Bio-mass can be converted into oil [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Bio-mass can be converted into oil

03-24-2008, 06:26 PM
I just ran across this today.

Bell Bio-Energy, Inc. of Tifton, GA has announced they are able to convert anything that grows out of the earth into oil.

CEO, L.C. Bell said that he isolated the specific bacteria in a cow's stomach that produces methane gas (a hydrocarbon) when a cow digests grass, hay, clover, etc. He modified this bacteria so it produces oil. He can now naturally change plant material (including leftover food, rotten vegies, dead leaves, grass clippings, branches, corn stalks, etc.) into oil on a large scale and thus, produce gas and diesel for our cars and trucks. Bell said that no one thought is would be so simple to do this. Everyone was looking for a real complicated mechanism.

The first pilot plant will be running in months in preparation of full-scale production facilities producing oil within the next 2 years.

Wow. Talk about something that revolutionizes energy production! Just think, OPEC will no longer be able to control the price of oil once these production facilities are up and running in the next few years. Fuel prices will stabilize and have a marked positive impact on the economy. It looks like the new energy sources are being discovered and made available like I've been posting will happen for the last 2 years. I think this is just the beginning and that we will see more of them in the next few years.

Plus, it is a carbon neutral process since the carbon taken out of the atmosphere by the plants is converted into oil and then into gasoline and diesel, which is then burned in our vehicles. I.e. carbon out of atmosphere is used by plants =carbon in the oil produces by this process = carbon released back into atmoshpere when resultant fuel is burned; walla, a closed carbon cycle to fuel cars and trucks. Thus, the process yields zero extra carbon in the air, meaning our cars and trucks (and planes for that matter) will no longer be said to contribute carbon for global warming.

03-24-2008, 06:59 PM
sounds like those medievil alchemists who convinced the unsuspecting that they could convert lead into gold.

03-25-2008, 08:25 AM
This is certainly interesting, and I hope it yields some of the potential you mentioned.

But if history applies then we should be cautious about such massive amounts of mutated bacteria being around particularly with how it is contained, as well as any differences in the reconstituted fuel when burned i.e. differences in emissions or particulates which are a big part of combustion exhaust, and also any processing by-products.

Rapidly mutating bacteria is famous for it's elusiveness and destructive qualities and is a generally unstable thing we'd have a hard time stopping if we discovered later that it was yet another deadly miracle (e.g. PCBs, DDT, Agent Orange, etc). I for one don't want to be done in by a sh*t-eating killer germ ;)

When business constraints are in control of enthusiastic ideas the almighty buck always seems to win, and the last thing we need is a biological Chernobyl because the viability of doing it right made no business sense and they scrimped on the implementation.

All that considered, I do hope the promise of it delivers without the risk.

03-25-2008, 03:11 PM

Bell Bio-Energy is not changing one element into another, as some alchemists convinced some could be done. Instead, it is simply greatly speeding up the process of converting bio-mass into crude oil. Doing so in a very short time instead of the very long time it takes natural earth processes to do it. As such, I think it has great potential with great benefits.

03-28-2008, 09:45 PM
Was watching CNBC last week and the oil guro Sam Pickins stated that if we were really serious about an alternative to oil, that natural gas was the's clean, plentiful, very cheap compared to oil and we have a lot of it....he was relating the use for automobiles.....he never got into what I was thinking...the kaboom factor if rear ended....but something to think about.
Our government appears to lack any forward thinking. Just watching what the prince of Dubai is doing is something we could emulate re forward thinking. He realizes that in 20 or so years, his country will exhaust their oil supply...thus he is remaking his country (using current oil profits) into a world class resort destination...which will provide for future generations. Now that's vision!
My sense is that in the year 2020, those pursuing the presidency will still be talking about the fact that we have to become less oil dependent :frown:
Talent is here...going to waste. A recent local article in the newspaper outlined the work of an eccentric inventor with no formal training....he took a hybrid car (Prious I believe) and created a 5th small wheel that dropped down from the trunk and generated electricity to charge the batteries, thus requiring little to no gas power.
Well.....enough of good ideas...who wants to ruin the view off the Cape with windmills anyway?

03-29-2008, 07:19 AM
The prius + generator wheel is brilliant.

Windmills are also brilliant... on dry land. It's idiotic to put them on a saltwater shoal.

Put the damn things on Otis. It's the biggest piece of property on the Cape, so big we spend a half hour driving around it, closed to all and no one ever sees whats on the other side of the fence anyway.

Just think of the complications of deployment on an underwater sand shoal, on-water maintenance through the years, the impact on sea and bird fauna, stability of footings of lack thereof (DUH), cabling, navigational hazard, not to mention sheer stupidity of the idea when there is a useless land mass nearby with contaminants already placed there by an earlier "genius plan".

