Friday, April 20, 2007

Biodiesel and Elephants

Biodiesel to be cheaper by the grace of Elephants !!!

Elephant image courtsey:

Elephant dung contains a fungus..........

Dung, no more shit! It is amorphous gold.

Please don’t ask questions like who, when, how and where, these are only known to the “Reuters” who reported it. Somewhere in Netherlands (as per the reporters) most probably on last Thursday some scientist/s (names not released) has/have discovered a sort of fungus in the elephant dung which is capable of digesting (disintegrating in to basic components) plant cellulose and making it fit to take part in the fermentation process. It is said that this process will be useful in producing bio-fuels. The significance of this discovery (if the report is confirmed) is discussed in the following paragraph.

20% v/s 80%.

Elephant and dung image courtsey:

At present when biofuels are produced from biomass like sugarcane, corn etc. In the conventional process as 80 percent of the materials being made of cellulose (since it does not breaks down) go waste as cellulose as such does not take part in fermentation process. At present there is no economically viable process to disintegrate plant cellulose and making it to take part in the process of fermentation. In sugarcane producing countries like Brazil and India this waste is used as fuel or sent to paper mills to be crushed in to pulp.

Biodiesel can be made 50% cheaper.

Sugar cane image courtsey:

The discovery of this fungus in the elephant dung may be capable of millions of tonnes of waste in to ethanol thereby adding much value to the sugarcane or corn. Ultimately the farmers are benefited as their produce fetching greater price. Users of biofuels may get this product in half the price even if farmers are paid more and the refiners get better margin. The difference is not small 80% of the waste which is burnt raw gets converted in to much sought after biofuel v/s just 20% at present. Burning cane waste for power may turn similar to burning currency notes for the purpose in the near future.

Waste is wealth.

The significance of this discovery is not limited in just sugarcane or sweet potato but the entire biomass like sawdust, dry leaf that litters the roads, straw etc may be turning in to money spinners and disposing of the street waste may be no more the burden on the part of the local bodies as they will not be littered, even if a piece of paper dropped carelessly may be grabbed by the onlooker! The following is a true story which will happen in 20th May 2010!

The story of a just policeman!

Policeman image courtsey:

Location M.G. Road Ernakulam, Kerala state, India, time 9-30 in the morning, street crowded as usual. An old man found quarreling with a one middle aged person; reason came to be known as the middle-aged took some paper lost by the old man. The loser claiming that the waste paper belonged to him which he had accidentally dropped. As the quarrel progresses policeman interferes taking possession of the paper driving both claimants away by threats of dire consequences. When claimants vanish the policeman puts it his in his pocket go home and tells his wife “Darling, I managed a piece of waste paper today let’s make some biofuel and fill our scooter”.

Another true story one week after publishing the blog.

Blogger image courtsey:

The author sitting in his living room sees some people crowded in the neighborhood, he went to see what was going on and found somebody stirring in a large copper vessel (which contained some dry leaves put in water) on the stove. On enquiry I came to know that he was making biofuel after reading my blog (the author felt a sense of pride as it was a good thing to have admirers along with some fear as if his experiment fails anything could happen!). That man also pointed to the elephant dung he has stocked for use! His plan was simple when the water is boiled let it cool add some dung and leave the concoction to ferment for one week, boil collect the vapor in a bottle and pour it in the car.

Witch potion maker image courtsey:

Every elephant has his day!

Elephants are very much related with Indian cultural celebrations like temple festivals, in these programs they are taken to temples to temples thereby inflicting much sufferings in to these poor animals. If they are kept for their dung at least they may better fed (as more feeds mean more dung!). It may be elephant’s day coming as the old adage goes “every elephant has his day”.


booda baby said...

I'm approaching idiocy when it comes to fuels - fossil and otherwise. I kind of think the 'fossil' prefix is a little misleading. :)

But the biodiesel movement just SOUNDS cool. We have one of them going on in Southern California. Apparently, they raid restaurants of their left-over cooking oils. How can you not love that kind of recycling?

Scarlett said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and such nice kind words!


Anonymous said...

