Monday, October 20, 2014

The Transcript of the NBC Report on the BLOOMDOGGLE by Bloom Energy



I think I came out smelling like a rose.

Video will follow

http://www.nbcbayarea.com/investigations/Is-Bloom-Energy-Greenwashing-the-Public-279813752.html


The bloom is off the BLOOMDOGGLER

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Lindsay Leveen Green Machine Will Be on NBC News



Tomorrow October 20, 2014 some four years and seven months since I started investigating Bloom Energy and their hyped claims of efficiency for their Bloom Boxes or Coffins as I call them, I will appear on NBC Channel 3 Bay Area in their investigative report “We Investigate Green Energy”




I will post the link to the full report after it airs and NBC makes the link available on their web site.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Virgin Teams with Siemens and LanzaTech To Greenwash Jet Fuel Made From Ethanol



Virgin Atlantic Airlines and their partner LanzaTech believe making jet fuel from ethanol that came from carbon monoxide in a steel mill is green.  I do not have to repeat the ethanol from carbon monoxide story as I have beaten that one to death.  Now let’s look at making jet fuel from ethanol.   Jet fuel is typically 10 carbons long but could be as low as 5 or as high as 15 carbons long.   For simple math let’s use 10 carbons as the chain length of jet fuel.  At this length it will also have 22 hydrogen atoms (to be a saturated paraffin).  As ethanol has 2 carbon atoms, 6 hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom we first have to remove some H2O from the ethanol, then we have to polymerize 5 of the C2s to get C10 and then we have to add hydrogen to saturate any unsaturated bonds.  The resulting chemical balance is as follows:

5 C2H5OH + H2 = C10H22 + 5 H2O

Assuming we do this in a pound mole basis we have 230 pounds of ethanol plus 2 pounds of hydrogen yielding 142 pounds of jet fuel plus 90 pounds of water.  The input energy of the ethanol plus hydrogen on a lower heating value basis is 2.748 million BTU, the output on the same lower heating value basis is 2.627 million BTU.  Approximately 4.4% of the energy in the ethanol and hydrogen is lost in producing the jet fuel.  If one were to make the C5H12 jet fuel the heat balance would be a little improved and approximately 3.1% of the energy would be lost.  For our purposes let’s stay with the C10 jet fuel. 

Now we have 20 moles of CO2 being emitted at the steel mill that produces the ethanol and when the jet fuel is burned on plane another 10 moles of CO2 will be emitted for a total of 30 moles of CO2.  Had the CO simply been flared at the steel mill, 30 moles of CO2 would be emitted at the steel mill.   Had the C10 jet fuel been produced from crude oil another 10 moles of CO2 will be emitted when the fuel is burned aboard the plane for a total of 40 moles of CO2.   From this analysis we can see that at best 10 moles out of 40 (25%) is the savings in CO2 emissions by propelling a plane by jet fuel derived from CO from a steel mill.    When all the other emissions associated with cooling the reactors, and purifying the chemicals the CO2 savings will be less than 25%

Virgin has claimed a 60% reduction of CO2 emissions for planes using the LanzaTech technology .   This comes from a quote in the article linked below.  “According to Virgin Atlantic, the fuel has the potential to cut emissions by 60 per cent compared to conventional aviation fuels, while fitting the technology to all steel plants globally could produce enough biofuel to meet 19 per cent of global demand.”


I guess we now have three greenwashers involved in this steel mill off gas to ethanol and jet fuel scam -  Virgin, Siemens, and Lanzatech. 


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Who is Greener GE or Siemens



This is a strange question for the Green Machine to ask.  I really think both behemoth companies offer fantastic combined cycle natural gas power generation facilities.  The question relates to a small niche market of capturing waste carbon monoxide (CO) from steel mills.

GE claims to be able to produce electric power from such waste off gas streams


Siemens has partnered with LanzaTech (who I have opined greenwash) to use this very same waste stream to produce ethanol via a biological reaction.



Jim Lane who runs a pretty mediocre (thermodynamically speaking) web site has added fuel to this fire.



I was in contact with Siemens and do have emails from the company.  As Jim Lane published his article I now have to provide my comments to the comments that Siemens and LanzaTech have given to Jim Lane and that he has published.  Note most of these comments were also given to me by Siemens.  I have never had any direct discussion with LanzaTech.  Here is the content of an email I sent to Norbert Aschenbrenner at Siemens that was sent to him yesterday.  Siemens comments are followed by my comments in italics.

