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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

More About Oil (3 separate topics)

(1) The report showing the chemical potential of triglycerides or the free fatty acids in vegetable oils is expensive to obtain ($35.00), but I'd estimate the potentials to be around that of C-17 Alkanes if not higher, and thereby could easily be compressed to n-alkanes. The articles I've cited in previous posts concerning abiotic oil formation talked mainly of glucose which is a carbohydrate of extremely low chemical potential being formed into oil by high pressures, and the reaction of FeO+CaCO3+H2O which required about 50 kilobars and 1500 C temperatures that is similar to the mid to upper mantle of the Earth according to this paper. Perhaps the following "Strike-Slip Fault" systems are a good place to begin searching for practically unlimited Abiotic Hydrocarbon resources around North America (image courtessy of HGS Bulletin V45 #7, hat tip Anaconda and Oil is Mastery).

The stated reason triglycerides were not really addressed in consideration of Fossil Theory by J.F. Kenney in his reports on Abiotic Oil is because Triglycerides are unstable at low temperatures and pressures, thereby they wouldn't last for millions of years like Fossil Theory proposes. Anyhow, here is a reference of hydrocarbon and carbohydrate chemical potentials (courtessy of Mythbusters and another paper by J.F. Kenney, click to enlarge):

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(2) Here is a reference showing various fuel energy densities by weight and by volume (courtessy of Wikipedia, click to enlarge):

Notice that biodiesel (volumetrically - 33MJ/L) is about equivalent to diesel (42.3 MJ/L) which actually translates to a little less miles per gallon though. However, biodiesel is compareable to pure gasoline which has 34.6 MJ/L and even better than gasohols (note: MJ/L =>megajoule/liter). Biodiesel is a good technology to develop in my opinion, given that according to this Biodiesel Energy Balance Study entitled Vehicles and Fuels, which was sponsored by both US Department of Agriculture and the US Department of Energy, ""Biodiesel yields 3.2 units of fuel product energy for every unit of 'fossil' energy consumed in its life cycle"

Centia's Process for Biodiesel/Biopetrol and Jet Fuels:


Step 1: Triglyceride + 3 H20 + (heat and pressure) => Free Fatty Acids + Glycerol .... In step 1, they extract the Glycerol species from the mix and utilize for heating.

Step 2: FFA + Catalyst + (heat and pressure) => n-alkane + CO2 .... In step 2, they use a catalytic process called "decarboxylation" to convert these Free Fatty Acids into n-Alkanes. Then they separate by alkane length or viscoscity: C1-C14 => Biodiesel and Biogasoline Reforming Plant; while C15-C17 => step3, then to Aviation Biofuel Reforming Plant for Jet Fuel

Step 3: C15-C17 n-Alkanes => C10-C14 isoalkanes + Aromatics + napthenes + H2

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(3) It seems to me a little fishy to me, however, that other current research is being done on developing gasoline from sugar. Such a huge transition of chemical potential (carbohydrates to n-alkanes) seems as though it should be preposterous business to me, I'll bet gasoline from sugar has a negative energy balance when evaluated: Gasoline From Sugar