Biofuel issues pure oils

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The raw vegetable oil sector: problematic. by Yves LUBRANIÉCKI

Key words: greenhouse effect, extreme poverty, depletion of oil resources, pure vegetable oil used for energy purposes, agriculture


Currently, humanity is facing three of the most massive dangers it has encountered since birth:

1 - the increase in the greenhouse effect that is putting biodiversity at risk because of the rapid pace of climate change,

2 - the end of oil, while the entire global economy is built on oil,

3 - the increasingly unbearable imbalance between rich and poor countries that, beyond the unacceptable human aspects, generates geopolitical tensions that are growing all over the world.

The crucial point of these difficulties is access to energy. However, only a source of energy today provides good answers to these questions: "pure vegetable oil" (HVP), we also speak of "raw vegetable oil" (HVB).

In fact, using unmodified vegetable oil in place of a larger portion of fossil fuels allows significant improvements thanks to a stabilization of the greenhouse effect, thanks to the implementation of an economy that preserves non-renewable fuel reserves and the development of healthy economic activity in poor countries.
However, there are three unavoidable conditions to ask in advance, otherwise the remedy may deteriorate even faster the natural environment.


Despite the progress of a certain awareness in the last forty years, the environmental threat has not ceased to become more precise and to grow in three forms:

1ère threat: The effect of Greenhouse

Today, and for only a few years, the population has begun to become aware of a danger that is specific in its global nature. It extends to the entire planet and threatens all species by varying their environment through a modification, already committed, global and too fast Earth's climate. This is the increase in the greenhouse effect.
Its cause is of biblical simplicity, essentially since the industrial revolution of 1850, the man rejects without counting in the atmosphere and in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2) the carbon that the plants fixed during 300 millions of years to make what is called "fossil fuels": coal, natural gas and oil. CO2 is one of the largest greenhouse gases and there is no "clean" fossil fuel. If we put fossil carbon at the entrance, we have the same amount of fossil carbon at the exit, whatever we do.
A figure, just to illustrate: 6 billion tons of CO2 releases of human origin in 1950, 22 billion in 1989, 24 billion in 2000 (Source: US Department of Energy [1]).
With, among others, the 8% and more annual growth rates of China and India, in addition to those of the United States, Eastern Europe, Brazil, Turkey, etc., the The phenomenon is not about to be reversed since, broadly speaking, a point of economic growth results in an increase of one point of the energy demand and therefore of CO2 releases.

2th threat: the lack of oil.

Experts are beginning to express very strong fears about when oil will start to run out. Thus, we are taking a first important step: the one where, definitively, the volume of demand exceeds the volume of discoveries of new reserves [2].
The next course, known as "peak oil", is when oil demand will definitely exceed supply. This fateful date keeps moving according to the expertise, but more and more clearly, it seems to approach threateningly for the world economy [3]. In any case, that there are 5 years or 100 years of oil does not change the fact that to date we do not know how to answer the question: "By what will we replace the oil? ".

3th Threat: Extreme Poverty

At the same time, the difference between rich and poor countries is improving significantly between North and Asia or between North and South America, but remains stubbornly unbearable between North and Africa. It does not "remain" unbearable, it continues to worsen with, in particular, countries in West Africa, Central Africa or East Africa stuck in an incompatible health, administrative and political situation. with the least hope of development in the short or even medium term. With 25,4 million HIV positive (source UNAIDS). In addition, the official agency "Roll Back Malaria" notes that "economists blame (only) malaria for an annual growth deficit of up to 1,3% in some African countries" [4]. Imagine the growth of France cut by one percent by a single disease!

There is no pessimistic abusive charge in this triple statement which is unfortunately no longer disputed by the experts worthy of the name. We have yet to wait for political decisions that will bring some peace to the future of our children and theirs.
Of course, given the economic stakes involved, many offer the solution that best fits, not the situation, but their interests. They thus completely ignore the dangers that their irresponsible attitude makes "for real" to humanity.

Yet, a solution exists ...

