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(Some SUV driver)   The secret reason why ethanol is not the solution   (healthandenergy.com) divider line 268
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37230 clicks; posted to Main » on 28 Apr 2006 at 10:15 AM (8 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2006-04-28 10:57:24 AM  
I advise y'all to start imagining an American life without cars, because that's what's going to happen, whether you like it or not. The only question is how painful and economically-damaging the transition will be.

That has to be one of the most moronic statements I've read recently - our entire economy (indeed you could argue for "way of life) REVOLVES around the movment of people, goods and services via vehicular traffic. Even if gas disappeared tomorrow and we ALL had to switch to electric powered cars it STILL wouldnt be "an america without cars"... sure the cost of the change might be economically debilitating - but that assumes the cost is incured all at once.

Now instead lets imagine that the cost of gas/oil continues to spiral upward for the next 10-15 years - $3 this year, $4 next year and up and up and up.... everytime the price moves up a competing technology become more and more viable as an alternative - its not like there isnt any alternative technology available - it isnt the 1940's - we could ALL drive battery powered cars - if we were willing to pay $40k for a honda civic sized vehilcle.

Make gas $10 a gallon and $40k for a car (which assumes for some horrible and magical reason that economy of scale doesnt drive the cost down) will be a bargain. Make gas $10 a gallon in 15 years and watch how most people drive a battery powered car (that probable costs a comparable amount to what we drive today) and see how people wonder why we bothered with gas.

The times they are chaning, and if oil does indeed spiral out of control we will move on - it just takes the overwhelming pressure of COST to make it happen.
 
2006-04-28 10:57:26 AM  

The article misses the point. Ethanol is renewable! You just plant more corn. Sure it might not be as effient and as cheaply processed as fossil fuel, but IT'S NOT FOSSIL FUEL! It's fricken corn! and can be grown in our own backyard. Getting away from imported oil dependancy is worth the extra effort (and cost). Oh yeah, it's also better for the environment. duh

btw. My truck runs on both, but there is no place to buy retail ethanol within 150 miles of Seattle. My dog wants to eat an oil lobbyist for lunch.

 
2006-04-28 10:57:39 AM  
Everyone makes the mistake of viewing this as an energy dilemma, when it is really a transport infrastructure dilemma. This is not about energy, it is about transportation modes, zoning, land-use, and the physical organization of the economy.

Translated into plain English, most people simply cannot emotionally accept the idea that they will be forced to abandon their automobiles, but that is precisely what will happen. This dilemma cannot be solved based solely on the auto transport paradigm. Auto use must be drastically scaled back. That's the unavoidable conclusion.

Oh, and did I mention that most of the cars must go? If not, let me reiterate: Most of you are going to have to give up your cars. Got it?
 
2006-04-28 10:57:49 AM  
www.purdueexponent.org

/sorry, i dont know why the campus newspaper has this image either
//Linky
 
2006-04-28 10:58:07 AM  
I think the reason we should keep using oil is because how cool is it that dinosaurs make our cars go?!

That's freakin' awesome!
 
2006-04-28 10:58:12 AM  
If we focused on generating energy for north america we could do one hell of a job. Likely reach independence in a decade or so, but the one man who could make it happen is profiting off of all this bullshiat so.

I couldn't live with myself knowing how many people I farked over for personal gain. I'd feel like a dirtbag. And rightly so.
 
2006-04-28 11:00:21 AM  
Quoting Adman12;
Ontario bets $520M on ethanol
Last Updated Fri, 17 Jun 2005 14:35:03 EDT
CBC News

Ontario's Liberal government is putting up another half-billion dollars to boost production of alcohol as a motor fuel, an idea popular with politicians and farmers in at least five provinces.


Given the last product produced in Barrie's old Molson Plant Ethanol will be pretty good.

