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Bovine Diesel

Diesel fuel from methane from cows and things
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(+5, -2)
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Qatar has just announced it will be firing up plants to convert its natural gas reserves into diesel fuel, using a well-established process invented by the South Africans.

Diesel fuel, as noted in the same article, is not used so widely in the States as in Europe because it is so polluting, due to all the impurities in the original oil. Bio-diesel, on the other hand, is clean and much less polluting.

But we have our own ready supplies of natural gas, i.e., methane - cows, silage pools, sewage farms, garbage dumps, etc. So rather than letting this abundant natural resource simply go to making the Smoky Mountains even more smoky, let's bottle it up, process it and pipe the resulting diesel fuel into the growing boom for bio-diesel. I mean, just how many buses can you run on cooking oil?

[This is, of course, an idea for the Americas - Europe will be well-served by the Qataris, and can put its natural gas to other purposes.]

DrCurry, Jan 18 2006

Qatar's Diesel Project http://www.nytimes....iness/18diesel.html
[You will probably need an account to see the article, but they are free and you don't have to give accurate information.] [DrCurry, Jan 18 2006]

How we are going to collect the methane from cows without combusting them Cowgas
I will let one of my distinguished colleagues explain... [DrCurry, Jan 18 2006]

Whole Cow Calorimeter http://target10.com...Letter&articleID=69
Here's what you need, but in barn size. [ConsulFlaminicus, Jan 19 2006]

Methane-powered space flight http://www.freepate...ne.com/6055910.html
This is the future. [methinksnot, May 23 2006]

Wired: Natural Gas Diesel may cut smog http://www.wired.co...,1282,67534,00.html
Already has lower emissions than its non-synthetic relative. [jutta, Sep 30 2006]


       Yes, but how do you compress a cow so much that she combusts?
shapu, Jan 18 2006

       Surely these cows would not be able to 'range free' given the hose hanging out of their respective arses.
Would not the animal rights lobby get on your case for keeping 'Battery Cows'?.
I guess I mean 'How are you going to collect it and deliver it?'.
gnomethang, Jan 18 2006

       //Vacuum cleaners, [gnome].//
Ah!, That'll be right, then!
gnomethang, Jan 18 2006

       I think [shapu] has a valid point here. Think about how noisy diesel engines are. Now add a great deal of mooing and lowing and squishing sounds.   

       While the exhaust might smell like steak, I'd not want to be a mechanic (been there, done that).
normzone, Jan 18 2006

       I my home town the sewage treatment center is in the process of running methane over to a nearby power plant.
discontinuuity, Jan 18 2006

       Ah, but there's no point in that. Oil-based diesel is a dirty and polluting; bio-diesel is clean-burning.   

       So if we burn the oil-based diesel in the power plants, the scrubbers in the smoke stacks will tackle the pollution directly, leaving the trucks and buses of the nation to run the clean bio-diesel made from the methane.
DrCurry, Jan 19 2006

       as i understood it diesel is a by product of refining petroleum. and refining an efficient accelerate as natural gas seems a bit weird. but again, i am no cont on the subject.
TonyJaguar, May 23 2006

       If you cannot harness the power of methane for land-based vehicles perhaps, using the invention in the link provided, you may be able to use it for space warfare.
methinksnot, May 23 2006

       Generating methane from organic waste (whether cow poop or sewage) is not a problem, septic tanks and municipal sewer systems do it all the time (your plumbing, in fact, has incorporated a "trap" or "traps" to prevent methane- "sewer gas-" from entering your home). The challenging part is to deliver purified methane, free of air and water and other impurities- and do it economically.
whlanteigne, Sep 30 2006

       I don't get the invention. How is this not a me-too? Qatar is doing something, let's have Americans do it, too?
jutta, Sep 30 2006

       Qatar's not using cows, [jutta]. I believe some people in Sweden are, though, and the answer to [shapu]'s question is that the cow doesn't survive; in effect, what those Swedes have is a sort of specialised abattoir where, in addition to cutting the cow's muscles into steaks, you also process its stomach into bio-diesel.   

       I seem to remember typing this anno before, to another idea - so there might be an [m-f-d] (redundant) in the offing.
pertinax, Sep 30 2006

       Why does it matter where the methane comes from? And does anyone know how to process methane into biodiesel?
(Maybe this is obvious to someone who knows a lot about chemistry, but it isn't clear to me.)

       Or is this just a different understanding of the word "biodiesel" as indicating any kind of biological origin rather than a chemical composition?
jutta, Sep 30 2006

       I've a feeling you Americans have a plant somewhere processing turkey offal into biodiesel too. Might not be relevant, but true regardless.
david_scothern, Sep 30 2006

       I believe this is indeed defining biodiesel as anything formed from organic beginnings which can burn in a diesel engine.   

       Technically, I understand biodiesel to be composed of vegetable oil, rather than petroleum oil, which is chemically different. Most likely, since methane is a hydrocarbon, it will produce a petroleum oil diesel fuel, but one which ought to be somewhat cleaner as the base material was all of one kind.   

       In your methane sources, don't forget the reservoirs around hydroelectric dams. Harvesting may be a problem, but the animal rights activists won't get so hot about that as they would about some sort of special methane catching anal probe... Oh, that sounds like the start of a really dumb idea!
ye_river_xiv, Feb 01 2007


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