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Ethanol: A Tragedy in 3 Acts
Business Week Online ^ | Thursday April 27 2006 | Ed Wallace

Posted on 04/27/2006 10:45:52 AM PDT by Brian Allen

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A not-bad look at the massive fraud that is the addition of grossly energy inefficient, $3.00-per-gallon to produce, ethonol, to $0.63 Cents per gallon production cost gasoline.
1 posted on 04/27/2006 10:45:56 AM PDT by Brian Allen
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To: Brian Allen
--AMEN--and will the ethanol advocates ever jump on this.

Me--I'll be in the middle of corn country in another few weeks and will carefully observe for any evidence of ethanol or bio-diesel being used in the growing, cultivation, or harvest of corn---

2 posted on 04/27/2006 10:50:14 AM PDT by rellimpank (Don't believe anything about firearms or explosives stated by the mass media---NRABenefactor)
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To: Brian Allen

There is a whole other issue not considered by any of the economists. That is that in most of the Great Plains states, groundwater is used to grow the crops. That water is being depleted and not replaced. Using water to grow crops to produce vehicle fuel is to me a waste. It may make economical sense (then again it may not), but the water is irreplacable for use by individual farms, communities and for use in other crops. Here are some references:

http://www.kerrcenter.com/publications/ogallala_aquifer.pdf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogallala_Aquifer

http://www.iitap.iastate.edu/gcp/issues/society/ogallala/ogallala.html

http://www.choicesmagazine.org/2003-1/2003-1-04.pdf (Conserving the Ogallala Aquifer: Efficiency, Equity and Moral Motives)

http://www.uswaternews.com/archives/arcsupply/3scisay2.html (Scientists say drought accelerating depletion of Ogallala Aquifer)

Read the first page of the first reference for some statistics. Sobering what depletion of the aquifer will mean for our agriculture.


3 posted on 04/27/2006 11:03:46 AM PDT by CedarDave (DemocRATs- the CULTURE OF TREASON! If it wasn't for double standards, democrats would have NONE)
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To: CedarDave

You've nailed it.


4 posted on 04/27/2006 11:07:45 AM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: Brian Allen

The author of this article, Ed Wallace, has a show Saturdays 8AM to 1PM on www.klif.com and a website at insidequotmotive.com.


5 posted on 04/27/2006 11:08:22 AM PDT by pikachu (For every action there is an equal and opposite government program)
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To: CedarDave
That water is being depleted and not replaced.

It doesn't rain out that way? :)
6 posted on 04/27/2006 11:09:51 AM PDT by P-40 (http://www.590klbj.com/forum/index.php?referrerid=1854)
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To: rellimpank
I'll be in the middle of corn country in another few weeks

watch out for these guys... Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

7 posted on 04/27/2006 11:14:38 AM PDT by Rakkasan1 (lead ,follow or get out of the majority.start with our borders.)
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To: Brian Allen

And to this travesty may we add the prospect of damage caused by ethanol to automotive/fuel systems? Boat owners are already starting to discover an unpleasant truth as some fiberglass fuel tanks "dissolve" into sludge when ethanol is introduced. Of course there is no provision to exclude marine fuel from this short sighted special interest group driven government-mandated ethanol additive program.

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BQK/is_1_11/ai_n16019367


8 posted on 04/27/2006 11:17:40 AM PDT by silverleaf (Fasten your seat belts- it's going to be a BUMPY ride.)
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To: rellimpank

Ethanol is used for powering the driver, not the vehicle.


9 posted on 04/27/2006 11:21:03 AM PDT by GSlob
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To: Brian Allen

what no one sees is that there is a .51 tax on each gallon of ethynol, thanks to the corn lobbyists. the refining cost is unbelievable because of the greedy hands in the pot. If we could make the fuel from sugar cane, well, that would be different but nothing's going to change until our government decides to quit politicizing the problem and starts focusing on how to get this country independent of foreign oil.


10 posted on 04/27/2006 11:23:44 AM PDT by immigration lady (defeat is only momentary)
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To: Brian Allen

What a mess--another disgraceful sellout by congress to special interests, at our expense.


11 posted on 04/27/2006 11:29:30 AM PDT by defenderSD (い Wishing, hoping, and praying that Saddam will not nuke us is not a national security policy.)
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To: defenderSD
What a mess--another disgraceful sellout by congress to special interests, at our expense.

