8  Biosynthetic Fuels
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1  Unneeded Old Coal Power Plant      2  New Electricity Generator Building       
3  Power Plant Choices      3a  Pilot Plant Power      3b  Carbon Capture Power      3c  NuScale Nuclear Reactor      3d  ThorCon Nuclear Reactor      3e  General Atomics Nuclear Reactor

4  Hydrogen and Steam Generators      5  Biomass Preparation      6  Plasma Torch Biomass Gasifier     
7  Biosynfuel Refinery      8 Biosynthetic Fuels      8a Fuel Ethanol     8b Fuel Methanol     8c Fuel Hydrogen


Where is all that cellulosic biofeedstock going to come from?     2016_billion_ton_report_12.2.16_0.pdf   (448 pages)


8a Fuel Ethanol                    8b Fuel Methanol                    8c Fuel Hydrogen

The world produces and consumes about 100 million barrels of oil per day - or about 36,500 million (36.5 billion) barrels of oil per year. Since the standard 42 gallon barrel of oil weighs 275 pounds - or about 0.138 tons (275lbs per barrel / 2000lbs per ton = 0.138tons per barrel), this means the world is burning about 5 billion tons of oil per year (36.5 billion barrels * 0.138 tons/barrel).

The United States consumes about 20 million barrels of oil per day - or about 7.3 billion barrels of oil per year - or about 1 billion tons of oil per year. So the report above has us covered.

(As always, the Devil is in the details.)

And the above is just from tree trimmings, etc. Also "Metropolitan Solid Waste or MSW", better known as city garbage, city and septic tank sewage, feedlot agricultural waste, "Black Liquor" boiler fuel from paper mills (they can use the tiny nuclear reactors instead for heat and electricity). Since we're running on nuclear heat, in case we have too much water in the plasma torch mix, drying things out without too much cost or emissions should be feasible.    [PDF]Alter NRG Plasma Gasification:     





(Left) Carbon Dioxide produced per million British Thermal Units (BTU) of heat.                       (Right) Combustion Fuel Candidates         

How to think about replacing the fossil fuels that have served mankind so well for so long?

Job #1: Replace coal with nuclear. (The worst at 206 pounds of CO2 per million BTU.)
Job #2: Replace oil with cellulosic biosynthetic combustion fuels. (161 pounds of CO2 per million BTU.)
Job #3: Replace natural gas with biosynthetic hydrogen heating gas. (117 pounds of CO2 per million BTU.)

As you can see from above, wood (cellulose) is really loaded with carbon-neutral carbon that can make a lot of biosynthetic liquid fuel per BTU. This is why your author selected the electrically powered plasma gasification column instead of the autothermal incinerating gasifiers.  Captured CO2 in cellulose is too damn valuable to burn.


Replacing coal with nuclear to make electricity is the easy part.

Replacing oil and heating gas with CO2-neutral biosynthetic fuels is the hard part. How much will we need to make?

We will need about 8,000 or so Clean Energy Park facilities like the one this website is talking about to replace coal (with nuclear) and oil (with biosynfuels). This website's facility is limited by it's plasma torch column to gasifying a maximum of 200 tons of cellulosic biomass per day. It has to share it's 500 megaWatt(e) nuclear electricity generator with a thermochemical hydrogen generator and whatever electrical and thermal energy the catalytic biosynfuel refinery requires along with the electricity demand of the park's nearby cities.

There is a diversity factor over the plant's 24 hour/7day per week operating cycle that may make predictable peak energies available:

(Above) A ThorCon dual reactor installation is good for 250 + 250 megaWatts maximum. Not all that big when you consider the heat load presented by
chemical water splitting and energy needed to control catalytic hydrocarbon molecule joining. Fortunately, both hydrogen and oxygen can be stored for later use.

Looks like making biosynfuels will be a night job for the ThorCons.




Footnotes & Links

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