We are constantly talking about how unstable the shoals are on Cape Cod 2 + 2 = ?

Oh yeah something about a view, which is the most trivial of all the problems it will cause vs. a land-based plan. Yeah I don't like seeing them on the sound either but for a different reason. I would gaze upon them as representation of the sheer stupidity of man, and have heartburn.

And the oil situation won't change until the ol' boy network is out of guv'ment. I remember when the "genius" plan to rejuvenate the US auto industry was to build sheet metal engines with a 10,000 mile lifespan thus energizing the manufacturing and service business chain. Oh yeah we're going to buy that in a free country. What comes after "K" car - "L" car?

Sure that's exactly what we needed both from a consumer and industry POV! That probably would have killed the industry if done at such a critical point in the industry's history. Instead the industry opted for a renewed commitment to quality improvements by AIAG and the industry following suite on practices and philosophies shared willingly (Toyota) / and by alliances (e.g. Daimler Benz) by foreign manufacturers with US manufacturers. Had it not it goes without saying that the US auto would be in a far more grave state than it is now.

No, we don't need a 10,000 mile sheet metal engine and we don't need windmills on the sound. But we do need clean energy, just without the dufus factor.

Another favorite "genius" plan was Reagan's star wars plan. Hydrogen bombs to generate a single laser pulse from space to shoot down intercontinental ballistic missles. Oh okay....

The satellite holding the bomb and raygun vaporizes in order to generate the pulse thus it's a one hit wonder. This created a great economy of scale for the enemy, who estimated that they could build 80 or more drone missles for the cost of each live ICBM. 81 to 1 ratio in their cost to have us stop one live missle. I wonder how much the ray gun cost! Luckily the enemy went broke thinking about it. I am not complaining about that part but hardly give credit to our brilliance as the cause.

It's often overlooked that we went from the worlds highest creditor nation to the world's worst debtor nation during his presidential reign.

The 'trickle down' factor for the windmills in the sound is going to a very small number of pockets and believe me it ain't yours and mine brother.

Let's do something smart for a change - put the damn things on Otis.


... and thats what happens when you brew starbucks at home :)

03-29-2008, 07:37 AM
OK Juro....but how do you really feel?:)
I willingly edit my post and also agree to put the windmills on Otis (as long as the contaminents in the soil there, don't eat the structures within one year).
Glad you saw the brilliance of the 5th wheel.....when I read it, it was such a simple idea....made me wonder why no one else had thought of it.

03-29-2008, 07:43 AM

You know nothing is directed at you... of course. Unless you start chumming on Monomoy I will always respect you as an angler and friend. Your acumen on the flats has been impressive to watch as you have climbed the steep curve as one of the...

Hey is that a string on your wading belt? Whats that a can of cat food? :lildevl:

Seriously... all kidding aside opinions are like... and I sure got an opinion :)

Besides it's an election year.

03-29-2008, 08:15 AM
Putting windmills on Otis will never happen in my opinion for a number of reasons. The reinvestment potential at Otis is too great. Develope, create the infratusture, build whatever is needed to generate land use, be it private development or whatever, create the tax dollars, yadda, yadda. Placing windmills on land such as that which would then eliminate the use land for other to live on...would appear to be poor land use planning in a crowded east coast corridor. They are still using Otis, I think, for the Katrina victims. It seems the balancing between unusable water space and usable limited land space is the consideration (I don't want to get into the fishable issue and water rights , etc. )...just simply comparing land use to water use. I don't know all the issues..I read about them...but if you need to put them on land then put them on land that is unlikely to be developed.... like some desert(which we don't have here) has been done out west. We do have overdevelopment on the I would think that placing them on Otis is a good idea as my own personal view.... but it just won't happen.. In my view it would stop the other forms of development, etc. The view issue of seeing them out on the water is strange to me.... The "ruin your view" crowd from wealthy beach front property owners....mostly middle age (like me) former hippies in another life... has no meaning for me.... simply stated, the energy issue is far greater than figuring out if some views are ruined. My summer house is 4/10ths of a mile from the ocean. Stand on my roof and I see water, build a second story and have ocean view from windows. I really don't care if I see windmills off in the distance so long as we can have affordable energy by use of non fossel fuels.....One would think that the "big" issues effecting all people has more meaning than my little hobby...or the real impact on water issues and the effect on (sport) fishing ...(BTW...don't bass like structure)... I don't know enough of the commercial fishing interests to comment on the pros and cons of that. ....and the environment issues? It would be nice to see the disapearance of major oil spills around the world someday wouldn't it? PS. On another issue... when are we going to require greater skills in drivers of tanker trucks on our strickly enforced speed limits , etc..... and tough driving standards with criminal penalties to owners..... how many more rediculous negligent accidents are we going to it's once a week everywhere... those we hear about.