The article is in Business Weak, cousin to Newsweak. Not exactly what you would call a reputable source. Glancing through it, I see the author uses a study whose authors declared an "oopsy" and revised their work. The previous study lives on, and will for years and years.
12 posted on 04/27/2006 11:35:51 AM PDT by P-40 (http://www.590klbj.com/forum/index.php?referrerid=1854)
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To: CedarDave

Gee, that paints a cheery picture, doesn't it? And I can't see where it's wrong, either - pretty much everyone agrees the aquifers are being drained and polluted. Do you suppose anything will be done about it before they're sucked dry?


13 posted on 04/27/2006 11:37:36 AM PDT by -YYZ-
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To: Brian Allen

Another problem that the Left-Wing Enviroterrorists won't talk about - With the promotion and increased use of alternative fuels, i.e., corn and sugar cane based ethanol, soy bean and palm oils for blended diesel fuels, farmers in South America and elsewhere are clearcutting thousands of acres of pristine forest to meet the demand for these "greener" fuels.

Wouldn't a more sensible and more environmentally friendly solution (for the US) be to drill in ANWAR. So much for saving the Earth.


14 posted on 04/27/2006 11:53:09 AM PDT by Daytyn71 (Live Free or Die!!!)
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To: P-40
I don't see any rationale whatsoever for the ethanol additive mandate. It actually increases pollution, incredibly, and it takes more energy to produce and distribute it than is contained in the ethanol. This mandate needs to be repealed ASAP. This is another shameful fraud forced on the American people by a corrupt US congress. Repeal of the ethanol mandate is a GREAT position for Republicans to take in the November election, but they have to make sure they explain that ethanol actually increases air pollution (and thus does nothing other than boost the profits of agri-business).

What study are you saying is incorrect and was later revised?

15 posted on 04/27/2006 11:57:27 AM PDT by defenderSD (い Wishing, hoping, and praying that Saddam will not nuke us is not a national security policy.)
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To: defenderSD
What study are you saying is incorrect and was later revised?

The very one you use that says it takes more energy to produce ethanol than you get back.
16 posted on 04/27/2006 12:01:07 PM PDT by P-40 (http://www.590klbj.com/forum/index.php?referrerid=1854)
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To: P-40

OK, how is that study incorrect?


17 posted on 04/27/2006 12:02:20 PM PDT by defenderSD (い Wishing, hoping, and praying that Saddam will not nuke us is not a national security policy.)
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To: Daytyn71
Another problem that the Left-Wing Enviroterrorists won't talk about

They have no interest in "green" fuel. If there is fuel, there will be roads.
18 posted on 04/27/2006 12:02:43 PM PDT by P-40 (http://www.590klbj.com/forum/index.php?referrerid=1854)
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To: P-40

Don't forget the energy used to transport the ethanol to blending plants, because it can't be mixed in at large refineries and shipped through pipelines as blended gas. This looks like a completely uneconomical mess to me.


19 posted on 04/27/2006 12:04:11 PM PDT by defenderSD (い Wishing, hoping, and praying that Saddam will not nuke us is not a national security policy.)
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To: defenderSD
OK, how is that study incorrect?

It is a dated study but I remember the rate of application of lime was the biggest error. Not taking into account that corn is grown differently in different areas was not addressed that I know of.
20 posted on 04/27/2006 12:04:42 PM PDT by P-40 (http://www.590klbj.com/forum/index.php?referrerid=1854)
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To: P-40

The whole problem here is that liberals and environmentalists simply will not leave business alone and insist on over-regulating, harassing, taxing, and sueing the private sector at every opportunity. Liberals are in a constant cold war against the private sector. The right way to reduce pollution and increase energy independence is to produce more oil and gasoline and develop more fuel-efficient engines and transmissions and lighter vehicles. This ethanol mandate is just plain stupid and a huge unjustified tax on the American public and a subsidy for an uneconomical industry that could never survive without subsidies.


21 posted on 04/27/2006 12:08:31 PM PDT by defenderSD (い Wishing, hoping, and praying that Saddam will not nuke us is not a national security policy.)
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To: defenderSD
This looks like a completely uneconomical mess to me.

Ethanol will hopefully be a short-lived product as it is by far not the best alternative out there...but the marketing realities call for it to be around awhile. The perfect biofuel would never make it to market if the consumer had to do even the most basic of modification to their vehicle in order to use it.
22 posted on 04/27/2006 12:10:09 PM PDT by P-40 (http://www.590klbj.com/forum/index.php?referrerid=1854)
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To: P-40

Could this industry survive without government subsidies? That's the test of whether it's an econmically beneficial industry. I strongly doubt that it would survive without tariffs, subsidies, and a transfer or cash flow from consumers to ethanol producers.