I think people lose focus in that ethanol is not ment to produce a replacement for fossil fuel, but a suppliment to ease the demand just enough to make its comsumption/cost reasonable for the general market. Its the same as wind power. The cost per kW/hr is much higher, but its not that we are gonna disassemble all the oil, coal and nuke plants. The wind turbines are simply reducing the strain on the existing infrastructure.

Ethanol is a good thing, AND people are forgetting that at least here in Ontarion, farms are going up for sale. Providing a new market for the farmers will help to stimulate the economy from the ground up. You will never hear that from an oil lover, since they enjoy seeing all our money go to OPEC.
 
2006-04-28 11:00:29 AM  
Motorcycles are the solution.

Stop using 5000lb behemoths that get 12 miles to the gallon to cart your one single carcass around everywhere, cluttering up the roads...

If 50% of the population put away their SUV and got on a scooter instead, imagine the drop in traffic, the percentage of less fuel used, the lower costs to the owner... It's apalling to see it on every major highway in every city. Roads jammed up with huge piles of steel and plastic, each with only one single person in it.

yeah yeah, a million and one holes in the idea, but damn if it ain't more fun.

cars suck.
 
2006-04-28 11:00:47 AM  
They are coming up with more efficient ways to make ethanol all the time. We've gotta start somewhere...

And the reason we use corn is because sugar cane doesn't exactly grow great in Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, etc.

It doesn't have to be corn. But it's somewhere to start freeing ourselves of the oil succubus.
 
2006-04-28 11:00:58 AM  
rdmorley not so fast.
there's always the possibility attaching either a food processor or a lightening-rod to our vehicles - SUV's, however, will require both.

members.cox.net
 
2006-04-28 11:01:21 AM  
Diesel.

The europeans have diesel motors that give 50-80mpg and burn as clean or cleaner than gasoline here. Hell, even the US version VW 1.9TDI can give 50mpg highway, which is 8 more than a Pirus hybrid. The only problem here is americans want bigger, heavier and more powerful vehicles, and can't accept the low HP/decent torque diesels. Instead of trying to use alternate fuels that aren't ready, lets just make better use of the oil we have now, so it will last longer and be cheaper until we find a more viable replacement.
 
2006-04-28 11:01:21 AM  
I think the author of the article is missing a few points:
Once the price of oil raises to the point where this is economically viable we will see:

1. Economies of scale(per unit price will drop)
2. Technological Advances in the production process;
3. Technological Advances in the engines burning the fuel;
4. Technological Advances in growing techniques;
5. Increased use of other agircultural products and waste products to produce the fuel.

All of this will lower unit cost and increase effiency in the use of this fuel.

Personally I hold out great hope for hydrogen as a source of fuel in this century.
 
2006-04-28 11:01:32 AM  
"2006-04-28 10:20:39 AM Adman12
Cerebral Ballsy: Ethanol is easily produced from other sources than corn. Such as garbage sludge.

That was my first thought, too. Kitchen waste and byproducts of food processing seem like good sources."

seriously dude, thought is MUCH too strong of a word
there is this SCIENCE thingy
it says that your garbage would not produce enough ethanol to start your car, let alone drive it

did you read how many acres of corn are required for one year of average driving??

sheeeshhhhh
good thing we no longer teach science in school
makes being stupid all that much easier
 
2006-04-28 11:03:22 AM  
jay_vee - Because it's just the solvent?







SOLVENT GREEN is PEOPLE!!
images.google.com






 
2006-04-28 11:03:55 AM  
Does anyone have an idea of how much energy it takes to get one gallon of petrol from the Middle East? It seems to me that all the distillation required must be quite energy intensive.
 
2006-04-28 11:04:02 AM  
canyoneer

What group or political philosophy do you subscribe to that leads you to believe giving up auto's will be necessary or even desireable?

You're argument seems to be that the lack of oil will somehow necessitate the need to abandon a mode of transportation, yet the mode of transportation can be made which does not rely on a single drop of oil to be utilized.

