferred when it comes 
to filling up a gasoline tank.   But consumers may not have as good a sense of 
mass/carbon transfer when it comes to that natural gas meter in front of your 
house.    You should know stuff like the total number of CCFs (100 cubic feet of 
natural gas) you consume in a year, and what the green house gas emission 
consequence of that is.   And burning wood and biofuels is no excuse for 
poor energy efficiency utilization.   You can now get a pellet furnace for home 
use that is about 85-90%+ percent energy efficient (i.e. 85% percent of the heat input 
from wood combustion goes into heat transfer into your house).   If you're burning 
logs in stove at about 45-50% thermal efficiency primitive stove, you're not doing much better 
than those guys engaged in slash and burn agriculture in Brazil that are burning
down the rain forest.

At a state level, we've got to stop building new highways and focus on maintaining 
the ones we have.   There should be a technology assessment function in 
state government that figures out what highway construction system has the lowest
longterm greenhouse gas consequence.   That may mean spending more money 
on building highways that last 40-50 years rather than 20.    Let's watch the 
asphalt guys and the concrete guys fight it out with the civil engineers on 
highway longevity and with each other on that policy debate.

Let's get serious about high speed rail transportation for intercity travel and 
stop investing in new airports and related development.    The whole theme
about developing the that soul-less Detroit Metro airport into some kind of 
futuristic transportation hub for industrial air shipments of goods for manufacturing........
.......well that is probably a greenhouse gas horror show that should be 
shelved permanently.    Air transportation is going to get increasingly 
expensive and the trend will only be higher costs with increasing energy 
prices.    And tayloring industrial shipment of goods in trucks for intercity 
dispatch....well, that will probably end up in decline as well.   The future of 
intercity freight transportation will be with energy efficient railroads....as much 
as I hate to disappoint the teamsters and the road builders.

In Michigan we've got to rethink our entire approach to public and private forests.
We've got to address the fact that forests are too valuable as places to 
sequester carbon and that short rotation forest cropping practices should end.   Perhaps
we should learn that trees are too valuable to take them and make disposable 
paper products anymore.....   Perhaps we can have a resurgence in using the forest 
resources we do cut to replace energy intensive materials like plastics.....or we need to 
re-learn how to use wood resources to make things and manufacture things....including 
the matter of wood as a biorefinery feedstock.    Our Michigan forests are too valuable to 
chop down for chipping as fuel wood to generate electric power or for paper pulp for single use, non-sustainable
patterns of use.    There is plenty of urban waste wood to use for such purposes.

Anyway.....it is 1 AM and enough ranting and raving for now.

