back to article Petrol latte for Kiwis in dairy biofuel push

Desperate Kiwi farmers, struggling for ways to get rid of poisonous dairy waste products, have found a way to turn them into biofuel. Stuff.co.nz reports today that New Zealand oil firm Gull has launched it's "Force 10" fuel, a blend of ordinary petrol and 10 per cent "ethanol made from milk". The ethanol in Force 10 is …

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Anonymous Coward

A fuel called Anchor...

...also seems counterintuitive.

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Screw the petrol...

The important phrase here is: "ethanol made from milk".

That's ethanol as in drink.

At last! Milk can shed its cosy childhood image and become a nutritious oblivion juice for adults.

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Pot, meet Kettle

At least in New Zealand they are attempting to deal with the only "poisonous slurry" they produce, and in a typically ingenious way.

Compare with other countries' approach to dealing with their radioactive waste - basically sweep it under the carpet for a future generation to deal with.

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Anonymous Coward

The headline hurts my brain

"Petrol latte for Kiwis in dairy biofuel push" deserves some kind of award, a little one, but an award nonetheless. It skates right on the edge of incomprehensibility. It makes sense, but with a little bit more oomph it could have been a perfectly-formed nonsense sentence, and the word needs more of that.

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Credit

At least they know that "latte" means "milk" - most people in the UK seem to think it means "milky coffee", aka "caffe latte".

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Nuclear Rocket Science and the Intellectually Under-endowed

@ Joshua: "Compare with other countries' approach to dealing with their radioactive waste - basically sweep it under the carpet for a future generation to deal with."

What would you do with it, then? Do you know some magical formula for reducing the half-life of unstable isotopes to a number comprehensible to the average citizen? Or do you prefer to freeze in the dark after the coal and oil run out?

Bloody Luddites. Ought to be used for biomass fuel...

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Anonymous Coward

"Dave Bodger"..?

Tee hee...

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Silver badge

What a waste

If the kiwis are producing so much drinkable alcohol they should just put it in an interesting bottle, call it moocohol and come up with an exciting ad campaign to sell it in pubs not burn it in cars.

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Anonymous Coward

My car runs on moochohol

give that man a medal

"What would you do with it, then?"

if it wasnt so bloody heavy, id sent it to the moon, on big automated rockety thingys, and bring back lots of helium 3 for when we've all got fusion.

he, by the time we run out of heluim 3, well probably want to mine the waste, as it would be more economical/ technilogiclay possible for it to be useful/safe.

i hope.

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Why burning ethanol isn't a waste

It may seem a waste to the drinker, but as an ethanol salesman if you compare the per capita consumption in an industrialized nation of liquor to motor fuel, I bet you'll see that once you've finished getting everyone drunk, there's another great big market in helping them to drive! And the cars like their drinks to be stronger than people do, even as they drain far larger glasses.

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Ha Ha

Ha ha , things are a bit backward over in the twin islands of the rusting white shroud , for after all for years before this grand idea flew into their tiny little one cent in the dollar minds , the Pacific Islanders were using locally produced oils to augment the expensive imported diesel fuels!

Oh well , from what I hear , the country is so popular a place to live in , that the locals who are fleeing to live permanently overseas for a better life , out number the immigrants by two to one and the only tourists they seem to be to attract are the million or so that flock in from Oz(for some strange reason , all those glow in the dark French tourists that do arrive are treated as pariah's and potential terrorists working for the French Secret Service). The Oz tourists oddly seem to delight in deliberately leaping off the high bridges built on the South Island(is it to flee from all those drunken unlicensed Kiwi Motorists that seem to weave down the narrow roads driving all those used Japanese obsolete rejects?)

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Anonymous Coward

Uses of industrial waste

New Zealand turns their waste into fuel. England turns theirs into politicians and rugby players

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Whey to go!

nt.

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Silver badge

Only some waste gets processed

Anchor is a milk processing outfit and has little interest in cleaning up on-farm pollution (effluents etc). They are however interested in cleaning up their own act. Much of Anchors industrial waste is whey (fwaste from making cheese etc). Once the ethonal has been fermented/extracted, there is still waste whey. So... does this really clean up dairy? It does sure earn Anchor some "greenie credits" to make their waste seem less bad.

Most of the waste from dairy is in the form of effluents (non-milk outputs of cows) and CO2+methane that the cows breathe out. Then there is all the run-off and other pullution caused by fertilising the fields and pouring various chemicals onto and into the cows to kill parasites which find their way into rivers and groundwater causing all sorts of issues (killing trout food etc). This technology does nothing to address those, it only processes the whey.

The article states that using bio fuels does not remove carbon from the atmosphere so does not clean up the environment. That is true. However it does not make the situation worse, which is what happens when fossil fuels are burnt.

