Decarbonizing air travel

invadertim

Well-Known Member
Interesting video by a physics prof, talks about how it could be done.

Looks at it from an energy/economics standpoint.

One word "Corn".

 

invadertim

Well-Known Member
The problem is a lot of carbon is produced growing corn. Haven’t we been here before with auto gas?
The notion seems to be that the bulk of the carbon comes from the equipment, not the crop. So as you electrify the tractors, combines & the like, the carbon isn’t produced, assuming your electricity is also clean.

The gist of the guy’s argument is that as land based travel shifts to electricity, corn currently in production for automotive fuel could be used for other bio-fuels, such as jet-A. The energy numbers work, the economic ones are more vague.
 

ShortField

No one of consequence
Yes, let's burn our food.
or occupy land traditionally used to make food
Can you elaborate on this? Currently 40% of US corn goes to ethanol (the production of which actually creates a protein byproduct that’s fed to livestock) and 36% goes directly to livestock feed. Point being I guess, even with almost half of the corn in the US going to ethanol, we don’t seem to be seeing any food shortages.
 

CoffeeIcePapers

Well-Hung Member
Can you elaborate on this? Currently 40% of US corn goes to ethanol (the production of which actually creates a protein byproduct that’s fed to livestock) and 36% goes directly to livestock feed. Point being I guess, even with almost half of the corn in the US going to ethanol, we don’t seem to be seeing any food shortages.
Well, it is incredibly inefficient to grow food to feed food, commercial farming accounts for a large fraction of the CO2 emissions, and monocropping is a pretty terrible practice to begin with. The whole thing is a mess.
 

Lawman

Well-Known Member
Can you elaborate on this? Currently 40% of US corn goes to ethanol (the production of which actually creates a protein byproduct that’s fed to livestock) and 36% goes directly to livestock feed. Point being I guess, even with almost half of the corn in the US going to ethanol, we don’t seem to be seeing any food shortages.
It’s not about the amount of corn (or any other feed crop) our temperate landmass and arable soil does or more importantly can theoretically grow. It’s about the quantify of fresh water consumed in generating that many acres of growth, the limited amount of that water available, and the fact that spending finite fresh water to produce fuel so we have less carbon isn’t really as neutral a move as the eco crazies think it is.

You should start looking into this theory Peak water - Wikipedia

There are a couple dozen white papers floating around on how this is the next major economic and ecological crises and could be the source of the next major world wide conflict (including some projections of nuclear exchange).


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JordanD

Honorary Member
It’s not about the amount of corn (or any other feed crop) our temperate landmass and arable soil does or more importantly can theoretically grow. It’s about the quantify of fresh water consumed in generating that many acres of growth, the limited amount of that water available, and the fact that spending finite fresh water to produce fuel so we have less carbon isn’t really as neutral a move as the eco crazies think it is.

You should start looking into this theory Peak water - Wikipedia

There are a couple dozen white papers floating around on how this is the next major economic and ecological crises and could be the source of the next major world wide conflict (including some projections of nuclear exchange).


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It always blows my mind driving through Arizona and parts of southern CA like Imperial and El Centro and seeing what kind of crops they’re growing out there. But the second anyone mentions something about it not being sustainable the farmers get super defensive. Modern society is going to have to start facing a lot of facts real soon and nobody seems to want to.
 

SteveC

Really?
Staff member
It’s not about the amount of corn (or any other feed crop) our temperate landmass and arable soil does or more importantly can theoretically grow. It’s about the quantify of fresh water consumed in generating that many acres of growth, the limited amount of that water available, and the fact that spending finite fresh water to produce fuel so we have less carbon isn’t really as neutral a move as the eco crazies think it is.

You should start looking into this theory Peak water - Wikipedia

There are a couple dozen white papers floating around on how this is the next major economic and ecological crises and could be the source of the next major world wide conflict (including some projections of nuclear exchange).


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+1 for living in Michigan.
 

Lawman

Well-Known Member
It always blows my mind driving through Arizona and parts of southern CA like Imperial and El Centro and seeing what kind of crops they’re growing out there. But the second anyone mentions something about it not being sustainable the farmers get super defensive. Modern society is going to have to start facing a lot of facts real soon and nobody seems to want to.
Well the other side of the coin is what would you do if somebody from outside your industry circle said, “you need to make half your profit and find a way to live with that for the whole of society.” Telling some California Avocado farmers “you guys should just grow corn” is pretty callous a statement when it’s not your families money.

Either way there is going to be a greater need to pay attention to the total balance of things outside the two ends of the screaming spectrum of profit vs eco footprint.

Oh and anybody saying Biofuels are the way to some sort of eco paradise needs to be pilloried.


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JordanD

Honorary Member
Well the other side of the coin is what would you do if somebody from outside your industry circle said, “you need to make half your profit and find a way to live with that for the whole of society.” Telling some California Avocado farmers “you guys should just grow corn” is pretty callous a statement when it’s not your families money.

Either way there is going to be a greater need to pay attention to the total balance of things outside the two ends of the screaming spectrum of profit vs eco footprint.

Oh and anybody saying Biofuels are the way to some sort of eco paradise needs to be pilloried.


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No doubt. Like I said, I think a lot of people are in for a hard reality in the next, if we're honest, decade or less. The comfortable "bad stuff won't happen for a long time" days are long over.
 

DropTank

Well-Known Member
Can you elaborate on this? Currently 40% of US corn goes to ethanol (the production of which actually creates a protein byproduct that’s fed to livestock) and 36% goes directly to livestock feed. Point being I guess, even with almost half of the corn in the US going to ethanol, we don’t seem to be seeing any food shortages.
Limited land, limited water.
If you really REALLY have to grow plants to make fuel, then go the algae route.
 

NovemberEcho

Dergs favorite member
Telling some California Avocado farmers “you guys should just grow corn” is pretty callous a statement when it’s not your families money.
Not callous when it means my water drying up. It shouldn’t be a controversial idea that growing water-needy crops in an arid climate isn’t a good long term plan. Also, close all desert golf courses or switch to artificial grass.
 

caliginousface

Frank N. Beans
A majority of human civilizations have proven to us to be a dominantly desertifying species. Changing our agriculture to be one that fixes carbon rather than continuous plowing and burning up organic matter (carbon) in the process. At the same time, increasing organic matter increases water storage.

There's lots of solutions out there, we're just not seriously implementing them, or not subsidizing the ones appropriately who are actually doing the work.
 

Lawman

Well-Known Member
Not callous when it means my water drying up. It shouldn’t be a controversial idea that growing water-needy crops in an arid climate isn’t a good long term plan. Also, close all desert golf courses or switch to artificial grass.
Centralized planning of agriculture has some pretty big historically bad issues. It works very well in theory, but execution has led to some of the larger modern famines. Which is really the road we start down when saying “ok nobody can grow X in area Y, because government.” Some of that already exists, but we are a long way from the level of governmental oversight to do something like say stop people from growing rice in a high drought area.

I do find your last point funny on golf courses because we see that “rules for thee not for me” playing out right now in places. New land developers in certain areas are being prohibited from planting decorative grass in housing developments, but god forbid those law makers go after the local country club.


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