“After teaming up with several experts from Siemens and LanzaTech I can give you the following answer:

The fact that many of these industrial facilities could be making electricity with steam cogeneration now, but are not, tells the story. The question then, with respect to steel mill waste gas, is what provides the highest marginal value, financially/environmentally/socially. Customers and partners have invested in LanzaTech because they realize these three vectors (economics/environment/social good) are aligned in the LanzaTech process, where ethanol production provides a higher IRR, lower CO2 emissions, and lower SOx/NOx/particulate emissions when compared to electricity production.


Norbert looking at this response it already is apparent that the link I referred to that started the conversation has incorrect information. 


You state that the mills are not using the CO or the hydrogen in the above argument But your link refers to mills that are generating electricity with the offgas and how they will lower their CO2 emissions by one third by converting to the LonzaTech process.   “A steel mill that is currently using its off-gases to generate electricity could lower its CO2 emissions by a third using the new fermentation process.
This is the concern I expressed to you that this statement is incorrect. I will elaborate further on that this statement is incorrect and should be rectified.

They also realize that ethanol is just one of many chemicals that LanzaTech can produce, which can be used both as chemical intermediates and fuels. When the products of gas fermentation are used as chemical intermediates (rather than fuels) the LanzaTech process offers an opportunity to sequester waste carbon in the form of durable products, produced from high-value chemicals that create even higher returns from these gas streams.

Yes CO and if there is some hydrogen, although there is not much in a Chinese steel mill, could produce durable chemicals that hold carbon.   In fact I have proposed that steel mills be combined with chemical plants that produce polycarbonate or isocyanates (PMDI) as these chemicals use CO as a feedstock.  Of course it would be by a traditional chemical catalysis routes and not by expensive biological routes that the Polycarbonate or the PMDI is made.  Yes steel mills can create value from their CO.

Transforming energy from one form into another always results in a net loss of energy, by the 2nd law of thermodynamics. But the reason we transform the energy is to convert it into a form that has a higher value for society, in a more useable form, for reduced pollution, etc., at the expense of a loss of available energy.  There are many ways to use petroleum for example: upgrade crude oil into gasoline, produce chemicals, run it through a combustion turbine to make electricity, etc. But there is a reason the refining industry exists; liquid fuels are needed.

Yes society does need liquid fuels but we are trying to lower the overall carbon emissions and the CO from the steel mill could be used for a higher purpose than ethanol that winds up in an internal combustion engine that is at best 20% efficient.  The whole driver behind this “green” technology is the deployment of Capital to make something out of the CO that is supposedly green and not wasteful.

LanzaTech achieves a higher IRR than power because ethanol is more valuable than wholesale electricity and because the process efficiency is higher for ethanol production (up to 60%) than for electricity production. The efficiency of electricity production is low (~40% and sometimes <<35 because="" combust="" dilute="" found="" gas="" gases="" in="" industrial="" inefficiently.="" low-calorific="" many="" span="" streams="" value="" very="">

OK so now you state the thermal efficiency of the LanzaTech process as < or = 60%.   If the stream is CO and there is little hydrogen two thirds of the carbon in the CO is lost as CO2 in making the ethanol via the LanzaTech fermentation (you did not dispute this).   You agree >40% of the heat value (energy) of the fuel is lost.  Hence my original premise that the better use of the CO to generate electricity (35% efficient) is better than running a car on ethanol from LanzaTech that will by 0.6 time 0.2 or 12% efficient.  You can argue that the Chinese motorist wants liquid fuel but I am simply saying more CO2 is added to the planet’s atmosphere which is the basis of “green” analysis

Further steel mills have little use for low grade heat and so co-gen is often not a good option. LanzaTech is able to achieve a high process energy efficiency because our microbe is highly tolerant to ethanol so distillation energy requirements are quite low (<20 and="" are="" because="" by="" chillers.="" cooled="" cooling="" distilled="" energy="" ethanol="" extremely="" have="" in="" inherent="" input="" low="" of="" product="" rather="" reactors="" span="" than="" the="" towers="" which="">

OK the LanzaTech bugs can tolerate temps that only need cooling tower cooling.  Still means 27% of the energy is lost to heating the broth.   Still means the process has a water footprint.   My rough guess is 4 to 5 gallons of water for each gallon of ethanol (some water for the hydrogen and the rest from evaporative cooling).    The bugs do not take the ethanol beyond the azeatrope with water and as you admit there is energy to purify. 


