Facebook Twitter By Gary Truitt – Jun 5, 2012 Facebook Twitter SHARE A new Purdue University-developed process for creating biofuels has shown potential to be cost-effective for production scale, opening the door for moving beyond the laboratory setting. A Purdue economic analysis shows that the cost of the thermo-chemical H2Bioil method is competitive when crude oil is about $100 per barrel when using certain energy methods to create hydrogen needed for the process. If a federal carbon tax were implemented, the biofuel would become even more economical. H2Bioil is created when biomass, such as switchgrass or corn stover, is heated rapidly to about 500 degrees Celcius in the presence of pressurized hydrogen. Resulting gases are passed over catalysts, causing reactions that separate oxygen from carbon molecules, making the carbon molecules high in energy content, similar to gasoline molecules. The economic analysis, published in the June issue of Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery, shows that the energy source used to create hydrogen for the process makes all the difference when determining whether the biofuel is cost-effective. Hydrogen processed using natural gas or coal makes the H2Bioil cost-effective when crude oil is just over $100 per barrel. But hydrogen derived from other, more expensive, energy sources – nuclear, wind or solar – drive up the break-even point.”We’re in the ballpark,” said Wally Tyner, Purdue’s James and Lois Ackerman Professor of Agricultural Economics. “In the past, I have said that for biofuels to be competitive, crude prices would need to be at about $120 per barrel. This process looks like it could be competitive when crude is even a little cheaper than that.” Energy-Dense Biofuel From Cellulose Close To Being Economical Home Energy Energy-Dense Biofuel From Cellulose Close To Being Economical The conversion process was created in the lab of Rakesh Agrawal, Purdue’s Winthrop E. Stone Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering. He said H2Bioil has significant advantages over traditional standalone methods used to create fuels from biomass.“The process is quite fast and converts entire biomass to liquid fuel,” Agrawal said. “As a result, the yields are substantially higher. Once the process is fully developed, due to the use of external hydrogen, the yield is expected to be two to three times that of the current competing technologies.” The model Tyner used assumed that corn stover, switchgrass and miscanthus would be the primary feedstocks. The analysis also found that if a federal carbon tax were introduced, driving up the cost of coal and natural gas, more expensive methods for producing hydrogen would become competitive. “If we had a carbon tax in the future, the break-even prices would be competitive even for nuclear,” Tyner said. “Wind and solar, not yet, but maybe down the road.” The U.S. Department of Energy and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research funded the research. Agrawal and his collaborators received a U.S. patent for the conversion process. Source: Purdue SHARE Agrawal said he and colleagues Fabio Ribeiro, a Purdue professor of chemical engineering, and Nick Delgass, Purdue’s Maxine Spencer Nichols Professor of Chemical Engineering, are working to develop catalysts needed for the H2Bioil conversion processes. The method’s initial implementation has worked on a laboratory scale and is being refined so it would become effective on a commercial scale. “This economic analysis shows us that the process is viable on a commercial scale,” Agrawal said. “We can now go back to the lab and focus on refining and improving the process with confidence.” Previous articleGary Wilhelmi 6/5/2012 PM CommentNext articleNational Pork Board Elects New Officers Gary Truitt
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A new smartphone app for the Peanut Disease Risk Index, or “PEANUT Rx,” will help Georgia peanut growers predict their risk of disease for this year’s crop.The PEANUT Rx program, created by researchers from the University of Georgia, University of Florida, Auburn University and Mississippi State University, allows producers to predict the advantages of using various crop management strategies. Growers can now access this information in the field, on the tractor or in their truck, thanks to the new app.“I’m not here to tell a grower what to do. Our role in University of Georgia Cooperative Extension is to give farmers options, give them opportunities,” said Bob Kemerait, plant pathologist on the UGA Tifton Campus. “The opportunity that this app provides is (for growers) to educate themselves on what their risk is, to manage that risk and then to understand the prescription fungicide programs that different companies offer, spraying fewer times or more times, depending on (whether they’re at a) low risk or high risk. Even if they don’t change their fungicide program, it’s an opportunity to learn how to reduce risk and how to properly manage risk.”The PEANUT Rx app can be accessed from smartphones with Apple or Android operating systems. Those with a Android operating system can go to Google Play and search “UGA PEANUT Rx.” Growers using iPhones should go to the Apple App Store and search “PEANUT Rx.” The app is free and only takes a few minutes to download. Risk factors are updated annually, providing growers with the most updated information relating to research and variety testing, Kemerait said.“There are countless hours and years of research in this PEANUT Rx project. The beauty of it is its simplicity. We are able to package many of the things we understand about disease risk in peanuts into a few simple steps,” Kemerait said. “It’s now even more available through a smartphone app. We’re hopeful growers will adopt it and be comfortable with it, in order to better manage their peanuts.”PEANUT Rx deals with the three major diseases in peanuts: tomato spotted wilt virus, leaf spot and white mold. Kemerait said the index examines production factors like crop rotation, planting dates, plant varieties and the insecticide growers use at the beginning of the growing season. The index provides producers with a risk assessment of crops that could be affected by one of these three diseases.“It helps our farmers tailor a program that’s most appropriate for their risks. We’re not waiting until we see disease; we’re looking at the preseason risk factors that are associated with outbreaks of the disease and then changing those factors – finding a different variety, adjusting planting date, plant population, tillage practices – that will affect risks. Once you have a final risk value, then you decided what fungicide program is most appropriate for your situation,” Kemerait said.To learn more about PEANUT Rx, go to ugapeanuts.com. If you have additional questions, contact your local UGA Extension agent.Georgia is the country’s top producer of peanuts, recording $507.4 million in farm gate value in 2013, according to the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development.
A former President of the Ghana Athletics Association has said he suspects foul play following Martha Bissah’s inability to qualify for the All Africa Games.The teenager was unable to run the required time to get her into the multisport event slated for next month.In an interview with Joy Sports, former GAA George Lutterodt is questioning why the country’s athletics governing body failed to make Martha compete in her preferred event, the 800 metre race. “Is she running in her main event, the 800 metres or is she running the 1500 metre which is not her event? And why is she not running her event? If you told me she was running 800 metres and she didn’t qualify, I would be very surprised but I am told she is running something she does not want to run which is the 1500 metres.””The question to ask the GAA is why was her event not on the table from the beginning. She goes to win gold at the Olympics and comes back and the event is no longer on the GAA time table.”That is a very serious thing we have to answer.” But in a quick rebuttal on Asempa FM, Dr. Mark Dzra Dosi, Treasurer at the GAA, discounted the thought. “The 1500 metre race is her other event. Actually when we discovered Martha, she was in the 1500 metre in Kumasi last year. So it is not the case that this is not her event and she has actually run very well except that she was a little close to reaching the qualifying in both,” Dosi noted.“This year we have had eight event and Martha has run the 800 metre three times this year and her best time has been 2.07 seconds and last year her best time was 2:04 seconds in China. She didn’t start training early this time round.””Next weekend, August 22, we have one more competition that offers Martha the chance to qualify for the All Africa Games. The door is not closed for Martha.”We have about seven other athletes like that too.” With the prodigious Martha only a few days from her 18th birthday, all this squabbling may yet distract her from her goal of representing Ghana next month. –Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @Joy997FM. Our hashtag is #JoySports