Hell if we want to get right down to it I would argue its MORE likely that we all drive nuclear powered cars someday then no one drives a car someday - I don't see either as particularly likely but the idea that in a country of wide open spaces (I do hate the need to put a minimall parking lot on every available acre) we would somehow abandon individual transportation and regress back to a city centered population.
 
2006-04-28 11:04:54 AM  
canyoneer: I advise y'all to start imagining an American life without cars, because that's what's going to happen, whether you like it or not. The only question is how painful and economically-damaging the transition will be.

God you're amazing at ignoring the truth. Read my last post and see how much you and the author have in common. Then realize that oil probably won't peak until after hydrogen fuel cell cars are viable. Then realize that if it does, we will find/tap unused deposits. Then realize you don't really have a point.

It's so important to you that you are right about something before ANYONE ELSE that you believe any bullshiat conspiracy/world ending story you hear. Guess how often you're right? I'd estimate about 2% of the time.
 
2006-04-28 11:05:23 AM  
Popular Mechanics just posted an article relating to this.

http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/earth/2690341.html (pops)
 
2006-04-28 11:05:37 AM  
You don't buy a hybrid car to save money. I own a Prius (so I'm really getting a kick out of some of these replies) and had to pay about $7500 more for it than I would have had to pay for a similar-sized, similarly-equipped, conventional vehicle. I get about 15 mpg better than those other vehicles, so through the wonders of Islam's greatest success (algebra), I figure I will only break even if the gas price were an average $4.599 a gallon over the projected ten-year ownership period.

That's not even taking into account the somewhat more expensive tires I have to use with it, and their more-rapid wear rate. (The car is heavier than conventional vehicles, and you have to keep the tires inflated to around 45 psi front, 42 rear, to optimize the friction and rolling resistance coefficients. This can give you a pretty bumpy ride on metro freeways, but what the hey: I'm saving 10 cents!)

Because some farkers will believe anything they hear.
 
2006-04-28 11:05:41 AM  
"2006-04-28 10:31:11 AM jomyke
To the farker brains who are weighing-in here on EtOH,
why not H power?"

where would you get the H2?
assume that storage and transport were solved.

you need ENERGY
solar and wind do not have a HIGH enough energy density to produce enough "fuel"

until we start building tons of breeder reactors, "fuel" will continue to be expensive

there is no secret conspiracy
the REASON that we use fossil fuels is that they are CHEAP (in terms of energy) to convert into useful fuel

as SOON as that is NOT true, we will convert to another source

/conservation of energy is a law, not a suggestion
 
2006-04-28 11:06:04 AM  
Fizpez: "That has to be one of the most moronic statements I've read recently - our entire economy (indeed you could argue for "way of life") REVOLVES around the movment of people, goods and services via vehicular traffic."

And that's why we're in deep trouble. We've invested trillions for decades in a transport infrastructure without a future. Oops. You make the ubiquitous mistake of believing the neoclassical economic fantasy that money and technology create energy, when exactly the opposite is the reality. Unfortunately, no combination of the "alternatives" (which aren't, but are more exactly inferior replacements) will allow us to continue doing things as we've been doing them. It is physically impossible, and neoclassical economics is not physics. That is a major source of confusion here.
 
2006-04-28 11:07:15 AM  
Seriously...

Why cant we just put wind/solar/nuclear driven electrolysis plants on the coast and use hydrogen.

Yeah I know its not as dense. Are there any other issues?

Hell if people always biatched this much about choosing a fuel theres no way we'd be using gasoline today.
 
2006-04-28 11:08:17 AM  
Will George W. Buch still send me a $100 check?
If so then it is all AOK.
 
2006-04-28 11:08:19 AM  
savonola: Personally I hold out great hope for hydrogen as a source of fuel in this century.

Hydrogen is already viable in ICEs as a gas. The only real problem is it's a little more dangerous, and it's impossible to get a decent range without a ton of storage tanks. Liquid hydrogen is promising for about 20 years from now.
 
