I've been a lurker for probably more than two year, and have learned so very
much. I appreciate the way Sanet works and would'nt change a thing.
Collectively you all provide me with technical information, a reasonable
perspective, reason and means to ponder our society and my role in it, and
oh yes, more than a few chuckles. Thank you.
I am a Sr. Ag. Biologist at the CA Dept. of Food and Ag. Currently, my work
at CDFA involves performing impact analysis of pesticide regulations, and in
my own way trying to move the "system" forward, whether it's moving from
calander spraying to count and spray, or implementation of a full biological
control program, involving soil building, cover crops, beneficial insects,
pheromones, etc. At this point, I see benefit in any incremental progress.
I've been doing this for about 3 years.
In my former life at CDFA I managed several programs that supported
renewable energy technologies in agriculture. It's still where my heart
(and most of my expertise) lies. I firmly believe that fuel ethanol
production and biogas production, if done *very* carefully, can be
economical and resource efficient, even on a relatively small scale. I
still have copies of reports from the early to mid '80s that may not prove
this to Tom's satisfaction, but still should provide Rick with valuable
information. I'd be happy to dust them off and send them to anyone interested.
We conducted on-site monitoring of operating small scale fuel ethanol
facilities as part of a facility design competition. The associated report
is a detailed description, including technical drawings, of the winning
design, which produced 180+ proof ethanol from wheat screenings at a rate of
10 gallons per hour, and used about 25,000 Btus (propane and electricity)
per gallon of ethanol produced to do so.
We also provided a low interest loan to a 400 cow dairy in northen CA to
build a plug-flow biogas digester. It was completed in 1982 and is still
operating. The report on this project can also be dusted off and sent. A
hog farm in CA uses a covered lagoon (much lower tech.) for biogas
production. I can find info. on this project as well.
Finally, I believe there is an important role for bioenergy in our society
and in fostering sustainable agriculture. In the context of current
agricultural markets, domestic and global, U.S. agriculture suffers from
overproduction. Bioenergy, can create new markets, while at the same time
help create sustainable rural economies. I'm not talking corn-to-ethanol
here. I'm talking efficient use of manures, residues, and dedicated crops
that can be used conjunctively as filter strips, wildlife habitat, and soil
cover until harvest. I believe that eventually, we will need all of our ag.
land for food production, but in the mean time, (50 to 100 years) bioenergy
can serve as a productive place holder until the hydrogen economy is here
and the world population has stabilized at 10 billion. Ah, but now I'm
speculating, and rambling too long...
At least I'm no longer a lurker!
Sr. Agricultural Biologist
CA Department of Food & Agriculture
Office of Pesticide Consultation & Analysis
1220 N Street, Room 452
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 657-5017 FAX