Vegetable Oil Economy

Does anyone have facts on this - is it a myth or is it possible?

Biodiesel from algae and ethanol from starch can be made to work but most of the other sources of oil / sugar are just to inefficient to make economic sense in most climates - sugar from cane is feasible in brazil due to good weather.

Ethanol from corn and biodiesel from most plants are horribly inefficient, requiring a huge percentage of their energy output as input during the creation / processing, and consuming massive amounts of land which is needed for food production.

This is what is making food expensive supposedly… Bucky Fuller proposed it as an economic model for Brazil in the 70s and they are moving towards it now…

what about the EU food mountain and all that crap? is the answer not to increase productivity in agriculture as opposed to decrease it like in the REPS programme?

Nevermind biodiesel - that requires a process to eliminate animal fats.
Plus if we ever did completely change over to biofuels and ditched fossil fuels completely then we would need to produce far more “cooking oil” that we would ever be able to cook.

Not sure what you mean here?

You don’t have to cook it first!

Rape seed has some potential. The yield per acre is good, the plant and crushed seed remains make good animal feed, and they produce a good crop of honey.

80% of good Irish land is under grass for livestock. Meat rearing is a very inefficient use of land.

Difficult to handle Rape seed honey though - it solidifies in the comb very early, so one has to be very careful about collecting it early.

Too right. It doesn’t taste great either, unless blended, but it is, apparently, quite useful as second grade (baking) honey.

In the absence of any hawthorn again this year, blackberry or sycamore would be my tops.

George Monbiot says it’ll be the cause of a massive African famine that of nasty proportions.

There’s a lot of malnutrition caused right now by cash crops. His point is that if a village of people from minority tribes decide they want to grow food crops for their own consumption rather than fuel for fat Europeans, sympathizers of the majority tribe will arrive and begin the machete-based struggle for hearts and minds.

Massive tracts of land, which millions of people eke out bare survival on, are not currently sown with cash crops because the soil type is unsuitable. Many of these biofuel plants will grow anywhere at all, though.

So the argument goes that you can expect mass murder by famine to be the result of any Western push to get African states to prioritise biofuel farming.

yeah but if they are making big money replacing oil then in theory they should gain more wealth. I suspect its that the wealth is not spread much and that its more likely corruption that would starve those people?

just an idea

in addition to that, people are cutting down rainforest so as to create land to plant biofuels which is obviously not going to make the environment better!

we cant use fossil fuels forever

so are you sayin the world is overpopulated for our current levels of consumerism?

Is the west going to need to restrain its lifestyle ? I.e when the fuel runs out are we gonna go back to subsistence farming ourselves or what?

If we want this level of lifestyle, we need to do something, the oil wont last forever. its either nuclear, biofuels, wind, wave or solar or any combination.
But the oil wont last forever

Like I say, we should be growing our own. Instead of subsidising the farmers to fatten poor quality beef for export, we should be growing rapeseed oil.

As the EU are about to get rid of mandatory set-aside, that should free up about 10% of arable land for bio crops.

What it does need is some gov intervention to kick start it. Perhaps in terms of setting up gov owned refineries/distilleries. Once there is a market, farmers will grow for it.

The much maligned sugar-beet (essentially a feed crop for the soil for the fallow cycle) would also be handy enough for bio-ethanol.

But all can benefit from trade, if Africa can grow more of this stuff than we can then its to our benefit and theirs

I agree. And as has been pointed out, rape (canola) is hardy as are some of the other bio-fuels (palm oil, for example).

Nobody needs to starve or destroy their own environment to do this.

As George Monbiot points out, though, it’s not what will happen if we don’t take the lead ourselves. In Indonesia, for example, a massive area of bogland is being drained to make way for palm oil plantations. That draining alone is releasing 30% of the normal global annual CO2.

yeah and whats with preserving bogland? its not like it was the natural habitat all along


I thought the Irish starved 160 years ago not because the potato crop failed but because the small proportion of their land they had to farm for food failed but the cash crop, Oats, still grew.

I’d see the same happening with rape seed or sugar cane if it became a replacement for petrol and diesel.
All of south america, africa and parts of asia becoming a great big oil well farmed by sharecroppers and Westerners still driving around in SUVs.

This plant is meant to give excellent yields of biodiesel

it can be grown on land that is too poor for other crops. It is meant to improve the quality of soil as well.

The plant yields more than four times as much fuel per hectare as soybean, and more than ten times that of corn. A hectare of jatropha produces 1,892 liters of fuel

Maybe it might grow in the Burren.

yeah I made a point about this earlier in the thread, the problem could be corruption, just like the famine here.