A solution likely to provide a good answer to the three threats mentioned above: the pure vegetable oil sector.

This consists of using unmodified vegetable oil, simply decanted, degummed and filtered at 3 microns, instead of fuel oil or diesel in the uses of diesel fuel or fuel used with a fuel burner for heating.
In all these applications (this does not concern the petrol industry), vegetable oil is a perfect substitute for oil.

Simply, today, it is not possible directly in a massive way, it would be necessary to make some very simple technical modifications to the devices used. For example, in some older cars with Bosch injection pump and indirect injection, you can use 100% sunflower or rapeseed oil without modification (maybe just install a small oil reheat system for 'winter).
Most conventional diesel vehicles can use up to 50% sunflower or rapeseed oil without major modification. The most modern engines require the most important adjustments. They should be designed from the start to work with vegetable oil. This is neither more nor less complicated than what is done today for working with oil.

Particularly since the work of Dr. Ludwig Elsbett, a German engineer who, in the 80 years, invented and developed a diesel engine that is perfectly flexible with petrol and all the existing oils, pure or mixed in any proportion ( 2000 usable vegetable oils are listed around the planet).

It's essentially for political reasons that this engine, whose performance was comparable to the latest common rail high pressure diesels today, was never manufactured industrially. Today, it is necessary for humanity to see industrialists take these ideas to finally produce on a large scale.

In Germany, auto mechanics modify vehicles on demand to allow them to use raw vegetable oil as fuel. This is allowed in Germany but not yet in France. However, since the 8 May 2003, a European directive (N °: 2003 / 30 / EC) allows the Member States to give this authorization [5]. But, to this day, it is still not done in France. What difference can justify this French attitude?

Why defend the use of vegetable oil instead of oil?

First of all, we must remember and keep in mind that the most useful and intelligent source of energy is that of energy savings, nothing must be done in this area without first optimizing the use of energy. Energy.

But, this quickly finds a limit when one reads the figures of the growth rates of the Asian countries or North American consumptions. Even though savings are extremely effective everywhere, they will not change much the problem; they will only be able to "win" a few years, if not decades, but they will have relatively few results in terms of the greenhouse effect and will have no effect on the extreme poverty of some countries.

Also, subject to compliance with the three conditions sine qua non set out below, we can strongly recommend the massive use of crude vegetable oil because it provides a simple and effective response to the three threats mentioned above.

1 - Regarding the greenhouse effectthe fact of using an unmodified vegetable fuel makes it possible to ensure a balance between the carbon fixed by the plant during its maturation and the carbon emissions into the atmosphere related to its combustion. We are moving to an annual carbon cycle and, in total, there is no longer an increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

2 - Regarding the lack of oil, the fact of having recourse to an unmodified vegetable sector makes it possible to consider the use of this fuel for the whole of the die, from the start of the culture to the dumping of the fuel in the tank of the vehicle or the burner. No need for oil from one end of the chain to the other.

Today, it is not so when we hear about "biodiesel", we talk about methyl ester of vegetable oil. But this one, first, is cultivated with use of oil in the gear of culture, collection and transport then distribution. Then, it is the subject of forcing by fertilizers very greedy in fossil energy and releasing themselves with the use of the nitrous oxide which is a powerful gas with greenhouse effect. Finally, it is obtained by heating (much energy required) the oil under pressure (a lot of energy required) in the presence of an alcohol (a lot of energy needed to produce it). So, if we make the total ecobalance of the use of this industry "modified oil", we see that it is extremely disappointing.

It would be immeasurably easier to modify originally, to their manufacture, the engines or the burners so that they can consume directly and indifferently of the pure oil or the oil or a mixture of the two. We understand that this would not pose any technical problem (except to persist in not wanting to settle them), but only a political problem.

Yes or no, will we accept to leave our grandchildren a planet without oil with a badly and badly weathered climate or will we use this simple technology of access and employment?