That's an interesting important discovery and your 2010 skit's funny, Sasi. I absolutely adore elephants and fear for their survival as a species.

Keep writing,


Danny said...

Such a brilliant post. yea, i heard something about elephants are related to the indian cultures. but i've learnt more after reading this post. oh btw, thanks for dropping by. have a nice day! :)

Strider said...

Interesting idea, about the Elephants. I am skeptical about all of those biofuel ideas because we still have to come up with the organic materials to convery to biofuel.

How will we do that? There is a limit to what we can grow due to (a) depletion of the nutrients in soil, and (b) shortage of rainfall and other water for irrigation.

The second of those two problems really worries me at the moment as I live in Australia, and our drought is getting worse,not better. Large areas of crop production land are about to be devasted by a shortage of water.

A.C. Dwyer said...

What a great post on biodiesel and elephants. Biodiesel from elephants in India and vegetable oil in the North America, I really hope that biodiesel and other alternative energy sources realize their full potential within the next decade.

Keep up all the great posts.

A.C. Dwyer - Blog

Anonymous said...


You are welcome!
Thanx for the compliment, you have also a good and nice Blog :=)

best Resgards,

am said...

Thank you for your comments, agradesco your visit, I have seen your blog, me very good paerece
my English excuses

Gracias por tus comentarios , agradesco tus visita, he visto tu blog , me paerece muy bueno
disculpa mi ingles
Pronto visito tu pagina web

Lou Gold said...

Thanks Biby,

I'm new to this blogging thing. What a surprise to get a comment from Kerala, India. I've read about it as an amazing place that, despite a extremely low per capta income, has achieved a birthrate lower than in the US and 100% literacy. Amazing!

The great challenge was to find jobs at home. Now it seems like the Internet is offering economic opportunities for all those bright educated folks so that they no longer have to take jobs in distant lands. There's a lot of talk (usually negative) in the US about out-sourcing. But understanding just a little about the history and challenges of a place like Kerala makes me VERY happy for this development.

I think your blog is great. That's no shit about elephant dung. Fascinating! I'm gonna soon write about bio-diesel here in Brazil. You've hooked me up to a whole new angle.

(I will post this also to your comments page.)

One more thing: I'm not very skilled on the technical side, Can you tell me, or link me to something, that explains how to add the tags to the end of each post as you do? Thanks.

Best to ya and as they usually say at the end of a message here in Brazil --


lou blog

Basseta said...

Me encantan los elefantes, pero me gusta mucho más tu preciosa página. Se que vosotros los indios sois grandes maestros en lógica e informática y tu blog es un buen ejemplo. Saludos cordiales desde Ibi-Alicante-España-Europa

Codesuidae said...

You may be interested in's article, Peak Soil: Why cellulosic ethanol, biofuels are unsustainable and a threat to America. The writing is, obviously, America-centric, but the reasons apply globally. The most interesting part, I think, is under the heading Soil Science 101 – There Is No "Waste" Biomass. The opinion there is that removing biomass for the purpose of fuel production will eventually result in depletion of our topsoil. While you can grow crops in sand with enough artificial fertilizer, doing so is essentially the practice of turning fossil fuel into food. Since it is evident that fossil fuels are running low, it is also clear that we should be increasing the use of sustainable soil maintenance practices. These, unfortunately, do not currently include biomass fuel production.

You might also be interested in this article: Disappointing yields dampen switchgrass enthusiasm wherein we learn that large-scale trials with switch grass in Iowa (in the midwestern United States, one of the most productive agricultural states, and incidentally, the state where I was born) are yeilding only 3 tons per acre (7.4 tons per hectare), way below what would be necessary to make an ethanol plant competitive: 8 to 12 tons per acre (20 to 30 tons/ha). This doesn't necessarily mean that cellulosic ethanol is impractical, but it does reduce the overall possible output and makes it much more difficult to get large-scale production up and running due to economic difficulties.

Grand Canyon Girl said...

Biby, keep up the good work, giving people incentive to treat elephants ethically. Elephants in chains equals elephant slavery.