2006-04-28 11:08:33 AM  
BaconatedGrapefruit: Hydrogen is a joke.
 
2006-04-28 11:08:36 AM  
Obvious: If everyone drove as much as they do now, it would be unsustainable even using ethanol. However:

1. It is still more sustainable than oil.
2. Doofus ignores the possibility of increases in vehicle efficiency.
3. Doofus ignores the substitution effect: Can I telecommute? Can I ride public transit? Can I vote for better public transit? Hmm, the twenty large I save by buying a small car would sure buy a nice pool... Hey, if I live downtown, I can drive less, go out more, and not worry about having a drink... and so on.

NewsFlash: Current US and Canadian driving habits would be unsustainable even if our cars ran on fresh air. We also waste huge amounts of our time and money on driving.

NewsFlash 2: Chicks don't really dig men with cars. They dig men with money. Only gay men really dig men with cars.
 
2006-04-28 11:10:35 AM  
"1. Economies of scale(per unit price will drop)
2. Technological Advances in the production process;
3. Technological Advances in the engines burning the fuel;
4. Technological Advances in growing techniques;
5. Increased use of other agircultural products and waste products to produce the fuel."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA
you MORON
it is science, not technology
if you use CORN, to make ethanol, it requires energy
that energy MUST come from somewhere

while you MIGHT be able to reduce the "cost", you will NOT be able to make it negative ...
solar, wind and burning scrap is NEVER enough
Plus, did you NOT read the part about soil and water?

where do you frow the corn once there is no dirt or water?

/if I had a penny for every eco-moron who believed in their cause and yet KNEW nothing about "Science"
well, Id have a LOT of pennies
 
2006-04-28 11:12:18 AM  
guesser: btw. My truck runs on both, but there is no place to buy retail ethanol within 150 miles of Seattle. My dog wants to eat an oil lobbyist for lunch.

Do like my state (Michigan) is doing, and vote in politicians that will subsidize adding E85 pumps to existing gas stations. I think we subsidize 30%. I'm pretty sure most of the stations just have a tank of ethanol, and mix it to E85 right there.
 
2006-04-28 11:12:43 AM  
namatad: seriously dude, thought is MUCH too strong of a word
there is this SCIENCE thingy
it says that your garbage would not produce enough ethanol to start your car, let alone drive it

did you read how many acres of corn are required for one year of average driving??



And I mentioned other supplemental sources, too, like retail spoilage and industrial food processing byproducts. I also mentioned the idea of blended gas, which is pretty well accepted as a reasonable short-term solution, and doesn't require that kind of acreage.

But thanks for treating us to your trolleloquence.
 
2006-04-28 11:13:03 AM  
2006-04-28 02:13:49 AMCivil_War2_Time

Uhhh, because it's a engine-corroding alternative which is a joke at this time?

typical aggie mentality.
 
2006-04-28 11:14:52 AM  
the_whitney_brown

I love it. I still get about 45 miles to the gallon- with 80K in mileage approaching. If I drive fast- 70 mph- I get about 40 mpg.

Why not keep the ethanol where the corn is, keep the oil where the ports/refineries are, keep the solar cars where max. amount of sun is, keep the methanol where we have excess wood chippings are etc.... Why are we looking to completely switch our dependency on petroleum to ONE other source. We should just be diversifying the portfolio according to our geophysical location.
 
2006-04-28 11:15:12 AM  
i don't believe anything on a website that has one of these

healthandenergy.com

come on!
 
2006-04-28 11:15:27 AM  
namatad: if you use CORN, to make ethanol, it requires energy
that energy MUST come from somewhere


You sound like a farking 15 year old who thinks he's smarter than everyone, but in reality is just a closed minded ignoramus. Have you heard of the sun? What about wind? Heard of that? Gasoline takes almost as much energy to produce as ethanol. Maybe you should go back in time to 100 years ago and tell us that, because it'll never be viable.

