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					      Comments on biofuels that bring back memory.

                     By Abdel Aziz Dimapunong
                      Biofuels and alternative energy proponent
                    Chancellor, Islamic Banking Research Institute
                     Founding Chairman, Amanah Islamic Bank

Here are some comments to my article:           Amanah Islamic Bank pushes for
renewable energy.

        “It’s a misnomer indeed to come-up with an alternative energy that the
       same would contain inorganic petrol-base (methanol & ethanol) and acidic/toxic
       Sodium/ Potassium Hydroxide Catalytic Reactants, that could lead to corrosion
       and damage on engine parts. This is not to mention the contamination of (layers)
       underground soils.

Let me call the commentator Jane (not her real name). This comment was posted by
Jane days after I posted my blog at Sulekha network. I found out she has no entry
in this network. And I do not consider her a member. So, I did not respond to her
comment. Instead, I am posting another blog.

The comment of Jane was also posted to some other articles about biofuels and
renewable energy on some other websites. Jane contends that renewable energy –
not specifying biodiesel – could lead to corrosion and damage on engine parts.
However, Jane did not specify which engine parts would be damaged by any blend
of biofuels. Is it the piston, the piston rings, the connecting rod, the cylinder, the
cylinder head, the spark plugs, the crankshafts? Let me guess. Jane posts comments
on certain articles about biofuels without really having a working knowledge of the
mechanics of internal combustion engines.

The comment also mentions about the “contamination of (layers) underground
soils.” I just wonder what the relevance of engines and their use of biofuels on
underground soils? I don’t really see the point of this comment. Again, let me guess.
Jane’s frame of mind is such that she only thinks of motor vehicles on land.

Comments on biofuels that bring back memories              By Abdel Aziz Dimapunong
                          Diesel engine for marine propulsion

Let me say that biofuels engines are also intended for some other uses including
marine propulsion and this includes submarines and naval ships. When a
submarine cruises the oceans, it is far from destroying any layers of underground
soils on account of its engine. An example of diesel engine applications could be
found on naval ships, in numerous mechanical drive applications. The Opposed
Piston Engine (OPE) that was developed by Fairbanks and Morse in the mid-1930s
was initially used to power submarines and locomotives. Because of its proven
reliability, the Opposed Piston diesel engines are still in service these days among
U.S. Navy ships, in electric power plants and other applications. I believe that the
OPE will also find its applications on land transportation in the near future.

Biofuels are also intended to feed those engines that power electrical generations,
engines that power rice mills, corn mills, saw mills, abaca fiber mills, and so many
applications, including water irrigation systems. Biofuels are not only for cars.

Let me just jump into the other comments of Jane, as follows:

       Bio-ethanol is just a mixture of 10% ethanol & 90% petro-gasoline. It would
       not be good also for the engine if the mixture would go beyond 35% because
       it will eat-up the rubber and plastic parts of the engine, thus increases the
       engine temperature.

By definition, bio-ethanol is not “a mixture of 10% ethanol & 90% petro-gasoline”
as Jane stated in her comment. There is obviously a mess here. Also it must be noted
that ethanol is not relevant to the blending of biodiesel with diesel fuels which is the
main subject of my article. Ethanol is only for the proposed blending with gasoline.

At this point, there should be clarifications as to the means of using bioethanol or
biodiesel along with diesel and gasoline. The use of two kinds of fuels does not have
to come from a blend of such two kinds of fuels in a fixed proportion. It could be in
the form of what is called dual fuel system under which one kind of fuel is use as the
pilot fuel to be followed by the other kind of fuel.

Anyway, this last comment particularly interests me not because of anything else
other than it reminds me of my school days in my younger days way back some
thirty years ago.

