Nature - Biofuel - Just sun, air & water!

Understanding Biofuel

How smart or dumb are we?

When I was a very young child (UK early 1950’s), there was the odd business that still considered a horse and cart, as being a viable means of transport. There were still a few steam powered threshing machines resisting the momentum of the combine-harvester. There were buildings in the industrial cities still black from the consequences of the industrial revolution. London was referred to as the ‘Big Smoke’. As I grew, so did the technology that changed those things forever.

The evolution and capability of the human animal is staggering in its trajectory. Science and technology has taken us to the Moon, and now other planets are realistically within reach. Incredible discoveries enabled by scientific development, then utilised by industry, have created much of the lifestyle you enjoy today. You could say science and technology became the goose that lays golden eggs. ‘Profit’ is after all, a reasonable expectation. The by-product of these incredible advancements is that while you are taking the golden eggs, you feed the ‘super goose’ fossil fuels and let it breath and fart toxic gases into the atmosphere with a naïve belief that our atmosphere has an infinite capacity to absorb them without harm.

Scientific evidence told you, lead in petrol was having a radically negative effect on your health and mentality. The vested interests presented their ‘evidence’ to governments – accompanied by generous political donations – giving assurance that everything was fine, nothing to worry about!  

We believed them!

It was only when the evidence became overwhelming and science proved it was obviously affecting our health - especially for young children living near busy highways and junctions - that lead poison effects could no longer be denied. Science delivered the evidence, venal politicians reluctantly conceded – lead in petrol was eventually deemed unacceptable. I’ll assume, like me, you believe this to be an absolute truth. If you still need convincing a short version of the truth can be found at: . If you can cope with knowing that killing millions of people for profit in western democracies is OK if political donations are part of the deal, read: then scream and weep, because you, me and our entire generation have been seriously affected - believe it or not!!

Science then told you that the toxic gases and particulate matter emitted by transport and industry was having devastating effects on plants, animals, human species, and the very nature of the atmosphere itself. The vested interests supporting our ‘democracies' said, ‘hey no need to panic, it’s a big planet, our backyard looks fine - besides, there is a big pharma goose that can create a golden egg to counter your ills. The birds, the bees and the future, they'll look after themselves, think of the money to be made now!

Denial is so easy for those sitting pretty! And profit becomes deeply immoral when it is known to be at the expense of ‘life’.

Science now tells you we have gone too far, on its present diet, the goose that lays the golden eggs is killing you. The evidence is now graphic. Your belief-bubble will offer no protection to your descendants, life on earth is seriously threatened! Amazingly, there are still those who don’t believe it!

I guess you can believe what you like. I could say; I really don’t care, I don’t have children and I’ll see maybe another 20 years if I’m very lucky, so why should I care? Well, I do care, I care most for the innocent bystanders, the ‘collateral damage’ - that is: the magical planet that created life – the real goose, the plants and animals, which evolved ‘as nature intended’ - until the human animal evolved and the ‘material goose’ – industry and the wheels, propellers and wings of commerce – took over and dominated.

Help! We need a solution!

One thing is for sure, we can’t turn the clock back. Our expectations are high and we can’t simply go back to manpower and horses. We can’t change overnight – but we do have the science to enable us to change rationally, if we do actually care about the future.

The long term solution is: we need to change the goose’s diet! It must be weaned off fossil fuels and onto a healthy natural diet!

Let’s look specifically at the power sources in our industry – which of course spins off the auto industry. I have always claimed that change means opportunity – and there are a lot of ideas, innovations and $$$’s flying down creative alleys, many of which will go nowhere. In considering the leading contenders, take your pick:

·         Electric hybrid – the combination of internal combustion burning fossil fuel, regenerated electricity and batteries.

·         Fully battery electric – battery, electric motor and plug into terrestrially generated electric power, presently generated mainly by fossil fuel, to re-charge.

·         Hydrogen/electric fuel cells – complex and expensive technology, evolving, but some way to go – and the issue of refueling infrastructure will remain, particularly for the marine application.

·         Internal combustion engines burning biofuels.

Which of the above is the logical choice of power for boats?

I would argue that the notion of internal combustion powered cars being phased out within twenty years is wildly inaccurate. Oil will ultimately go the way coal is going right now, but biofuels and ongoing development, will enable the IC engines to operate virtually emission free. Internal combustion will remain the obvious choice for road, air and sea transport, for many more years. 

Rest assured, boats will be powered by internal combustion engines for many years yet!