23 posted on 04/27/2006 12:10:15 PM PDT by defenderSD (い Wishing, hoping, and praying that Saddam will not nuke us is not a national security policy.)
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To: defenderSD

traansfer or cash flow = transfer of cash flow


24 posted on 04/27/2006 12:10:37 PM PDT by defenderSD (い Wishing, hoping, and praying that Saddam will not nuke us is not a national security policy.)
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To: defenderSD
Could this industry survive without government subsidies?

That remains to be seen. The subsidies going to the oil industry may be cut if the Democrats get their way. From what I understand, the subsidies from the energy bill were not all that much of a benefit to the big oil companies, just the smaller ones, which is most likely the alternative fuels market. Subsidies to farmers will not be affected; they never are.

This is an industry for government to get the ball rolling and then get out.
25 posted on 04/27/2006 12:16:03 PM PDT by P-40 (http://www.590klbj.com/forum/index.php?referrerid=1854)
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To: Daytyn71
I've often wondered how much environmental damage has been wrought on third-world countries by our locking up our own natural resources so that they can not be developed in a somewhat-environmently friendly manner. ANWR is one example, selective logging in NW forests is another. So in addition to our jobs being moved to a third-world country, resource extraction with little regard for the environment occurs there.

Interestingly enought, after only a few seasons of crop growing in the former rain forests, the soil is barren of nutrients and you have a barren desert in the middle of the tropics with soil erosion, silty runnoff and impacts on the rivers. I'm not saying it all could have been averted, but our shutting down of industry with the demand for raw materials unabated leads to this inevitable outcome.

26 posted on 04/27/2006 12:17:41 PM PDT by CedarDave (DemocRATs- the CULTURE OF TREASON! If it wasn't for double standards, democrats would have NONE)
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To: P-40
O.K. I'll bite. If all I have to do is the most basic of modifications to my vehicle, it would probably be cheap, and so easy just about anyone with a pulse could do it. If the perfect biofuel came along in this scenario I'd be all over it, provided I didn't have to pay more for it that what I currently pay, and that it was actually a cost-effective solution unlike ethanol.

Any more ethanol in the current fuel at the pump, and you may as well kiss your engine goodbye (along with any drivetrain warranty), unless of course it's already flex-fuel capable.
27 posted on 04/27/2006 12:22:35 PM PDT by jurroppi1
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To: Brian Allen

Super Hustler to the World.

These are the people that should be investigated. But it won't happen since ADM has nearly every member of Congress in their pocket.
28 posted on 04/27/2006 12:34:31 PM PDT by Ditto (People who fail to secure jobs as fence posts go into journalism.)
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To: CedarDave
Same problem with groundwater depletion around Blackfoot and Shelley areas of eastern Idaho. The potato farmers are salivating at the prospect of selling potatoes for ethanol generation. It might be a good thing for them this year as there is a pest in the potatoes that has caused international rejection of the current crop for export. Still, the aquifer is depleted and silly options like diverting Snake River water underground are being floated by the farmers.
29 posted on 04/27/2006 12:35:43 PM PDT by Myrddin
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To: Brian Allen

Good read bump


30 posted on 04/27/2006 12:37:14 PM PDT by moehoward
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To: Brian Allen

Haha lets not forget the HUGE subsidies going to ConAgra for the production of corn syrup, when buying sugar from abroad costs 1/10th the price.

Because the corn syrup industry has successfuly lobbied the powers that be to introduce tarrifs on sugar, everyone loses bigtime on sugar.


31 posted on 04/27/2006 12:39:38 PM PDT by ketelone
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To: Brian Allen

Delivering ethanol is a problem, also. It scavenges water, so if there's any water in a pipeline, the ethanol isn't any good. So no companies use pipelines to deliver ethanol. All ethanol has to be delivered in tanker trucks or railroad tankers. That type of delivery is expensive.