Comments on biofuels that bring back memories               By Abdel Aziz Dimapunong
At the Asian Institute of Management where I went for graduate studies in business
management, the system of learning is known as case-method which was pioneered
by the Harvard Business School in the 1920s. Students are bombarded with business
cases everyday but Sunday. When presented with a case, they place themselves in
the role of a manager or any decision maker as they read through a case. Then the
student performs the necessary analysis by identifying the problem, examining the
causes, and considering alternative courses of actions to form a decision. In many
cases, the analysis involves pencil pushing (now finger tapping on calculators) to
determine cost or profit differentials with several alternative courses of actions. The
case method forces students to grapple with the kinds of decisions and problems
managers face every day. In doing so, it redefines the traditional teaching method in
which the professor conducts lectures and discourses and the students just passively
receive it. The case method is different. It creates a simulated environment where
students exercise the skills of leadership and teamwork in the real world.

We had cases for discussions everyday but weekends and we had WAC (written
analysis of cases) every Saturday. In the whole two year MBM (Master in Business
Management) course the students take about three thousand five hundred cases.
One case that we were made to analyze was about a business on car parts. I don’t
remember anymore the title of the case but I recall that it presents a situation where
a car part dealer faced a cut-throat competition with other dealers that sell new
engine parts made of rubbers and plastic parts. This is why Jane’s comments bring
back memories.

The rubber-and-plastic case that I faced in school thirty years ago is now revived in
real life with the rubber-and-plastic comment of Jane. Let me just say that those
rubber and plastic parts of the engine are replaceable with the original non-rubber
and non-plastic parts of yesteryears. That is the way it used to be in the 20th

Engines do not have to be fitted with rubbers and plastics anywhere along the fuel
line. The issue on ethanol eating up rubbers and plastics is really irrelevant in
relation to biofuels.

The comment also interests me because it also reminds me of my classmates. One of
them, Alias Bin Ali, a Malaysian scholar got a grade of High Pass (HP) because of
his outstanding analysis where he disregarded the issues on rubber and plastic parts
of the engine because he insisted that there really was no cause for worry. The
rubber and plastic parts were just products of technological innovations. They were
never meant to permanently replace the original non-rubber and non-plastic parts.
They are only optional. The innovation that was introduced did not pose any threat
at all to the engine industry. They represent minor parts of the engine. And when
one involves the calculators, the result is minimal numbers.

Comments on biofuels that bring back memories              By Abdel Aziz Dimapunong
In real life, examine your car and see how many rubbers and plastic parts there are
in your engine. Only count the parts that are relevant to the fuel line up to the point
of combustion inside the engine. You do not count as consideration the tires which
are made of rubber because they are not directly connected to the fuel line leading
to the engine. You do not even consider the rubber caps in the brake system because
they have nothing to do with the internal combustion. And so with the fan belt that
is made of rubber. Remember we are talking about engine fuels whether bioethanol,
biodiesel, diesel or gasoline or kerosene or biogas, or any blend or mixture among

 The comment should just be disregarded. I really feel it is just an innocent remark.
This is exactly how the said comment was treated when presented to a hearing in
Congress. It was disregarded by legislative decision makers when, finally, the
Congress of the Philippines, passed the Biofuels Act of 2006. Both the House of
Representatives and the Senate agree. And the Biofuels Act was signed into law by
the President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. And this was done upon the
recommendation of the Department of Energy, and with so many other branches of
the government. It was also accepted by foreign decision makers in the recently
concluded ASEAN Summit that was held in the city of Cebu. So, as Albert Einstein
said: When consensus is reached, stop thinking.

As to the comment, all we have to do is to remove those rubber and plastic parts
that are related to the fuel line and get back to the original conditions of the engine
where there was not a single rubber and or plastic parts.

The comments also assert that the use of bioethanol will increase the temperature of
the engine. This can not be considered undesirable.

Increasing the temperature of the engine is the mark of a diesel engine. As a matter
of fact, diesel engines achieve ignition without the need for spark plugs at higher
temperature, thus reducing costly downtime associated with plug-related
maintenance. The more the engine becomes hot the better.

Comments on biofuels that bring back memories              By Abdel Aziz Dimapunong
                Diesel engine prototype invented by Rudolf Diesel

This is actually the scientific discovery of Mr. Rudolf Diesel when he invented the
diesel engine which is now the perfect internal combustion engine.

Comments on biofuels that bring back memories           By Abdel Aziz Dimapunong