Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Green Gasoline?

This is the first I've heard of this, and it's darned interesting.
"Green gasoline" is coming to Cenla. Local and state economic development officials announced Tuesday that biofuels company Sundrop Fuels, Inc. will build its first production facility near Alexandria.
Whatever "green gasoline" might be, the production plant will be built near Alexandria, LA, my hometown. It looks like they're going to use forestry products to make gasoline.
The plant will use woody biomass and natural gas to produce liquid fuel -- billed as the world's first "green gasoline" -- ready to drop into a gas tank. Vehicles don't need to be modified to use it, and it doesn't need to be blended with petroleum-based gasoline the way some biofuels do.
Really? When I saw this, the first thing I thought was that this was some "green" initiative that would lose government dollars. Not so, says our governor.
"They don't need government loans, they're privately funded, they're ready to go," Gov. Bobby Jindal said. "Not only are these great-paying jobs, this is a great market for our timber industry, and it reduces our dependence on other countries for our energy needs."
The hell you say, governor. No government money, completely privately funded? There must be a profit motive. A profit motive is great for business. I hope they've done their homework and make a gazillion dollars. But, the question remains, what will this cost at the pump?
The result is a process that converts nearly 100 percent of the biomass used into fuel (other processes discard up to 50 percent), is much more environmentally friendly than petroleum-based fuels and produces a product that is as affordable or more affordable than petroleum-based fuel, officials say.
More affordable than gasoline? That sounds great, but so far what I'm seeing in the article is pie-in-the-sky. We'll see, but it's not going to use government dollars, it's privately funded, and if they lose money that's one of the freedoms of our system.

I hope the best for them, I really do. The new plant should be a big boost to our local economy.


mostly cajun said...

yeah, that's what former Agriculture Secretary Bob Odum said about the syrup mill in Lacassine. The same syrup mill whose owners just filed to 'restructure' their loan payments because it was a boondoggle from Day One.


Pawpaw said...

Yeah, MC, but the difference here is that Odom's (hack, spit) sugar mill was financed with tax money. If these guys go tits-up, we haven't lost any gumming money.

Rivrdog said...

They're lying if they call that product ANY form of Gasoline. It's not, that definition is reserved for a petroleum distillate fraction, period.

What they're making is some form of methanol, or wood alcohol. Must be an interesting formulation, though, if they claim you can put it in ANY gas engine. I doubt that you could run it in your heritage 65 Chevy, the carb isn't set up to work with that fuel fraction density.

It MAY run in most fuel-injected gas engines, and likely would run in my M35A2 all-fuel engine, but I'd have to add oil to it to lube the injector pump.

The problem with wood alcohol is that there just isn't enough woody biomass around to make much of it. That plant will probably take all the available biomass for 500 miles around Alexandria, and produce enough fuel for Central LA only.

There WAS a plan to have all the farmers leaving fields fallow to plant them in Switchgrass, which can be used as a woody biomass, but I don't know how that's caught on or not.

Old NFO said...

Hopefully the jobs come and STAY!

Peripatetic Engineer said...

I just worked on a simlar project. It took 3 times the amount of diesel fuel the plant wold produce to feed the diesel generator sets.

The plant makes syngas which is then converted to hydrocarbons in a Fischer-Tropsch process. A similar plant is Soperton, GA was shut down last year. Google ange Fuels to read about it.

PE predicts this plant wil not make it.

Peripatetic Engineer said...

That's Range Fuels

Peripatetic Engineer said...

I just did a search and found out that Range Fuel's web site is down. I also pulled up a news feed that indicated they were close to declaring bankruptcy. They took taxpayers money, ran for about one week and shut down. These syngas plants are high capital cost, igh maintenance facilities and I don't know how they can be considered economic against natural gas or oil.