It is also worth noting that not all energy is created equal. When LanzaTech integrates into an industrial site, we use low-value waste heat for distillation that cannot be practically used for anything else, and therefore the energy required for distillation drops to 0-5%. Finally, we note that the relative value of the ethanol as a product is enhanced by logistical advantages. China and India are experiencing rapid growth in liquid fuel demand. LanzaTech ethanol can be transported to these markets or globally, but the infrastructure is not in place to sell and distribute electricity from their industrial sites.

The steel mills in China and India do generate power so I am not sure why GE can do it and Siemens cannot.


Perhaps Siemens should investigate what GE is doing?

3rd party certification has shown that LanzaTech reduces CO2 emissions using actual performance data. Ethanol produced from a steel mill waste gases through LanzaTech’s process reduces CO2 emissions 50-70% compared to conventional petroleum. At the same time, the CO2 footprint of conventional fuels is getting worse with increasing unconventional fuels coming online, while the CO2 footprint of electricity production is dropping with an increasing amount of renewable electricity coming online. These trends increase further the CO2 benefits of ethanol production over electricity production from waste gases.

Yes I do agree that 73% of the energy in the CO is in the ethanol and perhaps in the best case the process is 50% to 60% overall thermally efficient.  I do not have enough data to opine on the CO2 savings versus conventional gasoline and I would have to review the third party calculations in detail to render an opinion.  

As a consequence of the 2nd law of thermodynamics, when using CO as a feedstock, the fermenters release some CO2 (similar to sugar fermentation). Here it is not possible to make a more reduced product like fuels, without also generating a more oxidized product like CO2. There is net CO2 reduction however, when compared to business as usual, flaring or venting these gases, especially when producing a chemical which sequesters this carbon. Further, as we react increasing amounts of H2 in the process (found in other industrial waste gases, MSW or biomass) LanzaTech’s reactors become CO2 consuming, in addition to the process remaining net CO2 reducing. This is a consequence of thermodynamics; the process efficiency has not changed, just the feedstock.


OK you admit the reaction has two thirds of the Carbon in CO becoming CO2.   The steel mill has little free hydrogen.  The question I posed to Siemens was the web link about CO2 reduction at a steel mill not a futuristic MSW or biomass facility.    If I have a large source of hydrogen why not purify this and place in a PEM fuel cell vehicle rather than convert to ethanol and then place ethanol in an ICE vehicle??? PEM is 60% efficient, ICE is 20% efficient. 


Lastly, steel production is the 3rd largest stationary CO2 emitter (after electricity and cement), and LanzaTech’s solution has received a very positive response from this sector.

Steel produced from scrap or DRI in an electric arc furnace is far greener than steel produced from coke in China.  The Chinese steel is the most pollutive in the world.  Of course they want some “green” thing to latch onto

From a human health perspective, the local air quality is so problematic worldwide that it was attributed to 7 million deaths in 2012 (WHO). This is driven by SOx, NOx and particulate emissions. Unfortunately, combustion of waste gases into electricity would exacerbate these emissions. By converting waste gases into ethanol, the LanzaTech process reduces each of SOx, NOx particulate emissions by > 90%. LanzaTech’s customers are keenly aware that the poor air quality locally poses a threat to business in some jurisdictions, and are doubly motivated to make a positive change using our process.

Sox and NOx can be scrubbed.  Our debate is on CO2.   I thank you for your response that was detailed and well thought out.   But I still believe Siemens should fix the web site that made the claim that:  “A steel mill that is currently using its off-gases to generate electricity could lower its CO2 emissions by a third using the new fermentation process.
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OK if we believe GE can install power generators at 35% efficiency (Siemens data) on CO containing off gas at a steel mill, what is greener the power delivered to the owner of an electric scooter or the Ethanol that will be used in an internal combustion engine on a scooter?

GE system has an overall efficiency of 35% at the generation station.  There is a loss of 10% to transmit to a home and then a loss of 10% to place these electrons in an electric scooter.  This is an overall efficiency of 23.85%.

The Siemens/LanzaTech ethanol system is 60% efficient (at best per Siemens) at converting the CO to ethanol.  Assuming that the supply chain in China can get the ethanol blended into gasoline and then the fuel delivered to a service station near the scooter owner with 98% efficiency.   Then assuming the scooter operates at 20% efficiency in converting chemical energy to kwh at the wheel.  The resulting CO to wheel kwh efficiency is 11.76%.  Therefore it makes absolutely no green sense for the CO to become ethanol if it is going to propel a vehicle (in this case a scooter).  This was my point to Siemens.

