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Author Topic: Ethanol  (Read 9407 times)

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Duckweed, the Miracle Biofuel Plant Part 2
« on: October 30, 2013, 09:30:13 pm »
Duckweed is, for all practical purposes, a floating solar cell. It makes maximum use of the sun to convert photons to plant tissue with a lot of starch instead of vascular structures to hold the plant up and keep it from blowing away in the wind.

That's why it grows so fast. Think of it as a super efficient converter of light energy to starch (stored energy). It's a tiny solar cell and a storage battery all rolled into one.

And there is one more thing you should know. Duckweed NEVER stops growing. That's right, for every bushel of corn that you harvest in one year, you can harvest 10 to twenty times more duckweed that is 50% easier to turn into ethanol. The math is mind boggling.

Yes, in places where the winter is cold, the duckweed will stop growing if it is not housed so some geothermal heating might be needed for a year round operation north of the southern states.

But so what? It would still be a bargain compared to corn. Because duckweed grows so fast, you would need about a tenth of the land area that corn now uses to get equivalent or larger ethanol feedstock.

Would we be putting ponds in our corn fields? NOPE! Duckweed ponds should be placed over non-arable land. There is more non-arable land than there is arable land and it's, pardon the pun, dirt cheap.

What happens to all those corn fields?

I don't know but we don't need to be plowing up that ground with fossil fuel intensive machinery or fertilizing it with chemical fertilizers killing the soil either.  I would want them turned into organic farms to introduce more crop diversity instead of this insane monocropping.

The U.S. Government pays farmers NOT to plant right now. Why not pay them to plant, over the corn field area, diverse flora (not necessarily food crops) to help improve our biosphere?

I don't know what the corn farmers would do but what they are doing now is just plain destructive. But that issue must be addressed once it is clear we do not need to plant all that corn for biofuel. We will cross that bridge when we come to it.

I am not concerned, however, because our farmers need only a small nudge from we-the-people to stop unsustainable farming practices. When they do that, they will be better off, despite their fear of going broke because they might not be able to market some other crop (hemp, anyone?) or make ends met with "fallow" land (which isn't fallow at all but improving biosphere).

By the way, I think that word "fallow" needs to be modified, don't you?

The Little Green Plant That Could: Duckweed as a Renewable and Sustainable Biofuel Feedstock

Duckweed Ethanol

Christodoulos A. Floudas, Xin Xiao and colleagues explain that duckweed, an aquatic plant that floats on or near the surface of still or slow-moving freshwater, is ideal as a raw material for biofuel production. It grows fast, thrives in wastewater that has no other use, does not impact the food supply and can be harvested more easily than algae and other aquatic plants. However, few studies have been done on the use of duckweed as a raw material for biofuel production.

They describe four scenarios for duckweed refineries that use proven existing technology to produce gasoline, diesel and kerosene. Those technologies include conversion of biomass to a gas; conversion of the gas to methanol, or wood alcohol; and conversion of methanol to gasoline and other fuels. The results show that small-scale duckweed refineries could produce cost-competitive fuel when the price of oil reaches $100 per barrel. Oil would have to cost only about $72 per barrel for larger duckweed refiners to be cost-competitive.

The article is titled "Thermochemical Conversion of Duckweed Biomass to Gasoline, Diesel, and Jet Fuel: Process Synthesis and Global Optimization."

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-03-duckweed-cost-competitive-raw-material-biofuel.html#jCp

Would you like to get in on the duckweed action? Would you like to grow your own renewable energy?

Well, it's easy to grow duckweed. But if you want to grow it all year, you need to house it. Why? Because duckweed sinks to the bottom of a pond or still water lake when the temperature approaches freezing. this prevents it from being trapped in the ice but, since it can no longer receive adequate sunlight, it goes into a dormant stage until the water temperature rises sufficiently in the spring and the duckweed rises to the surface again to resume rapid growth.

Pacific Domes has a dome designed for that purpose.

Greenhouse Domes
Standard galvanized steel tube frame with anchors
Greenhouse Dome Cover- 13 oz FR vinyl, 82% light transmission, UV resistant
Base screens for maximum ventilation
Pre hung door or optional hoop door opening
Removable roof
Shade screen interchangeable with removable roof - optional
Solar Exhaust Fan included
Stove vent flashing and pipe-cap - optional
Dome Care Manual including floor plans and assembly instructions

Full information on all kinds of domes including a dome size simulator here:


You will be happy to know that growing duckweed has many other benefits as quoted below from an Installer of BioEnergy Domes.

But energy production is only part of the overall equation.

Sean Roberts, who farms five leased acres off East Butler Creek Road outside of Ashland, is in the process of installing one of the BioEnergy Domes at his Fiddle Faddle Farm. But he's going to do more than generate electricity.

In addition to growing duckweed for electricity, he's planning to grow fish and other vegetables in the dome. Just as duckweed is stimulated by the water vapor and carbon dioxide, so are other plants.

"It's an extremely sustainable process," said Roberts, who hopes to have his system up and running in a few weeks. "You lose less than 2 percent of water you would use if you were soil farming; the only water it loses is through evaporation."

Full article here:


The internet has a wealth of information how to obtain and grow any of the 38 varieties of duckweed cheaply. Advances in genome sequencing of duckweed strains are aiding scientists in zeroing in on the fastest growing varieties or those that provide the most nutrition, depending on the requirements in a given duckweed growing operation.
To keep up with the latest, just Google "Science news articles about 'duckweed' " or "How to Plant Duckweed".

You have, like most responsible people, asked yourself what you can do to make this biosphere more livable in the face of all the pollution and Homo SAP greed that is despoiling it.

There are many things you can do like writing about renewable energy. But, in addition, if you have access to land which is not considered prime farm land and would like to grow a great renewable energy crop so you can save, or even make, some money while saving the planet, I recommend you give growing duckweed by setting up your own shallow ponds some serious thought.

"...the easy way to plant duckweed is by removal of plants from a pond where they grow. Fronds or leaves, 1/16 to 1/8 inch long, grow hairlike roots from the underneath side of the leaf. These roots obtain nutrition for the plant from the water in which it grows. Duckweed is often found growing in companion with water lilies, pond lilies and other still water aquatic plants."


Stay tuned for Part 3 where I will go into detail about how to make ethanol from plant sugar(s) in general and duckweed in particular. You will even learn how to make moonshine/hooch/white lightnin' or whatever you want to call the drinkable ethanol.

No, I don't recommend you make your own hooch because drinking ethanol is a sure way for you to get diabetes or cirrhosis unless you exercise moderation. The drinkable ethanol is tricky to make and, if you aren't careful, can poison you to death.

That is not a concern for fuel you will burn in your car. However, to get to the fuel grade ethanol you go through some ethanol with a high water content (what booze has in comparison with E100 ethanol engine fuel as used in Brazil). Booze, even the undrinkable kind with wood alcohol and acetone poisons in it, needs further refining to get to 200 proof (100% alcohol fuel).

Continued in:Duckweed, the Miracle Biofuel Plant Part 3
« Last Edit: October 30, 2013, 10:23:46 pm by AGelbert »
Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. Ps. 97:11


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