The biofuel option does not make repairs, it just damages the environment less. Thankfully mother nature has the ability to repair herself to some extent. So long as we cause less damage than nature can fix we have a sustainable system.

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Hoos stoopid?

There are some very clever people in this world - 'A fuel called Anchor?' made me laugh out loud.

An extraordinarily clever Kiwi named Ernest Rutherford enabled the poms to live these days in some measure of comfort. Without Sir Ernest half of them would be digging underground in order to allow the other half to power their computers while writing garbage. There is a very large bucket beside a small one labelled 'under-achievers'. This, many times larger, bucket is labelled 'non-achievers' and on the bottom layer live those denigrators who cannot spell, write an understandable sentence, or punctuate it properly.

My computer is fed from a wind powered turbine on the hill behind my town and as soon as I have finished writing this sentence I will be driving 200m up the road to fill up my Australian car with Force 10 at the Gull fuel station.

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All I got to say is..

whey-hey!

I'll get me coat now.

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More power

"It's fairly hard to say, as NZ Prime Minister Clark does, that this is a case of New Zealand "leading the way in reducing greenhouse gas emissions", the more so as the whey distilleries use quite a lot of hot steam, presumably generated by burning fossil fuel as in other biofuel plants worldwide."

NZ gets most of its power from hydro, some thermal, a very small amount from wind (not a reference to flatulent bovines and ovines), and the remainder from fossil fuels and a few other odds and sods - so not much of a great addition to greenhouse gas emissions.

Just a thought - If we burn old politicians for power would that be a bio-fossil fuel?

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Power Generation in NZ

"the more so as the whey distilleries use quite a lot of hot steam, presumably generated by burning fossil fuel as in other biofuel plants worldwide."

Not necessarily so:

Of 41 billion kWh of electricity generated in NZ in 2003, 58% was hydro, 24.5% gas, 7.6% coal, 6.7% geothermal, 2% wind and 1.3% biomass.

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No downside?

"Gull manager Dave Bodger told Stuff: "If there's no downside for the choice, middle New Zealand will go for the green option.""

So Dave, how come normal petrol retails for $1.53 / litre but you're pricing Force 10 at $1.61 / litre? Given the choice, middle New Zealand will choose the cheaper option over the green option every time.

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Misinformation:

Just adding alcohol to petrol does not increase power output. Perhaps retuning and adjusting teh carbs/fuel injection may allow higher output, but on it's own it can't. In fact alcohol has less carbon/hydrogen per litre than conventional fuels, so fuel consumption will rise.

I lived in South Africa, where all petrol sold contained a percentage of alcohol. Alcohol in petrol has downsides - corrosion being one, the alcohol/petrol mix attracts water and this causes rust in fuel tanks, bad corrosion in carburettors. Many people needed to replace the carbs on their cars because of this.

It's so bad that after a few years of problems, Sasol in south Africa released special treatments for carburettors to inhibit the effects of the alcohol/fuel mix. Fuel injection systems were, as far as I know, not affected. Steel fuel tanks also rust very quickly, leading to rust particles in the fuel, carb blockages and if there's one fitted, early fuel filter blockages.

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They Should...

Install a gas turbine at the plant and run it off of there ethanol. These turbines can run on virtually anything, Gas, Liquid, even crude oil. A CHP (combined heating and power)turbine can run at 80% efficiency, a lot of which is in the form of heat. This would be used to distill the product. They may even be able to pump power out of their plants back onto the grid.

I just happen to work in the turbine industry and have heard about this sort of thing being done in sugar producing countries. It works very well. Some countries (small ones) produce 38% of their electricity in this fashion.

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I thought science and IT went together

"the more so as the whey distilleries use quite a lot of hot steam..."

as opposed the more usual cold type of steam?

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Bovine carbon footprint

The CO2 cows and their gut bacteria exhale is not a net pollutant, since int comes from recently-fixed carbon. the methane they produce could be considered an issue.

One other way Anchor can reduce their carbon footprint would be to use the ethanol themselves to power their industry. Saves transporting it about.

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Re: Nuclear Rocket Science and the Intellectually Under-endowed

@ Morely Dotes: "What would you do with it, then? Do you know some magical formula for reducing the half-life of unstable isotopes to a number comprehensible to the average citizen? Or do you prefer to freeze in the dark after the coal and oil run out?

Bloody Luddites. Ought to be used for biomass fuel..."

How about not producing nuclear waste in the first place?

Frankly, yes, I would prefer that people lived with the cold and darkness if they can't even comprehend the long-term side-effects of nuclear power. It's not you or I that have to pay for these decisions, it's future generations who will lament our selfishness and shortsightedness.

