Buy

Books
Click images for more details

Support

 

Twitter
Recent comments
Recent posts
Currently discussing
Links

A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

Powered by Squarespace
« Different worldviews | Main | Quote of the day, corruption edition »
Thursday
Feb262015

Here we go again

The government, in its infinite foolishness, has spent a million quid or thereabouts to get researchers to develop a process for converting draff and pot ale, by-products of the distillery business, into butanol for use as a biofuel. The people involved are now seeking another considerably larger wad of cash from the taxpayer to scale the process up.

According to Wikipedia, "[i]n addition to the biofuel, the production process will also produce acetone, ethanol, animal feed, and other sustainable chemicals".

Uh huh. And what are draff and pot ale used for now? For animal feed.

My suspicion is that by subsidising this process (as will inevitably have to happen if it is to have a future), the government will produce expensive biofuel and animal feed of a low nutritional value, which will no doubt be shunned by farmers.

Perhaps the government could subsidise it to ensure it gets used up?

 

 

 

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

Reader Comments (16)

Feb 26, 2015 at 12:43 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

It is a great example of Ed Davey/Miliband and DECConomic policies

A waste product, requires tax payer funded grants to turn it into a useful product, that will require more tax payer funded subsidies, to make a handsome profit.

Most of the Scottish Highlands are built out of mounds of distillery waste products, that have grown unabated, because no income could be derived until Ed Miliband created the DECC.

Feb 26, 2015 at 12:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Perfectly good animal feed going to make fuel?

Are they mad? Hard to believe. Well it was hard to believe but less hard to believe now that they import wood chips from the US to burn to make electricity.

No wonder the propaganda machines are working full time. If the public knew what these fruitcake are up to they would have to get jobs.

Feb 26, 2015 at 1:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrederick Colbourne

"And what are draff and pot ale used for now? For animal feed."


And those well-fed ruminants fart methane into the atmosphere, exacerbating global warming.

Feb 26, 2015 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

When you say 'spent', you really mean 'wasted'. But never mind it's either taxpayers' money or it's borrowed money which the current Government won't have to repay.

Feb 26, 2015 at 1:48 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

I'm reminded of President Reagan's warning to the American people:

'Beware anyone who says: "I'm from the government and I'm here to help..." '

Feb 26, 2015 at 1:51 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

It is almost as if the more companies heap praise on DECC policies, the more tax payer funds, they get given, by DECC.

A lose/lose situation for tax payers.

Feb 26, 2015 at 3:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Trying to look at it positively, these byproducts are used as animal feed because we don't have better use for them, not because they're essential for domestic animals. Converting them to biofuel might be perceived as the better alternative to feeding them to animals - especially if suppressing fossil fuels is the priority.
I can't imagine this having any great impact either way. I don't think whisky production is high enough to warrant any fears of possible large scale animal food shortage due to change of its byproduct use. But it's also a question if even the refinery itself could be possibly self-sufficient with biofuel produced this way.

Feb 26, 2015 at 3:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterKasuha

kasuha, do remember that with a cheap source of animal food removed from the supply, more food will have to be grown, which is getting more expensive, because of the amount of arable land given over to growing biofuel, purely so we can leave naturally occurring fuel alone.

WIN WIN WIN for subsidy farmers, as parts of the world starve, but we have Biofuel!

If only we could convert people to eat biofuel, we might prevent malnutrition, and death.

Feb 26, 2015 at 4:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Would it not be cheaper just to subsidize the manufacture of cheap ethanol and then use that as a fuel?
Maybe use sugar beet for the sugar?

Feb 26, 2015 at 9:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterNameless

"Trying to look at it positively, these byproducts are used as animal feed because we don't have better use for them, not because they're essential for domestic animals. Converting them to biofuel might be perceived as the better alternative to feeding them to animals - especially if suppressing fossil fuels is the priority.
I can't imagine this having any great impact either way. I don't think whisky production is high enough to warrant any fears of possible large scale animal food shortage due to change of its byproduct use. But it's also a question if even the refinery itself could be possibly self-sufficient with biofuel produced this way.
Feb 26, 2015 at 3:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterKasuha"

That's a quite negative way of looking at what is currently a good process.

