During the 1970s oil crisis, Dr Miller was a Section Head at New Zealand's national chemistry laboratory, and during this period he surveyed the technology available to make biofuels, and embarked on his own program. Now, with a further resurgence of interest in biofuels, he has repeated the exercise. This ebook summarizes the biomass resources that might be used to make biofuels, it considers the technologies available to convert such resources to fuel, and it outlines some of the physical constraints involved in converting a transport system based on oil to renewables. There is no prescription of what will solve these problems because there are too few data, but it tries to outline what we know and what we do not know.
There is not an indefinite supply of oil and the planet can only take so much burning of fossil fuels without serious adverse consequences. While wasteful use should be avoided we cannot close down a transport system. We must also grow sufficient food, and other resources such as wood. This ebook outlines at least some of the options that remain available.
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About the Author
Ian J Miller was born 7th August 1942 to the son of a policeman sent to Hokitika (New Zealand) to fill vacancies due to the mass murderer Stanley Graham. Secondary education was at Ashburton High School, thence to University of Canterbury (BSc Hons1, PhD), followed by post-docs at Calgary, Southampton and Armidale. I returned to New Zealand to Chemistry Division, DSIR, to work first on lignin chemistry, then recycling, seaweed research, then hydrothermal wood liquefaction. In 1986 I left DSIR to set up Carina Chemical Laboratories Ltd, to carry out research to support the private half of a joint venture to make pyromellitates, the basis of high temperature resistant plastics. (When called to a TV program to discuss the danger of foam plastics in fires, I aimed a gas torch at the palm of my hand, protected only by a piece of foam plastic I had made shortly before. Fortunately, it worked, it glowed yellow hot, but held the heat for about half a minute.) This venture, and an associated seaweed processing venture collapsed during the late 1980s financial crisis, mostly for financial reasons. Current projects include the development of Nemidon gels (www.nemidon.co.nz/) and fuels and chemicals through the hydrothermal treatment of microalgae (www.aquaflowgroup.com/). I have written about 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers, about 35 other articles, and I was on the Editorial Board of Botanica Marina between about 1998-2008. In my first year University, following an argument with some Arts students, I was challenged to write a fictional book. I did in spare time: Gemina. I subsequently self-published a revised version, only to find publicity was forbidden as a condition of getting my finance for the pyromellitates project. Since then, I have written a few more science in fiction thriller-type novels that don't fit nicely in any category. These form a "future history", and Puppeteer is the first of one entry point.