As for your ad-hominem "Luddite" attack: I'm merely suggesting we need to find a viable solution to nuclear waste that doesn't involve sweeping it under the carpet. That would be technological progress, no? Perhaps you need to understand the term before you throw it around.

As for "Intellectually under-endowed", that's just plain rude, and qualifies you, sir, as nothing but a troll. Unless you're going to be either funny or informative, why don't you go abuse people somewhere else?

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you'd be a fool to ship in dinofuel to ship out biofuel ?

"the more so as the whey distilleries use quite a lot of hot steam, presumably generated by burning fossil fuel as in other biofuel plants worldwide"

I would hope if you are producing a surplus of ethanol the first thing you would do is burn some of it to drive your own plant. Makes no sense to ship in dinofuel and then ship out biofuel unless there is some seriously screwed up tax advantage to doing so.

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Anonymous Coward

Luddite opinion.

"I would prefer that people lived with the cold and darkness if they can't even comprehend the long-term side-effects of nuclear power. It's not you or I that have to pay for these decisions, it's future generations who will lament our selfishness and shortsightedness."

So how will that save future generations from living in cold & darkness?

Is progress lost on you?

So what would your solution to the impending UK energy crisis be?

Jesus H Christ, if that qualifies as a 'green' argument you better go away and find some more my friend....

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Anonymous Coward

The final solution

Don't breed... future generations then, are not your problem.

Apart from a few major extinction events, the biggy being the Permian-Triassic extinction which clobbered more than 90% of all species on the planet, the world got along fine before hominids were wandering about the place and will probably do very well after we've all shuffled off... don't worry about the planet, until the sun goes *poof* in some 4 billion years, it'll take care of itself - it's just the current bout of species inhabiting it that may be in trouble.

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Re: Luddite opinion

Who said it was a 'green' argument? Your interpretation, not my assertion. Clearly you didn't read my post - I'm not against nuclear power, or a tree-hugger - I just don't believe we are accounting for the full cost of nuclear power.

"Is progress lost on you?"

If you know of any progress that has been made in solving the problem of nuclear waste I'd love to hear it. OTOH, if you are suggesting that deferring payment = progress, then I would suggest you consult a dictionary. While you are at it, look up Luddite too.

As a solution to the "impending UK energy crisis" there are plenty of options - but it sounds like you are offering to store a load of Plutonium-239 and Strontium-90 under your house, so that's obviously the preferred solution.

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Re: Re: Luddite opinion

"If you know of any progress that has been made in solving the problem of nuclear waste I'd love to hear it. "

Integrated Fast Breeder Reactors. Process their own nuclear waste "on site", producing very small quantities of waste that decays to the radioactivity of the original ore in 200 years (OK, not great, but better than the million years of it's predecessors).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integral_Fast_Reactor

Development was canned in 1994 because the then newly elected Democrat politicians were afraid that it might lead to proliferation of nuclear weapons despite that it was technically more difficult to extract weapons-grade fissile materials from it than other kinds of reactor.

Or maybe it was the Oil lobby scared of the arrival of a new, clean, power source....

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Fission Chips

"despite that it was technically more difficult to extract weapons-grade fissile materials from it than other kinds of reactor."

Hmm, or maybe they were actually afraid that the proliferation of such a technology would lead to a shortage of fissile material for them to manufacture WMDs out of.

Or is that just ~to~ cynical ?

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Anonymous Coward

Alcohol from Whey Process

The process of converting whey to alcohol would actually remove most of the biologically active material from the milk plants waste stream, thus preventing this material from having to undergo various, expensive forms of water treatment before it can be released into the sewer system. In fact, the process might even be able to accommodate some of the other biological waste products from the cows that produce the milk and help prevent groundwater contamination.

The milk solids are always removed from whey as they are a valuable commodity (Cheese). The remaining liquid contains proteins, sugars and other material that can be broken down by various enzymes. Those enzymes are often created by bacteria, yeast or can be man made. Either can be tailored to produce the desired result, alcohol. The alcohol is dissolved in the remaining waste water and then must be distilled out. The distillation process is energy intensive, but since any alcohol boils/vaporizes at a very low temperature (compared to water), then perhaps solar energy could provide a clean way to refine the alcohol. Not to mention that cow dung can be "digested" to produce methane which can be easily burned in the distillery. Either fuel can be used in a "Gas Turbine" to produce electricity on site, removing transportation costs from the equation. Furthermore, the methane can be cracked to make hydrogen which can be used to modify the alcohol and perhaps make a better grade of liquid fuel than regular ethanol.

All in all, processing the whey into bio-fuel will be "greener" than not.

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Moo juice

Adds new meaning to moo juice i suppose

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