32 posted on 04/27/2006 12:42:31 PM PDT by chemicalman (Many have skeletons in their closets. In New Orleans, we have skeletons in our attics.)
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To: Myrddin

Unlike the Great Plains of the midwest, the Snake River Plain is basaltic and is a good source of rechargable groundwater. There may be areas where extraction and recharge don't balance (especially in dry years), but on the whole the aquifer is recharged by runoff from the mountains (that disappears once streams intersect the basalt), and seepage from the river and lakes formed by dams on the river. I look at the area as one gigantic sponge. The Great Plains, OTOH, receive little recharge except direct precipitation, which is generally sparse (though some low-flow rivers such as the Platte, Arkansas, and Canadian run through them).


33 posted on 04/27/2006 12:49:19 PM PDT by CedarDave (DemocRATs- the CULTURE OF TREASON! If it wasn't for double standards, democrats would have NONE)
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To: Ditto

Brings to mind the execrable Bob Dole, former senator of Archer Daniel Midland.

And now that he's moved up in life, from street walker to call-girlything, for Viagra.


34 posted on 04/27/2006 12:49:39 PM PDT by Brian Allen (Life's only certainties include the absolute corruption of those who collect and spend our taxes.)
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To: CedarDave

I am mostly unbaware of the ethanol advantages or disadvantages but certainly depleting ground water to grow more corn would not be a good idea. What about sugar (beet) cane? Does growing cane or beets need as much water I wonder?

One thing for sure (?): we need to become energy independent.


35 posted on 04/27/2006 12:53:28 PM PDT by eleni121 ('Thou hast conquered, O Galilean!' (Julian the Apostate))
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To: jurroppi1
If all I have to do is the most basic of modifications to my vehicle

If you have a diesel engine, you can run the thing on cheaply produced vegetable oil...but you have to either heat the oil up before you use it or get the engine hot with a separate tank of diesel. Not complicated but not too cheap of a conversion to get much interest. A biodiesel blend can run with little to no modifications, but you still use diesel and you have more in processing to make the stuff. Not a bad deal though and this market shows a lot of promise.

For gas engines....gas sucks. You can make ethanol from all sorts of products but ethanol is still a pain to work with...but ethanol has the name recognition so ethanol it will be for a time.
36 posted on 04/27/2006 12:54:21 PM PDT by P-40 (http://www.590klbj.com/forum/index.php?referrerid=1854)
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To: chemicalman
Right you are. Which is also why MTBE is such a problem in the environment -- it is preferentially miscible in water so that MTBE in gasoline from a service station fuel leak will move into groundwater much as your favorite bourbon disperses in water in your before-dinner drink.
37 posted on 04/27/2006 12:56:30 PM PDT by CedarDave (DemocRATs- the CULTURE OF TREASON! If it wasn't for double standards, democrats would have NONE)
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To: Brian Allen

I think the most interesting thing I've seen on Ethonol was in an article posted here yesterday. In order to make enough ethonol to meet America's current demand for gasoline would require us to uses 71% of our farm land to grow the fuel.


38 posted on 04/27/2006 1:00:58 PM PDT by CougarGA7 (There are no trophies for winning wars. Only consequences for losing them.)
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To: eleni121
What about sugar (beet) cane? Does growing cane or beets need as much water I wonder?

You can grow sugar cane in the US in Florida and Louisiana. I'd say turn the New Orleans 9th ward into sugar cane fields. No shortage of water and a much better use of the land than government housing that will only flood again.

39 posted on 04/27/2006 1:01:12 PM PDT by Ditto (People who fail to secure jobs as fence posts go into journalism.)
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To: rellimpank

I still think we ought to devote some research resources to this.


40 posted on 04/27/2006 1:02:36 PM PDT by Mamzelle
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To: Ditto

I'd say turn the New Orleans 9th ward into sugar cane fields.
_______________________________________________________

There you go! How about the whole darned area?


41 posted on 04/27/2006 1:08:07 PM PDT by eleni121 ('Thou hast conquered, O Galilean!' (Julian the Apostate))
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To: Mamzelle
I still think we ought to devote some research resources to this.

The private sector is already doing extensive research and has products on the market now. This fact goes totally unnoticed by the Democrats, which is hilarious.
42 posted on 04/27/2006 1:10:50 PM PDT by P-40 (http://www.590klbj.com/forum/index.php?referrerid=1854)
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To: Brian Allen

Phase out gasoline engines, diesels are much more efficent and can power any automobile made. A winter grade and a summer grade works all over the country.

The diesel is easier to be made to run cleaner than a gas burner. The diesel engine lasts 4 to 5 times longer.

The use of "oil fuels" is not going away any time soon, we have to make the most of what can be refined!


