A time to look back and a time to look forward

As 2008 draws to a close it is time to look back and assess how well I did in my predictions for 2008, at the start of the year, and let you know about a couple of guest bloggers who have very kindly agreed to guest post for me while I’m on holiday.

The two gentlemen in question (and in order) are and Professor David B. Benson, who regularly offers thoughtful comments over 2008 and Pradeep Indrakanti, who has also been a regular commentator on the blog’s content. He also co-writes the Energy Engineering Blog, which is worth checking out.

So how do I think that I did in my post on 1 January 2008. … I’m sure you’ll give me your opinion.

My first prediction was that the price of food grains would continue to rise, and my fourth prediction was that rationally, or not, rising food prices would be blamed on biofuels. I warned of the rise of an alliance of big oil and big food retail on the issue.

One the whole those two came true this year, the price of grains rose considerably from historical lows helped by ethanol from corn in the US; asset price inflation in the first nine months of the year and an influx of speculators trying to make an even faster buck.

I didn’t predict that or the bubble. If I had I wouldn’t be writing this now.

On the alliance between big oil and big food. The US grocery business felt the sharp end of rising food prices this year and went to battle defending the price rises by blaming increasing crop prices. Despite the relatively small part of the cost of processed food that is attributable to crop prices. I’ll give myself half a mark there because I can’t recall writing anything much about the oil lobby.

Point three, about a fed driving a biofuel power car to demand back taxes from a home brewer, didn’t as far as I know happen in 2008. So nothing there…

Point two about municipalities following the lead of San Francisco and Stagecoach in Kilmarnock and using used oil for their transportation needs. Toronto did. Where Toronto goes today the rest of the world follows tomorrow, perhaps. Is one more, more? Yes! Don’t forget Ineos.

Point five,  I am happy to reiterate Cellulosic ethanol based around degrading cellulose and lignin and fermenting the simple sugars they yield will still be five years away at the end of the month, and also at the end of December 2009.

So I’d give myself around 3.5/5. Not too flashy. But I’ll not be making any more predictions for a while.



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3 Responses to A time to look back and a time to look forward

  1. Biodiesel = Good 23 December, 2008 at 5:30 am #

    I think everyone’s predictions of where we were going was drastically changed in the last 4 months. The food vs. fuel issue was a big movement that basically killed the mainstream medias view of biofuels and biodiesel got caught in the net. The differences in biodiesel and ethanol are mixed up and confused often in reporting and education. The term BioFuel is now a negative word and has had unfortunate effects on biodiesel.

    I bought a biodiesel processor online in June at http://www.homebiodieselkits.com and I have many friends who are now making their own fuel. I am just getting tired of hearing about how biofuels are a bad thing when in reality biodiesel is a great thing. Especially when we are taking used cooking oils and making diesel out of it, which helps the environment.

  2. Keith R 29 December, 2008 at 3:51 am #

    Not just Toronto, Simon! More and more cities in Brazil are experimenting with utilizing biodiesel made with used cooking oil, since many of these cities (and a few Brazilian states) now require by law that used cooking oil be collected and recycled (either into soap or biofuel). Argentina is looking into doing something similar — well, at least Buenos Aires city and province are. If you ever want a guest post on it, I’d be happy to oblige. I have planned to do something on it at The Temas Blog, but just haven’t managed to squeeze it yet.

    Happy Holidays to you and yours,

  3. Simon Robinson 5 January, 2009 at 9:58 am #

    Hey Keith,

    Thanks for the comment and thanks for your kind offer… I won’t forget it.


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