Read my big post, then go back to school, kid.
 
2006-04-28 11:16:00 AM  
I hate nay-saying idiots like this. His arguments lie on the assumption that we get ethanol strickly from fresh grown corn, and that everyone will switch over to it overnight. Both assumptions are stupid and false. As stated above ethanol can be made from waste crops (farmers are paid by the gov. to grow corn that they promptly thrown away or wasted.) or sugar, and other crops. I think that sugar has a better BTU output but corn is used here because of the overproduction of corn we have.

Secondly, it is still a good idea for replacing just the oil we import from the middle east and not for everyone. Everyone agrees that ethanol cannot completely replace oil as a sole source of fuel. If local governments all over America started using E85 ethanol in their fleet vehicles, that would greatly reduce our reliance on foreign oil.
 
2006-04-28 11:17:45 AM  
Gramb0: Why not keep the ethanol where the corn is, keep the oil where the ports/refineries are, keep the solar cars where max. amount of sun is, keep the methanol where we have excess wood chippings are etc.... Why are we looking to completely switch our dependency on petroleum to ONE other source. We should just be diversifying the portfolio according to our geophysical location.

GOMZ! Keep rational thought out of threads with PEAK OIL! nutjobs. The world is going to end, they're all right, and there's nothing we can do to stop it. K?
 
2006-04-28 11:17:48 AM  
Manhigh

Nuclear plants are one way to go, however many people put estimates on economic uranium production only lasting for several decades (at current global demand). Fast-breeder or even thorium based reactors could improve this somewhat (thorium reactors would also be a great way to dispose of those surplus nuclear weapons as it needs a catalyst to enable the fission reaction).

As for the ethanol debate. Corn is a lousy way of producing ethanol; hemp of sugar beet is much better. Of course, that would piss off the corn famers and we can't have that can we? Really the problem with using ethanol isn't the refining process it's the production process. The energy (i.e. gas) required to farm and transport the millions of tons of corn to the refining plants.

We will never see more than a small percentage of cars running from ethanol. However, combined with other fuel sources (including oil) it may buy a few more decades until a real alternative becomes available.
 
2006-04-28 11:19:33 AM  
canyoneer: BaconatedGrapefruit: Hydrogen is a joke.

You back up your arguments well. YOU HAVE ME CONVINCED!

What about electric vehicles? You gonna refute those with 3 words as well?
 
2006-04-28 11:19:36 AM  
What I always find weird is that so many people are quick to attack alt-fuels and sing the praises of oil, but they never seem to propose alternatives.

It's a mathematical certainty that oil will run out at some point: are the nay-sayers just assuming we'll have cold fusion reactors in our cars by then?
 
2006-04-28 11:20:08 AM  
The whole energy vs. cost argument is neat and all, but it casually ignores other benefits of Ethanol, namely, lower emissions and the fact that it's a renewable resource.

It's clear that there is a potential danger of getting into an agricultural based fuel society as therein lies the possibility of having to decide whether we drive or whether we eat, but hopefully there will be more energy options before it would get that bad.
 
2006-04-28 11:20:13 AM  
One of the things you have to remember is that Big Oil and Big Pharma are not the only lobbyists frolicking on Capitol Hill, Big Agriculture (read as "the Corn Industry") has quite an influence up there.

If they get their way, the demand for corn is going to go way up. And supply will expand slightly, but not enough for the huge demand (if the corn industry gets their way, which they probably will because nobody else is trying to fight them). So that means: Since you're all wealthy out there, you should have plenty of money to invest in corn.

(this is also why they won't make ethanol out of sludge or other products/wastes at first, as others have mentioned)

Invest in corn, people.
 
2006-04-28 11:20:47 AM  
BenR: What I always find weird is that so many people are quick to attack alt-fuels and sing the praises of oil, but they never seem to propose alternatives.