43 posted on 04/27/2006 1:12:31 PM PDT by tiger63
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To: P-40
That it's inefficient and still falls far short of what we need and hope for is not surprising. But we have some amazing engineers in this country. I'm not surprised it's not working now--but I won't be surprised if there're technical breakthroughs that might make it useful in the future.

I'm also hopeful about other alternatives. The US has made harder things happen--and the idea of seeing the terrorist world turned back into farming sand is a vision to work for.

44 posted on 04/27/2006 1:14:54 PM PDT by Mamzelle
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To: eleni121; Myrddin

The term used by agriculturalists is Crop Consumptive Use. For Myrddin's area in Idaho (see post #29) the comparison between crops can be found here:

http://www.kimberly.uidaho.edu/water/appndxet/index.shtml

In Idaho, alfalfa hay requires 3.12 ft. of water, sugar beets 2.81, and potatoes 2.27 ft. Other areas of the country have different requirements because rainfall and temperature play a part. In general, the hotter the area, the more water is required for the crop. The drier the area, the more supplemental water must be applied.

So if you are going to grow a crop for this purpose, you should grow it in an area that has plenty of natural water that is replenished seasonally or annually.

Do a Google under "crop consumptive use" for publications in other areas of the country.


45 posted on 04/27/2006 1:20:49 PM PDT by CedarDave (DemocRATs- the CULTURE OF TREASON! If it wasn't for double standards, democrats would have NONE)
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To: Mamzelle
I'm not surprised it's not working now

It's working now, no question about that. It would not surprise me if someone figures out a better way to do it, and soon. There is a lot of money moving into biofuels, tons of it, and anyone that can chisle a tiny fraction for himself by coming up with an innovation will be rich indeed.
46 posted on 04/27/2006 1:25:13 PM PDT by P-40 (http://www.590klbj.com/forum/index.php?referrerid=1854)
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To: Ditto
In Idaho, its Simplot


47 posted on 04/27/2006 1:25:34 PM PDT by CedarDave (DemocRATs- the CULTURE OF TREASON! If it wasn't for double standards, democrats would have NONE)
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To: All

Not trying to rain on the ethanol hate parade hear...I would love to be able to proceed with drilling on our shores and wherever it is available on our country. Realistically, I don't see it happening. You know our house/senate is not going to touch that issue with a 100 foot poll. Again, I don't think the intent is to completely turn our country into a 100% ethanol economy. I would assume it is strictly to supplement and reduce the demand from the middle east or other trouble spots. I would gladly choose the lesser of two evils (Conagra, ADM, corn lobby) than pay the idiots that is trying to chop my head off....The argument of ethanol being less efficient goes by the wayside whenever (only if...)ethanol cost per gallon drops down to and equivalent price per gallon of gas....assume 25-30% miles per gallon reduction vs. gasoline). With gasoline being $3.00/gallon, ethanol could compete at $2.10/gallon. Yes...ethanol is not that cheap yet....yet...Improved economies of scale, research into production optimization may eventually meet that goal.
Yes...I would rather us stick with oil for the time being, but not being prepared for, or researching alternative fuels for the long run would be completely irresponsible - more so than the border issue which is currently the hot topic of the day...


48 posted on 04/27/2006 1:29:53 PM PDT by Maringa
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To: defenderSD

"Don't forget the energy used to transport the ethanol to blending plants, because it can't be mixed in at large refineries and shipped through pipelines as blended gas. This looks like a completely uneconomical mess to me."

Yes we are a ways off from a viable solution but even at 3.00 a gallon we are better going this route then getting tangled up in the ME every time some crazy dictator pops up. Also, their is a huge benefit to employ high and low level tech employees, the farming industry would boom and we would take advantage of a hundreds of millions of acres of unused land. Ethanol is really only the solution to automobiles, our trucking fleet can run on diesel from soy, easily growable in the south en masse. It's going to take years and we had better get our asses in gear.


49 posted on 04/27/2006 1:36:37 PM PDT by iThinkBig
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To: iThinkBig

Just an observation of what I saw in Brazil...There are many local ethanol refineries spread throughout the country side. They are small compact units. I realize it is sugar cane, but same thing could apply here. Transportation costs would reduce as more refineries are built. It also reduces the exposure to terrorist attacks on one large refinery concentration such as Houston, TX. It also reduces the exposure to weather related catastrophies (like hurricanes, etc...)


50 posted on 04/27/2006 1:43:02 PM PDT by Maringa
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