Of course if GE is greenwashing about their turbine technology to fire power stations on CO in the off gas from a steel mill, then Siemens is doing the right thing not to flare the gas.   I can’t opine if GE is Greenwashing, but I do believe they can generate electricity from the off gas or else I would not have started the debate.   If I owned a dirty steel mill in China I would simply stop producing dirty steel.  Of course this is not going to happen so the market does exist to use off gas from a steel mill for some better purpose.  I just want Siemens and GE to tell us the truth.   I really don’t care who is the winner between Siemens and GE, I just want less CO2 in the air and I don’t want to be greenwashed.


I can opine that Jim Lane gave KIOR the best thermochemical project award and he knows zero about thermo or chemistry.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

LonzaTech Khosla’s Latest Gangrene Venture



I have blogged many times that Vinod Khosla is a clown when it comes to thermodynamics.  He is also a leading player in the Complex by hiring big time “public servants” to advise him.  I have reported on Toxic Tony Blair and Criminal Condi Rice being such advisers.   My last blog showed that LanzaTech, a Khosla company, hired President Obama’s 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina to its board of directors.  Messina is the Carl Rove on the Democrat side of our divided house.  Only thing is Jim Messina looks like Baby Face Nelson.  Check his photo above.  It is hard to believe this guy gave us a second term of Barak Buchanan.


In speaking to a highly qualified PhD Chemical Engineer, he confirmed the Lanza Tech mass balance that for each mole of ethanol four moles of CO2 are created.  He also opined that the process uses as much energy as it creates and hence creates nothing of real green value from the carbon monoxide.  This was pretty much as I suspected.  The reaction is 6CO + 3H20 = C2H5OH + 4CO2.  This reaction is exothermic and 729,120 BTUS go into the reaction and only 529,000 BTUS are yielded in the ethanol while the rest of the energy is lost as heat.  To remove this heat the bioreactor has to be chilled and this requires electricity for the chilling system.  Then the dilute ethanol has to be purified from the broth (water) and this requires energy.  The PhD Chemical Engineer opined that the LozaTech process basically wastes all the energy in the carbon monoxide.

Now if all the moles of CO in a steel mill were run through a combustion turbine, much greater useful energy would be generated in the form of electricity and steam and much lower carbon emissions would be the overall result compared with the  Rube Greenberg idea that LanzaTech is promoting, hyping, and greenwashing.

I found a 2007 article by Robert Rapier that was critical of LanzaTech.  It is linked below.


Further chemical engineering analysis of the gangrene bogus junk science yields additional evidence that Mr. Rapier was being kind and conservative in his criticism of the idea.   Remember Leslie Stahl also interviewed Mr. Rapier when she interviewed Vinnie the Thermo Clown on 3,600 seconds.  Mr. Rapier said he would not let Khosla perform brain surgery on him.   Actually I would not go to Mr. Khosla for surgery even if he was a proctologist.

The electron balance of the chemical reactions shows that the LanzaTech process will yield four molecules of Carbon Dioxide for each molecule of Ethanol.  Why in heavens name would we waste two thirds of the carbon and emit it as CO2 at the steel plant?   Why would we have a process with zero energy gain?   Why would use ethanol in an engine that is only 19% efficient when we could have used three times the carbon in the form of CO in a combustion turbine that is 40% efficient.

The only reason to do these wasteful projects and give our taxpayer dollars to companies that Khosla owns is that Dr. Bodman, Dr. Chu and Dr. Moniz were bought by the special interests that host presidents for fund raising dinners.  Bodman, Chu, and Moniz are a thermodynamic disgrace, plain and simple.   Joining the department of entropy secretaries are the editors of the green web sites that have no clue about the thermodynamics of the gangrene nonsense they promote.  Thermodynamic junk like Kior and LanzaTech win awards from these sites:




It is simply time for the green “press” and the department of entropy to tell us that the second law of thermodynamics gets the first and only award.  Then companies that obey this law will be the ones to be given taxpayer money. 



Friday, October 10, 2014

When LanzaTech Deranged Range and New Zealand



Before Vinod Khosla pulled his gangrene tricks in Mississippi with Kior, he pulled a similar stunt in Georgia with Range Fuels.  Range was another of Mr. Khosla’s thermodynamic wonders.  The guru of green as he was once known left Georgia pine trees in a mess. 