Peak oil freaks only enjoy telling people they are wrong. They have no original ideas, no intellegence, etc. All they can do is tell you the world is going to end.
 
2006-04-28 11:21:12 AM  
You know what would work? Bikes. Bikes would work. Or, how about adult-sized big-wheels. There'd be no road rage with adult sized big-wheels. We'd all be doing power slides and spin-outs and giggling. We could try walking too. Save the cars for long trips. Why don't we have more railroads like in Europe?

Just some thoughts.
 
2006-04-28 11:21:35 AM  
The solution is SVO. Straight vegetable oil, from whatever plant has the highest production yields in each local growing climate.

SVO will fuel a diesel engine just fine, as long as you install a preheater to warm it, thinning it enough to go smoothly through the injectors.

SVO is better than biodiesel simply because there is less processing to make it, and therefore takes less energy input to get it rolling.

However, since diesels aren't currently designed to run on SVO, starting and stopping them on diesel or biodiesel is a good immediate compromise. Start the engine on biodiesel, run SVO, then shut down on biodiesel.

No more fossil fuel dependency.

What about the cars already on the road? Screw 'em. Let them pay high prices for fossil fuels. Through normal attrition, we're already replacing them at a rate of about 15 million a year.

A nice side benefit: most diesel engines have a service life expectancy of double or more than an equivalent gasoline engine.
 
2006-04-28 11:21:39 AM  
butanol!
 
2006-04-28 11:21:49 AM  
This article needs to be removed. Its wrong. They make ethenol from corn waste. So the corn they make it from still serves whatever purpose it is meant to, and they make the stuff from the corn stalk which is just waste.
 
2006-04-28 11:23:14 AM  
Additional treatment and energy are required to produce the 99.8 percent pure ethanol for mixing with gasoline.


Here lies the problem in this analysis. Pimental seems to assume that the ethanol would have to have such a high level of purity to be useful in automobiles. However 95% pure alcohol should be sufficient, and that level of purification requires only about half as much energy.
 
2006-04-28 11:23:47 AM  
namatad: if I had a penny for every eco-moron who believed in their cause and yet KNEW nothing about "Science"


It's ecomonics I'm dealing with and the factors listed apply to all new technologies. Also, Mr. "I got an B in high school science so I know everything" gasoline uses more energy to produce than it provides as well just not as much. As these costs go up and the cost of replacement fuels go down we will reach parity very soon. You just embarrased yourself in front of thousands of people. Think before you post next time.
 
2006-04-28 11:24:34 AM  
BaconatedGrapefruit: All right, just for giggles. What is your source of hydrogen? How much platinum is used in a hydrogen fuel cell? How much does a hydrogen fuel cell cost?

I await your answers.
 
2006-04-28 11:25:31 AM  
Ethanol has a higher octane rating than any current fuel at the pump except propane (my favorite) and at 106-107 octane you can squeze about 10% greater efficiency out of a motor by increasing the compression or utilizing an active power adder like a turbo or blower (turbo is the most efficient). The NOx emmisions do increase with this but these can be midigated with Urea injection and catalytic converters. The ethanol process can also be made more efficient by using alcohol producing bacteria rather than yeast, utilizing lower cost substrate such as organic waste, or even using higher yeild substrates like sugar cane or beats. The process will never get better unless the demand is there. How much oil was lost on the ground during the high pressure gusher days of Spindletop and how much natural gas was vented into the atmosphere before we had a way to capture it effectivly? Don't crap on the solution if you dont have a better one.
 
2006-04-28 11:26:11 AM  
2004-02-14 03:01:57 PM Arthen

Ethanol requires more energy to produce than it stores ergo it is a negative carrier of energy. In order to grow the corn to begin with amonia is necesary for fertilizer (source: natural gas) and pesticides (source: petrolium) not to mention the energy required to refine the product.

Ethanol was never a solution, it is at best a propaganda line.
 
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