3 - With regard to the fight against extreme povertyOilseed cultivation is possible in almost all climates, that is to say at all latitudes. This is a major difference with oil, which is far from being evenly distributed around the planet. It is this parsimony in the distribution of oilfields that is at the origin of all the geopolitical complications that humanity has been experiencing since oil was king. How many millions of men and women on this planet have their lives, their freedom or their dignity sacrificed in the name of the access of the richest to the petroleum God?

And if there was another way? A way to make many countries, including some very poor, the poorest, producers of energy wealth. A way that would significantly reduce the concept of energy dependence since many countries, starting with ours, would become producers, even merchants energy, more "shock" to be feared.

The idea here is to supplement our European production by developing as much as possible the cultivation of oleaginous plants, some of which are very productive, on land that is not used today. These crops could give work and income to populations currently suffering from great poverty without calling into question the standard of living and employment of the rich countries.

For once, there would be no contradiction, but complementarity of interests between North and South.

Required surfaces

In our reasoning, a liter of oil weighs about 920 grams.

The most productive oilseed crop in the world is the Guinean palm (Elæis guineensis). Per year, he produces at least 3 500 liters of palm oil per hectare and, another advantage, he fixes several tons of CO2 per year per hectare for 25 years. It obviously grows in hot countries and requires water to produce well. If we use it as a reference a bit theoretical, to fix the ideas: to replace a quarter of the 3,5 billion tons of oil that man currently consumes per year, 3 millions of Km2 would have to be cultivated, about 5,5 times the surface of France.

In Europe, rapeseed or sunflower give about 8 900 liters per year per hectare and the arrival of our twelve new European partners will considerably change the deal in the field because some have large areas of agriculture and they will have to see again their practices in the light of the forthcoming Common Agricultural Policy. These changes, combined with an energy policy emphasizing pure vegetable oil, will enable the cultivation of hundreds of thousands of hectares of oilseeds.

In poor countries, already such areas - even millions of hectares - are either left fallow for lack of markets for a particular crop, or are ravaged by deforestation or burning, and are destined abandonment because of the disappearance of the humus necessary for the cultivation.

All these lands could be used for the cultivation of certain productive oleaginous crops such as jatropha which will also have the advantage of (re) forming a humus and thus enhancing these soils abandoned or in the process of being (The scientific name of the jatropha is jatropha curcas L. - 650 to 800 liters per hectare [6]).

Here as there, all this oil produced there will be the subject of a trade: either locally, the village or the city produces its own energy (in both senses of the term), either nationally or internationally, the peasants organized into a cooperative supplying a vast energy oil market that operates, either vehicles or thermal power plants here and there. Do not forget that this die can run on oil from one end to the other with the result that there is very little release of greenhouse gases during operation.

3 conditions sine qua non

These ideas seem attractive from the start, but they are only three cumulative and imperative conditions. Only one of these conditions is not fulfilled and change is not possible.

Condition 1: a technical, financial and political condition :

At first glance, this file seems to bear interests opposed to those of the tankers, but in fact it is not for two reasons: the first is that, sooner or later, they will be forced to wrenching reconversion and the industry pure vegetable oil is the way, from far away, the least different and the least traumatic for them to pass the obstacle. Vegetable oil is the product that looks the most like oil. The second is that the business of selling oil is the closest to a profession that does not exist at the global level: selling energy vegetable oil. (Since the industry does not exist, we can not talk about prices today: there is no demand, so there is no supply, so there is no The oils marketed today are not purely energetic, so they present specifications - therefore production and marketing costs - that are not those of future energy oils).

Tankers have the equipment and know-how and put them in the circuit is the best way to get their cooperation instead of their opposition. We can also make the same remark for the oilers.

If we want the system to work, we need a follow-up in the same quality as we know it for oil or for food or industrial oil. Only these professionals are able to work the issue to success in a timely manner.

It may be appropriate to ask them to think, with engine manufacturers, a product consisting of a mixture of different unmodified oils with energy potential and fluidity followed that would be comparable around the world.