Many significant entities including major airlines, shipping lines, naval fleets and road transport fleets, not to mention motorsport, are acknowledging corporate responsibility and transitioning to biofuels. 

Even the oil industry is acknowledging the reality - in fact the oil industry understands their future is in renewable and bio-fuels. Those engaging right now will be the leaders in the near future. Change means opportunity. Let's do it!

This GM base marine engine is used by several marine engine brands. The GM specification states 'Fuel: unleaded or E85'. This fact is not stated by the marine brands!

Modern stepped hulls are more efficient. Manifesting as higher speed with the same power - or maintaining same speed with less power.

Many marine diesels are now 100% 'renewable' or 'bio' fuel compatible!

Direct injection two strokes, a massive step forward!

The Australian 'Supercar' champonship runs on E85 biofuel.

These are the guys we must protect - they can't vote, can they trust you? (Beach Stone Curlews.)

Before and After

Several factors affect coral health - but bleaching on The Great Barrier Reef has accelerated dramatically and directly in step with rising water temperature.

Fuel: Just Sun, Air and Water!

This is not boring – trust me! But I want to give you a very brief and simple science/biology refresher, because it will really help in understanding the truth here.
Plants use water (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2) and photons (light energy) to grow - trapping the carbon from the CO2. But you knew that!
Oil fossil fuels, are concentrations of plant, algae and small animal carbon laid down (trapped) hundreds of millions of years ago. The by-product of burning them to extract the energy now, is that the CO2 (among other toxins) is released, which ‘unbalances’ the present atmosphere.
Now, rather than releasing carbon trapped millions of years ago, into the present atmosphere, biofuels present the option of using ‘plant’ carbon tomorrow, that was trapped ‘today’ (OK, a few months ago) therefore, keeping the CO2 balance. By default, biofuels also release less CO2 and far less toxins (nitrous oxides, particulates, etc.).
When engines are optimised to run on biofuels, they also perform much better, remain cleaner with much reduced carbon build-up internally, and last longer. And of course, biofuels won’t try to kill you, run out, pollute oceans, cause wars, etc.!
This is pretty basic scientific fact – it is the consequences of excess CO2 that are debated, and which you may, or may not, believe.

Energy production is a natural plant process, sugars are the carbon store we can ‘borrow’ from plants today to eat and use for fuel. Breathing and exhausting it back into the atmosphere tomorrow keeps the balance.

The carbon stored in the earth’s crust, is carbon-dioxide absorbed by vegetation, algae and small animals, hundreds of millions of years ago and laid down to become coal and oil. In fact, that process eventually created the carbon/oxygen balance in our atmosphere that supports life today.

A century or two of releasing this ancient carbon is ruining the balance and the consequences are now becoming inescapable.  

Too much Co2. So What?

Radiation from the sun reaches the earth in very short wavelengths which easily penetrate the atmosphere (solar radiation) and present the earth with the baseline temperature – not too little, not too much. Earth radiates energy back into the atmosphere (terrestrial radiation). The problem is, earth being so much cooler than the sun, it radiates long waves. Long waves don’t easily penetrate the atmosphere, in fact some are reflected back and scattered by water vapour (clouds) but far more is reflected by the atmospheric CO2 layer. This balanced exchange of radiation is key to the heat/cool balance which keeps the earth’s temperature within the range habitable for life on earth. It is also key to the way the balance of our weather patterns have evolved - the extreme heat in the equatorial region and the extreme cold in the polar regions. 

So imagine what happens when the CO2 layer is increased! The balance is upset, particularly the heat/cool balance. The consequence, just as we have been warned, is extreme temperature variations, extreme weather events - and a slow but sure overall (global) warming.

Incidentally, if you need proof of the long wave/short wave science, walk into a greenhouse. Glass allows short wave energy to pass freely but restricts long wave energy. Again it’s scientific fact – which you may or may not believe.

A bigger problem facing humanity right now, is the odd phenomena of the ‘what I want to believe, bubble’ (aka, Fox News myopia), which, for example, allows fossil fuel propaganda to pass through to the brain easily – while scientific facts are blocked!

Hang in there big boy, we need you!

Green turtle gender is dependent on the temperature of the sand in which the eggs hatch. They cannot adapt (evolve) at the same rate as the present rate of global warming, the consequence being that the male/female ratio has steadily altered to the point where male hatchings are now almost zero!

This is just one graphic example of how rapid climate change affects the natural world.