Shell says biofuels from food crops "morally inappropriate"

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Ben W, Jul 28, 2006.

  1. Ben W

    Ben W
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    Talk about the Pot that called the Kettle Black!

    Type in Shell Nigeria into your search engine and have a look at how they have profited from supporting the dictatorship in Nigeria that persecutes its own citizens and churches alike! Here is just one link - http://www.essentialaction.org/shell/issues.html

    Maybe what is morally inaproprate to them is that people like Willie Nelson are giving them some competition?

    Anyway, here is the article,

    - SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell, the world's top marketer of biofuels, considers using food crops to make biofuels "morally inappropriate" as long as there are people in the world who are starving, an executive said on Thursday.

    Eric G Holthusen, Fuels Technology Manager Asia/Pacific, said the company's research unit, Shell Global Solutions, has developed alternative fuels from renewable resources that use wood chips and plant waste rather than food crops that are typically used to make the fuels.

    Holthusen said his company's participation in marketing biofuels extracted from food was driven by economics or legislation.

    "If we have the choice today, then we will not use this route," Malaysia-based Holthusen said at a seminar in Singapore.

    "We think morally it is inappropriate because what we are doing here is using food and turning it into fuel. If you look at Africa, there are still countries that have a lack of food, people are starving, and because we are more wealthy we use food and turn it into fuel. This is not what we would like to see. But sometimes economics force you to do it."

    The world's top commercially produced biofuels are ethanol and biodiesel.

    Ethanol, mostly used in the United States and Brazil, is produced from sugar cane and beets and can also be derived from grains such as corn and wheat. Biodiesel, used in Europe, is extracted from the continent's predominant oil crop, rapeseed, and can also be produced from palm and coconut.

    Holthusen said Shell has been working on biofuels that can be extracted from plant waste and wood chips, but he did not say when the alternative biofuel might be commercially available.

    "We are not resting. We are doing what everybody needs to do. We have worked over time on an alternative to get away from food, and this is what we call the second generation of biofuels," he said.

    He said Shell, in partnership with Canadian biotech firm Iogen Corp., has developed "cellulose ethanol," which is made from the wood chips and non-food portion of renewable feedstocks such as cereal straws and corn stover, and can be blended with gasoline. Ethanol is typically extracted from sugarcane or grain.

    http://snipurl.com/szeo
     
  2. KenH

    KenH
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    "Eric G Holthusen, Fuels Technology Manager Asia/Pacific, said the company's research unit, Shell Global Solutions, has developed alternative fuels from renewable resources that use wood chips and plant waste rather than food crops that are typically used to make the fuels."

    Wood chips and unedible plant matter is definitely the way to go for the future production of ethanol. Using corn to produce ethanol will hardly make a dent in our use of gasoline - unless we are going to stop growing crops for human food and animal food and use crops entirely for motor fuel for our vehicles.
     
  3. The Galatian

    The Galatian
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    Corn is easier, because it's such a high energy crop. My cousin, who still farms in Iowa, uses corn/pellet heaters in his house, because it's the cheapest source of energy he can get.

    They have a particularly high efficiency, so there is little smoke or soot generated.

    I think Shell's "moral objection" has more to do with profits than feeding people.
     
  4. JamieinNH

    JamieinNH
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    I have to agree. As a man that was raised on a farm, and my father farmed all his life, I have seen where he was paid to NOT grow his crop to keep the prices in line.

    To me, if the corn crops now have two different routes, food or bio-fuel. then the government won't have to paid to NOT have crops raised. It would open up the market more.

    Until we are farming every nook and spot we can, and then, we don't have enough food, then I will agree with Shell, but as long as the government is paying you to not raise your crop, then I say the market is wide open and bio-fuel should be explored.

    Jamie
     
  5. Bro. Talmadge

    Bro. Talmadge
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    Biofuels

    I say plant all the corn we can and run Shell Oil completely out of business along with Exxon.:thumbs:
     
  6. KenH

    KenH
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    As long as they realize that they are energy companies and not merely oil & gas companies they won't go out of business as the world will always need energy of some kind.
     
  7. KenH

    KenH
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    I disagree.

    I think those after profits, and with taxpayer subsidies at that, are the businesses pushing corn-based ethanol non-solution.

    If one looks at the numbers, he will come to understand that corn-based ethanol can only replace a tiny fraction of our gasoline usage. If our entire corn crop was turned into ethanol it would only replace 12% of our gasoline consumption. And I figure we want to use a goodly portion of our corn crop for food purposes. We are already using 14% of our corn to make ethanol.
     
    #7 KenH, Jul 28, 2006
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2006
  8. The Galatian

    The Galatian
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    Right now, we aren't close to using our total capacity to produce corn. And that 14 percent of the gasoline isn't cash going to dictators overseas, some of whom seek our destruction. Every dollar spent on ethanol comes right out of their pockets. Of course, it also cuts into the profits of oil companies, but they aren't doing that badly. And we aren't in the business of bailing out businesses. Or we shouldn't be.I do think that subsidies for farmers are no more appropriate than the "oil depletion allowance" that gave huge subsidies to oil producers. That one went on from the 20s to about 1975, I think. Nevertheless, the government should be putting a great deal of research into making the process work better. And as the process gets refined, less expensive sources of biomass will be required. The target is to get it down to less energy rich materials.And that will be a revolution. We need to be first.
     
  9. KenH

    KenH
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    Fine with me, Galatian. Gasoline will still be our primary fuel for transportation when I retire, the Lord willing, on June 1, 2023.

    Hopefully, most oil companies will follow BP's lead and look at themselves as energy companies and not merely oil & gas companies.

    In the current environment BP has done a whole lot better in public relations than ExxonMobil has. That retirement package for ExxonMobil former chairman a few months ago was the worst public relations debacle I have ever witnessed.
     
  10. Ben W

    Ben W
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    The best thing about Bio Fuel is that it brings new players into the market. If the established oil companies are not interested, various Farmers federations are creating their own fuel companies. Bio Willie is only one of these.

    I dont think that there are anything like enough oil companies and as a result they are able to control market prices to some degree. Some new players in the market could put a fly in that ointment!

    Also, Corn is not the only way to make ethanol, in Australia it is refined from Wheat, Sugar Cane, Rotten Fruit, Grapes etc. Anything that can be fermented can be turned relitivley easily into Ethanol which gives farmers a good market for the spoilt fruit that is thrown away.

    Bio-Diesel can be made from Soy Beans which have a high yeild, or any vegetable oil at all, even recycled vegetable oil from fast food restaurants.

    I think that this is where the oil companies are going to get some competition and that is in the market for cars that run on Diesel. Traditionally it has been only European cars, yet Toyota are putting a Common Rail Turbo Diesel into the Corrolla and G.M and Ford are not far behind. Those common rail diesels can use less fuel than the Toyota Prius Hybrid, or roughly about half the fuel consumption of a standared four cylinder car. Bio Diesel is dropping rapidly in how much it costs to make it per litre so I dont doubt that if oil companies do not want to be into making bio diesel, they will end up reporting reduced divedends to their shareholders.

    Apparantly Bio Willie is advertised on Country and Western radio stations to long distance truck drivers and the only problem Bio Willie have is ramping up their production to meet the demmand!
     
  11. KenH

    KenH
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    1) There are several thousand. How many do you want?

    2) No, they don't. The oil market is way too big for that.
     
  12. El_Guero

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    Which is worse? That is a dilemma. Feast or famine definitely has moral implications.
     

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