03-29-2008, 09:13 AM
Juro....Nothing personal taken...not even a little bit. I too am passionate about certain subjects.
Hopefully the passions will be placed on temporary hold when the stripers arrive and we can all go back to an endeavor that is simply pure, stimulating and exciting.
I am going to delay the chumming idea for a year, until I test out my new "bunny" sand eels and clear plastic lipped shrimp flies (tested those out in Florida...tremendous action/ movement/results!!) Hopefully the use of plastic lips will not be considered sacriligious :) If so, I will go to the stealth version when folks are near :)

03-29-2008, 10:42 AM
A lot said John, but to focus on Otis I am unsure about the re-use of that land for development.

As you must know it's highly contaminated land and most likely unfit for such purposes or it would have long been developed since the end of the cold war, although I am going on hearsay and speculation. However what available parcel of land on the cape has not been? Thank God for federal preserves... the last vestiges.

You probably saw on the news that Katrina victims wanted to go back to their ruins rather than stay on the base and I doubt it's being used as such now. Probably a good thing as some of the named contaminants are known carcinogens.

There may be arguments to invalidate the use of the base for windmills, but allocation for development seems unlikely. Even now, decades after the cold war has ended... there is nothing being done with it.

It would be easy to tear down windmills on land and if the promise of development dollars drove it there would be no hesitation. Now imagine tearing them down at sea? There is divided motivation in building them out there, however foolish it may be... but there will ultimately be no motivation in tearing them down once the next energy craze comes along and we smarten up.

Most likely the cost of it would leave them out there to rust. The dollar would rush the fools in, and the dollar would rush them out.

If we adopted solar in our homes across the nation that would have an astronomical effect. Profound. The excess would return to the grid and the savings in heating and hot water would also compound.

This windmill proposal is quixotic at best IMHO.

03-29-2008, 11:16 AM
Yes.. I agree and good points.... one way or another we need to develope some new ways... The huge infratructure relating to fossil fuels seems astronomical right now... I like the idea that that guy in the middle east is thinking turn the place into a resort someday... It was not that long ago when Nantucket (as well as New Bedford) were Whale oil captals in the world.... Nantucket went that way...New Bedford did not. I suppose it had something to do with New Bedford being situated on the mainland...and more other economic opportunities than Nantucket. Otis may be poluted now...but what will it be like 100 years from now.... still sitting there....Maybe time for it to be considered as a solar power, wind power location for the future...doing it now as a long term plan maybe the key to stop future development when the pollutants are dealt with.... and I have no doubts that future generations will figure out a way to sanitize the area. Things will work very slow.... and not happen in our time or our childrens time...maybe a solid start with the 3rd generation.... there will have to be more oil problems.... several over several periods of time... getting worse as time goes by.... and while this is happening the seach for alternatives will parrell those problems. It is starting now...but only a start..whcih is good. I am reading a book now about the "Mayflower".....long periods of time must pass. All we can do is support 'starts'. Otis should be used for that and if not then I would like it to be made into a park Nickerson...after the pollutants are delt with.... It could become a bueatiful inland National or State park... camping...and other activities for many and not just a few.

03-29-2008, 05:53 PM
I get concerned when I read about the limitless potential of alternative carbon based fuels. The are certain immutable laws of physics (first and second laws of thermodynamics) that pretty much rule out any notion of "limitless" energy.

This precludes the creation of an engine that converts its own kinetic energy back into electrical potential that can power the vehicle. Another term for this is perpetual motion. When one form of energy is converted into another, a certain amount is lost to nature in various forms; heat, sound, light etc. Energy conversions systems efficiency have surely improved in recent years but nowhere near 100%.

I am also concerned about the current ethanol "hoopla". The process of creating ethanol requires energy. Corn doesn't grow in barren soil. Where do you think the nutrients will come from? Reconstituted human and /or animal/ vegetable waste? O.K., so how will you provide the energy to convert the waste into a nutrient that seed corn can convert into into a crop. The you need energy to harvest, process and create the ethanol. There is a huge amount of wasted energy in all of these processes. Or, you could wait a million or so years for the sun and nature to do the job for you.

The only serious alternatives are solar, wind, tidal, geothermal, nuclear and a few that we haven't quite figured out yet.

If you're still keen on corn, remember what happened with the dust bowl.

Systems that take waste products and convert them into usable forms of energy are great. I really like the idea of the $1000 conversion a college kid did recently that allows his car to run on used frying oil and reduced his need for gas to almost zero.

But at the end of the day, these innovations are just postponing the time when carbon based energy will no longer be an option.