Range sold of the bankrupt plant in Georgia to another company in Mr. Khosla’s network.  That company is LanzaTech.   National Geographic wrote an article about this.


Khosla Ventures wrote about LanzaTech and LanzaTech wrote about Khosla.

OK so we have Vinnie investing in LanzaTech.  After Range goes bust and does not repay the US Taxpayer, LanzaTech buys Range’s bankrupt plant.

Now moving forward a bit.  Vinnie must not have loved the All Blacks for his Black Swan LanzaTech, as the company moved its HQ from New Zealand to Illinois.


Looking deeper into the nzherald article one Jim Massina who was Mr. Obama campaign manager in 2012 joined the board of LanzaTech in September of 2013.  Remember Mr. Khosla has Toxic Tony Blair and Criminal Condi Rice as Advisers.  Remember also that Mr. Khosla hosted a $32,400 a plate fundraiser in his home with his two big dogs for Mr. Obama on June 6 2013.

Within 3 months of the doggie diner dinner, LanzaTech appoints Jim Massina to its board.  Is this coincidence or cronyism? 

Of course it is cronyism and of course Vinod Khosla is the king of cronies.   He is also the most incapable VC in the history of thermodynamics.   His Kior is now trading for 9 cents a share and his Gevo is trading for 20 cents a share in extended hours.  To pay for the $32,400 a plate dinner one will have to sell 360,000 shares of KIOR or 162,000 shares of GEVO.  I think Mr. Obama should come to a free dinner at my house where my friends and I would teach him the basics of thermodynamics.  I have offered on several occasions to teach Congressman Huffman some basic thermo but he is simply too busy BLOOMDOGGLING in DC.  I would not even attempt to try and explain basic thermo to Khosla he is just too dumb.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

GM’s Volt Greenwashing



Interesting how GM uses the wrong MPG to calculate the gallons of gasoline saved by motorists driving the Volt in the E mode.  GM says “fuel saved is based on an approved formula” (see the bottom right of the image above).


Do not fret that the revolts were driving on gasoline in reverse.  The total mile counter got stuck at 999,999,999 and could not go to 1,000,000,000.  Like I said before the “approved formula” yields 19.223 GPM when in fact the Volt would have attained 37 MPG on gasoline.

But wait the whole greenwashing is far more sinister.  Had the Volt been a simple hybrid and not a plug in, it could have shed 15 kwh of its 16 kwh battery pack and over 300 pounds and may have attained the MPG of a Prius which is 50 MPG.  The gallons really saved by a thermodynamically approved formula should be against a Prius, the real alternative to a Volt, and not some unapproved gangrene SUV that only gets 19.223 MPG.

At 50 MPG the 626,868,495 miles driven on electricity saved only 12,537,370 gallons.  I have been informed that the new well to wheels data (due to more US shale oil in our mix) is only 22.5 pounds CO2 per gallon.  Hence only 141,045 short tons of CO2 were saved if all the EV miles were powered on zero emissions wind or PV power.  

From insideevs.com I calculated that 69,092 Volts have been sold in the USA since their introduction in December 2010.  The weighted average age of all these Volts is 19 months.   We the taxpayers have given Volt owners $518,190,000 in subsidies so far.  If the Volts last on average 96 months before they revolt or retire, and if the drivers drive the same amount each month going forward, 712,649 tons of CO2 will be saved if all power for the volt has zero emissions.   Dividing $518,190,000 by 712,649 tons the carbon tax to us for this revolting policy has been $727 per short ton of CO2.  This has been a bloody ridiculous proposition.  $727 per short ton is a very high carbon tax and we know the electrons for the all the Volts did not come 100% from zero emissions sources.  


If one calculates the primary power (473 kwh per kwh stored) needed for the fabrication of the 15 kwh of extra batteries in the 69,092 Volts this equals over 490 million kwh of primary power.  At 1.2 pounds of CO2 per kwh the primary power for the unneeded batteries emitted 294,124 short tons of CO2.  This reduces the net CO2 savings even if all the Volts were powered on zero emissions electricity to only 418,523 tons of CO2 saved.  Dividing the $518,190,000 by these reduced tons of CO2 implies a carbon tax of $1,238.  This is the true level of waste of tax payers’ money and scarce lithium for the misguided policy the Obama administrations has promoted in giving Volt owners $7,500 each.