Similar to today's oil, we could optimize products for different types of uses: a - road vehicles and small boats or ships, b - trains and medium boats or ships, aircraft with diesel engines, c - large ships and diesel power stations, thermal power plants and, finally, d - jet aircraft. That may be the future of oil ...

For this system to be put in place, it also imperatively requires the collaboration of politicians because they have the legitimacy to impose international solutions. It is up to them to fix the local taxation that will determine the consumer price.
This system finally requires the collaboration of the financiers because they have the means to finance the necessary investments.

The second and third following conditions must be the subject of a mandatory legal obligation for the validity of each supply contract and must be recorded in a written specification that must accompany the delivery.

If the specifications are not duly respected, the delivery must not take place. If one does not follow such a stringent legal procedure, the ideas contained in this note should not be implemented (This particular point is in line with the spirit of the aforementioned 2003 / 30 / EC Directive. See, for example: Article 4 point 2 Point d).

Condition 2: an agricultural condition.

If this condition is not fulfilled, not only is change not possible, but it is not even desirable because the remedy would be worse than the disease. It is the same thing if we practice deforestation to plant oilseeds. It is better to continue with fossil fuels, the destruction will also be inevitable, but a little slower ...

For the reason given above that the use of chemicals in agriculture generates enormous amounts of greenhouse gases, it is absolutely imperative that the farming methods used for oilseed production make use of an agricultural concept. sustainable (that is, conserves resources and avoids chemicals). Or, at least, reasoned agriculture (we use chemicals, but only when necessary and only the amount needed), otherwise the remedy will be worse than the disease.

One could also mention the "integrated" agriculture which is a concept where the approach of exploitation is global. It takes into account the interactions between the different species cultivated close to each other to minimize the use of chemical inputs and to increase the beneficial effect of the complementarity of the natural processes between them [7].
A resource seems very promising and is currently being studied in several American universities, it is microalgae oleaginous (diatom). They would contain large amounts of oil, have the potential to harvest at a very fast pace and would require little surface for a high yield [8].

In all cases, the elements to be protected to the maximum at the highest political level in the world are: water, air, soil, biodiversity and landscapes because they are the most valuable natural common goods for humanity.

Condition 3: a commercial condition.

These proposals would miss half of their goal if they did not lead to a significant improvement in the plight of the poorest people on Earth.
A human worthy of the name must no longer accept living comfortably on the same planet as billions of men and women who do not even have the minimum subsistence and who die each year by millions of extreme poverty. This is all the more unbearable as there is now the present idea that guarantees both the essential standard of living of the richest and access to a "real life" for the poorest knowing that the " real life "is not necessarily the transition to rock'n roll and brown soda ...
To achieve this, it is essential that the collection and trade of oilseeds and oils be organized according to the rules of fair trade, otherwise the stated goal of development of poor countries will not be achieved and the differences will not than amplify.

Encouraging poor countries to become producers and exporters of wealth (on their behalf) is probably more intelligent and useful than giving them only even large subsidies.
To orient the planet permanently towards this solution, we must launch a movement of opinion today that generates enough pressure on politicians to understand that we can not wait.

We are changing era.
We are leaving a time when the technocrats were looking for ways to get the "vegetable oil" industry under the caudine forks of King Oil.
We will soon enter a new era where the world's leading source of energy in transportation and heating will be pure vegetable oil and where oil will have to adapt to its requirements.
We must look at this as a second chance that nature gives us. It is up to us not to make the same mistakes as with the deification of oil and to us to optimize the resource and the financial gains to secure the future of our descendants. It's our responsibility. Pure vegetable oil is neither a king nor a god. It's an excellent tool for sustainable development, that's all.


[1] then "FAQ".
See: alineas # 9, # 12, # 22, # 27 and art. 2 point 2 point j and art. 3 point 2 point a.
[7] EU Report on Agricultural Biodiversity
[8] On this subject, see this page

Learn more: the excellent .pdf of the same author.

Benefits of pure vegetable oil as fuel

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