If it wasn't good enough for animal feed it would be returned to the land as compost. Fortunately, the by products of many processes, including alcohol containing products, are quite nutritious for various critters. The byproduct animal feed is directed to the animals that will utilize it best.

So the English government is going to spend a million pounds to force what is an inefficient process to provide products that the government is trying to ban otherwise. All those volatiles affecting our atmosphere as pollution, horrors!

As a comedian known as Ron White says; "you can't fix stupid!".
.

Feb 27, 2015 at 12:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterATheoK

"Acetone–butanol–ethanol (ABE) fermentation is a process that uses bacterial fermentation to produce acetone, n-Butanol, and ethanol from carbohydrates such as starch and glucose. It was developed by the chemist Chaim Weizmann and was the primary process used to make acetone during World War I"
It was mostly not profitable after World War II, compared to the production of these solvents from petroleum"

File under; Re-inventing the wheel or possibly extracting money for fun and profit.

Feb 27, 2015 at 12:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterGraeme No.3

Golf Charlie, ATheoK: Do you really think that "best use we found so far" is the same as "best use possible"?
We humans are used to stuffing our animals with whatever digestible leftovers we find but I'm not that certain it is really the right thing to do. If producing biofuels from draff and pot ale offsets even a little producing biofuels from rapeseed and allows growing genuine animal feed on the freed area, I'm totally for that solution.

Feb 27, 2015 at 9:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterKasuha

"Golf Charlie, ATheoK: Do you really think that "best use we found so far" is the same as "best use possible"?
We humans are used to stuffing our animals with whatever digestible leftovers we find but I'm not that certain it is really the right thing to do. If producing biofuels from draff and pot ale offsets even a little producing biofuels from rapeseed and allows growing genuine animal feed on the freed area, I'm totally for that solution.
Feb 27, 2015 at 9:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterKasuha"

It is easily the most efficient and effective process current.

Before legislating a 'new' process, prove the concept is more efficient.

"...producing biofuels from rapeseed..."; a legislated requirement, not a proven efficiency. Meaning the process will require subsidies forever. Even with the rapeseed oil utilized for cooking and then sent for biofuels, the efficacy for biofuels is forced, not honest.

And perhaps you need to look into the tendency of biofuel engines to emit less than healthy products.

"...We humans are used to stuffing our animals with whatever digestible leftovers we find..." Classic generalization by an armchair intelligentsia. Easily helped by several years working on a farm.

Farming is very intensive and farmers tend to not waste anything. Many 'alcohol' facilities have originations or close relations to farming. Hence the tendency to find the best solution for material.

Farmers are not anti-critter! If/when a foodstuff is not in the animal's interest, they stop feeding the foodstuff to the critter.

Take a step further. Located in a 'nutritional health food store' near you are various products; including products that provide nutritional benefits from brewers yeast, malt or other fermentation products.

Healthy for people is bad for animals? Better that it becomes a subsidized biofuel or other volatile substance?

Classic problem. Prove the concept first! Don't just throw money at it!

Feb 27, 2015 at 10:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterATheoK

If this process was commercially viable they would not need government (i.e. taxpayers') cash to fund its development.

Feb 27, 2015 at 1:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

Yet another story celebrating people who run cars on unusual stuff as if it were THE SOLUTION to our energy needs. Does nobody in the press every think to do a quick calculation to check whether these things can be scaled up?

OK - running your car on recycled fish and chip oil is a clever trick, if you know someone who runs a fish and chip shop that is. But why in the articles celebrating the eccentric people who do this kind of thing does nobody ever bother to do a quick calculation as to the amount of fish and chips would we all need to eat to get anough oil to substitute for even 1% of our energy needs. Similarly how much beer would we have to drink for there to be enough byproducts of the brewing industry to make any difference whatsoever. These things simply don't scale. They are the "let them eat cake" solutions to our energy needs.

What next I wonder. Will it be some earnest person who has discovered that their car will run on peach brandy with their hand out for a public grant to "explore the technology". I was trying to be sarcastic but sadly the possibility seems all too real.

Mar 1, 2015 at 12:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterIan H

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>