Energy Insanity – Biofuels for electrical powerplants!

 “As far as we know, there is not another utility combustion turbine electricity generator using or planning to use biofuels in the United States, and probably the world,” said Tom Joaquin, HECO senior vice president of operations.

Tom, there is a good reason for that.

More and more cities, states, and countries are proudly proclaiming their conversion to biofuels.  We should applaud and support the commitment to use biofuels in our motor vehicles.

But common sense must rein, folks.

Today I have a link for you that shows how we can be ignorant in our exuberance to pursue green technologies.  If I read the following press release too quickly, then I am the ignorant one and certainly deserve your harsh beating with the big stick that I wield.   You be the judge.

But folks, if you get nothing else from today’s thoughts, at least weigh the logic of the following:

Remember the distinction between ideal fuels for motor vehicles vs. land-based energy uses.  It takes large quantities of fossil fuel or natural gas to heat up and convert crops to biofuel, many times consuming one energy (natural gas) to create a second but more useable energy (biofuel).  If ethanol is the interim product, extremely large quantities of carbon dioxide are released to the environment during its production.  Now burn the biofuel to make steam to drive turbines to produce electrical power.  This generates more carbon dioxide with resulting energy losses for each subsequent energy burn/conversion.

Look at the extreme amounts of energy and carbon dioxide involved with this idea.  (Heck I’m spewing more than my fair share just thinking about it.)  Lots less carbon dioxide would be expelled to the atmosphere by burning a primary fuel such as clean natural gas – to generate electrical power directly!

If Al Gore’s movie has you concerned with carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere, then you should be concerned about this foolish idea.  There are no Darwin Awards for businesses, only Chapter 7’s, 11’s and legacies to the citizens.  It is just wrong.

BTW, I plan to tell them so.  If you want to appeal to them as well, sign on, below.  Thanks for your consideration.  And keep looking out for the planet.

Reduce, reuse, recycle,


Here it is, but what’s with the long URL?

URL got your tongue?  Then go here and click on “News Releases”:

and look up:  HECO Issues RFP to Find Supplier of Biofuel–Ethanol or Biodiesel–to Fuel New Oahu Generating Unit (12/26/06)

Why don’t they just geothermally tap a volcano or two?  Plenty of decent CHP systems out there.  Or spend their grant money requesting a working hydrogen generator that uses solar energy.  Besides, the used oil from all the Chinese restaurants in the Western World couldn’t satisfy the oil demands of this thirsty, but dinky powerplant.

Explore posts in the same categories: biofuels, climate change, Conservation, energy, resources

2 Comments on “Energy Insanity – Biofuels for electrical powerplants!”

  1. matt Says:

    The EU is currently going crazy for biofuels too. Unfortunately the public are getting the idea that biofuels are the real alternative to fossil fuels. The use of agricultural land, especially within the ‘south’ & the destruction of rainforests for biofuel crops like sugarcane, soya and palm oil is just plain stupid!

  2. resourceful Says:

    Yes, we need to stop the insanity. Rainforests are critical to preventing our local weather from getting out of control. The book, “Guns, Germs, and Steel” is an eye opener in this area. Civilizations, no matter how big or strong, do fail – when they fail to recognize what they are doing to their local environment, trees, and rainforests – and stop it, before it is too late.

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