At 08:22 PM 12/02/2007, ecothinker wrote:
>Would you feel differently if Liberty?s bio-source were different? Here?s a different slant.
>A new study led by David Tilman, an ecologist at the University of Minnesota, shows that mixtures of native perennial grasses and other flowering plants provide more usable energy per acre than corn grain ethanol or soybean biodiesel and are far better for the environment. The research was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the University of Minnesota Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment. 
>"Biofuels made from high-diversity mixtures of prairie plants can reduce global warming by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Even when grown on infertile soils, they can provide a substantial portion of global energy needs, and leave fertile land for food production," Tilman said. 
>The findings are published in the Dec. 8, 2006, issue of the journal Science. 
>The is study based on 10 years of research at Minnesota's Cedar Creek Natural History Area, one of 26 NSF long-term ecological research (LTER) sites. It shows that degraded agricultural land planted with diverse mixtures of prairie grasses and other flowering plants produces 238 percent more bioenergy on average than the same land planted with various single prairie plant species, including switchgrass. 
>"This study highlights very clearly the additional benefits of taking a less-intensive management approach and maintaining higher biodiversity in the process," said Henry Gholz, NSF LTER program director. "It establishes a new baseline for evaluating the use of land for biofuel production." 
>Tilman and his colleagues estimate that fuel made from this prairie biomass would yield 51 percent more energy per acre than ethanol from corn grown on fertile land. Prairie plants require little energy to grow and all parts of the plant above ground are usable. 
>Fuels made from prairie biomass are "carbon negative," which means that producing and using them actually reduces the amount of carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) in the atmosphere. Prairie plants store more carbon in their roots and soil than is released by the fossil fuels needed to grow and convert them into biofuels. Using prairie biomass to make fuel would lead to the long-term removal and storage of from 1.2 to 1.8 U.S. tons of carbon dioxide per acre per year. This net removal of atmospheric carbon dioxide could continue for about 100 years, the researchers estimate. 
>In contrast, corn ethanol and soybean biodiesel are "carbon positive," meaning they add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, although less than fossil fuels. 
>Switchgrass, which is being developed as a perennial bioenergy crop, was one of 16 species in the study. When grown by itself in poor soil, it did not perform better than other single species and gave less than a third of the bioenergy of high-diversity plots. 
>"Switchgrass is very productive when it's grown like corn in fertile soil with lots of fertilizer, pesticide and energy inputs, but this approach doesn't yield as much energy gain as mixed species in poor soil nor does it have the same environmental benefits," said paper co-author Jason Hill, also of the University of Minnesota. 
>To date, all biofuels, including cutting-edge nonfood energy crops such as switchgrass, elephant grass, hybrid poplar and hybrid willow, are produced as monocultures grown primarily in fertile soils. 
>The researchers estimate that growing mixed prairie grasses on all of the world's degraded land could produce enough bioenergy to replace 13 percent of global petroleum consumption and 19 percent of global electricity consumption. 
>The practice of using degraded land to grow mixed prairie grasses for biofuels could provide stable production of energy and have additional benefits, such as renewed soil fertility, cleaner ground and surface waters, preservation of wildlife habitats, and recreational opportunities. 
>Source: NSF
>From: owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net [mailto:owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net] On Behalf Of Timothy Caldwell
>Sent: Sunday, December 02, 2007 6:24 PM
>To: Alex J. Sagady & Associates
>Cc: enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
>Subject: Re: E-M:/ Liberty Rewewable Fuels is undercapitolized
>This is excellent news. Let's hope they continue to be under-capitalized. 
>On Dec 2, 2007 2:46 PM, Alex J. Sagady & Associates <<mailto:ajs@sagady.com> ajs@sagady.com> wrote:
>Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" < <mailto:ajs@sagady.com>ajs@sagady.com>
>The Gratiot County Herald is reporting "Liberty ethanol plant faces
>crisis" In its November 29 edition.    This is the corn to ethanol facility proposed for Ithaca, MI 
>It seems they've started construction of their plant, but have only
>$33 million out of $233 million needed to build the plant.
>There has been a continual stream of articles in the financial press
>about the present glut of ethanol, problems in getting product to
>market and money drying up to construct ethanol plants.
>According to the article, work on the Ithaca plant is now at a
>The facility also went through a re-permiting for the air permit for 
>the facility, changing the type of process equipment they would
>Alex J. Sagady & Associates         http://www.sagady.com
>Environmental Enforcement, Permit/Technical Review, Public Policy,
>Expert Witness Review and Litigation Investigation on Air, Water and
>Waste/Community Environmental and Resource Protection 
>Prospectus at:  <http://www.sagady.com/sagady.pdf>http://www.sagady.com/sagady.pdf
>657 Spartan Avenue,  East Lansing, MI  48823
>(517) 332-6971; (517) 332-8987 (fax); <mailto:ajs@sagady.com>ajs@sagady.com
>ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
>and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at 
>Postings to:  <mailto:enviro-mich@great-lakes.net>enviro-mich@great-lakes.net      For info, send email to
><mailto:majordomo@great-lakes.net>majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info enviro-mich"

Alex J. Sagady & Associates        http://www.sagady.com

Environmental Enforcement, Permit/Technical Review, Public Policy, 
Expert Witness Review and Litigation Investigation on Air, Water and 
Waste/Community Environmental and Resource Protection
Prospectus at:  http://www.sagady.com/sagady.pdf 

657 Spartan Avenue,  East Lansing, MI  48823  
(517) 332-6971; (517) 332-8987 (fax); ajs@sagady.com

ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at

Postings to:  enviro-mich@great-lakes.net      For info, send email to
majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info enviro-mich"