Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Nov 02

Mesquite to Ethanol Machine

Posted in Biofuels | Energy Inventions | Environment and Sustainability | Ethanol Fuel

Mesquite to EthanolMesquite is a deciduous tree, commonly found in Northern Mexico and the United States. Because of its long roots and ability to flourish in dry climates, mesquite trees can be quite a frustrating nuisance for farmers and ranchers alike. Mesquite trees can use up a lot of water because their roots grow deep in order to tap into local water tables. This limits the growth of other important plant forms like grasslands for cattle grazing. A new technology promises to help solve this ongoing problem by harvesting and converting mesquite into ethanol fuel, which can then be used to power farm equipment and vehicles.

Dr. Jim Ansley is a Rangleland Ecologist at the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station in College Station, Texas. He says the station has been conducting research into ethanol fuel technology and has developed a prototype mesquite harvester machine. Last month the machine was showcased as a part of the Texas Agricultural Research Center’s 2006 Range and Wildlife Field Day. Ansley says the mesquite harvesting machine will be ready for commercial production soon.

Dr. Ansley does not think that we will see mesquite to ethanol technology being used in big urban refineries. The transportation costs of delivering the mesquite make the process too expensive. He hopes the machine will help rural Texans meet their energy needs on a small scale, but would like to see widespread use make a positive impact on the economy.

According to Ansley, one ton of mesquite wood chips have the potential to produce 200 gallons of ethanol. By these calculations, an acre of dense mesquite trees could yield up to 2,000 gallons of fuel. A Commercial Ethanol Refinery has the potential of producing five million gallons of ethanol every year. Ansley would like to see the construction of 400 to 1,000 new ethanol refineries built in rural areas across the state of Texas. To protect the local ecosystem and remain sustainable, farmers would have to harvest only 10 percent of their mesquite trees. Mesquite has a ten year re-growth rate.

A prototype ethanol plant in Mississippi is currently using a patented process to test the conversion of wood to ethanol. Researchers are currently studying mesquite size and density properties. In order to predict costs and earnings, they are factoring in the harvesting time and fuel needs associated. The cost of building an ethanol refinery is expected to be about 8 million dollars, and will have an estimated 2 million dollars in profits every year.

  • Wade Hrappstead

    how can i get ahold of this technology??
    and for how much??

  • Ed Cypert

    Will this machine produce Biodiesel or mesquite? Who produces a plant to manufacture and how big? Who do you contact about grants? Please send any information you can. THANKS, ED

  • jay

    When researching the possibility of using mesquite to produce ethanol, everyone keeps talking about breaking down the lining to help in release of the sugars. Have any new, cheaper ways been achieved? If anyone wanted to produce their own mesquite for their own fuel they would still have this battle to fight. It seems that if we in West Texas want ethanol we must produce our own.

    Thankzs

  • jay

    Looking forward to any info anyone will share.

    Thanks

  • Mark Thomson

    Dr Jim,

    At the site of Pride Refinery – Abilene, Texas (now owned by DELEK) there is a sour water stripper that could easily be converted into an ethanol plant.

    I’d be glad to help operate it and could get others that know the unit as well.

    Mark Thomson

  • jJ.R.Harbison

    I have cleared a lot of mesquite in my time. Knock it down,stack it root plow and rake it. It’s a hard wood.

    Fuel? Good luck

  • Ernie:

    Are we creating a situation as was experienced earlier in the 20th century known as the dust bowl when all tree rows were eliminated to provide more cropland. What are you going to do with the equipment once you’ve eliminated all the mesquite ? You are producing methanol or ethanol ? Do you have any reforestation plans ? We are the ones complaining about the deforestation in the rain forests in South America. Let’s do more research into annual replenishable resources. I’m not a radical, but am a realist.

  • silly rabbit

    Cutting down then wait 10 years for your next harvest?

    Why cut down your indigenous mesquite forests? The ultimate goal of this model isn’t sustainability, but clearing land to secure water for conversion to grassland for cattle. To hell with that….

    Mesquite also produce a fruit, that when harvested annually, will produce more gallons per acre than corn — without doing a damn thing. So, do the math, cut down the tree and add to desertification and/or wait 10-15 years for crop, or just harvest the fruit pods?

    Plus under the mesquite, you can grow prickly pear and pimelon as additional ethanol crop while the whole time making a profit and contributing to keeping the natural environment.


Common Algae for Biofuel Butanol Production

Common Algae for Biofuel Butanol Production

There have been various methods tried for reducing fossil fuel dependency and containing carbon footprints for a healthier and more eco-friendly future. Corn-produced ethanol has been used for mixing

The New Role of Microbes in Bio-Fuel Production

The New Role of Microbes in Bio-Fuel Production

Currently biofuel is produced from plants as well as microbes. The oils, carbohydrates or fats generated by the microbes or plants are refined to produce biofuel. This is a

Forecasting Wind Data with Cell Phone Towers

Forecasting Wind Data with Cell Phone Towers

Wind data provider Onesemble has developed sensors which can keep note of wind date for around 95% of the wind farms existing in the Texas area. The help of

Fuel Additive Production Takes the Green Route

Fuel Additive Production Takes the Green Route

Research is on for the organic production of isobutene (isobutylene). Thomas Bobik, Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology and David Gogerty, a doctoral student are doing pioneer research

Scientists Revisit Power from Potatoes

Scientists Revisit Power from Potatoes

This could very well be the magic formula for future power generation. Yes, scientists are busy crafting what is now called as “solid organic electric battery based upon treated

Synthetic Fuel from CO2 and Solar Energy?

Synthetic Fuel from CO2 and Solar Energy?

Really amazing are the innovative ways solar power is put into use. Now a team of scientists working in Sandia National Laboratories is focusing on exploring basic steps to

Engineers Tap Algae Cells for Electricity

Engineers Tap Algae Cells for Electricity

With the help of photosynthesis plants convert light energy to chemical energy. This chemical energy is stored in the bonds of sugars they use for food. Photosynthesis happens inside

Biofuels and Carbon Capture from Frog Foam?

Biofuels and Carbon Capture from Frog Foam?

Since time immemorial human beings are trying to use solar energy for their survival and day to day use. We know that green plants create their own food and