The Bullroarer - Tuesday 5th February 2008

Bio-crude Turns Cheap Waste Into Valuable Fuel

CSIRO and Monash University have developed a chemical process that turns green waste into a stable bio-crude oil. The bio-crude oil can be used to produce high value chemicals and biofuels, including both petrol and diesel replacement fuels.


The process uses low value waste such as forest thinnings, crop residues, waste paper and garden waste, significant amounts of which are currently dumped in landfill or burned. “By using waste, our Furafuel technology overcomes the food versus fuel debate which surrounds biofuels generated from grains, corn and sugar,” says Dr Loffler.

Also at The Sydney Morning Herald: Scientists make oil grow on trees

and Melbourne Herald Sun: CSIRO-Monash Uni biofuel method allays green concerns

RACV: new player won't cut oil price

LEAD motoring group the RACV remains sceptical about the benefits of a "fifth force" in Australia's oil industry and says the only realistic way of cutting petrol prices is to cut tax.

"It's all about tax, the only way to bring about cheaper petrol is through tax reduction," spokesman David Cumming said yesterday.

Related story also at The Age: Plan to revive old oil refinery

Taxi drivers and cyclists not permitted to use new busway

Auckland taxi drivers and cyclists want to use a new busway beside the northern motorway on the North Shore in Auckland.

The 6km busway was tested for the first time on Monday in rush hour traffic from Constellation Drive to the Auckland harbour bridge - halving the travel time for bus passengers.

But unlike some special lanes overseas, taxis and bicycles are not allowed to use it.

Electric Scooters Arrive in NZ

Kiwis looking for a smarter mode of transport that is easy on the pocket, easy to ride and easy on the environment, will welcome the arrival of New Zealand’s first range of electric scooters.

The cost of running an electric scooter is miniscule when compared with the cost of running a petrol car. For example, its costs about $150 to run a scooter for 60 kilometres every day of the year – or 40 cents a day - well below the average monthly bill for a common 1300cc petrol car. And your typical inner city 15 kilometres trip would cost just 10 cents* – even less if the distance is shorter.

India builds wind power for Australia

RENEWABLE energy company Pacific Hydro has signed a deal with India's largest wind generator maker, Suzlon Energy, to equip the company's $140 million South Australian wind farm.

NZ electricity network needs investment

Under-investment in the electricity transmission network is likely to restrict construction of new electricity generation projects, international credit rating agency Fitch Ratings says.

The restriction would particularly affect renewable generation plants in the South Island, and might put some pressure on future security of electricity supply.

Diesel tax reform 'would aid farmers'

Excessive road user charges are hitting truck-reliant farmers in the pocket, a transport lobby group says.

Road Transport Forum chief executive Tony Friedlander believes farming exports could be more competitive if the charges were replaced by a single diesel tax.

A Lincoln University report commissioned by the forum shows trucks servicing the agricultural sector travel more than 234 million kilometres a year.

Oil price drops but no fall in petrol cost

Drivers will continue to feel pain at the pump despite the price of crude oil falling back from record highs.

Oil companies said it was more important to consider the price of refined products traded in Singapore that are imported and used in New Zealand, and which don't always move in line with crude oil.

"The cost of refined product usually moves in line with crude but it doesn't always happen that way," said BP spokeswoman Diana Stretch.

CSIRO needs to give out more info on bio-crude to see if it really is amenable to processes like fractional distillation, cat- and hydro- cracking. Other pyrolysis oils have over 10% water plus unhelpful fractions akin to vinegar. I think we need not just bunker type fuels for ships and generators but premium fuels for our PHEVs. Or maybe there will be a split; black goo for stationary engines (eg for wind backup) and low EROEI ethanol for range extended plugin cars.

I wouldn't get too excited about this and I don' think you'll get too much from CSIRO until the patent is at least filed.

Waht amazes me is the way these boffins consider anything not immediatley consumed as waste. Agricultural stubble plays an important part in leaving some organic matter in farm soils, which halps reatin moisture and feed essential micro-organisms. Forest wastes also are valubale environmental products that have a palce in the forest cycle.

I wouldn't necesarily object to landfill waste extraction for ligno-cellulose, if methane production from the same waste was not considered a higher EROI. We might make enough diesel at least to keep the garbage trucks going.

Wow - glad to see someone can get a Bullroarer out during the day instead of at midnight :-)

At the bottom of the SMH article was this.

NSW has a 2 per cent biofuels mandate and the Federal Government pays a subsidy for biofuel production.

But the Parliamentary Library in Canberra has just produced a report saying there is no evidence to support a mandate.

The report noted the subsidised cost of creating jobs in the Australian ethanol industry was already so high that "it would be cheaper to pay each worker average weekly earnings to do nothing".

That is the report Phil was talking about in the weekend post on ethanol :

Perhaps for tomorrows Bullroarer
US move a blow to clean-coal project

THE Rudd Government faces a vexing decision whether to continue funding the world's leading clean-coal experiment after the Bush Administration cut its commitment to the $US1.8 billion ($A2 billion) project.

....after the Bush Administration cut its commitment to the $US1.8 billion ($A2 billion) project.

Don't be too hard on Bushy. He needs the money so he can distribute all those $800 tax rebate checks next month. And besides, when carbon credits actually start trading, the US can just print money to buy them all up, just like how they currently buy oil. Problem solved. Now what's happened with Britney today?